Cooking Dry Beans, Lentils, and Split Peas

Not sure how to cook those beans? Here's help to create a sensational side dish.


+ enlarge image Old, dry beans may take longer to cook.

Rinse beans, lentils, or split peas. In a large Dutch oven combine 1 pound beans and 8 cups cold water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. (Or, omit simmering; soak beans in cold water overnight in a covered Dutch oven.) Drain and rinse. In the same Dutch oven combine beans and 8 cups fresh water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for time listed below or until beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Cooking time depends on the dryness of the beans.

Variety Amount Appearance Cooking Time Yield
Black Beans 1 pound Small, black, oval 1 to 1-1/2 hours 6 cups
Black-eyed peas 1 pound Small, cream-color, oval (one side has a black oval with a cream-color Do not presoak. Simmer, covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour. 7 cups
Cranberry beans 1 pound Small, tan-color with specks and streaks of burgundy, oval 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours 7 cups
Fava or broad beans 1 pound Large, brown, flat oval Follow these soaking directions instead of those above: Bring beans to boiling; simmer, covered, 15 to 30 minutes to soften skins. Let stand 1 hour. Drain and peel. To cook, combine peeled beans and 8 cups fresh water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 45 to 50 minutes or until tender. 6 cups
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) 1 pound Medium, yellow or golden, round and irregular 1-1/2 to 2 hours 6-1/4 cups
Great Northern beans 1 pound Small to medium, white, kidney-shape 1 to 1-1/2 hours 7 cups
Kidney beans, red 1 pound Medium to large, brownish red, kidney-shape 1 to 1-1/2 hours 6-2/3 cups
Lentils (brown) 1 pound Tiny, brownish green, disk-shape Do not presoak. Use 5 cups water. Simmer, covered, about 30 minutes. 7 cups
Lima beans, baby 1 pound Small, off-white, wide oval 45 minutes to 1 hour 6-1/2 cups
Lima beans, Christmas (calico) 1 pound Medium, burgundy and cream-color, wide oval 45 minutes to 1 hour 6-1/2 cups
Lima beans, large (butter beans) 1 pound Medium, off-white, wide oval 1 to 1-1/4 hours 6-1/2 cups
Navy or pea beans 1 pound Small, off-white, oval 1 to 1-1/2 hours 6-1/2 cups
Pinto Beans 1 pound Small, tan-color with brown specks, oval 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours 6-1/2 cups
Red beans 1 pound Small, dark red, oval 1 to 1-1/2 hours 6-1/2 cups
Soybeans 1 pound Small, cream-color, oval 3 to 3-1/2 hours 7 cups
Split peas 1 pound Tiny, green or yellow, disk-shape Do not presoak. Use 5 cups water. Simmer, covered, about 45 minutes. 5-1/2 cups

How to Cook Dry Beans for Soup
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