How to Cook Beans for Soup

Use dry beans for the best bean soup ever. They have less sodium than most canned beans. Try different varieties and discover new hearty soup and stew recipes.

-I'm Jennifer with the Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen. Everyone loves hearty soups and stews, and beans are always a fantastic addition. But don't reach for a can, instead, try cooking dried beans. They have much better flavor and texture than canned beans. Yes, they can take awhile to cook, but we have a secret for par cooking dried beans that will help speed things up a bit. Now, in the Test Kitchen, before par-cooking, we always spread the beans out on a baking sheet and sort through them. Sometimes, there are small pebbles in there that should be thrown away. After sorting, rinse the beans in a colander under cold water to remove any surface sand. Transfer the beans to a Dutch oven and add enough water to cover. Then, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Off heat, let the beans stand in the hot water for an hour then drain. They won't be soft at this point, but they will be ready to add the recipes, like this French Country Soup to finish cooking until soft and tender. Cooking with dried beans isn't hard at all with secrets to success from Better Homes and Gardens. It's easy to make hearty dishes the whole family will love.