How to Cook Edamame in 5 Minutes or Less
Add a global vibe to your cooking with these popular and healthy sweet Asian soybeans. We’ll tell you all about edamame: how to cook it from fresh or frozen, plus where to find it, why it’s good for you, and (perhaps most important of all!) how to eat it.
Before you learn how to cook edamame, decide if you’re going to get it fresh or frozen, shelled or unshelled. If you enjoy popping edamame into your mouth straight from the pod, you’ll want to learn how to cook fresh edamame; it’s usually sold unshelled (aka, still in the pod). The in-the-shell preparation is the one you've likely seen as an appetizer at Asian restaurants. However, if you want to know how to cook edamame without shells, your best bet is to look for frozen and refrigerated edamame, which are usually sold already shelled. This form of edamame is easily added to soups, stir-fries, and other recipes.
Food Safety Tip: Does edamame need to be cooked before eating? Yes! The edamame seeds are incredibly difficult to remove when raw. Fortunately, they slip out easily once the pods are cooked. Also, if you’re cooking edamame from the frozen state, remember that for food safety, all frozen vegetables (including edamame) should be thoroughly cooked before serving.
How to Cook Fresh Edamame
A steaming bowl of seasoned edamame pods is a go-to appetizer at many restaurants. However, you might be surprised at how easy cooking edamame is to pull off at home. Here’s how to cook fresh edamame:
- Bring a pot of lightly salted water to boiling. Add the pods and return the water to boiling. In general, the edamame cooking time is about 5 minutes. Do not overcook them or they will get mushy.
- Drain the beans; cool them under cold running water in a colander like this Stainless Steel Colander, $9.99, Target, or immerse them in ice water to stop the cooking.
- To shell the beans, gently squeeze the pods with your fingers to release them, or have fun putting the pods in your mouth and popping the beans out of their skins using your teeth.
- Some people serve edamame cold and will refrigerate the cooked beans for an hour or two after cooking. Either way, you may want to sprinkle them with coarse salt or dip them in soy sauce.
If you're adding cooked edamame to recipes, once you’ve cooked and shelled the edamame as directed above, they are ready to use in recipes.
How to Cook Frozen Edamame (Shelled)
Often found in the health-food freezer case, frozen edamame usually comes shelled, and because the beans are cooked before they are frozen, they don’t require much cooking time. Unless the package directions or your recipe specify otherwise, here’s how to cook shelled edamame from a frozen state:
- Bring a pan of water to boil.
- Add frozen edamame.
- Boil until thoroughly heated through. In this case, the edamame cooking time is generally 2 to 3 minutes. Note that some recipes might call for cooking edamame longer if the beans are to be mashed into a spread. That’s the case with this these Edamame and Ricotta Toasts.
- Drain in a colander.
If adding frozen edamame to salads, sandwiches, or other recipes in which they will be served cool or cold, you’ll still need to cook them thoroughly first. After cooking, run them under cold water to cool them down before adding to the recipes. Try cooked and cooled frozen edamame in this Edamame-Berry Salad with Pasta.
Test Kitchen Tip: Wondering how to cook frozen edamame that’s still in the shell? First, you’ll have to find some. Frozen unshelled edamame is generally harder to find than fresh shelled edamame. Look for it at health-food stores, the health-food section of your grocery store, and natural markets. Cook according to package directions.
How to Cook Refrigerated Edamame
Look for fully cooked, shelled fresh edamame in the produce section of your grocery store. In this case, you can cook edamame in a microwave for just a few minutes to warm the beans up.
More Helpful Things to Know About Edamame
While you’re learning how to cook edamame, how about learning a little more about this tasty, nutrient-dense food?
What Is Edamame?
These popular green beans come from a special variety of soybean plant; they are not the same soybeans you see growing in Midwest farm fields (those varieties are typically processed for oil, tofu, and animal feeds). Unlike regular mature soybeans, which become dry and brown, the beans inside edamame pods are soft, green, and edible. Some people describe the taste as nutty and buttery, with its own unique flavor.
Where to Find Fresh or Frozen Edamame
Look for fresh edamame pods at farmers markets or Asian groceries in late summer. Most supermarkets stock frozen shelled edamame in the freezer aisle.
Nutritional Benefits of Edamame
A ½-cup serving of shelled edamame has 100 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 8 grams of protein. Also, because it is a whole bean, edamame has a lot of fiber. It packs 3 grams of it, or about as much as you would find in a slice of whole-grain bread. Edamame is also rich in phytochemicals and plant sterols, both associated with lowering cancer risk.
How to Eat Edamame in the Shell
Remember, you don’t eat the pod. Rather, put the pod in your mouth, and as you pull the pod out of your mouth, use your teeth to pop the beans out of their pods. Discard the pods.
How to Store Fresh Edamame
Try to cook edamame pods as soon as possible after purchase. They can be stored a day or two in the refrigerator before cooking. Once cooked, the edamame pods should be stored in the refrigerator for up to several days. Freezing is another option. You can freeze whole cooked pods or shell the beans and freeze them. To reheat the frozen beans, cook them in boiling water for a few minutes.
While edamame is a relative newcomer to the U.S. food scene, it’s been served for centuries in Asia. In recent years, as chefs in this country began featuring them on their menus, food-lovers have been looking for ways to make them at home. Fortunately, they’re widely available in supermarkets and easy to cook. Once you’ve learned how to cook edamame, you’ll want to try it in appetizers, soups, and main dishes, too. Ready to get started? Try this Orange Salmon with Edamame Orzo recipe to give them a spin in your own kitchen.