how to soften dried beans

Are you having guests coming over for dinner, but the beans for your Tuscan white skillet are still hard as a rock?

You’re probably wondering how to soften dried beans quickly and effectively, without affecting the quality of the ingredient.

If you are, then we’ve got all that you need right here!

Of course, no one wants to eat a bean dish that is mushy and hard to chew (I know I don’t) But sometimes, it could take even a day or two to fully soften a whole load of them,

Especially when you want to get the best taste outcome possible.

You can soak them all you want overnight and even place them in a pot to simmer all day long,  but they’ll still be as hard as pebbles.

Annoying right?

The main reason why this happens is because of the age of the bean and improper storage. Nevertheless, you don’t have to go into panic mode

Because you can soften these legumes without the long wait.

Although it may require some extra effort and energy, it’ll still guarantee you’ll be able to set down your bean dish

And of course,

Enjoy a happy meal together with your loved ones.

In this article,

We’ll show you all you need to know about softening dried beans, along with some bonus information, we’re sure you’ll love!

Read on to know more!

How to Tell if Dried Beans are Old

old dried beans

Before we begin, It’s vital that you’re able to tell if your dried legumes are too old already, so you can avoid serving a dish that doesn’t deliver great results.

We all know that dried legumes are a staple in many people's kitchens. They're inexpensive, make an excellent side dish, and can be used to whip up some tasty soups and stews.

But what if you start to notice that your dried legumes don’t seem as plump or fresh? If this happens, they may be too old!

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There are several signs to look out for when determining the age of a dry bean.

And here are a few of them:

  • When they start to dry out, their colors will shift to shades of yellow or black.
  • If you notice any small holes on the outside surface of them – this could indicate an insect infestation from Beatles!
  • Old dried legumes can often have an unpleasant taste or odor, which is one sign they need to be tossed out.
  • They tend to feel hard when you cook them instead of soft and moist as fresh ones should.
  • They become moldy or spotty after cooking them in liquid for several hours.

When you start noticing these things, don’t waste any time and throw them out. Not only will eating old dried beans risk your health, but it can also affect the outcome of your dishes.

Now that we’ve got that settled,

Let’s now proceed to…

How to Soften Dried Beans

softening dried beans

Bean is a common ingredient used by millions of people all around the world. It’s one of the most diverse and useful elements you can use for your dish.

Whether it’s for frying, boiling, or simmering, legumes are ideal for whatever purpose you may need.

Not only does it give out a flavorful and strong taste, but it can also give you several health benefits such as:

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Improves heart health, reduces the risk of cancer, prevents fatty liver, and controls blood sugar levels.

With all of this in mind, It’s just natural for people to store them at home, ready to be cooked and paired with other dishes to set out a hearty meal.

But despite how awesome these legumes are, It can be annoying to deal with their preparation process.

Some people have reported that even after long soaking and simmering, the beans were still hard as a rock.


To ensure your precious legumes don’t easily deteriorate, they are dried to help preserve them for a long time, so even if you just got them,

They might have been sitting in the grocery shop for months or longer, exposing them to several environmental factors

Which contributed to their solidness.

Luckily, you don’t have to suffer each time you cook legumes because we’ve listed here the BEST way to soften dried beans

Now, let’s begin the procedure!

The Quickest Way to Soften Beans

Before we begin, be sure you prepare all the needed materials and ingredients. By doing so, it’ll help you save more time!

Don’t worry because this process won’t require a lot of things.

For today’s method we will mainly need 3 items:

  • A colander that will be able to fit all the beans
  • Salt (our secret ingredient)
  • Water (lots and lots of it)

Once you’ve got all of these ready,

Let’s begin!

Step #1: Run The Beans Through Cool Water

beans in cool water

Before starting, the first thing you must do is to run your beans through the cool water.

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You should never skip this step regardless of how in a hurry you are!

(Unless you want to end up eating a dish filled with dust and dirt)

Beans, just like other goods and products, can accumulate germs, dirt, and dust.

Especially when you purchase them from the market. If you fail to clean your vegetable, you can risk food contamination because beans cannot be washed before selling them since they might end up with molds.

To wash your legumes, just place them in your colander.

Ensure that you use a big one, so no piece of bean would fall off when washing.

Just simply run them with cool water and let them soak for 2-3 minutes.

This will allow any dirt to loosen up from your legumes.

Furthermore, this would be a great time to check for beans that may have cracked, so you can discard them right away.

After you made sure your beans are squeaky clean, you can now proceed with the second step which is…

Step #2: Bring In Your Salt

bring salt

Place your newly cleaned legumes into a large and dry bowl.

Be sure excess water from cleaning your legumes has been eliminated since any residue might imply a possibility of dirt that’s been left behind.

Then, take out your salt and generously sprinkle it over your beans (about 12 tablespoons should suffice).

After that, pour in 8 cups of cold water and mix it to ensure the salt is evenly distributed and reaches each bean.

Salt and water act like an “exfoliant” for a bean.

Each element has a role to play which contributes to the softening of legumes.

Salt works by carefully releasing thinning properties that soften the outer layer of a bean tends to be pretty hard.

When this happens, water can easily seep through the core and lessens the hardness of the bean. However, to make this process easier.

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We need to conduct the third step which is…

Step #3: Start a Fire

start a fire

Okay, technically, we don’t literally mean that you start a fire and end up burning your house down,

But more likely,

Turning on your stovetop!

Don’t worry because we won’t be cooking your legumes with all that salt covering your precious legumes.

However, we do need fire to give us heat and fully soften your bowl of legumes, so you don’t have to endure a meal that feels like a rock.

Although salt and water can soften your bean a little, heat will take it to a whole other level.

Since your legumes are already in a state where water has seeped through, fire will heat up the water inside each bean,

Making it even softer and easier to cook.

It’s pretty easy to do too!

Just simply transfer your bowl into a big pot, place it in your legumes and let it boil for 2 minutes.

Once that’s done, turn off your stove and cover the pot, letting your veggie take up all that heat for a good 60 minutes.

After the allotted time, drain the water and rinse your noodle, so you don’t end up with a “too-salty” dish…

Now we’re finished,

Let’s head on to…

Step #4: Cooking Your Beans!

cooking beans

Although we’ve basically heated your beans up, It’s still technically uncooked.

To cook your legumes the method is quite simple and you can do this for any type of dish you might want your beans to be paired with.

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Start by adding your beans into a pot. Place in 4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt.

Let this simmer and stir the beans every 20 minutes to ensure it is evenly cooked.

Once you start noticing that the bean’s texture is creamy and tender, this means your beans are ready.

Usually, this could take up to an hour or a half, depending on the size of your beans.

When they’re ready, you can now enjoy them with your favorite combo meal or perhaps as appetizers before dinner!

How awesome it is to not wait for 2 days just to eat your precious beans, right?

Well, if you’re already loving this method, then you’re surely going to dig what we have next!

But before we head on,

Let’s first have…

The New Discovery

We could never deny the fact that we’ve learned so much in this section!

Now you’re pretty much aware that dried beans are:

  • Hard and stiff due to their age and storage process.
  • Needed to be cleaned because it can accumulate dirt.
  • Added with salt and water which are key ingredients that help soften the legumes.
  • Heated up to soften their hardcore and shells.
  • Required to be properly cooked until creamy and tenderness level is reached.

With this given knowledge, you can now effectively cook your dried beans, without worrying about them still being hard to chew on!

But, how about black beans?

Well, don’t worry because we’ve got you covered!

Check out below for…

How to Soften Black Beans

softening black beans

Dried and black beans are popular ingredients in many types of dishes. They’re both high in protein, healthy carbs, and fiber.

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They certainly have some differences that you should be aware of before using them together or substituting one for the other.

Black beans come from a specific type of bean that is native to Central America.

Dried legumes, on the other hand, can be any type of bean, so long as it has been dried out after it was harvested from its pod.

The two main differences are taste and texture:

Black beans will have more flavor (and sometimes less) than dried ones because they haven’t had their water removed.

This means that they hold onto their natural sugars better too, which gives them a rich taste profile and chewy texture when cooked with liquid.

Just like dried beans, black beans need to be softened as well

And we’re going to show you the process step by step!

  1. Start by washing your black beans to remove dirt and dust that may have stuck to them.
  2. Once done, place these black beans in a large pot and add 5 cups of water.
  3. Then sprinkle 1 tablespoon of baking soda into the pot and gently stir.
  4. Cover the pot and let it simmer.
  5. Turn off your stove and put the pot inside an oven and cook to 350 degrees.
  6. After 45 minutes, check the beans to see if they have already tendered.

This method has been proven and tested by experts to be effective at softening black beans.

It turns out, If you add baking soda to your legumes, It establishes an alkaline environment that sparks a chemical reaction.

When this happens, the cell structure of your legumes begins to break down, thus softening it in a quicker and more efficient manner.

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You don’t have to wait for long daunting hours just to cook with the help of this method.

Just prepare your secret ingredient (baking soda)

And you’ll have your black bean salsa taco in a jiffy!

A total lifesaver, right?

Life Hacks of The Century

dried bean hacks

It’s pretty awesome to know all these amazing things, especially when black beans are your ultimate fave!

In this section, you’ve learned:

  1. How to properly spot old dried legumes
  2. The difference between black beans and dried beans.
  3. How to Soften black beans
  4. Baking soda is a key ingredient to soften your legumes.
  5. Baking soda causes a chemical reaction that tenderizes the legumes.

And with that learning,

You can now head out to make the finest black bean dish, In only a matter of minutes! And before you try your newly found methods,

Let’s finally have the…

Last Words

Whether it’s dried beans or black beans, this ingredient is certainly one of the must-haves for any house kitchen.

The wonderful legumes not only gives you the benefit of healthier nutrition,

But also a satisfying flavor that you can mix with all kinds of dishes!

You don’t have to worry about a long and daunting tenderizing process for this ingredient

Because with our given information,

You can set up the best dish in even less than an hour because you now know how to soften dried beans (and black ones too)

And finally indulge in that creamy, tender goodness!