Cooking beans

Joined Nov 5, 2021
I just joined after looking for bean recipes for really soft cooked beans. I’m making bean salad and had cooked some in the Instant Pot. GET ONE!
I had started to wonder if we got bad or really old beans in Canada. I’ve never been successful following the package instructions. Beans never softened even after cooking a really long time in the Dutch oven. Then I found the baking soda trick. I also read somewhere yes soak your beans, rinse fully and then cook. That gets rid of most of the stuff that makes them gassy. 1/8 to 1/4 tsp of baking soda in your soak does wonders. No salt required.

For the instant pot, time is definitely the biggest advantage. No baking soda required. You can do a quick soak, or even an instant pot soak, low pressure 1 minute or less then rinse and cook as planned. However, I would play around with the cooking time for which IP you are using. I’ve seen many recipes for 30 minutes or longer. I’ve cooked them on high pressure for as little as 4 minutes NR and they have a firm texture but just cooked. The batch i did yesterday was large so I did it for 20 minutes but they will disintegrate if I use them in bean salad, Way too soft so they are going to be bean dip, burgers and/or something else and another batch is on the go. I think the IP guide says about 5 minutes for most bean types so I think that is what I’ll stick with.

I don’t like them mushy for salads or baked beans.
Joined Dec 18, 2010
Welcome to ChefTalk!

The biggest challenge, as you already mentioned, is the age of the bean. I never know how to judge that sine they aren’t vintage dated so only buy from stores that I see a higher turnover of dried beans.

Also important is how much parboiling is done when baking. Too much makes mush; too little means more baking time. When boiling… boil very gently and test no fewer than 5 beans.

I know there is science and old wives tales about things that toughen beans… but I soak in generously salted water, parboil in plain, and for baked beans… bake with both salt and molasses.
Joined Jun 7, 2021
Acids will keep beans from cooking through. Don't add any acidic ingredients until the beans are cooked to the tenderness desired. Salt added to the cooking water keeps the bean skins firm enough to prevent exploding, or mushy beans. And yes, pre-soaking overnight helps, as does the quick-soak method.

Also, I have found that sugars, be it brown sugar, white sugar, maple, or molasse, draws moisture from the cooked bean, So make sure to have sufficient liquid in the cooking vessel. I
f the sauce is a bitt too runny, reduce the liquid by simmering it, which also intensifies flavors. If using ham, smoked hocks, Guancialeli, Kielbassa,or bacon, remember that these are salty flavors. So take that into account when seasoning. A touch of chili powder really adds flavor depth to baked beans, as does fresh onion.

Baked beans is another cooking contest I took 1rst place in.

For a killer bean dish, check out cassoulet. There have been recipes posted on Chef Talk for this.

Seeeeyal Chief Longwind of the North
Joined Oct 9, 2008
When I do stuff like cassoulet, where I care about getting the beans to be whole, perfectly creamy, with skins as much intact as possible, I soak overnight in lightly salted water, then do the main cook in the Instant Pot (I love 'em too) with all the herbs and a hint more salt, trying to keep it just under the target. Then when I go to use them, they're fully cooked, creamy, but haven't broken apart. If I just cook them from dry under pressure they do fine, but they're much more variable, mostly (I think) because of age. So I think an overnight cold soak helps to "rejuvenate" them, as it were.

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