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Can beans be overcooked? Coffee beans, for example, are incredibly roasted. Falafel is baked or fried garbanzo beans. Is it possible to overcook beans, or is this good for breaking down the sugars, phytic acid that cause flatulence, indigestion of legumes?

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  • If reducing flatulence from beans is the desired effect, you should check another question that deals with the topic. In general, you soak beans, don't overcook them, to minimize bloating. Additionally, consuming beans and other fiber rich foods regularly should reduce the discomfort caused by bloatedness.
    – undercat
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 16:15
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    I'd like to add that Coffee beans aren't actual beans.
    – HAEM
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 20:13
  • @HAEM AMTwo noted that below: "Coffee beans aren't really beans--they're seeds from a fruit".
    – Geremia
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 20:15
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    What are "lentil beans"? Falafel is usually made from chickpeas or broad/fava beans.
    – psmears
    Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 10:54
  • @psmears Yes, garbanzos are usually used, but see: "Cooking vs Soaking Lentils for Falafel."
    – Geremia
    Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 16:54

2 Answers 2

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Beans can absolutely be overcooked.

Coffee beans aren't really beans--they're seeds from a fruit--but they are very temperature sensitive when roasted. There is a wide range of roasts, but dark roast in particular is essentially brought right to the edge and stopped before burning. For folks who like lighter or medium roasts, even dark roasts of coffee can be unpalatably burnt tasting.

As far as legumes and "real" beans go--absolutely. Beans can still be burnt (such as over-fried falafel, or grilled haricots verts), or overcooked until they just turn to mush. If you simmer bean soup long enough, the beans will just disintegrate and lose their shape.

Dried beans in particular are fairly forgiving--there's a pretty wide range where they are edible & enjoyable. The long cook time on dried beans means hitting the doneness between "not crunchy" and "not mushy" is fairly easy.

Fresh beans (haricots verts, green chick peas, fava beans, etc) are quite the opposite. Like other fresh vegetables, the cook time is relatively short and thus it is easy to turn them into a mash by overcooking for just a few minutes. Some people do like mushy vegetables--but many would consider mushy fresh vegetables (including fresh beans) to be a culinary sin.

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    What prompted my question was soaking dried pinto beans overnight, slow-cooking them all day, food-processing them, then baking / "crispifying" them at 400°F for 30 min. Surprisingly, the beans withstood all that, maintaining their flavor and nutritional quality.
    – Geremia
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 3:46
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    There's no way to know the "nutritional quality" unless you analyzed a sample in a lab. To the point of the question you asked, plus the details in your comment here--if you had left the beans in the oven for longer, they certainly would have burned eventually, likely getting both an acrid taste and overly hard texture.
    – AMtwo
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 4:08
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    If you have a more specific question, I'd encourage you to ask another question with enough detail to convey the "problem" (or concern, etc) you're trying to solve . Overly generic questions can often lead to answers that don't address your real want, and be unsatisfying.
    – AMtwo
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 4:12
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    Just to add to the dried beans aspect - this very much depends on the type of bean and whether you have pre-soaked them. With soaked mung beans for example, I have to set my pressure cooker to 0 minutes because just the process of reaching temperature is enough to cook them and any more turns them to mush. Soaked kidney beans on the other hand require 25 mins otherwise they are unpleasantly crunchy. Cooking pinto beans all day and then baking for 30 mins sounds excessive to me - I do mine for around 35 mins in the pressure cooker for refried beans (albeit pressure cooking is faster).
    – JBentley
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 11:09
  • @Geremia: By processing and baking/crispifying them; you are circumventing the main issue with overcooking, i.e. the mushy beans AMtwo focuses on. I would argue that in doing so, you've repurposed your beans from the initial cooking (or potential overcooking), to the point where the consideration of having overcooked them is no longer all that relevant, and the pertinent question would be more akin to "can you repurpose overcooked beans?"
    – Flater
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 13:28
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I found this detailed article on the topic of Can You Overcook Beans? (Things to Know), below is a quote from it (I've also added additional highlighting to the important parts):

Conclusion

Can you overcook beans?

Well, the answer to this question is that it depends. Overcooked beans will have an undesirable texture, but they may not be harmful if eaten. Furthermore, most people will spit them out rather than swallow them and ingest overcooked food.

So, [overcooking] certainly can take away from the flavor and make beans taste bad. But, if you overcook your beans, don’t worry! Just add some seasoning (especially salt) to help mask that off-putting texture.

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  • It's bad advice to say that you should add seasoning to cover up bad taste, because in general bad taste is a strong indicator of unhealthy or even toxic contents.
    – user21820
    Commented Mar 18, 2022 at 14:52

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