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I'm quite a bean aficionado and have noticed that different kinds of beans vary widely in the amount of cooking the require to achieve an equal level of tenderness. E.g. while I cook small lima beans only about 1.5 hrs total, it takes up to 3 hours to get a similar tenderness from favas. Red beans somewhere in between. All examples assume having soaked them overnight to prep them for cooking.

Is there a list of different bean varietals that ranks them by how hard they are and how long they usually require to be cooked?

  • I'd suspect that it's likely correlated to size of the beans. – Joe Mar 7 '16 at 16:44
  • And also how long they've sat around drying out. – thrig Mar 7 '16 at 17:11
  • There are so many types of beans. I suspect , it will be very difficult to make a complete list – vladiz Mar 7 '16 at 20:01
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    How old the beans is will also effect it. We just got some new pinto beans, which were very old, and they took about twice as long soaking and cooking. – That One Actor Mar 7 '16 at 22:21
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Because older beans, and larger beans may take different amounts of time to reach the desired softness, it is impossible to tell exactly how long beans need to be cooked for. Nevertheless, the tables found here and here can offer great information on how long to cook different types of beans.
(I have merged both of them below)

Black Beans

Soaked: 1 1/2 - 2 hours
Unsoaked: 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 hours

Black-Eyed Peas

Soaked: 1 - 1 1/4 hours
Unsoaked: 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 hours

Cannellini Beans

Soaked: 1 - 1 1/4 hours
UnSoaked: 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 hours

Chickpeas

Soaked: 1 1/2 - 2 hours
Unsoaked: 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 hours

Great Northern Beans

Soaked: 1 - 1 1/4 hours
Unsoaked: 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 hours

Lentils

Unsoaked: 20 - 30 min

Lima Beans, Large

Soaked: 3/4 - 1 hours

Lima Beans, Baby

Soaked: ~1 hour

Navy Beans

Soaked: 1 - 1 1/4 hours
Unsoaked: 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 hours

Pink Beans

Soaked: 1 - 1 1/2 hours

Pinto Beans

Soaked: 1 - 1 1/4 hours
Unsoaked: 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 hours

Red Kidney Beans

Soaked: 1 - 1 1/4 hours
Unsoaked: 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 hours

Small White Beans

Soaked: 1 - 1 1/2 hours

Soybeans

Soaked: ~3 hours

Split Peas, green

Unsoaked: 1/2 - 3/4 hours


Soaking can be done by either covering beans with water, and leaving them covered overnight, or, boiling the beans with water for ~2 minutes and then removing them from head and letting them sit covered for ~1 hour.

  • Making the cooking environment basic also helps speed up softening. If you add a teaspoon for every pound of beans when soaking and cooking it goes faster. Only use for dishes where the beans can be mushy though! Hummus, black beans, etc. – vastra360 Mar 23 '16 at 15:14

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