I bought some dried red beans from the supermarket. I learned that in order to cook them well, I need more time. I have to soak them in cold water for one night, then cook for another two or three hours.

Are there any tips or tricks to cook them faster?

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    NB: For those that may not know, eating badly prepared red/kidney beans will make you quite ill Red kedney bean toxins Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 16:05
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    @BinaryWorrier sounds like OP is making adzuki beans, not kidney beans. they are notorious for needing a lot of work, but incredibly tasty dessert/snack treat.
    – Rapitor
    Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 20:57
  • @BinaryWorrier Thanks for important information.
    – kcpheakct
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 3:50
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    Pressure cooker
    – Chloe
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 5:07
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    @rumtscho deleted my answer about toxicity commenting "Hi, this is a good point to make, but somewhere else made it in a comment already, and that's where it belongs". I don't know how to respond except by commenting on the question. I posted an answer because it is safety critical information which should be permanently associated with the question and I thought (perhaps wrongly) that comments were transitory. Happy to be corrected.
    – user20637
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 13:22

4 Answers 4


If you want to reduce total preparation time, you can skip the soak. Then you can just boil for about 4-6 hours, instead of soaking overnight. This is not a tradeoff most cooks are willing to make, since it wastes quite a bit of energy, and reduces the taste qualities of the prepared beans somewhat.

If you want it even faster, as weets mentioned, pressure cooking is the way to go. Then you can get away with about 45-50 minutes for unsoaked and 25 minutes for soaked beans - that's the time spent at pressure, the total time will depend on the warming up time, which differs with pressure cooker type and total amount of beans you are cooking at once. The same preference for soaked beans applies with pressure cooking.

If these times don't work for you, you cannot reduce them, but you can switch to buying canned beans. The disadvantages there are the higher cost, higher storage volume, and the fact that some brands have off tastes.

  • Thank you for reply. You are right. It is a tradeoff. Canned bean maybe the easiest. Wait if there is another answer idea.
    – kcpheakct
    Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 13:59

What is the dish you are trying to make?

If you are looking to soften the beans quickly you can use a pressure cooker.

  • Thank for your reply. Actually, I want to make dessert. It is red bean soup dessert, which I will add some water, sugar and a little bit of salt.
    – kcpheakct
    Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 13:54
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    @K.Sopheak : pressure cooking will work with that. It's especially useful when you cook the beans separately, then add in other stuff. (it can dull some other flavors while cooking under pressure)
    – Joe
    Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 14:08
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    Pressure cooker is the way to go for beans. You can get them reasonably soft in under an hour without pre-soaking. Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 0:36
  • ah! if it's red bean soup then after pressure cooking you'll want to open it to continue boiling, and stir continuously for a bit to get that slightly thickened red bean soup 沙 texture
    – weets
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 3:39

You can soak it for 45 minutes in warm or simmering water. When that happens you'll end up with a lot of indigestible sugars in the water so you'll want to pour that off and then boil them in water. I think you'll end up with more indigestible sugars in the water after that so you'll want to pour those off too and then you can get into a 2-3 hour cook time. When you finish that they should be edible, but they won't be soft. They'll come out with a bit of bite.

There are a couple of things you can do to drastically reduce even this cooking time. The first is that you can cook what gets sold at walmart and other places as lentils. This don't require pre-soaking and can be cooked in like 45 minutes. You can also use a pressure cooker or an instant pot. This will allow you to cook at higher temperatures, but it won't do anything about the pre-soak time. The most effective thing you can do to reduce cook time would be to buy canned beans. Canned beans are a lot less cost effective when it comes to calories per pound/gram, but you save an absolute ton of time since the beans are already cooked.

I typically just put the beans in some water in the fridge to soak them on the week I know I want to cook them. That generally gives them enough time to pre-soak properly and it prevents them from growing if I don't cook them the next day. Generally speaking if you want to cook dried beans, you're going to have to do something like this.

You can also just cook the beans till they're soft. I know that works with chickpeas. I feel like I get better results when I pre-soak though.

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    You can use hotter than just 'warm' water. What you basically describe is often called the 'hot soak' method. It reduces the time needed to soak the beans. (some say it's not as good for texture, but like you said, gets rid of the indigestable sugars, and it's better than just cooking without any soak (in terms of texture, not time))
    – Joe
    Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 15:31
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    @joe edited my question to include that. Thanks for correcting me. It's been a while since I've done that.
    – user63835
    Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 15:38
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    There are ways to get around the pre-soak with a pressure cooker. Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 16:00
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    @user3067860 That would make a good answer for this question. I myself am curious as to how you do that.
    – user63835
    Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 16:53
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    @Steve rumtscho's answer lists cooking times for unsoaked beans... but basically you just cook for about twice as long. Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 18:16

I generally just do a 10 minute boil, 1 hour rest, then simmer for 15-2 hours. But this blogpage suggests that you don't even need the resting period. Essentially her trick is to avoid packaged dried beans and use the bulk beans available in some stores. No idea where that would be in my area, but... How to Cook Dried Beans - The Quick and Easy Method


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