Cooking Dry Beans

Actually, I remember Kimball talking about the superiority of canned beans, but on reflection, it was probably on Milk Street Kitchen.

No worries. Of course I subscribed to that as well. :no_mouth: I am hopefully lifting ALL the boats!

Not dried beans by any means, but watched this on Cook’s Country today. They really went overboard on canned beans, but when all was said and done, it looked pretty good to me… Just in case anyone is interested for their next BBQ cookout.


While it’s not the only “good” way, I’ve had the best luck with an Instant Pot, especially for supermarket dried beans, which I often find to be stale. Due to lack of turnover, because a lot of people don’t use them anymore, and instead rely on canned. I’ve never yet, but will soon order some better beans, such as RG. In the past, I’ve literally had beans that remained hard despite 4-6 hours of cooking, even with a presoak. With the IP, I’ve been able to get anything tender, with enough added time. They also tend to keep their shape well, which is a big PLUS. YMMV



Honestly - I think that the food companies probably get the freshest beans - undried - and then can them using industrial science magicke, and that’s why their beans are better than dried & cooked.


Yes, entirely possible, that; sorry you’ve had bad experience with dried, but I was sure I couldn’t be the only one :scream_cat:

ETA: my strong preference is to use dried, because of cost, less packaging/processing, and total control over the sodium, and other ingredients that may be added. That said, I always have a variety of canned beans in the pantry for the quicker, less planned, or emergency type meals.

1 Like

Really not impressed. What has happened to them? Making baked beans by starting with two double sized cans of premade…baked beans? What’s with the cannellini beans? Jarred barbecue sauce? They just stood there and opened cans and bottles. I have Ro*Tel in my pantry also, but on a cooking show? For something special who can’t add minced green chilis to diced tomatoes? The only interesting part of what they did talk about–getting the bratwurst out of the casing–was magically done off camera so nothing to learn. Since when is a crusty top on baked beans a good thing?

Their tag line is “Easy-to-follow recipes for home cooks everywhere.” Certainly easy-to-follow but doesn’t look like cooking to me. Looks like Sandra Lee’s “Semi-Homemade.” Overall: fail.

Here are the same people doing a much better job of baked beans.

The same people. Same company. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Homemade barbecue sauce is easy. I’m not @bbqboy, but here is a recipe close to my own:

I use diced onion and pureed garlic instead of the powders, but you be you.

Dave story: my first job out of college we had a company picnic. I was assigned by the female dominated organizing committee to bring barbecue sauce. I’m sure they expected a 22-year-old single male to bring jarred sauce. Well, mine was jarred. In Ball jars. I spent hours in the library (pre-Internet) and more hours in the kitchen to make a couple of gallons of sauce. Well received, and did wonders for my social life among the young, single secretaries in the office.

Curmudgeon out.


Eh. Its baked beans, not a quest for a Michelin star. I helped a friend just last week to replicate his moms baked beans…and the crust was a key goal.

I’m the only person I know who makes baked beans without opening a can…and theirs are all tasty, so I’m not fussed.

Did someone make it? Am I enjoying their company? Does it taste good regardless of whether it’s crafted from unicorn tears or out of a can? If all three of those are a yes, then I’m happy.


Talk to me about that. I’ve often been out of onion or garlic so used onion powder or garlic powder & felt a vague sense of guilt. Should I?

What is the curmudgeon-recommended rationale for using powders, as opposed to the real thing?

Addendum: I’ve fallen in love with TJ’s lemon garlic salt. Just a teeny shake on my salad and I no longer have to chop up garlic - whee!!

(I live alone, and I’ve read too much about garlic and botulism so I don’t want to store it in fridge salad dressing, and chopping up 1 bulb is annoying, though I’ve sometimes resorted to simply halving one and tossing it in the salad.)


I’m going to give dried beans a last chance and do the pre-soak method. It’s possible my mind was affected by the numerous “no need to pre-soak” propaganda that abounds on the net.

But I really think that the reason canned beans are so much better is because they probably were never dried in the 1st place. Score one for capitalism.

Freshness is definitely a major part of the equation. I buy bulk Mayocoba beans ($1.50/lb. ) from a Mexican seller at the flea market that with my fast soak method cook up in half an hour. Plump and properly mealy. The same bean in a “Golden Grains” package at the supermarket takes well over an hour.


Diana, my friend, I love that you ask. Hugs for the curmudgeon reference.

There are some rules in my house. Never run out of Wheat Thins. Never run out of Triscuits. Never run out of onions. Never run out of garlic. I feel fairly strongly about a lot of canned goods and frozen ingredients.

I try and stay as close to basics as I can. I feel that taste benefits. For this reason, I avoid commercial seasoning mixes. For example, I don’t buy taco seasoning. 1 tsp salt, 2 Tbsp chili powder, 1 Tbsp ground cumin, 2 tsp cornstarch (optional), 1½ tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp ground coriander, ½ tsp cayenne power for a pound of ground beef. What this does is increase turnover of my 26 core seasonings so they stay fresher. Since I buy and keep fresh onions and garlic, why would I also keep onion powder and garlic powder? It’s just another thing on the shelf to become stale.

There is an underlying philosophy here that basics provide more flexibility. If you have a packet of taco seasoning that’s what you have. If you have salt and pepper and chili powder and cumin et al then you have so much more. In the end, I suggest, less pantry space needed, more flexibility, and fresher foods.

There are limits. I keep a couple of favorite semi-commercial curry powder mixes. Some things are a LOT of work, or require ingredients I wouldn’t stock for anything else.

In my repertoire there isn’t anything that calls for onion powder or garlic powder that doesn’t come out better (to me) with a very fine dice of onion and/or a puree of garlic. Knife skills are key here. If you have to break out a food processor and clean the darn thing just buy the jar of powder. While you’re thinking about this compare the price of onion or garlic powder to onions and garlic. Jeepers. Onions are so cheap you will come out ahead if you can’t get through a bag before they sprout. If yours are sprouting too fast we can talk about storage, because they shouldn’t. If it takes too long to prep we can talk about that too.

Garlic and botulism are entirely, as far as I know about garlic-infused oils. Not a problem with whole garlic and the cloves thereof. You do keep your garlic in a ventilated container on your counter or in a cabinet, right?

sail fast and eat well, the HO curmudgeon. grin


I’m never outof garlic, and rarely out of at least some type of onion, but I think granulated garlicand less often, onion powder, work better in homemade rubs than fresh. In my opinion (and I think from my “research”), they distribute more evenly and are less likely to burn.

I also keep dried onion flakes and jars of “fried” shallots or onions from the Asian market, which I happen to like on sandwiches.

I don’tr recall where I read that, and I’m sure the source is biased, but it made sense to me. Maybe I can find a reference on Serious Eats .


I do a lot of beans from dried…

I (almost) always soak overnight.
for the softer plumper result, long(er) slow cooking is key.
beans are simply not good candidates for “fast food”

lentils and split pea are two exceptions that work well with no soak.
except for split pea if you want them to break down for a soup-like base - those need to be cooked to smithereens… I do two batches - one soaked&long cooked to paste, a second batch soaked but only cooked to smidge past al-dente.


I’ve tried both the overnight soak and the quick boil methods with minimal success. My problem, with the large packets of dried broad beans I got from the Turkish shop (very cheap) is that they seem to go from being rock hard to completely overcooked within the blink of an eye. I’ve been trying to replicate a tapas dish I’ve had in Spain where the beans and some diced ham are finished by being lightly fried in olive oil. I know that finishing off is a very quick process, so the beans need to be pretty much ready to eat before they go in the pan with the piggy.

I’ve tried four times to get this right and have lost the will to live. I’m going back to using tinned beans


Amen, Brother! Many decades ago I cooked with dried onion and garlic and people said my food was good. But I switched to real products and now, if you’ll allow me, it sings. I hate premixed spices. Carried away by the story and hype, I bought a handful of mixes from Roellinger in France. I’m quite sure they’re excellent, but I’m never sure exactly what I’m adding to my dish, and am too cheap to experiment enough to learn. Back to individual spices.
And re basics, a couple of days ago husband and I did a savage purge of our country canned goods, surprising ourselves at, ahem, the longevity of a few of them, and dumbstruck by some of the oddball jars of possibly extraordinary additions, but again unwilling to risk dinner, much less health, by tossing them into the nightly pot. Back to tomatoes, chicken broth, a couple of cans of assorted beans for fast soups and chilis, hominy for breakfast, tuna, crab and SPAM for what-to-eat-when-there’s-nothing-to-eat. And homecanned apricots. You can actually reach for something now and actually find it.


Is this any help, or is it intuitively obvious.

I’d like to talk about this. Not here. Some peer-reviewed journal. grin

I hear you about rubs. Garlic pureed with a knife on a board doesn’t burn for me. I’ve had some issues with onion no matter how small my dice. I can get pretty small. My solution has been to use caramelized onion (higher moisture content) but then it isn’t a dry rub anymore, is it?

I look forward to SE footnotes from you. Keep me on my toes.

For some reason that will only makes sense to me, I am reminded of a high school observation. If you have a party and run out of beer someone will run out for more. If you have only Carling Black Label left everyone will go home. SPAM is the Carling Black Label of canned “meat.”