An easy way to cook beans at home, cooking beans in the oven is hands-off and you don't need to worry about it boiling over! Soak overnight, drain, then cook for 2 hours in the oven and store for later. No more cans needed. Since beans are cheap and easy to buy in bulk, this is a great zero-waste method.
Cook your own beans to use for vegan baked beans, spicy black bean soup, or homemade chickpea burgers. Use cooked beans anywhere you would typically use canned.
Just beans and water! You can grow your own beans to dry like I often do, but they can also be found in many varieties and bulk food stores and regular grocery stores.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Beans: any type of dried bean will work the same way, but note that really old ones can take longer to cook. This shouldn't matter if you follow the method, because they're being soaked overnight before cooking.
- Add-ins: you can add various aromatics if you want to make braised beans, but since they should be well rinsed after, I don't find that it makes that much of a difference. They'll take on whatever flavours you use in the secondary dish they're added to this way. This is the basic method though and feel free to add whatever you'd like to the cooking water! Think bay, woody herbs, garlic, and so on.
Step by Step
I hate boiling beans on the stove, but luckily for me (and now you), my mum showed me this great way to cook beans in the oven. No burning to the stove top!
Step 1: add beans to a large bowl, making sure to leave enough room to account for the size to double or so.
Step 2: cover with plenty of water and refrigerate overnight if your home is warm.
Step 3: the next day, the beans should be 2-3 times the size. Drain and rinse well.
Step 4: add the soaked beans to an oven-safe pot (dutch oven) and cover with water.
Step 5: place the covered dutch oven in a 160°C (325°F) oven and cook the beans for 2 hours.
Step 6: remove from the oven and let cool, until the pot is cold enough to handle easily with gloves or a towel.
Step 7: drain and rinse well before transferring to a storage container.
Step 8: refrigerate or freeze until use.
- Beans only! Not all legumes: this method is only for beans (all types but adzuki, which need less cooking time) and not lentils or split peas. Kidney, black, garbanzo, pinto, navy, all good.
- Cook at least 2 hours: if the beans haven't cooked through after 2 hours, which might happen if they're older, cook for another half hour and check again.
- Add baking soda: for extra soft beans - think for hummus - add a teaspoon of baking soda to the soaking water.
- Keep them in the fridge: the beans will spoil if they're left to soak overnight in a warm place. They are a protein, and should be keep cool for the best results, especially if you want to soak for the full 24 hours.
How to Store
Storage: keep well-rinsed and cooled beans in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Make sure there's no off-smell when you go to use them and be sure to refrigerate as soon as they've cooled.
Freezing: transfer cooled beans to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. I know some people freeze them in the cooking water but it doesn't make any difference to texture and can cause the containers to break more easily, so I freeze them without any liquid.
Do you have to soak beans before cooking?
Soaking beans will make them cook faster and more evenly, as well as reducing some of the digestive issues associated with eating beans. It's not mandatory, but does make a big difference.
What if I forgot to soak my beans?
If you forgot to soak your beans but want to cook them anyway, do a short, hot soak. Boil a kettle of water and cover the beans in freshly boiled water. Soak for an hour, then drain, rinse, and cook as usual. This works well in a pinch.
Why not add salt to beans?
This is completely up to you. Some argue that adding salt to the cooking water for beans makes them tough and grainy, but this isn't really the case, and you can salt the water if preferred. I prefer to season the final dish to taste.
More Kitchen Staples
If you make these Oven Cooked Beans or any other vegan staples on Wholehearted Eats, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more WHE, follow along on Instagram or subscribe for new posts via email.
How to Cook Beans in the Oven
- 1 Large bowl
- 1 strainer
- 1 Dutch oven
- 2 cups* dried beans any kind
- Add the beans to a large bowl. Their size will double or triple, so make sure there's enough room in the bowl for the beans to expand quite a bit.2 cups* dried beans
- Cover with plenty of water. Refrigerate the beans overnight or up to 24 hours.
- After soaking, the beans should be about double the size and appear smooth and plump. Drain and rinse well. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
- Transfer the rinsed beans to a dutch oven or other heavy lidded oven-safe baking dish. Cover with fresh water, filling to at least 2-3 inches above the beans.
- Cover the dish and place in the preheated oven. Cook for 2 hours, not lifting the lid or stirring during this time.
- Remove the pot from the oven and check to see if the beans are tender. If they aren't, cook for another half hour and check again.
- Once the beans are cooked, wait until the pot is cool enough to handle with gloves or a kitchen towel, then drain and rinse the beans well. Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate or freeze as desired.
- Cooked beans will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer.
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