Do I Need to Soak My Beans?

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Here's a great question from a reader about pre-soaking beans! Why do it? Do you need to do it? Can you skip it if you forgot? We have the answers!

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Reader Question: I’ve been absolutely loving Rancho Gordo beans, however, I never know if pre-soaking the beans is a necessity or if I can skip this step (especially when using a pressure cooker). I would love any advice!

Thank you so much for this question! And first, have you seen the new cookbook, Cool Beans? It’s been on my nightstand for the past week, and I have a hunch you might like it!

But onto your question: I was a vegetarian for over a decade, and cooked my fair share of beans. There are two reasons people typically soak them: to speed up the cook time and to aid with digestion.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m lazy when it comes to soaking beans and I can never seem to plan ahead. It’s true, you can save yourself some time for sure, but it never feels like enough time, you know? As for digestion, yes, beans contain sugars that can be difficult for our bodies to break down. That said, most of the research I’ve read is really split 50/50 in terms of whether or not soaking helps; it really depends who you talk to.

But! Pressure cooking: everyone agrees that cooking beans this way helps break down some of those sugars, making your favorite tender beans easier to digest.

I hope that helps! My short answer: forget the soaking and pressure cook! And of course, we’ve got a recipe for that (No Soak Pressure Cooker Beans)!

~ Megan, Marketing Director, author of Whole Grain Mornings, and lover of beans

A FEW FAVE BEAN RECIPES!

Lemony Broccoli Rabe with White Beans
Slow Cooked Boston Baked Beans
Chili Beans with Rice
Spicy Citrusy Black Beans

P.S. Have a question you’d like answered? Email us at [email protected]

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Megan Gordon

Megan Gordon is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Simply Recipes. She's the author of Whole Grain Mornings and her blog, A Sweet Spoonful, focuses on healthy seasonal cooking and baking.

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7 Comments

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  1. CAMY FLOWER

    yes! Wash 3 times. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 -3 minutes. Turn off, cover and let sit overnight. No gas.

  2. Elle

    Why not check/refer readers to the Rancho Gordo website for the best information? Steve Sando is an expert. Megan is a favorite blogger of mine, but in this case, I think you should go to the source!

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  3. Judie

    I soak my beans in room temperature water overnight. Never had a failure, tough bean or the dreaded ‘gas’ using this method.

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  4. Robyn

    Often I soak “thicker” beans for 30-90 mins in hot water before I pressure cook. This is really helpful if I’m making a multi-bean chili where some of the beans are smaller than others (e.g. navy beans and kidney beans) – it seems to even out the cooking time. And if I forget to soak overnight it’s not a big deal as long as I remember half an hour before I plan to cook them.

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Do I Need to Soak My Beans?