how to long-soak and quick-soak beans

Let me show you two ways to soak beans. The first one is the traditional overnight soak, and the second one only takes twelve minutes – that’s the quick-soak!

Long-soaking Beans

This is the way I usually soak my beans, if I have time and I remember:

  1. First, I measure the amount of dried beans called for in the recipe – let’s say 1 cup (250ml).
  2. I check the beans for any debris and then rinse them well in my sink.
  3. Then, I put the beans in a rather large bowl and fill almost completely with water.
  4. I soak the beans for 12, 24 and even 48 hours – changing the water twice a day, or every twelve hours.

There is no need to be precise about changing the water.  If you put the beans to soak in the evening, simply change the water in the morning.  This is how to change the water:

  • Strain the beans in a colander in the sink.
  • Rinse out the bowl, and give the beans a good rinse as well.
  • Then, the beans go back into the bowl with fresh water to continue soaking them.

When I’m ready to use the beans in my recipe I strain and rinse the soaked beans one more time before using.

Now, this is my preferred method for soaking beans but it’s not the only one.

Quick-soaking Beans with Pressure Cooker

Quick-soaking beans gives you nearly all of the benefits of soaked beans, but at a fraction of the time – just what it takes for the pressure cooker to reach pressure and a couple minutes more.  Here’s how I do it.

  1. Measure the amount of dried beans called for in the recipe.
  2. Check the beans for any debris and then rinse them well.
  3. Put the rinsed beans in the pressure cooker along with one teaspoon of salt and four cups (1 liter) of water per measured cup of dried beans.
  4. Close the lid, set the valve to pressure cook, and program the cooker to cook for two minutes at high pressure . Stove top-style pressure cookers would follow the same instructions and cooking times.
  5. Open the cooker with the “Slow Normal” pressure release. Here’s how to do it:
    • Tip the valve or lightly twist it to release the pressure slowly – not full throttle.
    • once all of the pressure is out and the lid is unlocked turn the valve to the open position.
  6. Open the lid of the pressure cooker.
  7. Strain the quick-soaked beans in the sink and give them a rinse before using.

How to quick-soak beans in the pressure cooker

They’re going to look a little bit weird and wrinkly and that’s OK, that’s how they should look.  Now, you can use these beans in any recipe that calls for soaked beans!



Long-soaking and Quick-soaking beans in the Pressure Cooker


Similar Posts


  1. I don’t even soak mine at all anymore

    1. Red Kidney beans have a toxin in them called Phytohaemagglutinin. It’s important to cook them evenly. Besides, soaking not only removes some of the toxins but it gets rid of another substance that causes gas and bloating within human stomachs. I think it’s important to soak.

  2. Hello Laura,
    1. “Rinsing the beans after Quick Soaking.” Since the beans are still hot, do I rinse them with hot or cold tab water?
    2. Should I Quick Soak the lentils as well? If so can I Quick Soak the black beans and lentils together, if applicable?
    3. Can white beans (or red, etc.) be substituted to black and would I apply the same Quick Soaking parameters?
    Thank you.

    1. Welcome Andreid,
      1. You can rinse the beans in whatever temperature water comes out of your tap.
      2. Typically, whole lentils typically don’t need soaking – however I have long-soaked them a bit to match the rice cooking time for the lentil risotto recipe ( I’ve never tried quick-soaking whole lentils, though! If you decide to try it, please come back to let us know how it went.
      3. This quick-soaking technique can be applied to all bean types: chickpeas, white beans, black beans, etc. – the time, salt and water do not change (we’re just bringing everything to a quick boil using pressure).



  3. Pre-soaking beans is good, but you have to plan ahead, and who does that? I have found a faster method of pre-soaking my beans than your fast method here, with my microwave.

    I put my beans in a microwave-safe dish, add twice the bean’s volume of water (ie, 1 cup of beans -> 2 cups water) and then microwave until boiling and most of the beans have started to float. This takes me about 5 minutes, YMMV based on amount of beans and micrwave wattage.

    Blammo! Pre-soaked beans! I usually let these beans sit in the dish while I prepare the rest of my dish, cutting veggies, sauteeing, etc, and I’ve had excellent results with this method.

  4. Hi, My beans did not turn out for my chili. I have a Breville Fast Slo Pro. This first time I soaked the Red Kidney beans for 4 to 6 hours. I took a guess and put them in the pressure cooker for 15 or 16 minutes and then natural release. Beans turned to mush.

    Better prepared, Last night I soaked the red kidney beans overnight for 14 hours. Put them on bean mode, 7 minutes as opposed to 8, and natural release. Mush again but not as bad.

    Could you give me some guidance on why my beans may be turning to mush? Could it be that I put excessive water in the pot? I did not measure water but put more in than less. Am I leaving it in natural release too long? I let it go down to low pressure, about 30 minutes.

  5. I make a full Instapot of vegetables for a thick stew. Using the recommended times I always get mush. I now use 2 minutes and turn off the keep warm and use the quick release method. My vegetables are a mix of some frozen which are partially thawed and fresh.

    My result now is better. The pieces of vegetable still have some identity and are a nice texture. I wonder if my Instapot is hotter than normal. Anyway, whatever works. Look like it takes some experimentation.

  6. Thank you for all your tips. It has helped me tremendously on being able to change my recipes to a pressure cooker.

    I like to soak my beans overnight, but I was wondering when you soaked yours overnight, if you use cold or warm water and if you left them on the counter for 24 hours or placed them in the refrigerator.

    We really like pinto beans with thick juice. Cooking them in a pressure cooker does not give you the thick juice that we like. Do you have any suggestions on how to get the juice thick. I add a little flour and that does the trick, but it does change the color of the juice.

    Thanks for any help you can give me.

    1. Virgie, when I long-soak beans I use cold water from the tap and leave the container out on the counter. Changing the water frequently, as I mentioned in this lesson, keeps it from getting “yucky”. The smelly bubbles that accumulate near the top (if you don’t change the water) are just the indigestible sugars fermenting.

      I’ve grown to enjoy soaking my beans for 24 hours (with regular water changes). This brings the beans to nearly sprout which has a whole other set of additional nutritional benefits in addition to making them creamier.

      To get a rich, thick bean liquor, simply reduce the cooking liquid. I like to do 1 1/2 cups of liquid to 1 cup (measured dry) soaked beans. If you watched the previous lesson (on adding veggies to rice) you already know that some of the veggies you toss in the pressure cooker can also contribute cooking liquid.

      My rule of thumb: only add as much liquid at the beginning as you want to see at the end so you won’t need to reduce to concentrate flavor, afterward. : )




    2. I switched from using a crockpot for my pintos to using a stove top pressure cooked because I moved to a higher elevation and they never softened enough in the crockpot. After some trial and error, this is the method that works the best for me: soak the beans for 12-24 hours in salted water. Rinse them and set aside while I saute the onion and bacon (or whatever you use) and then add them back to the pressure cooker and cover to about an inch above with water. Bring them up to pressure and cook for ~10 (I am not precise with these things). Then release the pressure and remove the lid. Using the back of a large cooking spoon, smash some beans against the side of the pot – maybe three or four good squishes. This releases starches into the liquid. Stir them well and add any remaining spices. Simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes while you prepare other foods and you should end up with a rich gravy. I also made it a habit to make three times what my family will eat at one meal and freeze the other two portions in vacuum bags for nights when I don’t have time or didn’t think to soak the beans before hand. You CAN get acceptable pintos with a quick soak or without soaking, but they will not be as creamy and rich as when you soak them.

  7. Hi Laura, some of your recipes include putting salt and tomatoes or tomato paste into the pressure cooker with the beans to cook. I always thought that tomato and salt were thought to make beans take longer to cook and to turn out tougher. Maybe that doesn’t apply in the pressure cooker? Or maybe you don’t agree with that anyway?
    I’m learning a lot from your website! Thanks.

    1. Hi Julie, I generally add the salt only when doing a quick-soak and then after a recipe – adding salt during cooking does tend to firm-up the skins. In general, this would happen when adding acidic ingredients as well, but since pressure cooking soaked beans takes soooo little time, you can simply increase the cooking time.

      Thanks for reminding me that I wrote an article about exactly this (and should probably link to it from the school). Here it is if you would like to know more:



  8. How long would I cook beans that have soaked for 24 hours.
    I have a Thinkkitchen pressure cooker. It is new, waiting to be used.

    1. Do you really need to add oil.
      I think your videos and site are very informative
      THANK YOU!!

      1. The oil keeps some of the foam from bubbling up to the valve.



  9. How long would I cook beans that have soaked for 24 hours.
    I have a Thinkkitchen pressure cooker. It is new, waiting to be used.

    1. It depends on the kind of beans. Take a look at the cooking chart by choosing “Pressure Cooking Times” from the menu – and find the variety of bean from the chart.

      I have soaked beans for even 72 hours – and I still use the recommended “soaked” pressure cooking time from my chart.



  10. If I have long-soaked my 16 oz bag of black beans and rinsed, how much water do I add to my Instant Pot when I go to cook them?

    1. What size is your Instant Pot?



      1. 6 quarts.

  11. America’s Test Kitchen advises salting the soaking water — For 1 cup dry beans: “Dissolve 1 1/2 tablespoons salt in 2 quarts cold water in large container. Add beans and let soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.” The salted soak helps tenderize the bean skins and season the beans. They used to advise *not* salting the cooking liquid, but now add a small amount in most recipes. I get good results with this method. Also note: you can refrigerate soaked, drained, rinsed beans for several days before cooking, so it’s easy to always have some on hand. (Eliminates the “think ahead” hassle!)

    1. Thank you so much for this info! I was uncertain if I could refrigerate uncooked soaked beans until I was ready to use them. You have just changed my meal prepping and cooking dry beans schedule. Is it really important to use the salt to soak the beans though? I am trying to cutback on how much added sodium I have in my meal planning due to being borderline hypertensive.

      1. The salt is only recommended for the quick-soak method to keep the beans from falling apart. You can also try without it and see how you like the results.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *