how to long-soak and quick-soak beans

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pressure cooking school  Welcome to Pressure Cooking School!
 This article is part of Lesson 4: Bean Essentials

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!


pressure cooking schoolCONTINUE Lesson 4: Bean Essentials


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


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

  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. : )




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