Soaking & Cooking Dried Beans & Pulses
Form the Vegan recipe club website
The following chart gives approximate times in rough order of size, from small or split to large. Cooking times also depend on the age of the beans. Properly cooked beans should be tender but not too mushy.
Type of Pulse Soaking Time Cooking Time
Split lentils No soaking required 15-20 minutes
Split peas 2 hours minimum 30-35 minutes
Whole lentils 2 hours minimum 20-30 minutes
Whole lentils Unsoaked – but see note re digestibility 25-40 minutes
Mung/aduki beans 2 hours minimum 25-40 minutes
Black-eyed beans 6-8 hours or overnight 30-60 minutes
Flageolet /kidney/ 6-8 hours or overnight 1-1¼ hours
Chickpeas and other 6-8 hours or overnight 1-1½ hours
Soya beans 12 hours minimum 1½-3 hours
Pressure cooking method
Times will vary slightly, depending on the brand, so check your cooker's handbook beforehand. For example, kidney beans take 15-20 minutes at a high setting, chickpeas around 15 minutes. Some high-pressure cookers take less time. Smaller beans like adukis need only about 8 minutes or so if pre-soaked - take care not to let them go mushy. However, you can pressure cook smaller beans as part of a soup or other dish with a soft texture.
If you cook one portion of pulses you might as well cook more. So, if you have the space, cook bigger batches and freeze in meal-size portions – use clean small plastic bags or boxes with lids. To freeze the equivalent of a tin of drained pulses, use a 400g/14oz clean empty tin as a guide, fill about three-quarters full, then transfer the contents to a bag or box. Defrost as usual, or in a microwave.
IMPORTANT: Pulse Safety!
While pulses are one of the most healthy and unprocessed foods available, there are a few important guidelines to follow.
- Rinse beans and change the water if soaking longer than overnight
- Cook beans thoroughly, especially kidney beans. Most large dried beans contain a naturally occurring toxin called lectin or phytohaemagglutinin. This is naturally destroyed in cooking, but if not done so, is likely to trigger nasty food poisoning. Lectin is contained in: kidney beans, cannelini beans, black beans, haricot beans and butter beans. Soya beans don’t contain lectin, but do need to be soaked and cooked thoroughly.
- Boil such beans vigorously for 15 minutes before you reduce to a simmer. However, pressure cooking or ordinary boiling is fine
- Do NOT cook raw beans in a crock pot/slow cooker as this increases their toxicity! However, it IS safe to add pre-cooked beans to a crock pot or oven casserole, stew etc
- Do not sprout these type of beans
NB Whole or split lentils, chickpeas, mung beans and aduki beans are safe to sprout.