Basic Beans | CUESA

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Returns March 17, 2022

Basic Beans


Foodwise Kids Program

We often include beans from the farmers market in our Foodwise Kids lessons because beans are an affordable, nutrient-rich food in a balanced diet. We love to show students varieties of beans they might not have seen, such as Italian butter beans or Borlotti beans. Here are some directions for cooking dried beans. They’re an essential ingredient in a number of our kid-friendly recipes.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 to 50 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

2 cups dried beans

Large mixing bowl
Medium saucepan with lid


1.    Wash your hands with soap and water.

2.    Rinse the beans in a colander, picking out any debris. Drain.

3.    Overnight Soak Method: Place the beans in a large bowl. Cover the beans with water, about 1 inch above the level of beans. Cover and soak for several hours or refrigerate overnight.

Quick Soak Method: If you do not have time to soak beans for several hours, this is an alternative method. Place the dried beans in a pot. Add fresh water to cover the beans by at least 1 inch. Cover with a lid. Bring the water to a boil for 1 minute, and then turn off the heat and keep covered. Allow the beans to soak in the warm water for 1 hour. Drain the beans into a colander. Rinse the beans. 

4.    Drain the beans and place them in a saucepan. Add fresh water to cover the beans by at least 1 inch. Cover with a lid. Bring the water to a boil, and allow the beans to cook for 40 to 50 minutes at a gentle boil (i.e., bubbles are gently forming). Test for doneness by biting into a bean. Depending on how you plan to eat the beans, you may want them firm or slightly soft. Turn off the heat and drain the beans.


CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »