How to Cook and Freeze Beans

Hi Friends!

It’s no secret around here that I love beans. Especially green beans :) But today we’re going to focus on dried beans. More specifically, how to cook dried beans…and then how to freeze them.

Let me start by saying that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with eating canned beans occasionally. Canned beans are better than no beans! However, canned beans are often loaded with sodium. If you buy them, look for no-salt-added or at  low-sodium varieties…and be sure to rinse them well before using.

Dried beans are the best option, in my opinion. At lot of people tell me that they’re unsure how to cook dried beans, so they avoid them. Well friends, I’m here to show you how easy it is! And as an added bonus, I’ll show you how to freeze them. That way, you will always have them on hand when you need them! It’s a great way to save time and money!

Did you know you can cook and freeze dried beans? Make a whole bag and stock your freezer so you have them on hand to add to meals!

So, let’s start with cooking methods. Here are three to choose from:

  • Stovetop
  • Pressure Cooker
  • Crockpot

Pressure cooker is my personal favorite, because you can go from dried (unsoaked) beans to completely cooked beans in about 25 minutes. However, I realize that not everyone has a pressure cooker so I explain the other methods as well!

stovetop black beans


Black beans are the most commonly cooked beans in my house. But I also cook great northern white beans and pinto beans on occasion. They all have slightly different cooking times, but if you’re cooking them on the stove top, you need to soak them first! The very first step is to look through the beans and remove any small stones or other debris that may have made it into the bag. Then move on to soaking.

Soaking methods: 
Long Soak: Put the beans in a bowl, cover with three times the amount of water, and let soak 6-8 hours or overnight.
Quick Soak: Put the beans in a pot, cover with three times the amount of water (so for a bag of beans you need 6-8 cups), bring the water to a boil, then remove from heat, cover and let sit for one hour.

Rinse #1:
After whichever soaking method you choose is complete, you need to rinse the beans. The beans will swell while soaking so make sure you use a large pot and enough water. The water will also turn black if you’re using black beans! Totally normal. Set up a colander in the sink, dump the beans and water into the colander and run some water over the beans until the water runs clear into the sink.

Return the beans to the pot after rinsing and cover with 3x the amount of water again. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let simmer for 45 min – 1 hour. I would start checking them around 40 minutes because every stove is different and cooking times can vary widely. Plus, some people like their beans extremely soft and others like them a little firmer. Depending on your “simmer” temperature, your beans could take anywhere from 40 minutes to 90 minutes. Every so often, just remove the lid, scoop out a bean and taste test. When your desired doneness is reached, remove the beans from heat.

Rinse #2:
Set the colander in the sink again and carefully drain the beans into the colander. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.


pressure cooker black beans

Pressure Cooker

By far the fastest way to cook dried beans. No soaking required! Just dump a bag of beans into the pressure cooker, cover with 3x the amount of water and cook on high for 15-20 minutes (will vary by cooker so you’ll have to test it out with yours). Use the natural release method and transfer the beans to a strainer to rinse rinse the beans.


A fix it and forget it method. I haven’t actually tried this myself, but I’ve read several recipes from people who have. The consensus is that cooking times vary widely based on how fresh your beans are. They could be done after as little as 3 hours on high, but it looks like most take about 5-6 hours on high, 8-10 hours on low. It might be a good idea to make a batch while you’re home to check on them, until you get a feel for how long they’ll take in your crockpot. You do not need to presoak them if you’re using this method.


  • A lot of people like to season their beans, especially if they’re cooking them in the crockpot. You can add chopped onion, garlic and other spices for flavor and you could also use broth to replace half the liquid for some added flavor.
  • If you add salt to your beans (which is unnecessary in my opinion) don’t add it until the very end. Salt can cause it to take much longer for the beans to cook.
  • Red kidney beans specifically contain a toxin that might not be destroyed by crockpot cooking alone. To be safe, they should be soaked overnight, rinsed and cooked in boiling water for 10 minutes before being cooked in a crockpot. Read more here.

bean storage

Storing Methods:

  • Refrigerator: Transfer to a tupperware container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Freezer: Let the beans cool completely. Portion into ziploc bags. Lay bags flat on side and stack to store in the freezer. When you need to use them, just remove a bag, smack it against the counter to loosen up the beans and either pour directly into the pan of whatever you’re cooking to let them thaw, or pour into a bowl and defrost in the microwave.
  • Edited to add: You can freeze lentils as well! They cook much faster on the stove top, but I freeze them in bags the same way!

So there ya go! Easy peasy and a great way to make sure you always have cooked beans on hand in the freezer!


About Lindsay

Lindsay Livingston is a Registered Dietitian and new mom from Columbus, Ohio. On her blog, she shares simple, healthy recipes, nutrition tips, workouts and snapshots of her life. Follow her on Twitter @LeanGrnBeanBlog and Instagram @TheLeanGreenBean and be sure to subscribe via RSS or email so you never miss a post!


  1. Thanks for this post Lindsay! Even though I’m a vegetarian, I tend to be lazy and stick with canned beans (though I do rinse them well). I appreciate the step by step instructions. I just might have to start doing this :-)
    Debbie @ Live from La Quinta recently posted..Easy Curried Seitan Stuffed Avocado. Vegan

  2. Oooh awesome post! I never even thought of the option to freeze beans before, but that’s a great idea especially when making them in big batches.

  3. I cook my beans in the slow cooker with minced onions. So good. And I always soak them & rinse for at least 12 hours before cooking. :)
    Maureen recently posted..Smoothie Nation

  4. Great tutorial! I’m so scared of a pressure cooker, but my Indian friends always is praising the convenience to quickly cook beans.

    Don’t you love putting them in freezer bags. We do that with our chili when prepping for a camping trip. Space saver!
    Christine @ Oatmeal Bowl recently posted..Lake Tahoe Marathon Training: Week 5

  5. Wait, hold the phone…you like beans?! 😉 xo
    Kierston @candyfit recently posted..Beyond Face Value…

  6. I can’t believe I’m admitting it but….I’ve never used fresh dried beans!! AHHH!! I’ve only ever bought canned :) Ut oh, I think the slow cooker method is calling my name.
    The Candid RD recently posted..Tacos With Tangy Cilantro Chicken

  7. great post! itz way cheaper to buy dried beans anyway! i just throw mine in the crockpot on low for a few hours and i usually prefer to keep them a bit harder, so when i include them in a recipe i cook them a little more and they finish cooking.
    Linz @ Itz Linz recently posted..What’s beautiful?

  8. Not only are the bagged beans a better option, but they’re way cheaper than buying cans! I don’t know why, but I never thought about making a bigger batch and freezing the excess.. this will make my food preparations much easier!
    Kaycee @ FitFace recently posted..Tropical Veggie Summer Salad with Coconut and Pineapple

  9. I actually did this for the first time last night!
    Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family recently posted..Playroom Makeover

  10. I know to do this, yet for some reason I never do! Grrrr… you’ve motivated me. Next week (after vacation) I’m prepping beans!
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted..Work It Out: Booty Building

  11. Thanks for this post Lindsay! I love beans too but I have to admit that I often rely on canned beans out of convenience. I think that I’ve cooked dried beans maybe once…Thanks for breaking it down into the different methods too!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Old School Blogging – List of Fives

  12. I didn’t realize I could freeze them and then use so easily, that’s awesome!! I will now make this another bulk cooking item.

    Does it work for lentils too?
    Amanda @runtothefinish recently posted..Running with the Kenyans

  13. Great post! I used to be intimidated by cooking dried beans but there really not so bad. Although you are convincing me to invest in a pressure cooker, I didn’t realize it cut the time by that much!
    Christina @ Pinch of Healthy recently posted..BBQ Popcorn Tofu

  14. sophiazerg says:

    Awesome post! Just did a similar one recently on fresh herbs!
    Sophia :)

  15. This is awesome – I didn’t even know you could freeze beans! Thanks!
    Carly @ Fine Fit Day recently posted..I’m ready to Sweat Pink

  16. Have you ever heard of cooking beans in a rice cooker? I feel like I remember reading about this somewhere, but maybe I am dreaming ;). I should probably research that because I LOVE using my rice cooker.
    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl recently posted..Roasted Part 9: Green Cabbage

  17. Thanks! This was sooo helpful. I NEVER cook beans because I don’t know how and, I am ashamed to say, always get canned.
    Jenn recently posted..Motivation Monday: Murica!

  18. Wow Lindsay this tutorial is SO handy! Thanks! I’m a sucker for canned beans. Their convenience is just unbeatable. I do by the low sodium variety but you inspire me to switch to cooking my own beans!
    Maggie @ Sunnyside Up Smile recently posted..3-Day Juice Cleanse Day 2 Recap

  19. I’ve tried doing pink beans in the crockpot, and they didn’t get soft enough. I probably did something wrong – but I find the stovetop works just fine so I stick to that!
    Victoria @ Reluctantly Skinny recently posted..How I Eat

  20. I opened yet another can of beans last night and thought I need to start cooking /freezing my own. So basically, this post has made it impossible for me not to. :) Thanks lady!
    elle | nutritionella recently posted..a quick way to add protein to your pasta

  21. I will just come over when I am your way! 😉 I am lazy!!! :)
    Jody – Fit at 55 recently posted..Comment on Gratitude Monday & Being Present Time

  22. I’ve recently started to incorporate more vegetarian-inspired ways of eating; thus, I’m eating more beans from the can! But secretly I really want to cooking my own beans but it seems to take some extra prep and waiting (soaking/cooking/freezing) time. I think I just need to get used to the motions and it’ll become a second nature. :) Anyway, I LOVE this primer of cooking beans 3 ways! You mentioned that for pressure cooking method, the beans do not need to be soaked first. Do you know if the toxins or the benefits of soaking would be foregone? Thanks Lindsey!
    Josie recently posted..Can You Be Your Own Fitness Coach?

  23. I hate buying canned beans. I never knew I could freeze them though. Thanks friend!!
    Brittany @ Delights and Delectables recently posted..What I Ate On My Birthday

  24. I’m spending my day cooking beans and freezing them for future dishes and chili whenever the temperatures drop! Thank you for sharing these awesome instructions!
    Jenni recently posted..Fried Goat Cheese

  25. I knew I wanted to freeze beans but always feel better with a handy guide whenever I do something for the first time. I’m so glad I found your blog post! Thanks!

  26. Thanks Lindsay, I have always (60+ years) used dry beans in a pressure cooker. I usually use Yellow Eyes when I can find them as they are larger. I use the quick release method with the pressure cooker and place the beans into a beanpot along with my mothers old molasses, brown sugar, onions and salt pork mixture and finish them in the oven, very slowly (250 for about 6 hours). Them come out just a little bit firmer than the canned beans.


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