When it comes to soaking beans there are two common methods: overnight or the quick soak method. Follow this easy recipe to learn how to do both! 

Beans in a pot with water

With the quick soak method, the beans will be ready in as little as an hour. It takes the overnight prep work out of recipes like Hoppin’ John, Ham and Bean Soup or Great Northern Beans and Ham.

Why Do You Soak Beans?

Beans need to be soaked in order to break down some of the complex sugars that make beans hard for some people to digest. It also makes them faster to cook!

Soaking prior to cooking beans can really save you a lot of time and energy in the kitchen.

Beans in a pot for how to soak beans

How to Soak Beans Fast

This quick soaking method works great on the following kinds of beans:

  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Red beans
  • Any variety of dried beans

How to Quick Soak Beans: To start, rinse the beans in a colander and remove any small stones or pieces of debris.

  1. Cover beans with water in a stock pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat, cover, and let the beans stand at least one hour, (preferably four hours).

Then you are ready to cook the beans according to the recipe!

How to Soak Beans Overnight

This is the easiest method ever! It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 with little to no work required.

  1. Rinse the beans in a colander, making sure there are no small pebbles, rocks or debris.
  2. Transfer the beans to a stockpot and fill with clean water and add another two inches to the top. The beans will swell as they soak so the extra water is important.
  3. Cover the stockpot and let it sit overnight.

The next morning, strain the beans and proceed with your recipe.

How Long to Soak Beans

Soaking beans overnight is kinda’ vague, isn’t it? Soak the beans a minimum of 6 hours and any time up until 10 hours. What you are really looking for is the skin to easily slide away from the bean and to be able to squeeze the bean and have it be somewhat soft and ready to cook.

This quick soaking method makes prepping dry beans a breeze. So go ahead and buy bulk, then store and prep those beans with ease!

Delicious Bean Filled Recipes

Beans in a pot with water
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How to Soak Beans

A great way to take the overnight prep out of your favorite recipes!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Soaking 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings
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  • 1 pound dried beans or desired amount
  • water


  • Rinse beans well and sort through to remove any debris.
  • Place beans in a large saucepan.
  • Add water to cover 2" above the beans. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Boil for 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, cover and let sit 60 minutes.
  • Drain and discard water. Use as directed in your recipe.


Note: This is not a recipe to cook beans, this is a pre-soak and beans will still require cooking after the quick soak method.
To cook beans after soaking, drain soaking water. Place beans in a large pot and cover with water (add herbs, onion, etc if desired). Simmer on low just until tender.
Simmering time can range from 45 minutes to  2 ½ hours depending on the variety. 
5 from 16 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 382 | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 1541mg | Fiber: 17g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 8mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
How to Soak Beans with a title
How to Soak Beans in a pot with writing
How to Soak Beans in a pot with writing



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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. For an overnight soak you need to add salt. For 1 pound of beans add 1.5 tablespoons of salt to 2 quarts of water.

    The salt will break down calcium in the skins making the skins softer and much less likely to burst when cooking.5 stars