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How to Prepare Dried Beans

It’s not hard to substitute dried beans for canned. This recipe will show you how.

By Elise Grau

Bowls of dried beans
Courtesy iStockphoto/Thinkstock

One pound of dried beans equals three 15-ounce cans of beans. Use the instructions below to substitute dried beans in the recipe of your choice.


  • 1 pound dried beans (red, kidney, pinto or similar)
  • 1 small onion (optional)
  • water to cover

Wash and sort beans. Place beans in 4-quart stock pot, and fill with enough water to cover beans by 2 inches. For added flavor, peel onion, but leave root intact. Cut in half and add to pot. Bring water to boil, then turn down to bare simmer. Cook until soft, about 1 to 3 hours, depending on type and age of bean. Remove onion, but do not drain.

To speed cooking, soak beans in cool water for 4 to 12 hours. For a quick soak, bring beans to a boil, cook 2 minutes, then soak for 1 hour. Drain beans, then cook as above. If you're growing your own beans or buying them locally, it is rarely necessary to soak the beans first.

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