You open the cupboard and peer inside. You see a bag of dried beans that you bought on sale a few weeks ago. You’re in the mood for a hearty meal, and you think that beans would be the perfect addition.
Until you remember that cooking them can take hours! Oh, the dreaded hours of simmering. But then you remember seeing a post on social media about someone cooking dried beans in the microwave.
Surely that would be much faster than cooking them in the traditional way, right? But is it safe? Can you actually cook dried beans in the microwave?
Can You Cook Dried Beans In The Microwave?
The answer is yes, you can cook dried beans in the microwave! The microwave may not be able to cook dried beans instantly, but it can cut the cooking time down significantly. In fact, cooking dried beans in the microwave is faster than a stovetop and other methods.
In addition to saving time, you’ll also save yourself some trouble. There’s less risk of boiling over or scorched pots when you cook in the microwave.
But what about the taste? Do microwave-cooked beans taste just as good as stovetop-cooked beans?
Some people say that microwave cooking results in more flavorful beans because the flavors have less time to cook away. Others argue that stovetop cooking allows the flavors to meld together more thoroughly.
So, which method is better? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. It depends on personal preference.
Should You Soak Your Beans?
One of the most common questions about cooking beans is whether or not you should soak them before cooking. Soaking beans can help to reduce cooking time and create a plumper, more tender bean.
Soaking also helps to erase some of the beans’ more indigestible sugars. This is especially important for those who are sensitive to beans or have trouble digesting them.
If you choose to soak your beans, there are two methods you can use. The first is the overnight method. Simply cover your beans with water and let them sit overnight in the fridge (between 6 and 12 hours). In the morning, drain and rinse the beans before cooking.
The second method is the quick-soak method. To quick-soak, cover your beans with water and bring them to a boil. Allow the beans to boil for a few minutes, then remove them from the heat and let them sit for one hour. Drain and rinse the beans before cooking.
For the best result, I recommend using the overnight method. But if you’re in a hurry, the quick-soak method will do.
In general, the larger the bean, the longer you should soak it. Smaller beans, such as black-eyed peas, can be soaked for as little as six hours. Larger beans, like garbanzo beans, should be soaked for at least eight hours.
How Long Should You Cook Dried Beans In The Microwave?
For most types of beans, I would recommend cooking them in the microwave for 10 minutes on high, then stirring them and cooking for another 10-15 minutes on medium.
If they’re not done to your liking after that, continue cooking in 15-minute intervals until they reach the desired consistency.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that cooking times may vary depending on the wattage of your microwave and the type of bean you’re using.
If you’re unsure, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and start with 10 minutes on full power and keep increasing the cooking time until the beans are done to your liking.
How To Cook Dried Beans In The Microwave
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to cook dried beans in the microwave:
- Put the beans into a colander. Sort through them and remove any shriveled or discolored beans, as well as other debris. Rinse the beans thoroughly with cold water.
- Transfer the beans to a microwave-safe casserole or other containers. Add 1 quart of water for each pound (2 cups) of beans and soak overnight in the fridge.
- After soaking them overnight, put the casserole into the microwave and cover it with a lid.
- Microwave on high for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and stir the beans. If necessary, add more hot water to keep the beans covered.
- Put the lid back on and put the casserole dish back into the microwave. Reduce the power to medium and cook for another 15-20 minutes.
- Stir and check the beans. If they’re not done to your liking, continue cooking in 15-minute intervals until they reach the desired consistency.
- Once the beans are cooked to your liking, let them cool for a few minutes with the lid still on.
- Drain any excess water and season the beans with salt, pepper, and other spices as desired.
Tips For Cooking Dried Beans In The Microwave
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when cooking dried beans in the microwave:
- Always use a container twice the volume of the beans and water. This will help to prevent the water from bubbling over.
- Never salt beans before cooking. Salting them before they’re cooked can make them tough.
- Always cover the beans while they’re cooking. This will help to prevent them from drying out.
- Don’t hurry the cooking process by keeping the beans on high power for the entire time. This will make them tough. Instead, cook them on high for the first 10 minutes, then reduce the power to medium and cook for the remaining time.
- Check the beans after cooking and ensure that they’re tender before draining them. This is necessary because even though the beans will continue to absorb water, the texture will not change once they’ve been cooked.
Cooking dried beans in the microwave is a quick and easy way to get them ready for use in your favorite recipes. Just follow the steps outlined in this article and you’ll have perfectly cooked beans in no time.