Meet Alex Caspero
Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.
In today’s post, I am going to show you how to cook black beans using three different cooking methods! I am going to show you how to cook them on the stove, in the Instant Pot, and in the slow cooker. As a bonus, I’ll even share a few of my favorite black bean recipes to go along with each cooking method!
And, while I’ve never shied away from the convenience of canned black beans, the taste and texture of dried beans really can’t be beaten.
The good news is that making beans from scratch isn’t as hard as you think!
Today, I am sharing 3 different methods to cooking black beans:
With any of these methods, you can have a batch of fragrant, creamy beans ready in minutes, or hours, depending on how you want to prepare them. Trust me, once you see how easy it is to make dried beans from scratch- you’ll be doing making these over and over again!
Before I share all of my cooking methods for beans, I wanted to take a minute and share all of the nutritional value you can get from adding beans to your weekly menu plan.
Black beans (a part of the legume family) are high in protein and a favorite plant-based protein source for vegetarians and vegans alike. For reference, one half-cup of cooked black beans is 8 grams of protein! They are also high in fiber which can aid in digestion and an overall healthy microbiome. Because black beans are rich in fiber, they have also been shown to help reduce harmful LDL cholesterol levels.
With so many of my recipes having black beans, I always get asked: How do I cook them?
It can be very easy to overcook the beans into mush or not cook them long enough to make your recipe taste incomplete. That’s why I want to share 3 cooking methods for learning how to cook black beans!
It is highly recommended that you clean dried beans before cooking them. It’s easier than you think!
Then, decide if you want to cook them on the stove, in the Instant Pot, or a slow cooker.
There are so many opinions on whether or not you need to soak your black beans first. I usually opt for doing so unless I’m using my Instant Pot.
Soaking the beans beforehand makes them easier to digest and helps them keep their shape. Although, if you really don’t want to soak your beans at all, there’s this argument that unsoaked black beans are better.
Bottom line? I usually soak mine, but it’s okay if you don’t! Different cooks have different preferences.
To soak the black beans:
Alternatively, if you want to soak your beans but don’t have time then you can use a quick soak method.
This method is one of the most common methods to cook dried black beans!
Here’s how to cook them on the stove:
You’ll sometimes see advice that you shouldn’t salt your beans while cooking… but that isn’t true. If you’re a culinary nerd like me, then you’ll enjoy Serious Eat’s deep dive into salted vs. unsalted bean cooking!
Flavor Tip: The best part about cooking black beans from scratch? Imparting ALL the flavor while you cook them. That’s what makes it for me; some onion, garlic, maybe a pepper or two- it all adds up to insanely delicious beans!
Some aromatics to try:
Whenever I decide to make black beans last minute, I like to whip out my Instant Pot! The pressure cooker allows the beans to cook quickly and evenly without burning.
To cook them in the Instant Pot:
Flavor Tip: Whenever I make my black beans in the Instant Pot, I like to use it as a base for vegan black bean soup. This black bean is hearty yet spicy. So yummy and filling! You can also whip up a quick vegan dinner and make smoky black bean tostadas.
I’ve found that cooking the beans in the slow cooker allows them to get really nice and tender. The black beans turn out perfect every single time!
To cook them in the crockpot:
Flavor Tip: I’ve found that adding in diced sweet potatoes really makes the black beans really hearty. It also works great when I am meal prepping and making a few batches of my favorite sweet potato and black bean enchiladas!
No matter which cooking method you decide to use, there are many different ways to use and serve black beans. Take a look at these recipes listed below to try to find new ways to eat black beans:
You can store the beans in the fridge for up to 7 days!
Tip: Before you do anything, make sure they have cooled down before scooping them into an air-tight container.
To store them in the freezer, make sure you label the container with the exact date they were cooked and store them for up to 3 months. If you want to serve them from the freezer, make sure to take them out 24 hours in advance to allow the beans to thaw out.
Everyone has their own preference for cooking beans but, for me, it boils down to my time. If I’m in a pinch, I will usually use my Instant Pot. But, if I’m planning to meal prep for the week, I usually like to use my crockpot to make a large amount and store it in portions.
Whichever method you decide to use, you’ll still end up with some delicious beans!
If you are looking to dive deep into starting a healthier lifestyle, I just released a new 7-day email course on “The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Protein” with 40 new recipes- and it’s FREE!
You’ll learn everything there is to know about plant-based protein options and how to incorporate them into your everyday recipes.
I hope this post on how to cook black beans was helpful and answered some of your questions. I’d love to know any comments, thoughts, or questions you may have about black beans down below!
How to Cook Black Beans! A complete primer for how to cook black beans from scratch with three cooking methods: stove-top, Instant Pot and slow cooker or crock pot.
For slow cooker and Instant Pot directions, refer to the text of the post.