How to Cook Black Beans From Scratch (3 Ways!)

By Alexandra Caspero on April 27, 2021
How to Cook Black Beans! A complete primer for how to cook black beans from scratch. Tips for slow cooker, Instant Pot and on the stove.
Makes 1 pound

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!

When looking for a healthy vegan protein source, black beans have always been one of my go-to’s. They work perfectly in recipes such as salsa, tacos, burgers, and chili!

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:

  1. Stove
  2. Instant Pot
  3. Slow Cooker

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 making these over and over again!

Health Benefits Of Eating Black Beans

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. 

a bag of dried black beans

How To Cook Black Beans: 3 Different Ways

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!

How To Properly Clean Beans Before Cooking

It is highly recommended that you clean dried beans before cooking them. It’s easier than you think!

  1. First, you’ll want to pick them over for any visible stones. I usually pour the bag of dried beans into a colander and then do a quick pick-through and remove and debris. Sometimes you’ll find things and sometimes you won’t.
  2. Rinse your beans well.

Then, decide if you want to cook them on the stove, in the Instant Pot, or a slow cooker.

Do you need to soak dried beans?

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: 

  1. Place beans in a large bowl and add enough water to cover them by 3 inches.
  2. Discard any beans that float.
  3. Leave the beans to soak for 6-8 hours or overnight. When I soak beans to make in my slow cooker, I typically soak them in the fridge overnight then place them in the slow cooker in the morning.
  4. Once your beans are soaked (or, if using unsoaked beans), drain and rinse. You don’t want to use the same water you used for soaking to cook, so make sure to rinse and place them back into a large pot.

Alternatively, if you want to soak your beans but don’t have time then you can use a quick soak method. 

  • Rinse and sort beans then cover with enough tap water to cover by 2 inches. 
  • Next, bring the water to a boil over high heat and boil for 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let sit for 1 hour, then drain, rinse and cook as desired in whatever recipe you are using.

Favorite black bean recipes: air-fryer black bean taquitos, tofu rice bowls with black beans, crispy vegan tacos with queso dip, black bean burger sliders, black bean tamale pie, vegetarian bean chili

How To Cook Black Beans On The Stove

This method is one of the most common methods to cook dried black beans!

Here’s how to cook them on the stove:

  1. Cover the dried beans with fresh water by 2 inches in a stockpot.
  2. For soaked beans, bring to a boil, reduce to medium-low and simmer for 45-60 minutes, until tender. Unsoaked beans will take about 30-45 minutes longer. There’s such a variance in cooking time because older beans take longer to cook; I recommend checking them after 30-45 minutes. Overcooked beans are OK in some recipes, but if you want to keep their texture and shape, make sure not to cook them until they are mush.

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:

  • Onions and garlic: Halved or quartered onions, halved shallots, smashed whole garlic cloves. I usually do both onions and garlic.
  • Spices: For black beans, try dried chilis when you plan on making Mexican-inspired meals. When I know I’ll be using these beans in tacos or chili bowls, I’ll usually add in a chopped bell pepper to melt into the beans while cooking.  Black peppercorn, oregano, chili powder, cumin seeds, and bay leaves are also great.
  • Herbs: A few sprigs of herbs works great; I typically save cilantro stems for making dried beans.
a pot of soaked black beans

How To Cook Black Beans In The Instant Pot

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:

  1. Add 1 pound of unsoaked beans, salt, and aromatics into the pot along with 3 cups of water.
  2. Cover and set the lid to the sealing position.
  3. Cook on high pressure for 35 minutes.
  4. Then, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release pressure for 20 minutes.

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.

How To Cook Black Beans In The Slow Cooker

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:

  1. Place 1 pound of unsoaked beans in the base of your slow cooker, along with salt and 8 cups of water.
  2. Cover and cook on HIGH for 7-8 hours or until beans are done.
  3. Make sure to taste and adjust for salt, as desired.

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!

More Black Bean Recipes

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:

how to cook black beans in a pot on the stove

How To Store Cooked 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.

So, What’s The Best Way To Cook Black Beans?

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!

Looking For More Recipe Ideas?

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

How to Cook Black Beans From Scratch

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 90 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 pound cooked beans 1x
  • Category: beans, dried beans
  • Method: stove top, instant pot, slow cooker
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


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.

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 90 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 pound cooked beans 1x
  • Category: beans, dried beans
  • Method: stove top, instant pot, slow cooker
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 90 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 pound cooked beans 1x
  • Category: beans, dried beans
  • Method: stove top, instant pot, slow cooker
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 4 cups of water


  1. To soak first, place the beans in a large bowl and cover with at least 8 cups of water. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse.
  2. Add the beans and 4 cups of water and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Let cook for 60-120 minutes, or until beans are tender. Soaked beans till take closer to 60-90 minutes; unsoaked beans will take closer to 120 minutes. As cooking time is determined by freshness of beans, I recommend checking the beans around 1 hour.


For slow cooker and Instant Pot directions, refer to the text of the post.

did you make this?

Tag @delishknowledge on Instagram and hashtag it #delishknowledge

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.

(one comment) leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    1. Kyle L Hall
      May 7, 2021 AT 3:57 am

      We love black beans!! My husband is going to try growing them this year!