• Suzanne Yearley

Cooking White Beans

November 15, 2018

Suzanne Yearley

Canned vs. Dried:

  • Canned beans are a convenient and time-saving alternative to cooking your own. Just be aware of their greater sodium content and be conservative in your use of added salt.

  • Canned beans are also softer than home-cooked.

  • Always rinse and drain canned beans well before using. 

  • Always pre-soak dried beans.  (See both methods below.) This loosens the outer skins, making them easier to digest and shortens the cooking time.

Soaking Beans:

  • Rinse beans under cold water, and pick out any stones, etc.

  • Cover the beans with cold water and soak overnight at room temperature.

  • Drain and proceed with recipe.


  • In a medium pot, cover the beans with water to cover by 3-inches. Bring to a boil, boil for one minute, turn off, cover pot and allow to rest for 1 hour.

  • Drain and proceed with recipe.

Cooking Beans:

adapted from the Union Square Café Cookbook


Dried cannellini, Great Northern, or other white beans

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 celery rib

1 carrot, scrubbed and cut in half lengthwise

1 medium onion, peeled, halved, and
s tuck with 2 cloves

1 bay leaf


Soak the beans overnight or use the quick-soak method.

Drain the beans and place them in a saucepan with fresh, cold water to cover
 by at least 3 inches. Add the celery, carrot, onion halves, and the bay
 leaf. Bring to boil and immediately turn down to a simmer. With a 
slotted spoon or ladle, carefully skim off any foam that rises to the surface of the water. Continue simmering, covered, for 1 hour. Add the
 salt and continue cooking until the beans
 are completely cooked and tender. Test for doneness by gently squeezing a bean between your fingers – it should give without any resistance but should still retain its shape.  Discard the vegetables and, if not serving right away, let the beans cool 
in their cooking liquid.

Store in the liquid for up to 48 hours in the refrigerator. Drain before using.




make ahead





kitchen basic

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