Cooking Times for Beans, Lentils and Peas
Legumes, such as beans and lentils, are nutritional superstars packed with protein, fiber, minerals and B vitamins. But in order to reap their nutritional benefits, beans, peas and peas must be cooked thoroughly, either in a pressure cooker or a regular pot. If you are often in a hurry, buying a pressure cooker may be a good idea as it can shorten the cooking times of beans and other foods dramatically (in some cases by up to 70 percent).
The following chart shows the approximate cooking times for different types of beans, peas and peas. The chart provides both pressure cooking times and simmering times (in a regular pot on the stove).
Unless otherwise indicated, the times are for pre-soaked legumes. It is also possible to cook unsoaked beans in a pressure cooker, but this will prolong the cooking time significantly. Compared with their soaked counterparts, unsoaked beans also form more foam when heated, which in turn may block the vent pipe of your pressure cooker. Also from a health point of view it makes sense to use soaked beans – soaking helps break down the sugars that are responsible for the gas-producing effects of beans and peas.
The simmering times shown below should be pretty straightforward. Put the beans in a large pot, and cover with water by about an inch (add more water later, if necessary). Bring the pot to a gentle boil and let the beans cook uncovered, or with the lid on but slightly ajar. Do not add salt to the cooking water in the beginning as it can prevent the beans from absorbing water.
The pressure cooking times in the chart below are ideal for pressure cookers that operate at 15 PSI (Pounds per Square Inch). In many machines, 15 PSI is the standard pressure you get if you select the "high pressure" option. However, there are also many cookers that have been programmed to operate at 10 or 13 PSI when the "high" program is selected, so be sure to check the user manual before using your cooker. If the instruction booklet also has a chart of the recommended cooking times for legumes, it is a good idea to use that as a general guide (rather than the chart below) as ideal pressure cooking times can vary significantly from machine to machine.
Important: When using a pressure cooker, the recommended water-to-beans ratio is 3 cups for each cup of soaked beans. However, as legumes tend to expand and froth during cooking, you should make sure you never fill your pressure cooker to more than half of its capacity (counting both soaked beans and water)!
|Type of Bean (or Legume)||Pressure Cooking Time (at about 15 PSI) in Min.||Regular Cooking Time in Min. (unless otherwise noted)|
|Adzuki||5 to 9||35 to 45|
|Anasazi (Appaloosa)||8 to 10||60 to 90|
|Black (Turtle)||8 to 11||50 to 60|
|Black Beluga Lentils||7 to 8||15 to 25|
|Black-Eyed Peas||5 to 8||45 to 60|
|Borlotti (Cranberry / Romano)||8 to 12||60 to 90|
|Brown Lentils*||7 to 9||30 to 40|
|Cannellini||7 to 12||1 ½ to 2 hours|
|Chickpeas||10 to 15||1 ½ to 3 hours|
|Flageolets (Immature Kidney)||8 to 12||45 to 60|
|French Green (Puy) Lentils*||7 to 9||30 to 40|
|Great Northern (White Kidney)||8 to 12||50 to 70|
|Green Lentils||7 to 9||30 to 40|
|Kidney||8 to 12||70 to 90|
|Lima||8 to 12||50 to 70|
|Marrow||8 to 12||60 to 90|
|Mature Fava (Broad) Beans||8 to 11||50 to 70|
|Mung||6 to 8||50 to 70|
|Navy||7 to 9||45 to 60|
|Orca (Calypso / Yin Yang)||8 to 10||60 to 90|
|Whole Peas||6 to 8||45 to 60|
|Pigeon Peas (aka Gandules)||8 to 10||50 to 90|
|Pink Beans||8 to 10||50 to 70|
|Pinto||5 to 7||About 1 ½ hours|
|Rattlesnake||5 to 8||40 to 45|
|Red Lentils*||7 to 8||15 to 25|
|Red Scarlet||10 to 12||50 to 70|
|Soybeans||12 to 20||About 3 hours|
|Split Lentils*||4 to 6||10 to 15|
|Split Peas*||5 to 8||35 to 40|
|White Beans||6 to 8||45 to 60|
|Yellow Lentils*||7 to 8||15 to 20|
*No soaking needed
Note: The actual times can differ significantly from the estimates shown above as numerous factors – including the freshness, dryness and size of the legumes – can influence the ideal cooking time. Furthermore, if you are using a pressure cooker at higher altitudes (3,000 feet above sea level or more), you should add an additional 1/2 cup of water to the cooker and increase the cooking times as follows:
- 3000 ft. → 5% increase
- 4000 ft. → 10% increase
- 5000 ft. → 15% increase
- 6000 ft. → 20% increase
- And so forth...