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How to Quick Cook White Beans Without Soaking

White beans are nutritious and delicious!

White beans are nutritious and delicious!

Quick Cooking White Beans Recipe

Follow this fast and easy recipe for cooking white beans (navy beans) without soaking overnight. Moreover, use this method to quick cook any sort of dry bean without soaking.

Cooking Tips for White Beans

White beans are smaller than pintos and black-eyed peas, but they are also harder. So be prepared to know they will take a little longer in your recipes. You can use an instapot or a crock pot to make the process easier, or just put them to simmer on your stove.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

5 min

2 hours 30 min

2 hours 35 min

4 cups beans


  • 8 cups water
  • 16 oz dry white beans, or "navy beans"


  1. Put white beans in a pot.
  2. Cover with 8 cups of cold water
  3. Place on stove on "high" setting. Soon the beans will be moving and float to the top.
  4. Wait until the beans are in a rolling boil. Boil 2 minutes. Take off heat and put a lid on the pot. Let sit for at least 20-30 minutes.
  5. Drain water off beans and rinse them in cold water. Your beans are now ready to use in any recipe calling for "soaked beans."
  6. To fully cook beans for puree or other recipes which call for canned beans, add cold water to drained beans. Cover them by at least 1 inch of water. Do not add any salt yet, because that can prevent beans from softening. Put them back on the stove and heat until they are simmering. Cook for 1-2 hours, or until soft. Then add salt and flavorings (like ham, onions, and spices).
  7. Note: alternatively, you can finish quick-cooked beans in a crockpot on low overnight or all day, or on high for 4-5 hours.
My navy bean soup is a simple recipe to cook up for a healthy dinner.

My navy bean soup is a simple recipe to cook up for a healthy dinner.

Why Quick Cook White Beans?

Dried beans are hard and need to be softened in order to be used in recipes. Quick cooking (or soaking overnight) speeds up the final cooking time. Maybe more importantly, beans that are soaked or quick-cooked and then drained release some of the enzymes which can irritate our stomachs and cause gas.

Quick Cook vs. Soaking Overnight

Some people claim that soaking beans overnight makes them softer, but I'm not sure that is true. I've tried both ways and find quick cooking works better for me. However, it is important to know that whether you soak or quick cook, white beans take longer than other beans. Be sure you allow enough time for them to fully cook through and don't add salt until the beans are soft enough to eat.

12 Ways to Use White Beans

White beans are very versatile. Here are 12 of my favorite ways to use them:

  1. Navy bean soup (my version of the classic version from Marie Callender's Restaurant), which I serve with Marie Callender's Copycat Sweet Cornbread and my own fabulous, quick honey butter.
  2. Mashed up with spices or salsa as a low-fat dip for chips, bread or vegetables.
  3. Mashed navy beans can be included to add fiber and protein to muffins or to thicken soups, spaghetti sauce or gravy.
  4. In any bean salad recipe.
  5. Mashed and formed into patties that are fried as a burger substitute.
  6. Mashed as a dip. you can use white beans instead of garbanzo beans to make great hummus.
  7. Pureed, with garlic, spices, and bouillon to make an upscale mashed potato substitute.
  8. Cooked with chicken for a white chili.
  9. Mixed with garlic, spices, tomato, and spinach for topping bruschetta.
  10. Mixed with pesto and spinach for a pasta dish.
  11. For many soup recipes like minestrone or chili.
  12. Boston baked beans.

White Bean Facts

Inexpensive, versatile, white beans are a true superfood. A one-cup serving provides:

  • 75% of a day's fiber
  • 25% of our daily protein and iron needs
  • Many other important minerals

Cooking your own dried beans makes sure you retain all of that nutritional value.

White Beans Are a True Native American Food

Many beans were familiar to the early settlers, but white beans were introduced to them by the Native Americans. Perhaps because white beans stored so well, they were soon used on ships a lot and earned the name "navy beans." White beans are used in the familiar Boston baked beans recipe.

Questions & Answers

Question: Should white beans be peeled?

Answer: These type of beans can't be peeled but as they cook the skins will tend to wrinkle, shrink, and break. That is an indication that the beans are getting softer.