dried beans in bulk

How to keep Dried Beans Ready to Use

Buying dried beans in bulk is usually a whole lot cheaper than a single 15 ounce can. At the local big box store I can get 4 pound bags of a few varieties of dried beans and lentils.  The only problem I have is that when I decide to make something, I have to cook the beans first.  And that takes a lot of time.

So I came up with a way to cook and keep them in bulk, ready to use any time. And just as convenient as a can of beans off the shelf.

I rinse the beans well, then put them into my trusty Instant Pot pressure cooker. Cover with water by about an inch.  If you don’t have a pressure cooker (which is just convenient for faster cooking) you can certainly cook them on the stove top.

dried beans covered with water, ready to cook


On goes the cover, and I set the cooker for 15-25 minutes, depending on the type of bean. I don’t want them all the way cooked so that they fall apart. I want them mostly cooked, and still in one piece, so that they will need just a bit of cooking in whatever I am making to finish them off.  These pink beans will go for about 15 minutes.

Once done, and the pressure is released, I pour them into a colander to drain.  These red beans will take a few minutes to drain, and cool down a bit.

draining red beans


Once the beans are well drained, I spread them out on parchment covered trays, and pop them in the freezer for 30-60 minutes. They don’t have to freezer solid, and you want them to move around individually, not be frozen into blocks.

cooked red beans

cooked red beans on trays, ready to freeze.


Once frozen, I can pour them into gallon size freezer bags, or portion them into smaller bags.  sometimes I put into 10 ox portions to equal a can of beans, just I can just grab and cook.

If you have a vacuum sealer, that works great to keep excess air at bay.  I find I use the beans so often it doesn’t really matter, because they are not frozen long enough to have any serious freezer burn.

Cooking 2 pounds of dried beans gives me 2 trays or about 1 gallon bag full.  Once they are in the freezer, I can just scoop out however much I need, and pop the rest back into the cold.

red beans for the freezer

Cooked red beans, ready to freeze


So next time you see bags of dried beans – red beans, pink beans, lima beans, chick peas or adzuki beans – grab a couple bags to save some money, and spend a bit of time preparing them for the freezer. They’ll be right there waiting when you need them.

Do you have a different way to store them (cooked, that is)?  Or do you just cook & use dried beans on as as needed basis?