How to Soak Kidney Beans

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Things You'll Need

  • Large bowl

  • Colander

Soaking kidney beans greatly reduces their overall cooking time.

Kidney beans need to be soaked before you cook them. Due to their size and texture, the soaking allows the beans to cook at a faster rate because it rehydrates the beans. Kidney beans are high in fiber and iron. The bean gets its name due to its uncanny resemblance to a kidney. The beans absorb flavors and enrich simmered foods.

Step 1

Pour the kidney beans out into a large bowl. Use a roomy bowl because the beans will expand to at least three times their original size. Remove any discolored beans and pebbles.

Step 2

Rinse the beans by covering them with water. Shake the bowl carefully to rinse them, and remove any beans that float.

Step 3

Pour the beans into a colander. Discard the rinsing water.

Step 4

Cover the kidney beans with warm water. There should be about 2 inches of water over the beans.

Step 5

Add more water to cover the kidney beans. While the kidney beans soak, water may need added to keep them covered.

Step 6

Soak the kidney beans at room temperature for six hours. They can soak up to 24 hours. If you soak them longer than 24 hours, they will lose their quality.

Step 7

Change the water once, halfway through the soaking time.

Step 8

Drain the kidney beans in a colander. Rinse them with cold water. They are now ready to cook.


Kidney beans will take up to 1 1 /2 hours to cook after they soak. Allow them to simmer without bringing them to a boil.


Do not eat kidney beans raw or undercooked. The beans contain a toxin that you can destroy only by cooking them.