Whether you need them for tomorrow or in the next hour, dried chickpeas must be soaked before you can use them. Soaking the dried chickpeas, which are packed with protein and have a mild nutty flavor, rehydrates them so they can cook properly. You can soak the chickpeas slowly in cool water overnight, or in hot water for about an hour, if you are short on time. Use the rehydrated chickpeas to make a smooth hummus, or you can add them to hearty salads, soups and stews.
The Overnight Soak
Pour the dried chickpeas into a large mixing bowl.
Cover the chickpeas completely with cold water. You'll want to add several inches of water over the chickpeas, as they will double in size and need to stay submerged.
Cover the bowl loosely with a clean kitchen towel and leave them to soak overnight, or about 8 to 12 hours. Drain the liquid from the chickpeas and add them to a pot with fresh water for cooking.
The Quick Soak
Place the chickpeas in a large pot and cover with several inches of water.
Heat the pot on the stove and bring the water to a boil. Allow the chickpeas to boil for about 5 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat.
Cover the pot and let the chickpeas soak for about an hour. They should be doubled in size when they are ready. Drain the old water and add fresh water to the pot before cooking.
- Adding a teaspoon of baking soda to the water as the chickpeas as they soak can help soften the outer skins, allowing them to rehydrate a little faster. The softer-skinned chickpeas also blend into a very smooth hummus.
- Look for dried chickpeas in grocery stores and farmer's markets that sell dried grains and beans. Canned chickpeas are more widely available, but they have less flavor, as they have been sitting in salted liquid for an indefinite amount of time.
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