How to Soften Beans After Cooking

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A pot of homemade beans can be a nutritious, filling and comforting meal. Cooking dry beans from start to finish is a time-consuming task. Finding out after your beans are cooked that they are still hard as a rock can be disappointing, and doesn't help you get your family's dinner on the table. A quick kitchen trick with baking soda often softens the beans, but you might need to re-cook the batch for increased tenderness.

Step 1

Stir baking soda into a pot of hard, cooked beans. Use 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda per pound of beans for best results. Beans that have been stored for more than a year are more likely to stay hard upon cooking. A bit more baking soda may be required in this case, to coax tenderness from the legumes.

Step 2

Re-soften hard, cooked beans on the stove if baking soda does not help. Cover beans with water and boil for 2 minutes.

Step 3

Drain and rinse beans after boiling. Unfortunately, you'll lose the sauce and need to re-season the beans during the second soaking process. Fill the pot with fresh water and soak them again for an hour or two. Add 1 tablespoon of salt for every quart of water if your water is hard. The minerals in hard water often result in harder beans.

Step 4

Cook the beans again for an hour or so. Test with a fork for desired tenderness.