Pot of Beans

Makes 6 Cups
These pantry staples are versatile, healthful, and delicious. Count on them for simple, satisfying meals.



  • 1 pound dried beans, such as kidney, cannellini, navy, pinto, or black
  • 8 to 10 cups water, plus more for soaking


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 fresh chile, chopped
  • Coarse salt
  • Optional flavor add-ins (see below)


1. Make the beans: Place beans in a large bowl; cover with water by several inches. Refrigerate, covered, overnight. Drain. (For a quick soak, cover beans in a saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 1 hour. Drain.)
2. Make the flavor base: Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic, chile, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and any add-ins until onion and garlic are soft, about 5 minutes.
3. Add beans, 8 cups water, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, partially covered, adding water as needed to keep submerged, until tender, 35 minutes to 2 hours, depending on type of bean. (Start checking for doneness after 30 minutes.)

cook's note
Stir a few tablespoons of any of these into the flavor base: bell peppers, sausage, bacon, tomatoes. Or season with herbs and spices (cumin, paprika, cayenne, oregano, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf).
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