How to Cook White Beans: 12 Steps (with Pictures)

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How to Cook White Beans: 12 Steps (with Pictures)
How to Cook White Beans: 12 Steps (with Pictures)

White beans are a common type native to the Americas. They are small, dry, white and half oval in shape. Popular preparations for this type of beans include baked beans, pies and soups. Furthermore, consumption also helps to lower cholesterol. White beans are rich in nutrients such as ferulic acid and p-coumaric acid, in addition to having cancer-fighting properties.


  • 450 g of dry white beans;
  • 1 small onion;
  • 1 head of celery;
  • Various cloves of garlic;
  • Olive oil;
  • Tomatoes (Rome or cherry tomatoes; chopped canned tomatoes can also be used);
  • Pieces of pancetta or bacon (optional).


Part 1 of 3: Preparing the beans

Cook Navy Beans Step 1

Step 1. Remove bad beans

There may be small stones and discolored lumps among the dried beans. Discoloration is usually a sign that the beans are not suitable for consumption, so remove them along with the stones, separating the good beans.

  • Canned navy beans are easier to prepare than dried beans. You only need to lightly cook for a very short period with the ingredients of your choice, and the beans will be ready for consumption.
  • As an example, the stove cooking process will be provided in this article. However, you can prepare white beans in the slow-cooker if that's your preference.
Cook Navy Beans Step 2

Step 2. Wash the beans

Take a large pot or bowl and add the beans. Then pour cold running water over the beans and remove any impurities or bacteria from the surface. When finished, use a colander to remove the dirty water from the bowl or pan.

Step 3. Soak the beans

Return the washed beans to the bowl or pan and cover completely with cold water. For every 450g of beans, use eight cups of water. Soak for at least eight hours or overnight.

By soaking the beans, the enzymes within the beans are degraded and this decreases the production of gases

Step 4. Boil until tender

First, it is necessary to drain the beans from the cold water where they were soaked. Then place them in a pot and cover with six cups of hot water for every 450g of beans. Turn the heat on and let the water reach boiling point. Boil for an hour and a half or two hours.

  • Adjust how long the beans will boil to help the beans soften. The shorter the time, the firmer they will be, and a longer time will result in softer beans.
  • During cooking, foam is likely to form on the surface of the water. Add a tablespoon or two of butter or olive oil to the water to lessen the foam.
  • Add salt only after the beans are completely cooked. Adding beforehand interferes with the rehydration process and can make the beans a little hard.

Part 2 of 3: Preparing the ingredients for a simple white bean dish

Cook Navy Beans Step 5

Step 1. Cut the ingredients

Use a sharp knife to cut a small onion, a head of celery, several cloves of garlic and tomatoes. These items will add flavor and variety to the simple white bean dish. You can cut them very small to create a smoother consistency, or you can leave them in large chunks for a thicker, voluminous result.

Roma tomatoes or cherry tomatoes are very good in this recipe. Heirloom types also add a strong, delicious flavor

Step 2. Mix in some pancetta or chopped bacon

All you need is a few pieces on the plate, but you can add more if you really like this type of meat. If not, use chopped sausage or chicken.

  • Whichever type of meat is used, sauté until completely cooked. The thicker, voluminous pieces will need to cook longer than the thinner, smaller pieces.
  • Continue to cook the ingredients, lowering the heat if necessary, until the onion and bacon are golden brown.

Step 3. Saute the onion, celery and garlic in olive oil

Cover a pan with a thin layer of oil. Then turn the stove on to medium or high heat. Add ingredients and cook for three to five minutes.

If you notice the garlic starting to turn brown, turn down the heat or start the next phase of this dish. Garlic can turn bitter if cooked too long or burns

Cook Navy Beans Step 7

Step 4. Add tomatoes

This ingredient will cook in the heat of the pan. Tomato juice and flavor will also be infused into the rest of the dish. You can also create a more distinctive flavor by adding spices and seasonings such as rosemary or thyme.

Part 3 of 3: Finishing the Simple White Bean Dish

Cook Navy Beans Step 9

Step 1. Add beans

The beans will get the flavor of the ingredients when cooked together, which will take approximately one minute. After that, if you want to make them even softer, add enough water to cover all the beans by at least 2.5 cm.

You can add as many beans as you like to this dish

Step 2. Bring to the boil with the other ingredients, if necessary

If the beans are already cooked to the desired consistency, you may not want to boil them again with the ingredients for a long time. However, to make them softer, first let the contents of the pan reach the boiling point. Then reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer until the beans are tender.

During this process, you may need to add water to the mix if it is drying

Cook Navy Beans Step 11

Step 3. Garnish and serve

When the beans are tender, they are ready to be served. You have the option of adding some garnishes to the dish to enhance the presentation, such as chopped parsley or a whole sprig.

Cook Navy Beans Step 12

Step 4. Try other white bean recipes

There are several ways to prepare this type of beans. With 15 minutes of preparation and approximately four and a half hours of boiling over low heat, you can make a homemade white bean soup. Pork is a popular addition to beans, and you might try making ham from the beans in a slow-cooking pan.

Many recipes are available on the internet for free. To explore more recipes, search for “white bean recipes” on a search engine


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