Can you cook kidney beans without soaking?

In this brief guide, we’ll review the query: “Can you cook kidney beans without soaking?” We’ll also discuss how you can cook kidney beans without soaking, why kidney beans are usually soaked, what is the nutritional content of kidney beans and are they healthy to eat. 

Can you cook kidney beans without soaking them? 

Yes, cooking unsoaked kidney beans is not hazardous to one’s health, it may simply be inconvenient.  Kidney beans can be cooked without soaking; they will soften in time, though they will take longer to cook, and the concentrations of some components that cause indigestion will not be removed. 

This may however be desirable, as some recipes call for using the broth obtained from boiled beans to give food substance. 

How can I cook kidney beans without soaking? 

Cooking kidney beans without soaking will doubtlessly take longer, but the process is quite straightforward.  

The first step is to empty the beans from their packaging and sort them away from any debris and sub quality grains. Aged beans tend to have powder dredged at the bottom, which means that they’ll take even longer to cook. 

Once sorted, the raw beans can be added directly into a pot with boiling water, along with the other ingredients to cook. The resulting broth will have a bit more consistency and savoriness. 

The cooking time will depend on the volume of raw kidney beans to cook, the cooking temperature, and the freshness of the beans. 

Other recipes suggest “quick-soaking” raw kidney beans to speed up the process and advise placing the beans in a large pot, covering them with around two inches of water, and boiling them at high heat for around five minutes. 

These “quick soaked” beans can be removed from the heat source and left to soak in the hot water for about one hour, after which they can be drained, rinsed, and cooked. 

Why are kidney beans usually soaked?

Before cooking, kidney beans are soaked to tenderize them, and to remove metabolites such as phytic acid (an acid that prevents some minerals from being absorbed in the small intestine), and phytohaemagglutinin (commonly known as PHA, and that in high concentration, is toxic). 

As soaking reduces the likelihood of undercooking kidney beans, it is also done to reduce the risk of food poisoning by PHA, which is degraded by properly cooking kidney beans. 

Mostly, beans are soaked to even out the cooking time. Some suppliers may have slow movement of their inventories, and readers may end up with a cache of semi-aged beans that will take a long time to cook. Soaking will help the beans cook evenly, regardless of their packaging and expiration date.  

What should I consider when cooking kidney beans? 

When preparing a meal with kidney beans, under no circumstance should they be served raw, due to their high PHA content. Cooking will degrade this substance and make it safe for consumption. 

The freshness of procured beans will have an impact on their cooking time. Aged beans will require longer periods, though soaking may help lessen the necessary amount, also, soaking will help seep out some substances that cause indigestion. 

However, it is also possible to curb possible indigestion by cooking unsoaked dry beans with -kombu- a widely available Japanese seaweed. 

Alternatively, readers can opt to use canned kidney beans, which have lower concentrations of sugars due to their processing.   

What is the nutritional content of kidney beans? 

On average, a half cup of canned kidney beans contains: 

  • Calories: 105
  • Protein: 7 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates: 19 grams of which 17g are fiber, and the remaining 2 grams are sugar.  

 Also, kidney beans are a rich source of iron, folate, Thiamine (vitamin B1), phosphorus, and manganese. 

Are kidney beans healthy to eat? 

Yes, kidney beans are considered a good addition to any diet. They are growing in demand, as they are not only considered a versatile vegetable, but also a source of protein that is gaining more popularity as each day, more folks are switching to plant-based dieting. 

Kidney beans are low in overall fat and contribute many micronutrients, which may reduce the risk of heart disease, help people maintain healthy weights, and are a rich source of non-digestible fiber.   


In this brief guide, we’ve addressed the query: “Can you cook kidney beans without soaking?” We’ve also discussed how you can cook kidney beans without soaking, why kidney beans are usually soaked, what is the nutritional content of kidney beans and are they healthy to eat. 


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.