how to soften beans with baking soda

In this brief article, we will answer the question,’ how to soften beans with baking soda’. Also we will discuss in depth analysis of softening of beans.

how to soften beans with baking soda

In a large saucepan or dutch oven, add beans, 1 ½ tablespoon salt, and 8 cups of water. Add a little may be ¼ or 1 teaspoon sodium bicarbonate in the saucepan. Sodium bicarbonate is baking soda. Bring it to a boil. This may help to soften beans while cooking.

Reasons why beans are not softening? 

There are some reasons which may define why beans do not get soft. The reasons may be 

1. Beans are old

2. Hard water.

3. The presence of an acid

If beans are not old, then there must be a problem with your water.

Benefits of baking soda while cooking beans 

There are many benefits of baking soda while cooking beans. Some benefits are as follows

  • Baking soda acts as a tenderizer for beans. Beans which do not get soft, baking soda helps them to get soft. Despite soaking them overnight or simmering them for a day, beans take a lot of time to cook. So it is better to use baking soda while cooking to get beans soft and get it cooked quickly. 
  • By adding Baking soda to beans, it adds sodium ions which will help to weaken the pectin. When pectin molecules get weak, beans get soft rapidly.
  • Soaking and washing dry legumes will help to lower the content of oligosaccharide in them. This will help to reduce gassiness in them. But if there is still some gas left in the beans, add baking soda. It will make you less gassy
  • The texture of beans improves by adding baking soda to them. The gravy becomes fluffy and smooth when beans are cooked by adding baking soda.

When to add baking soda to beans?

Baking soda is preferred to add to beans when they are soaked. But it can be added while cooking. But the quantity of baking soda differs before or after cooking. Beans cooked with baking soda take half of the time as beans cooked without baking soda. 

What does soaking beans in baking soda do?

Soaking beans in baking soda help to increase the pH and alkalinity of soaking water. It also helps to remove elements like magnesium and calcium from hard water. Baking soda also increases the disintegration of pectin which helps beans to cook fast. 

Can beans soak too long?

It is recommended to soak beans for 8 to 10 hours overnight. If beans are soaked too long, more than 12 hours, it breaks down their skin and they can lose their flavor and become overly mushy. So it is better to soak beans for 8 to 10 hours or maximum 12 hours.

How to cook beans?

Cooking beans is very easy. Here are a few steps to cook beans.

  1. It is very important to sift through the beans as packed beans may contain small stones or debris. So scour through the beans before letting them soak. 
  2. Soak beans or not? It is highly recommended to soak your beans before cooking as soaked beans will be ready to cook. Soak beans for 8 to 10 hours. Add a pinch of salt in water and stir well. Discard any beans that float above the water. 
  3. Rinse and drain the beans the next morning or after 8 to 10 hours. Transfer the soaked beans in a large pot and cover them with 2 inches of water. 
  4. Add salt, other seasonings and a pinch of baking soda in beans. Bring it to boil and stir so everything gets dissolved in it. Now put beans on medium heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. 
  5. When the beans have simmered for 45 minutes. Check if the beans have been tender. If beans are still not soft, cook them for another 10 minutes. Add more water if they look dry. Cooking time may vary everywhere depending upon size of pot, freshness of beans, ingredients added to the beans, and flame pressure. 
  6. When the beans are tender, remove them from heat. 
  7. Serve hot. These beans can be stored in an airtight container.

What seasonings can be added to beans?

Cooking beans with salt is delicious but adding beans into different recipes and adding seasonings to beans made them more delicious. 

Here are a few aromatics which can be added to beans for more flavor.

  • Onions and garlic.  
  • Herbs
  • Spices
  • Vegetable scraps 

Other FAQs about Baking soda that you may be interested in.

Can I use baking soda instead of cornstarch?

Can you eat baking soda raw?

Can dogs eat baking soda?


In this brief article, we answered the question,’ how to soften beans with baking soda’. Also we have discussed in depth analysis of beans. And benefits of baking soda while cooking beans.