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6 Types of Dried Beans & How to Use Them

6 Types of Dried Beans & How to Use Them

For the home cook with a pantry full of dried beans, it can be difficult to come up with ways to use them in meals and sides. However, we have found a long list of yummy dishes for you and your families to try. From salads, to burgers, to pasta, this is the recipe list for you to learn how to use your beans!

Beans are a nutritious source for carbohydrates, proteins and fibers. Incorporating more types of beans into your meals will not only fill you up, but is also a healthy alternative! Remember, when using dried beans as the main ingredient in your meal, soak them overnight for best results. 

How To Prepare Dried Beans

Have you ever prepared dried beans for a meal before? Whether you are new to cooking with dried beans or not, we have found a great article that focuses on the many different types of beans as well as your options for cooking! 

Use these easy to follow methods listed below for small, medium or large beans. However, this will not work for lentils as they do not require pre-cooking.

  • Option 1 – Soak your beans overnight for a multitude of reasons, including: reducing the actual cook time, get plumper beans and reduce the effects on the digestive system. Place the beans in a bowl of water, cover with a lid and leave overnight. Then, simply drain and rinse in the morning for use.
  • Option 2 – Quick soak your beans to reduce the cook time and is a great option to use when you are braising beans. Simply put the beans in a pot, cover with water and oil. Cover with a lid and remove the pot from the heat. Allow the beans to rest in the warm water for at least an hour, then cook!
  • Option 3 – Try not soaking your beans and instead just throw them in a pot of water on the stove, then cover. This is great for when you have little time to plan ahead and allows the beans to become creamier in texture as well.

Remember, different sizes of beans will vary in the amount of time needed to cook. Check out the cook times listed below and find your bean:

  • Small Beans: 45-90 minutes
    • Black beans, black-eyed peas, navy beans
  • Medium Beans: 60-120 minutes
    • Great northern, kidney, pinto, garbanzo/chickpea beans
  • Large Beans: 80-180 minutes
    • Large lima, cannellini beans, butter beans

Quick, Easy and Nutritious Bean Salads

Cold bean salads are a fast way to get a full, balanced meal within a few minutes! There are many different types of beans to choose from and each different kind pairs well with different ingredients. Change your lunches or dinners up with some of these yummy recipes.

Kidney Bean Salad from Allrecipes and created by Jackie Noel Smith

This recipe offers a delicious combination of eggs, bacon, celery, mayo, sweet pickle relish and most importantly red kidney beans. With only 2 steps, home cooks can prepare a healthy bean salad for themselves or the family in just 15 minutes. Try experimenting with this Allrecipes meal by adding in or substituting your own ingredients, like a different bean or adding in some ham cubes!

Chickpea Salad with Cucumbers and Tomatoes from Skinnytaste and created by Gina Homolka

If you want to find a way to add some meatless protein to your salads, chickpeas can be a great way to do just that. This is a great recipe from Skinnytaste that requires 8 household ingredients and can be made in 10 minutes by simply tossing all of the fresh veggies and seasonings together in a bowl! 

This is a great salad with many different variations. It is suggested to try adding in some bell peppers, olives, feta cheese or avocado for flavorful color!

Savory Bean Soup Ideas

Bean soups are another great alternative when trying to come up with new dishes to make. It is typical to pair soups with cornbread, greens, or potatoes. This is also another great option that can be made into a full meal or served as a side dish!

Kidney Bean Vegetable Soup from Food. and created by So Cal Gal

This is a great recipe that offers home cooks the opportunity to use up some of their fresh, frozen or canned vegetables to make a hearty bean and veggie soup.

Perfect for both cold and hot days, this dish from Food. can be thrown together in no time by slowly combining the ingredients into a stew using red kidney beans and more!

Simple Chickpea Soup from NYT Cooking and created by Emily Weinstein

Using only 4 ingredients and requiring only 3 steps, any home cook can make a yummy chickpea soup with this recipe! This is a great idea from NYT Cooking to use for healthy, protein rich lunches and dinners.

This is a soup that can be eaten as the recipe states, or you can use it as a base and dress it up with other vegetables or meats. You can also add some seasonings to change up the flavor of the dish each time.

Hearty Navy Bean Soup from Taste of Home team

This is a navy bean recipe designed to produce a lot of soup to feed a large household, but also works well as leftovers! What makes this dish so special is its ability to become whatever the cook wants it to be. Taste of Home made this soup to go with a ham hock, but you could also try to add in diced ham cubes, sausage or more vegetables of your choice!

To thicken your soup, it is suggested to: let the beans cool slightly, then puree in a blender or food processor before returning to the pan.

Sausage and Bean Soup from Jo Cooks and created by Joanna Cismaru 

Are you looking for a way to use up some of the navy beans in your cupboard? Maybe you have some navy beans, red kidney beans and some cannellini beans that you are not quite sure how to use. This is the recipe for you!

This easy soup style dish requires only the beans you have in your pantry, some broth of your liking, some seasonings and a lot of your favorite vegetables. You can cook this up in a slow cooker, an instant pot or even on the stove top!

Lima Bean Soup from Home Cooking Memories and created by Brandie

Another great recipe for the family using lima beans to create a hearty vegetable soup. The Home Cooking Memories instructions call for your choice between onions and leeks, canned or dried lima beans and veggies like carrots, potatoes and celery!

To keep the soup thick, begin with only using 6 cups of broth and then slowly add more to help thin it out as you cook. You can also try mashing the beans once they have softened instead of using a food processor or blender for a thicker consistency!

Simple Beans and Rice Combinations

Beans and rice is another popular meal combination when you are seeking something with a lot of nutrients and easy digestion with many healthy calories. Again, there are many combinations for beans and rice. Personalize by adding in some different vegetables or replacing the water in your rice with broth instead!

Red Beans and Rice from Food Network and created by Robert Irvine

This is a simple recipe that allows for home cooks to add or substitute ingredients of their preference. With just a few ingredients and 3 steps, the Food Network has found a meal for your family in just 30 minutes!

Adding fresh or canned vegetables like celery, onion, green peppers and more is an easy way to upgrade such an easy recipe. Red kidney beans are the main ingredient here, but adding shrimp, sausage or chicken can be a good way to get some extra protein.

Easy Black Beans and Rice from Simply Recipes and created by Elise Bauer

This is another versatile black bean recipe that home cooks can customize based on their own preferences. In about 30 minutes, you and your family could be eating something both delicious and nutritious.

Using chicken broth in place of the water when preparing your rice is a good way to add some flavor! Lime juice is another great idea to add some citrus. Additionally, Simply Recipes suggests that you mix in some jalapenos or cayenne pepper for spice.

Chili and Slow Cooker Bean Meals

Another great option to use one or more kinds of beans is to make a big pot of chili! These are some great meal ideas for large families but also works well as leftovers for smaller households. Feel free to add any type of meat like beef, ham or bacon to complete these meals.

The Best Classic Chili from The Wholesome Dish and created by Amanda Finks

For those who enjoy making traditional chili as well as inexpensive dishes, this Wholesome Dish recipe offers the best of both worlds. This meal consists of ground beef or turkey beef, red kidney beans, onion and a homemade blend of chili seasonings! 

The best toppings here are shredded cheese, sour cream, green onion and crackers. Meat can also be made an optional ingredient here, just add some more beans instead.

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans from the Mom’s Kitchen Handbook team

Using only 5 household ingredients and a crock pot, this recipe is easy to prepare as it simply requires everything to be thrown into the pot and cook for 8 hours. These yummy pinto beans can be served as both a side dish and a main dish according to Mom’s Kitchen Handbook! 

Instant Pot Mexican Pinto Beans from Valerie’s Kitchen and created by Valeria Brunmeier

This is another great slow cooker pinto bean recipe that can also be made in a crock pot, but consists of a few more ingredients than the previous one. This is the perfect Mexican flavored meal that can be made in about 35 minutes.

It is recommended to soak the beans overnight or at least 6 hours before cooking for best results! To achieve a saucier bean consistency, Valerie’s Kitchen also suggests substituting broth in place of the water. 

Meat Alternative Bean Dishes

These are some tasty meat alternative ideas for when you want to switch out beef, turkey or chicken. Try giving one of these recipes a shot and make something new for dinner!

10 Minute Black Bean Tacos from Kitchn and created by Sheela Prakash

Consisting of 4 ingredients and a blend of taco seasoning, this quick and easy black bean taco recipe from the Kitchn offers households a healthy, meatless alternative.

Serve with avocado, cabbage or shredded lettuce, salsa and lime wedges for an added burst of flavor.

Black Bean Burritos from the Taste of Home team

In just 2 easy steps, you can turn your black beans into delicious burritos with this recipe. Some optional items recommended by Taste of Home include salsa, sour cream, cilantro and avocado! Feel free to serve as a burrito bowl or wrap the ingredients up inside a tortilla. 

20 Minute Black Bean Burgers from Gimme Some Oven and created by Ali Ebright

Try your hand at making some yummy black bean burgers with this quick and easy recipe from Gimme Some Oven. Requiring only a few ingredients, like dry black beans, garlic, breadcrumbs and egg with the option of adding in some mushrooms, you will be able to make this tasty meal in no time!

Pasta Style Beans

There are many ways to use beans to make different types of pasta sauces, but there are beans that can also be used as toppings. Below are two versions of pastas that utilize two different beans are primary ingredients.

Chickpea Pasta from The Spruce Eats and created by Anita Schecter

In about 30 minutes time, you can make this awesome chickpea based pasta recipe with your favorite toppings. The best part about making a chickpea pasta sauce is that you can season it with anything to create the flavor that you desire. Try garlic powder, cayenne pepper or lemon!

A quick soak tip from The Spruce Eats for chickpeas is to: place in a large pot of water, bring to a boil, remove from heat and then let stand for an hour. This will help the beans become softer thus creating a creamier sauce base!

Baby Lima Beans with Tomato and Sage from Food. and created by Jonesies

This last recipe requires only 7 household ingredients and can be made in just 30 minutes! Lima beans are full of fiber and are such a healthy alternative to try. One reminder from Food. is to not let the garlic burn or brown, instead you want them a golden color.

Other Bean Rich Foods to Try

These are some delicious recipes that utilize various types of dried beans to make hummus, baked beans and more. Try putting your own spin on some of these tasty foods!

5 Minute Hummus Recipe from Real Simple and created by Sara Quessenberry

Looking for something quick and yummy to dip your chips into? Or maybe you want to add an extra layer of protein to your sandwich? This recipe is perfect for you!

Real Simple has come up with an easy hummus recipe that takes only 5 minutes to make and just a few of your seasonings, fresh veggies and chickpeas in just 2 steps. 

Roasted Vegetables and Chickpeas from the Better Homes and Gardens team

Another great option for added protein by mixing in chickpeas with your favorite roasted vegetables and spices. Packed with vitamins and minerals, Better Homes and Gardens knows that this savory recipe will quickly become a family favorite.

It is recommended to thoroughly rinse your chickpeas, whether dry or from the can, to help remove any excess salt! 

Baked Beans from Scratch from Allrecipes and created by user wkndyummychef

With just a few dry pantry staples, some basic seasonings and spices, as well as your choice of fresh or canned vegetables, this is the best recipe to prepare your own delicious baked navy beans. Allrecipes makes it easy to add these beans to any meal at home!

Using navy beans as the prime ingredient, you can add in some small pieces of ham or rib for some extra protein! The brown sugar combined with the molasses is what makes this side dish so savory. 

Easy Lima Beans from Ahead of Thyme and created by Sam Hu

This recipe will make cooking lima beans easy and fun to devour. Ahead of Thyme has found a way to make your lima beans taste flavorful in 6 simple steps. Make it a meal or make it a side!

Two helpful tips suggested in the recipe are: to make sure to sort the beans to remove any small rocks or debris and let your dry beans soak overnight for at least 8 hours. Once finished, let the beans stand for at least 20 minutes in order for the flavors to absorb into the beans completely.

Creamy Old Fashioned Southern Butter Beans from Pear Tree Kitchen and created by Beth Mueller

Try this dish plain or mix in some ham or bacon for an added taste! Pear Tree Kitchen suggests that the lima beans do not have to be soaked overnight for this recipe, but instead just a 30 minute soak right beforehand.

Butter is another great option to add to the mix, as it will make the beans a little more flavorful, and will also make the dish creamier!

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