Who Says You Need To Can Beans?


While I'm on the topic of beans and legumes, I thought I'd show you the bags of black beans I prepared for the freezer last night.

For those who find it a bit too much to constantly prepare dry beans (or find that they end up eating less beans because they forget to soak and cook them ahead of time), here is my simple solution:

Cook extra and freeze them!

Whenever I am preparing dried beans, I always make at least 2-3 times the amount I need (or even more). Once they're cooked and cooled, I just scoop them into baggies in 1 cup portions. Then I toss them in the freezer. Done.

I initially thought that the texture of these beans would be really strange, but was very surprised to find that they're just fine! I have done this with pintos, kidneys and black beans quite frequently (I think I've also done it with chickpeas on occasion, though my vague recollection is that they don't freeze quite as nicely) and have never noticed any significant difference once they've been thawed.

This makes it so easy to use my frugal, healthy dried beans as a "convenience" food, to whip up some kind of wraps or taco salad or fast soup.


Or, if you're in the mood for something sweet, why don't you try these unique but delicious Black Bean Brownies that I made again this week? Don't knock it til you've tried it (my husband wasn't so sure, but he thinks they're amazing).

Does anyone else freeze their cooked beans? If so, how do you find them once they're thawed and which varieties have you tried freezing?

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  1. Yep, I always cook a bag of beans at a time. I mean, if you’re going to go through the trouble of soaking and cooking, like you said, why not? I’ve done pinto and black beans, and both thaw just fine. I do exactly as you said — measure them into ziplocks and stick them in the freezer — but I do about 2 cups at a time (since that’s about a can, it’s easier for recipes). We just had fajitas with a side of freezer pinto beans last night!

  2. This is awesome! I don’t know how to can yet – I will give this a try instead. THANKS! 🙂

  3. Never tried this but will. I love the cost of dried beans vs canned beans, but I am always forgetting to leave enough time for soaking and cooking.

  4. Great tip! I started doing this recently and it works nicely. I like that I’m not buying canned beans; because of the BPA in cans we’re trying to avoid canned goods as much as possible now. I do my beans in the crockpot- soak overnight then rinse and cook on low until done.

  5. I do this too. It’s a time and money saver! I regularly freeze cooked chick peas and have been fine with them. I always throw them into the food processor for hummus and they work great!

  6. I do this as well. I usually cook up a 6 qt crockpot full at a time and then store the extras in mason jars in the freezer. I also do the same thing with “re-fried” beans and they freeze really well. It is really nice to have re-fried beans on hand to use in wraps and dips, etc.

    Here is a link to the recipe I use, loosely, for the re-fried beans – http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Refried-Beans-Without-the-Refry/Detail.aspx

    Your brownies look delicious! I have had that recipes on my “to-make” list for a while now but to be honest I have been bit worried that my kids/husband would think I had gone “too far” if I tried it. However, I just figured out that my 19 month old son is gluten intolerant so it looks like it will be black bean brownies or nothing for him. I also found another recipe for a chocolate cake made with beets that looks interesting: http://www.elanaspantry.com/purple-velvet-torte/

  7. I’ve tried red kidney beans for chili. It’s worked pretty well. I’m going to have to try those brownies – my husband is pretty adventurous (and healthy), so he’ll think it’s great that they have beans in them. I better feed him some Beano first, though! 😉

  8. I usually cook 2x-4x more than we’ll need — beans will also keep in the fridge for 3-5 days. So often I’ll plan two or three “bean meals” in a 5-day window and use up the whole batch in one week without the bother of freezing and thawing… We eat a LOT of beans around here. 🙂

    And for anyone concerned about the odor issue, you can find some very good information online about how to do a “gas free soak”!

  9. I also freeze my beans (pinto and black). I usually mash them first as I usually eat them that way. The texture of the few that don’t get mashed is just fine though!

  10. How wonderful to find out they freeze well. I always thought they would be mushy.

    There are only three of us left at home and my son doesn’t like beans (although sometimes he will eat black beans). I’ll make some this week knowing I can freeze what we don’t need.

    About that…. um… brownie recipe? I guess I’d have to try it first. 🙂

  11. I do this all the time. Black beans, red beans, kidney beans, lentils, etc. I’ve started spreading them out on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper, let them freeze, then put them in a freezer bag. They freeze individually so it’s easier to scoop out the amount you need.

  12. I cook a pound of various beans 2-3 times a week just to freeze in 2-cup portions. I freeze brown rice too. I like to have pinto, black, white, red beans and chick peas in the freezer. I like Lorie’s idea of freezing them on a cookie sheet and putting them in one freezer container to scoop out, though. I’ll have to try that with my next batch.

    I am definitely trying your brownies! Only my family won’t know they contain beans until after they’ve tried them. 🙂

  13. I freeze my beans too (pinto, black and kidney). i do them all the same day and get it over with, my house stinks on bean cooking day and i have to wash the stove eyes but it’s worth it! i get all the air out of the bags and flatten them out and they take less room in the freezer.

  14. I’ve been meaning to do this, so thanks for all the great feedback and ideas – I think I’ll plan on doing this on Monday. I like the idea a previous poster mentioned about freezing brown rice, as well – I typically forget that I’m supposed to put the rice on, and brown rice takes so long, I end up settling for the white stuff.

    Thanks for the encouragement to do this, Stephanie 🙂

  15. I freeze beans all the time too. I agree with some of the others. If you are going to go through all the trouble of soaking and cooking beans you might as well freeze some.

    So, SO funny that you wrote about those brownies! I just found that recipe at 101 cookbooks yesterday and was thinking of trying it. Glad to know they turned out yummy! Did you use the agave nectar or the honey?

  16. Mary Ann, I’m glad you said that chickpeas are fine. Maybe they were when I tried them, but it’s been a while and I just couldn’t quite remember. Thanks!

    Sarah Michelle, thanks for mentioning refried. I also cook these in big batches and freeze them, and didn’t even think to mention them!

    Brenda, I served the brownies at a wedding shower the other night, and they went over well! They’re good- really! 🙂

    Amanda, the other poster is right about brown rice. It freezes great, especially if you’re going to put it in a casserole, soup, burritos, etc. I do this when I accidentally make way too much and can’t use it up in time.

    Amanda, I’ve always used honey, and it works well. Honey is just a bit sweeter, so you can lessen the amount slightly if you want (maybe by 1/4-1/8 cup?).

  17. I freeze beans all the time. Mostly chick peas, I do find they freeze great! Lentils I dont bother as they don’t need soaking anyways. I also freeze kidney beans, black beans, and have done pintos in the past and black eyed peas. I freeze them in the portion I want them for in a recipe.

    The other way I remember to soak beans for a meal is I have it on my checklist I look at before bed. 🙂

  18. I’ve frozen beans, but just after they have been soaked. (I usually soak my beans overnight before cooking them.) I frequently overestimate on dry beans, and end up with too many beans to fit in my slow cooker, so I freeze them. So far they have turned out well. I think I tried this with pinto and maybe Great Northern beans. I will have to try freezing them once they’re cooked, too.

  19. You’ve just solved a major bean dilemma for me! I love black beans, hate to use the canned, but don’t have time to prepare them as often as my husband and I love to eat them. I don’t know why I never thought of freezing them before! Thank you!

  20. I like my beans to be really soft. Since I like them soft should I freeze then when they are just a tad bit harder than my liking, since they will probably soften up a little from freezing them? And thanks for this idea!! I never would have thought of it on my own.

  21. Paige, I haven’t found that they really soften up much from the freezing, so I think I would cook them about as much as you usually do before freezing them.

  22. I’m so glad I was able to find this post again! I took the plunge this weekend, soaked a bag of black beans to cook and freeze 🙂

    And next I’m going to sprout some and see how the kids and chickens like that! 🙂

  23. Thank you so much for these directions! I am cooking chickpeas in my crock pot right now for the first time and have been anxiously awaiting to try them all day. I’m also glad to know that they will freeze well as I am cooking a large amount. When you freeze them, do you cover them with water or drain them first? Seems like draining them first would make them easier to thaw, but I don’t want the beans to dry out.

    Thanks again!! 🙂

  24. Hi! As a bean newbie, I’m excited to try this because I’m trying to get away from the canned stuff. Can you dumb it down further for me and tell me how long to soak and how long to cook? I think I’d like to do it in the crockpot, so would it be on the low setting? Thank you!

  25. I soaked some black beans this morning and they are cooking on the stove as we speak. Thanks for this blog – now I’ll be cooking more beans since I know that I can freeze them once they have cooked!

  26. Stephanie,

    I also freeze cooked beans and my family loves them.
    Anything I can freeze or hydrate I do.
    Thank you for all the good information on your site. Have to get your books.

    Thank you
    Carla Tacome WA

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