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cooked kidney beans in a serving bowl next to a spoon and napkin

Stovetop Cooked Kidney Beans

Learn how to cook dry kidney beans on the stove, including tips for freezing them.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Soaking Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 50 minutes
Servings 6 cups
Calories 255kcal


  • Large bowl
  • Colander
  • Dutch oven or large pot


  • 1 pound dried red kidney beans
  • 2 bay leaves optional
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Sort through the kidney beans and remove any shriveled or broken ones.
  • Place the kidney beans in a large bowl and cover with 10 cups of water. Leave the bowl on the counter and soak for at least 5 hours or overnight. The beans will swell up in size as they soak, so be sure to use a bowl that's big enough.
  • Drain the soaked beans and place them in a Dutch oven or large pot with 10 cups of fresh water. Add the bay leaves to the pot.
  • Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes, then reduce heat to a simmer. Let the beans simmer for 45 minutes and up to 90 minutes until tender and soft. Add the salt about 10 minutes before you think they'll be finished cooking. Some beans may split open during the cooking process. Depending on the soaking time and age of the beans, they may only take 30 minutes to cook, so check them then to see if they're done. Stir the beans periodically while they're on the stove to promote even cooking.
  • When the beans are finished, remove from heat. You can choose to drain them completely or transfer them with a slotted spoon to storage containers. I like to include a tiny bit of liquid with my beans when I store them, so I use a slotted spoon. If you want to cool the beans down before storing, drain and rinse them under cold running water.
  • Store the beans in 1.75 to 2 cup portions (equivalent to a 15-ounce can of beans), since this makes them easier to add to recipes that call for a can of beans. They will last for a week in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer.
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  • It's very important to cook kidney beans completely. They contain a compound that can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea if it's not destroyed via the cooking process.
  • Use the ratio of 5 cups water for 1 cup of dried beans for both soaking and cooking. So, for a pound of dried beans (~2 cups), you need 10 cups water.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 255kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 397mg | Potassium: 1028mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 5mg