In this blog post, you’ll learn how to cook white beans at home and turn them into delicious recipes.

This recipe works with most varieties of white beans, including cannellini beans, navy beans, great northern beans, baby lima beans, and butter beans.

The beans you see in the pictures are dried Tuscan cannellini beans.

cannellini beans on a white plate with a spoon

Dietary Note: this recipe is suitable for a vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diet.

Don’t have time to read the full blog post? JUMP TO RECIPE HERE!

How to cook dried white beans?

Have a quick visual scan of your dried white beans to ensure they are free of stones or dirt from the harvest.

dried white beans on a plate

Put the white beans in a colander and rinse them with water.

Then add them to a large bowl and cover with cold water for 4 inches or 10 cm.

Cover the bowl with a plate or cloth and soak for 8 to 24 hours.

Tip: Longer soaking times mean shorter cooking time. Soaking is essential because it makes the beans tender and easier to digest.

soaked white beans in a glass bowl

After 8 to 24 hours, the beans should have absorbed some water and doubled in volume.

Drain and rinse them well under running water.

white beans after soaking

Add them to a large pot and cover them with about 6 inches or 15 cm of water.

Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and let them simmer until tender. Depending on the size and time of harvest, this can take 45 minutes to 2.5 hours.

Add the salt 30 minutes into cooking.

Skim off the foam that forms on the surface of the water.

white foam in cooking water with white beans

The beans are ready when you can easily press them between your thumb and index finger.

They should mash easily and have a creamy texture.

cooked white beans in a blue Dutch oven

Storage

Refrigerator: Transfer the white beans and their cooking liquid to a sturdy, airtight container. Let them cool down at room temperature with the lid cracked open, then store them in the fridge for five days.

Freezer: Let the beans cool down in their liquid, drain them, and add them to a freezer-friendly bag. Freeze for three months.

Thawing: Defrost over several hours in the fridge or add to soups and stews frozen.

storage of white beans

Recipes with white beans

What sets white beans apart from most other bean varieties is their thin skin and creamy texture.

Piyaz with olives and marinated red onions on a plate
Piyaz Turkish white bean salad topped with marinated onions, parsley, and olives.

For this reason, they are excellent for making spreads and adding to soups and stews.

You can even blend and use them as a creamer for pasta sauces, stews, soups, and many other recipes.

Recipes with white beans as a main ingredient:

White bean dip in a Mediterranean bowl with scallions and dill
White bean dip topped with fresh herbs.

Recipes with white beans as a supporting ingredient:

Creamy pasta salad with mayo and olives
Creamy pasta salad with white beans, crunchy veggies, and a creamy yogurt dressing.

More legume recipes

More cooking basics

cannellini beans with a silver spoon

How to Cook White Beans

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 2 votes
In this blog post, you’ll learn how to cook white beans at home and turn them into delicious recipes.
This recipe works with most varieties of white beans, including cannellini beans, navy beans, great northern beans, baby lima beans, and butter beans.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Soaking Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 9 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Course: Basic
Cuisine: International

Ingredients

  • cups dried cannellini or another white bean variety. We recommend cooking a large batch and freeze the leftovers.
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 – 2 gallons water to cover the beans by 4 – 6 inches.

Instructions 

  • Have a quick visual scan of your dried white beans to ensure they are free of stones or dirt from the harvest.
    dried white beans on a plate
  • Rinse them with water, then add them to a large bowl and cover with cold water by 4 inches / 10 cm.
    Cover with a cloth and let them soak for 8 to 24 hours.
    Drain and rinse them under running water.
    white beans after soaking
  • Add them to a large pot and cover with water by about 6 inches or 15 cm.
    Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and let them simmer until tender. Depending on the size and time of harvest, this can take 45 minutes to 2.5 hours.
    Add the salt 30 minutes into cooking.
    Skim off the foam that forms on the surface of the water.
    white foam in cooking water with white beans
  • The beans are ready when you can easily press them between your thumb and index finger.
    They should mash easily and have a creamy texture.
    cooked white beans in a blue Dutch oven
  • See the chapter "Recipes with white beans" for inspiration on how to use them.
    white bean with a silver spoon on a white plate

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 serving of white beans out of 8 servings.
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Nutrition

Serving: 1 out of 8, Calories: 208kcal, Carbohydrates: 38g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 0.1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.05g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 446mg, Potassium: 1122mg, Dietary Fiber: 10g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin B6: 0.2mg, Vitamin E: 0.1mg, Vitamin K: 4µg, Calcium: 150mg, Folate: 243µg, Iron: 7mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 119mg, Zinc: 2mg
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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

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3 Comments

    1. Thank you for your message Adele. We are happy you find the nutritional information useful 🙂
      Have a wonderful day.
      Nico