Basic Pot of Beans


1 pound dried beans, rinsed and picked over for stones, soaked overnight or quick-soaked (if you’re using freshly-dried beans, you can skip the soaking step)
6 cups water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large or 4 small garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 bay leaves (fresh or dry)
1½ tablespoons kosher salt

After rinsing and soaking, pour the beans into a heavy-bottomed pot, like a Dutch oven. Add 6 cups of water, or enough to cover the beans by at least 1-2 inches, the oil, garlic, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, add the salt, and let cook partially covered until tender, about 1–1½ hours. Be sure to check on your beans while they cook and add more water if needed. The best way to know if the beans are cooked is to taste them; sample a few to be certain they’re really done. Once they’re cooked to your liking, let the beans cool in their liquid and remove the garlic cloves and bay leaves. Store in an airtight container in the fridge, covered with their broth. They will last 3-4 days. Any leftover beans can be frozen in zip-top bags for use in a pinch!

Sarah Blackburn is a home cook, recipe developer, vegetable gardener and managing editor of Edible Boston. She can be reached at