How To Soak Legumes and Cook Them from Scratch

How To Soak Legumes and Cook Them from Scratch

Legumes include lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans, soya beans, even peanuts. They are typically high in dietary fibre, vitamins, and minerals, and are a good source of plant-based protein. Frankly, legumes are a cornerstone for a balanced diet!

Even so, legumes can be difficult to digest and are perhaps a little intimidating to cook from scratch, which is why we have put together this handy "How to" for you.

Washing legumes properly as well as soaking them before cooking can make them much easier to digest, we recommend giving it a try! Plus, we have so many legumes for you to choose from in our shop, making it easy to get started.

What you will need

For Soaking:

  • Large mixing bowl

For Cooking:

  • Large pot with lid

Legume to Water Ratios (1 part legume: x parts water) and Cooking Times:

Aduki Beans – 1:4 ratio, 45 to 55 minutes

Black Turtle Beans – 1:3 ratio, 1 hour and 15 minutes

Brown Lentils – 1:3 ratio, 30 to 45 minutes

Butter Beans – 1:3 ratio, 45 minutes to 1 hour

Chickpeas – 1:3 ratio, 2 – 3 hours

Dark Speckled Lentils – 1:3 ratio, 30 to 45 minutes

Green Lentils – 1:3 ratio, 30 to 45 minutes

Haricot Beans – 1:4 ratio, 1.5 hours

Mung Beans – 1:3 ratio, 45 minutes to 1 hour

Red Kidney Beans – 1:3 ratio, 1.5 hours

Red Lentils – 1:3 ratio, 30 to 45 minutes

Soya Beans – 1:3 ratio, 3 to 4 hours



  1. Rinse and drain legumes two or three times to clean. Be mindful to remove any stones or other debris.
  2. Add legumes with plenty of water to a large mixing bowl and set aside for at least 2 hours. Ideally beans and peas should soak longer, for 4 to 8 hours or overnight. Lentils need minimal soaking time, 20 minutes to 2 hours, and cook much more quickly.
  3. If soaking for more than 2 hours change water every few hours, rinsing the legumes when you do. If leaving to soak overnight, change the water first thing in the morning. You will notice the legumes will have absorbed water and increased in size.

Quick Soaking:

  • Tight on time and didn’t soak your legumes? You might consider this method. After rinsing and draining, simply place legumes in a pot with the correct amount of water (as noted previously under “Legume to Water Ratios”), cover and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, remove from heat, cover, and let rest for 1 hour.



  1. Please note that legumes can increase in size by three times if cooked dry, so choose a large pot! Combine legumes and water in the pot, cover pot and add salt and any other seasoning you like, i.e. spices, dried herbs, fresh herbs, etc. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Once boiling, uncover, reduce heat to simmer legumes until they’re tender and creamy, adding more water if necessary. You’ll know to add water if they’re no longer submerged. Cooking time will vary legume to legume as noted in the “Ingredients” section above.
  3. Other tasty flavour additions include diced onion, minced garlic, grated fresh ginger, dried chili, BBQ seasoning, bay leaves, olive oil or butter.
More Information

What is your favourite way to prepare legumes? We want to know! Join the conversation by reaching out to us on Instagram at @indigo_herbs.