Black beans are cheap, inexpensive, high in protein and very good for you. In this article, you will find out the best way to cook black beans from scratch and other helpful information.

We will look at…

  • do beans really make you fart?
  • how to reduce flatulence from beans?
  • how long it takes to cook black beans?
  • the advantages and disadvantages of soaking beans in advance?
  • are black beans the same as black turtle beans?
  • can I overcook my black beans?
  • the difference between black beans from a can and cooking your own?
  • and finally, exactly how to cook your black beans from dry?

Do black beans make you fart?

Well yes, and no. It depends if you are used to eating them or not. Excessive flatulence only seems to happen in people who are not accustomed to beans or pulses.

Baked beans are good for your heart, the more you eat the more you fart.

All beans contain a complex carbohydrate called oligosaccharides.

Stay with me, this will make sense in a sec!

As humans, we do not have the enzymes needed to digest oligosaccharides. Alpha-galactosidase is required to digest this complex carbohydrate. The effect of this is that this complex fibre remains undigested until it reaches your intestines. At that stage, these complex carbs are broken down by gut bacteria. Gut bacteria munch away on these ‘sugars’ creating gas. It is as simple as that.

How do I stop beans from making me have gas?

If you are not used to eating lots of beans and legumes then increase your intake slowly. Wean yourself onto them and give your gut time to adjust. Your body should create a more balanced ecosystem around bean digestion quite quickly.  

There are various studies that look at whether pre-soaking and cooking beans reduce oligosaccharides in beans (and hence flatulence). However, at the time of writing, insufficient research has been done to show conclusive evidence either way. Some people say that soaking before cooking or rinsing thoroughly after cooking helps digestion.

Black turtle beans cooked from dry

How long does it take to cook black beans from dry?

Soaking overnight: If you soak your beans overnight, or for at least 8 hours, then your black bean cooking time (from the time it comes to a boil) generally takes about an hour.

Without soaking: If you cook your black beans from scratch without pre-soaking then simply add on an extra half an hour. Without soaking it takes around 90 minutes before your black beans are ready. 

black beans cooked from scratch

Do I need to soak my black beans before cooking?

To soak or not to soak? That is entirely up to you. 

It is not essential to soak your black beans before cooking. If you do, however, the main benefit is that it will speed up the cooking time by about 30 minutes. 

Some studies imply that soaking them in advance before cooking reduces the complex carbohydrates that cause flatulence. There are different opinions on this and there are not enough human studies to show if this is significant with black beans.


Are there any benefits to NOT soaking my black beans before cooking them?


  1. Not soaking your black beans overnight means that after cooking they stay more black than if you’d soaked them. This makes perfect sense if soaking leaches out some of the colour.  
  2. Not soaking them in advance means that they will taste more beany! Huh!? Yes, more bean flavour. Again, that makes sense if you think that leaching of flavour might happen when they are soaked for hours. 

soaked and not soaked beans after cooking

Can I overcook my beans?

Your black beans are ready when they become soft and creamy inside. If you cook them beyond this phase they will gradually turn mushy.

It does no harm to overcook your black beans, especially if you are going to use them to make a dip, black bean burgers or put them in a curry, soup or stew. 

In addition to that, you might find that black beans, cook at slightly different rates. I’ve noticed that this happens more the older the beans get. This means you might get about 10 to 20% starting to pop or turn to mush before the rest are cooked. This is quite normal.  

The difference between black beans in a can and cooking from dry?

Canned beans are really handy if you don’t have time to make your own, or if you live alone and don’t need a big batch of beans. Despite my love for cooking my own on the stove, I always have cans in my kitchen cupboards for spur-of-the-moment cooking. 

Canned beans do tend to be much softer than cooked ones, with a tendency to fall apart. They are often less colourful than freshly cooked beans unless they have a colour preservative added before sealing.

Did you know that beans in a can are pressure cooked? Yes, and that’s why the infamous baked beans in tomato sauce are called ‘baked beans’. They’ve literally been cooked i.e. ‘baked’ in a sealed can.  In the factory, they are put into cans with water (and any other ingredients like salt or additives) and then baked in the can.

Beans are usually cleaned and blanched before sealing into cans. After being sealed they are pressure cooked at high temperatures to finish off the cooking process. Additives or firming agents are sometimes added to help the beans keep their shape or hold their colour.

Are black beans the same as black turtle beans?

I am often asked if there is a difference between black beans and black turtle beans, so I set out to solve this mystery. It seems that there are lots of different opinions with little evidence.

The Latin name Phaseolus vulgaris is given to all common beans. Of which there are a huge amount of varieties. All beans vary in size, taste,  colour and texture. Not only that, the same type of bean can vary from batch to batch.

First of all, black beans and black turtle beans look the same and are frequently used interchangeably. I have bought both types and they look identical to me. Secondly, after cooking both over a period of years, I found that they both cook in exactly the same way. They also taste the same. 

black beans and black turtle beans in different packets

Shinier beans? 

Some people say black turtle beans are shinier or smaller, whilst black beans have duller surfaces. This is not necessarily true. I have found both black beans and black turtle beans either shiny or matt. So the amount of shine doesn’t help us figure out whether there is a difference or not. 

Growing conditions makes a difference

Size might depend on the particular harvest, the climatic growing conditions or even whether or not they are a sub-variety. Whether or not they are shiny or matt; larger or smaller tends to depend on different environmental factors too.

Difference in texture and taste?

There are different opinions on texture and taste. In my personal experience, I have noticed that taste varies according to the cooking method. For example, the taste will change whether we soak before cooking; if we cook on a stove or pressure cook; or whether anything is added to the water during the process.

Both black beans and black turtle beans have a white dot (see photo).

So are black beans and black turtle beans different?

My conclusion is this. Having bought various packets, from different companies (labelled with one name or the other), I have found no consistent difference. I have found no evidence that they are different. If you have any evidence I’d be happy to hear from you and update this article.

how to cook black beans cooked from dry

How to cook black beans from scratch

Yield: 1100g
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Black beans are really easy to cook from scratch. This recipe is the easiest way to cook dry black beans from a bag. Ideal for batch-making, bulk cooking or large families and groups.


  • 500g (1lb) black beans (also called black turtle beans)
  • 1.5 litres (2¾ pints) of water


  1. Please see article above first for lots of helpful information.
  2. You can adjust the quantity of beans depending on how many you need to cook. As a rule of thumb, once cooked black beans will double (plus a little more) in volume.
  3. Put your beans and water into a large cooking pan.
  4. Put on the lid, and bring to the boil on the stove.
  5. Once your contents come to a rolling boil, reduce to a simmer with the lid on.
  6. Cook your black beans for about 90 minutes, until the beans are cooked through. They should be creamy inside but not falling apart. Cooking time will vary depending on the batch, so please adjust accordingly.
  7. Once cooked drain in a large seive and thoroughly rinse with water until the water runs clear.
  8. Use your black beans for any recipe that you desire.
  9. They will keep for a few days in the fridge. I recommend that you freeze any beans that you aren't going to use up with four days.

Did you make this recipe?

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Pin how to cook black turtle beans from scratch on Pinterest…

How to cook black beans from scratch


How to cook black beans and do you need to soak them overnight?