Easy, detailed instructions for how to cook garbanzo beans in your pressure cooker, slow cooker or stovetop. These tested, tried-and true recipes make perfectly cooked, flavorful chickpeas every time.
Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, are a widely loved and versatile bean. Knowing how to cook garbanzo beans lets you use chickpeas in a wide variety of salads, soups and other dishes.
For convenience, I always keep canned chickpeas in my pantry. However, lately I've gotten into the habit of cooking dried garbanzo beans. It's easier than you think!
You can easily cook large batches of garbanzos using one of three methods: pressure cooker, slow cooker or stovetop
How Much Should I Cook?
8 ounces of dried chickpeas (about 1 ¼ cups) makes about 3 cups cooked
Soaking beans in water before cooking them is optional and can depend on the cooking method (read below). The main benefit of soaking is that it shortens the cooking time and makes it more likely that the beans will cook evenly and have a creamy, tender texture.
To soak beans, put the beans in a large bowl (they expand in size as they soak) and add enough cold water so there's about 2-inches of water above the beans. For more flavor and to soften the bean skins, add 1 tablespoon of salt for every pound of beans.
Soak the beans for a minimum of 6 hours and up to 12 hours before draining, rinsing and cooking. The longer the soaking time, the shorter the cooking time.
Pressure cooker: I don't always bother soaking beans when I'm cooking them in an Instant Pot. I've found that a pressure cooker consistently makes tender, creamy beans without any pre-soaking. Also, it's such a hands-off cooking method that I don't mind if the beans take longer to cook. However, you can pre-soak the beans if you want to shorten the cooking time - it shortens the cooking time quite a bit!
Stovetop: I do always soak garbanzo beans when cooking on a stove-top. Otherwise, cooking un-soaked garbanzos can take hours. Giving the beans a head-start by soaking the night before really helps shorten the cooking time.
Slow Cooker: I do always soak garbanzo beans for the slow cooker. You don't have to, but it does shorten the cooking time. I also find that slow cooked beans are ultimately more tender and digestible if I soak them overnight first.
Ratio of Water to Beans
The ratio of water I use for all cooking methods is 4:1 (water to beans). This works out to be 4 cups water for every 1 cup (8 ounces) of beans.
I use slightly more water if I'm cooking beans in the slow cooker, to make sure the beans stay submerged in liquid.
The amount of water doesn't have to be exact. A good rule of thumb is to make sure there is about 2 inches of water above the dried beans.
Pressure Cooker Instructions
Unsoaked Pressure Cooker beans
Cook on high pressure for 45 to 60 minutes (natural release) depending on the texture you prefer.
45 minutes = The beans are tender but have some firmness still. Perfect for salads, or if you're going to be simmering them in soup or stew later
60 minutes = The beans hold their shape, but the texture is very soft and creamy. Perfect for blending into hummus.
Soaked Pressure Cooker beans
The pressure cooker cooking time for pre-soaked beans depends on how long they were soaked. Garbanzos soaked for 12+ hours only need 5 minutes at high pressure in the Instant Pot, but a shorter soak (6 to 8 hours) means you'll need a longer cooking time, around 15 minutes at high pressure.
12 hour soak: Start at 5 minutes at high pressure for chickpeas that hold their shape well and still have a little firmness, but are tender and creamy in the middle. For softer beans, start with 10 minutes at high pressure.
6 to 8 hours soak: Try 15 minutes at high pressure, or 18 minutes for softer beans.
Remember, if the beans aren't soft enough after being cooked you can always lock the lid back on the pressure cooker and program a few more minutes of cooking time.
Slow Cooker Instructions
The cooking time for slow cookers can vary, but plan on at least several hours.
Unsoaked: Cook on high for 6 to 8+ hours. At 6 hours, the beans will still be fairly firm. At 8 hours, they'll be softer but you might want to cook them even longer.
Soaked: Cook on high for 3 to 6 hours, depending on the texture you like.
How to Cook Chickpeas on Stovetop
I recommend pre-soaking the beans overnight before cooking on the stovetop. Otherwise, it just takes way too much time to cook them.
Drain the soaked chickpeas. Simmer (uncovered or partially covered with a lid) in water until they reach your desired texture. The cooking time on the stovetop can vary quite a bit - start checking the beans at 25 minutes, but don't be surprised if they take over an hour to reach a texture you like.
Tip: To make the chickpeas very tender (perfect for hummus) and help them cook faster, use baking soda to tenderize the dried beans. After soaking overnight, drain the beans. Then combine 1 teaspoon of baking soda with every 8 ounces of dried beans in a sauce pan. Cook for about 3 minutes over medium-high, stirring constantly. Then add enough water to cook the dried beans and bring to a simmer. Skim off any foam and skins that rise to the top of the pot as the beans cook.
How to Cook Chickpeas From a Can
Chickpeas from a can are cooked and ready to eat. You can eat them cold, or add the canned chickpeas to a recipe that you are cooking.
Canned beans can be added either at the beginning or end of simmering soup or stew. They can also be added to recipes that are roasting in the oven, like my chickpea stew with chicken and potatoes.
You cannot cook dried chickpeas in the oven; they need to be cooked beforehand, or you can use canned chickpeas. I like roasting canned chickpeas into a tasty snack, like my crispy parmesan chickpeas.
For most recipes, you'll want to drain canned chickpeas before eating them. Rinsing with cold water is optional. However, if you like the flavor of the liquid in the can, you can add it to soup, stew or chili in addition to broth. Keep in mind that it is salty and has a viscous texture, which will affect the dish you're cooking.
What is Aquafaba?
The liquid in a can of chickpeas is called aquafaba (latin for "bean water"). It is a popular replacement for eggs and egg whites in vegan recipes. Aquafaba works especially well as an egg white replacement and can be whipped into an airy, thick meringue.
You can simmer your beans in nothing but salted water (I have never found that salt makes beans tough). However, adding just a few more ingredients while beans cook can add lots of flavor.
- Fresh thyme, rosemary or parsley stems
- Whole garlic cloves (or cut the top off a head of garlic and drop it in the pot)
- Onion, shallot or leeks
- Whole dried spices, like coriander, peppercorns, star anise, cinnamon sticks, cumin seeds, bay leaf, dried chiles
- Celery or carrot
- Bacon or ham bone
- Broth instead of water
Why Are My Beans Still Hard After Cooking?
If you've cooked your beans for the recommended amount of time and they are still hard and undercooked, there are several reasons why this might happen.
First, keep in mind that there is rarely an exact cooking time that works perfectly for everyone. The freshness of the beans and the size of the beans can vary. I've noticed that some brands of dried chickpeas are smaller than other other brands. So your garbanzo beans might take longer or shorter to cook than my garbanzo beans.
In addition to the size and age of the beans (dried beans that are fresher cook faster than beans that have sat on a shelf for months or years), other things that can affect the cooking time:
Acidic ingredients: Tomatoes are often the culprit, but other acidic ingredients like wine, lemon and vinegar can prevent beans from getting soft.
Hard water: The more minerals in your tap water, the longer the beans will take to cook.
Liquid level: It's better to error on the side of adding more water, because beans that aren't completely submerged in water won't cook evenly.
More Easy Bean Recipes
In addition to chickpeas, you can easily cooked dried black beans, white beans, pinto beans or red lentils.
FAQs About Garbanzo Beans
Cooked beans stay fresh for 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator.
Yes, you can make a big batch of beans and freeze them for later. You can freeze large or small quantities in freezer bags or freezer-safe containers. If using freezer bags, make sure to press as much air out of the bag as possible, to avoid freezer burn. Try to use frozen beans within 6 months of freezing them.
Beans can be frozen with or without liquid. The liquid can be the water they were cooked in, fresh water, or broth. I usually freeze cooked beans without any liquid. They defrost faster this way and are easier to use in salads or other dishes that don't have broth.
However, if you're going to keep the beans in the freezer for months, then adding liquid to cover the cooked beans will help avoid freezer burn.
About 1 ½ cups cooked beans equal a 15-oz can of beans.
Yes, canned chickpeas are cooked and ready to eat. Or, you can put them directly into a recipe. They hold up well in soups and stews and recipes that are baked in the oven, so you can add them at the beginning of the cooking time.
Chickpea Dinner Recipes
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