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Brazilian beans are flavorsome and nicely tender. While it takes a little over an hour to prepare them, the wait is totally worth it.
One of the most essential ingredients of Brazilian cuisine, if not the most, beans are part of the daily life of many Brazilians.
We often eat Brazilian beans and rice twice a day. Once for lunch and another for dinner.
Although there’s not a consensus on the type of beans throughout the country (only for feijoada, which should always be black), many Brazilian states consume other types than the pinto, widely used in Mexico and North America.
Well, as I said it, even our national dish, the feijoada, has beans as its main ingredient, but also feijão tropeiro, which is an excellent cure for a hangover. (This is a field-tested tip!)
Both of these Brazilian recipes are hearty and fill up well, but if you’re looking for a simple and yet delicious bean recipe, you’ve come to the right place.
I moved to the Netherlands over five years ago, and I still cook dry beans every week.
Not only because it’s healthy but also because this legume, when prepared with the right ingredients, tastes divine!
Once you learn how to cook Brazilian beans, you won’t want to cook it another way.
My husband, who is Dutch, didn’t know how to cook beans at all. He would buy those pre-cooked beans in a jar and heat them up in a pan.
For me, that was tasteless. So we had a serious talk (food is always a serious talk for a Brazilian) and agreed I would teach him how to cook dry beans the Brazilian way. Challenge accepted, he said.
Next time I know, his favorite side dish has become these beans!
We soon enough bough ourselves a pressure cooker, and now we use it for cooking other dishes quickly too.
If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you’ll want to buy one. I don’t know a single Brazilian house without it.
This cooker from Crock-Pot saves us a lot of time in the kitchen, and it’s very convenient to use. We use this exact pressure pan at home and are very happy with it. I recommend it.
Click here to read more reviews.
How to make Brazilian beans
Cooking beans, or the Brazilian style beans, for that matter, isn’t difficult at all.
In fact, you can easily cook it once a week, and serve it every day, if you wish so. (That’s how we do it in Brazil.)
I know it can be a bit intimidating to cook beans, I know I was a bit afraid of using the pressure cooker in the beginning, but in this post, I’ll teach you:
- How to prepare the beans for cooking
- How much to cook
- How to cook beans on the stove and in a pressure cooker
- How to freeze and unfreeze beans
- And obviously, how to make Brazilian beans
Do you have to soak beans before cooking them?
Preferably, yes. Do you know that bloated feeling you have after eating beans? That’s because of a carbohydrate found in beans that our body can’t digest. If you soak the beans before cooking them, it takes most of this carb out.
The beans need 12 hours of soaking, which you can do overnight for convenience. After that, they cook quickly in the pressure cooker.
How long does it take to cook beans without soaking?
On the stove, the beans cooking time is somewhere between 1.5 to 2 hours. In the pressure cooker, somewhere around 45-50 minutes.
How to soak the beans
Put the beans in a colander and wash them under running water. Transfer the beans to a big bowl and cover with water – if any float, discard.
Cover the bowl and let the beans soak for at least 6 hours. The ideal time is to let them soak for 12 hours, though. Change the water once during this time and change the water once again to cook them.
Is there a shortcut to soak the beans?
Yes, but the effect isn’t the same, of course.
Place the washed beans in a pan and bring it to boil over high heat. When boiling, switch off and cover. Let it soak for an hour to hydrate the beans, then just drain them, and they’re ready to cook.
What if I don’t want to soak the beans at all?
It’s ok. Just take into consideration the beans will take longer to cook and may cause a bloated feeling during digestion.
Can I freeze beans?
Absolutely! Beans freeze well for up to 3 months, and you can keep them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To freeze beans, portion the right serving size to air-tight plastic containers portioning so that you don’t need to unfreeze more than the necessary.
Usually, two ladles of beans are enough for one person. Some people eat more, some people eat less. Choose the serving sizes according to the portions you eat.
How can I unfreeze beans?
You can transfer the plastic container to the refrigerator in the morning, and you can have it for dinner. But you can also thaw it right in the pan.
For that, add half glass of water in a pan over medium heat, remove the beans from the container under warm water, put it in the pan. It unfreezes and thickens while cooking.
My favorite things to serve with beans
- Brazilian rice
- Mashed potatoes with carrots
- Sausage with onions and farofa
How to cook perfect beans?
- Know the right bean-water ratio! To cook beans on the stove consider 8 cups of water for every 1 cup of dry beans. To cook them in a pressure cooker, consider 3 cups of water for every 1 cup of dry beans.
- Season it! Don’t just use salt and ground pepper. Onion, garlic, and bay leaves add a special touch.
- Use baking soda! Add a tiny amount of baking soda to the cooking water to soften the beans much more rapidly.
How do you cook beans on the stove?
Drain the beans after soaking and put them in a large pan. Add water and three bay leaves. You need more water in this case because it takes much more time to cook beans on the stove.
Bring them to boil with the lid ajar in a Dutch oven or heavy cooking pot over medium-high heat.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer. Stir the beans occasionally and cook until the grains are tender. It can take anywhere from 1.5 to 2 hours, so be patient.
When the beans are tender, follow the instructions below to season them properly.
How to cook beans in a pressure cooker
Cooking dry beans in the pressure cooker is my favorite method because it cooks much faster than on the stove.
So, to cook the beans, drain the grains after soaking in a colander, then transfer the beans to the pressure cooker. Add water and the bay leaves.
At high pressure, cook the beans until the pressure builds up, and let it cook for 25 minutes or until they’re tender.
But before opening the cooker, remember to turn it off and wait for the pressure to come out completely.
Editor’s tip: An essential kitchen tool for many Brazilians households, mine included, is a pressure cooker. This cooker saves us a lot of time in the kitchen and allows us for having more quality time together, enjoying the food we just cooked. Don’t miss out! Buy yours on Amazon!
How to season the beans
In the meantime, chop the onion, mince the garlic, and dice the bacon in 1-inch pieces.
Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium-high fire. Add the bacon to the sauté pan, stir occasionally, and cook it for about 5 to 7 minutes until it’s brown and crispy.
Add the onions and cook them until transparent. Then, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add two ladles of beans to the sauté pan with a little broth and mix to incorporate.
Mash the beans with a wooden spoon. This helps the broth thicken.
Once the beans are completely mashed, transfer the mixture back to the pressure pan and let it simmer without the lid. (Without pressure.)
Add salt and ground pepper to taste. Cook it for about 15 to 20 minutes until the broth has thickened enough. I like it a little creamy. Once you have prepared it a couple of times, you’ll know how you prefer it.
Now, stir it occasionally to avoid letting the beans stick to the pan.
Once ready, add parsley. Bom apetite!
Cooking beans for soup: If you intend to use your beans in a soup, it’s best to slightly undercook them here and then finish cooking them in the soup itself.
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- 13.4oz (380g) pinto beans
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3.5oz (100g) bacon, 1-inch pieces
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
- Salt and ground pepper to taste
- 38fl oz (1.15l) water
- Let the beans coak overnight for 12 hours. Change the water once in that period.
- Drain the grains in a colander, then transfer the beans to the pressure cooker.
- Add water and the bay leaves.
- At high pressure, cook the beans for 25 minutes or until they’re tender.
- In the meantime, chop the onion, mince the garlic, and dice the bacon in 1-inch pieces.
- Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium-high fire. Add the bacon to the sauté pan, stir occasionally, and cook it for about 5 to 7 minutes until it’s brown and crispy.
- Add the onions and cook them until transparent. Then, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add two ladles of beans to the sauté pan with a little broth and mix to incorporate.
- Mash the beans with a wooden spoon. This helps the broth thicken.
- Once the beans are completely mashed, transfer the mixture back to the pressure pan and cook it without the lid. (Without pressure.)
- Add salt and ground pepper to taste.
- Cook it for about 15-20 minutes until the broth has thickened enough.
- Stir it occasionally to avoid letting the beans stick to the pan.
- Once done, add parsley. Bom apetite!
Did you make this recipe? Show me how it turned out!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 57 Total Fat: 0g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 244mg Carbohydrates: 13g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 5g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 3g
Bruna was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, and traveled extensively throughout the country. She studied Economy in college and Brazilian Culture at home. She loves helping people to make the most out of their travel to Brazil. Bruna is also an expert in Brazilian food and is more than happy to teach you, dear reader, all of her mom’s and grandma’s recipes.