Dried Bean Conversions and Measurements

How Many Cups of Dry Beans Equal Cooked Beans?

Black beans in measuring cup
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Dried beans are a great frugal choice as they are inexpensive to buy and easy to store. Compared to canned beans, you also won't have to dispose of or recycle the can. You can fit far more dried beans into a storage cupboard than canned beans. The problem arises when you have a recipe that uses weight, volume, or the size of a can of beans and you need to make a conversion to the dried bean equivalent.

Dried Bean Measurements

If you're not sure how to measure dried beans, here are some helpful conversions and rules of thumb:

  • 2 cups of dried beans = 1 pound of dried beans
  • 1 part dry beans = 3 parts cooked beans

Dried Beans to Cooked Beans Conversion and Equivalents

  • 1 pound dried beans = Up to 6 cups of cooked beans
  • 1 cup dried beans = 3 cups of cooked beans
  • ⅓ cup dried beans = 1 cup cooked beans
  • ⅔ cup dried beans = 2 cups cooked beans

Dried Beans to Canned Beans Conversions and Equivalents

  • A heaping ½ cup of dried beans = one 15-ounce can of beans
  • 1½ cups of cooked beans, drained = one 15-ounce can of beans
  • 1½ pounds dried beans = one #10 can of cooked beans (109 ounces)

Do the Measurements Vary Based on the Type of Bean?

While a great starting point, these rules of thumb vary based on the size of the bean. Larger beans will yield less when cooked, while smaller dried bean varieties will give you more yield when cooked.

You should take this into consideration when you are making a recipe for which you need exact amounts of beans. You may have to cook the dried beans, then measure them to add to the rest of the recipe. Most bean recipes are fairly forgiving and adjustable. But if you were attempting to have just the right balance in a three-bean salad or pot of mixed bean soup, you may want to make adjustments.

Substituting Bean Varieties

If your recipe called for pinto beans but you have kidney beans, when is it safe to make a substitution? Different varieties of beans can be substituted for each other in most recipes. They have different sizes and colors and slightly different tastes. You can experiment, or stick faithfully to a recipe. Just be sure to account for the possibility of getting different yields when you cook dried beans based on size.

Are Dry Beans the Frugal Choice?

Dried beans cost far less per pound and take up less storage space than canned beans. They are stable for a year in storage in tightly sealed containers in a cool, dry area.

However, you will need to invest time and the energy cost to soak and boil dry beans. Cooking time for dried beans is from 30 minutes to two hours depending on the variety. This is something you need to factor in when you consider the overall cost.

Compared with canned beans, you avoid the waste costs of disposing of the cans. You can further consider how much energy was used to can the beans. It may be less overall energy use for them to be industrially cooked, but then they are canned in a single-use container. There are also more costs in transporting the heavier, bulkier cans to the store where you bought them compared with dried beans.