How to soak and cook dry chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

Cathy on February 24, 2011

When I was online looking for instructions on how to cook dry chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), I found that there were quite a few people who found cooking dry chickpeas from scratch difficult. I’ve always been a bit daunted by cooking legumes from scratch so this made it even more scary. Fortunately, I didn’t have any troubles at all – I think this was because I soaked them for at least 24 hours. I found it was like a lot of things that looked hard (making yoghurt, making pizza dough, making chicken stock) but were actually really easy. I just needed to try.

Step 1: Soaking the Dry Chickpeas

Raw chickpeas

Give the chickpeas a rinse in cold water and look for any old or discoloured chickpeas to discard. I find that these show up really well after the chickpeas are wet, but I do look over them when they are still dry too.

I cover them with a generous amount of water (they will almost double in size) and leave them in the fridge to soak at least overnight. If you are slow cooking them then you could go for much less (or even not at all I am led to believe) but I like to try for 24 hours whatever way I plan to cook them. The first lot I did were in my fridget for over 2 days and they were fine. The reason to soak them is that it makes it much quicker to cook them afterwards (if you are doing something like boiling them, the quicker they cook, the more nutrients the chickpeas will keep).

Keeping them in the fridge also means that you don’t have to worry about them going stinky if you forget about them (what I did which is why they were there for two days initially).

Step 2: Rinse your soaked chickpeas

Soaked chickpeas

Okay, 24 hours have passed and your chickpeas should have practically doubled in size (or at least got bigger). Drain them of their soaking water and give them a rinse under clean cold water.

Rinsing soaked chickpeas

Step 3: Cook your chickpeas!

There are three main methods to choose from:

  • Stovetop
  • Slow cooking
  • Pressure cooker

You can also decide to add some flavouring now if you wish. I find it greatly enhance the final taste of the chickpea.

Now, there is a myth that adding salt to beans when they are cooking makes them tough. I tried cooking chickpeas with and without salt – adding salt made no difference to the toughness, what was different was the salted version was tastier in the final dish because the saltiness was evenly distributed in the chickpea. So my recommendation is to add some salt!

I also like to add some sliced onion and garlic and some olive oil – I think this greatly enhances the natural flavour of the chickpea and it smells lovely too while its cooking (this tip is from Veggie Burgher)

Method 1 – How to cook your chickpeas on the stovetop

This is very simple, just put your chickpeas in a pot on the stove covered by at least an inch of water. Bring the to the boil then reduce to a simmer – cook for 45-60 minutes. You may need more – make sure to taste regularly from the 45 minute point to see when they are done to your taste.

Method 2 – How to slow cook your chickpeas

Slow cooking chickpeas

I put the soaked chickpeas in the slow cooker along with half a sliced onion, two sliced garlic cloves and some olive oil and a couple of pinches of sea salt. I recommend experimenting with your settings. It should take 2-3 hours on high or double that on low. However, you may prefer them softer or harder so do a batch and then adjust for next time.

Method 3 – How to pressure cook your chickpeas

Make sure you don’t overload your pressure cooker – legumes like chickpeas can be frothy. I find 10-15 minutes on high is adequate, but it is worth trying your chickpeas at 10 minutes and then seeing if it needs longer.

Step 4: Use your chickpeas or freeze them for later

Now your chickpeas are ready to be used in any recipe which calls for canned chickpeas (I find a cup of chickpeas is about equivalent to a can of tinned chickpeas).

Chickpeas also freeze really well so any excess can be portioned into freezer bags for later use (just remember to label and date them!).

If you have any good ideas for chickpea recipes, let us know in the comments…

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Ren May 17, 2012 at 10:03 am

I do them just like you do on the top of the stove but add some cut up dried tomatoes.Just gives some colour and taste too.Ciao


Sheila September 17, 2012 at 7:53 am

What an incredibly well written article. Complete instructions with detailed pictures. Brava!


Dee September 18, 2012 at 1:35 pm

I make an awesome Indian dish called Chana Masala. My husband is not overly fond of Indian spicy food or even chick peas, but this is one of his favorites. Very flavorful.


Desiree Cantu January 13, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Desiree Cantu recently posted..Thai Tuesday


Sarah July 25, 2013 at 11:50 pm

I find my cooked chickpeas to be a bit dry and mealy. Will adding oil to the boil stage help with this? Any ideas?


Sarah July 25, 2013 at 11:51 pm

I find my cooked chickpeas (and other beans) to be a bit dry and mealy. Will adding oil to the boil stage help with this? Any ideas?


Bernice December 29, 2013 at 12:33 pm

This is the perfect way to do it.


Greg February 10, 2014 at 11:25 pm

Do you need to drain them? Seems to make a nice broth with the onions, garlic, salt, olive oil and green onion.


Ricky March 6, 2014 at 2:08 am

I just bought my first bag of dried chickpeas. I also found a recipe for hummus dressing. It’s calls for “soaked” chickpeas. I can’t imagine not cooking them after the soaking. Can they be used in a food procceser after soaking & not cooking?

Thanks for the advice!


Linda April 29, 2014 at 2:06 pm

You didn’t mention water amounts in the slow cooker or pressure cooker. That would be helpful.

thanks for the good info.


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