How to Soak, Cook, Freeze and Store Chickpeas


Tory Avey loves chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. These protein-packed legumes have a mild, nutty flavor that goes well in a variety of dishes, including hummussoups and stews. Because of the time involved in preparing dried chickpeas, most people resort to canned varieties. The trouble with canned chickpeas is that many contain additives for preservation, as well as high sodium content from added salt. Making chickpeas from scratch is a much more natural and healthy way to go, and it’s surprisingly easy. Tory’s recipe and photo tutorial will show you the whole process, step-by-step.

Overhead shot of cooked chickpeas on blue plate with parsley and spoon.

Here is a simple method for quick-soaking and preparing chickpeas for recipes. Chickpeas are soaked before boiling for two reasons – one, they need to be softened before they boil, and two, pre-soaking helps to make the beans more digestible. You can soak them quickly, as described below, or overnight if you prefer. My friend Gila Ronel, a doula and holistic nutritionist in Israel, soaks the beans for a couple of days until they begin to sprout. She says that the nutritional value improves when the chickpeas are sprouted. If you try this, you’ll need to use cold water, not the quick soak method. Make sure you change the water they are soaking in twice daily to keep bacteria at bay. When shopping for your chickpeas, make sure you use a bulk bin with a high turnover rate. The older the chickpeas are, the less tender they will cook. Beans that have been sitting in a pantry for a year or longer tend to go stale and will not cook up as nicely.

Most recipes call for chickpeas that have been soaked and boiled until tender (falafel is one notable exception– chickpeas should only be soaked for falafel, not cooked). I often make a large batch of cooked chickpeas, then refrigerate or even freeze for future use. I have covered the instructions for storing and freezing below. You will notice that home-prepared chickpeas taste much better than the canned variety, and you’ll have more control over the salt content. Preparing the beans this way is also more affordable… you’ll save over 50% by preparing them yourself. Frugality rocks!

Recommended Products:

Colander

Sauce Pan

Video by Entice Films

Overhead shot of cooked chickpeas in colander on a grey background.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups dried chickpeas (you may use more or less as needed– 4 cups dried equals roughly 12 cups cooked beans)
  • Salt (optional).

Recipe Notes

You will also need: a large 8-8 quart pot, colander.

Instructions

  1. Before cooking, you will need to soak the beans. You can soak them overnight, if you have the time. Place them in a large bowl and cover with cold water.

     

    Large bowl of chickpeas soaking on countertop.

  2. The chickpeas will expand to over double their size, so make sure you cover by several inches of water to allow for expansion. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let them soak overnight. Drain the water and rinse the beans before cooking.

     

    Chickpeas in colander.
  3. To quick soak the beans, you will need 1 hour. Place the chickpeas into the bottom of a large pot and cover with water. The chickpeas will expand to over double their size, so make sure you cover by several inches of water to allow for expansion.

     

    Dried chickpeas covered with water in large pot to soak.

  4. Bring the chickpeas to a boil. Let them boil for 5 minutes.

     

    Boiling chickpeas in a large pot on stovetop for quick soaking.

  5. Remove from heat. Let the beans soak in the hot water for 1 hour.

     

    Quick soaking chickpeas in large pot on stovetop.

  6. Drain the water and rinse the beans before cooking.

     

    Draining chickpeas in colander in sink after soaking.

  7. When you are ready to cook your soaked beans, place them in a large pot and cover with several inches of water. I use about 1 quart of water per 1 cup of soaked beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

     

    Simmering chickpeas in large pot on stovetop.

  8. Add salt, if desired. I use about 1/8 teaspoon of salt for every 1 quart of water and 1 cup of soaked beans. You may like more salt to taste, or none at all to keep them “au naturel.”

  9. Let the beans cook for 60-90 minutes until desired tenderness. Certain dishes require very tender beans (like hummus), while other dishes call for firmer beans (like stews and soups that need to be cooked over long periods of time). Adjust cooking time to achieve the desired tenderness for your purposes. 

  10. If you are freezing the beans, keep in mind that they will freeze best if they are on the firmer side, rather than completely soft. As you cook them, the beans will continue to expand a bit. Keep an eye on the water level and add additional water as needed to keep the beans covered.

  11. When the beans are fully cooked, drain in a colander and allow to cool.

     

    Cooked chickpeas drained in colander over sink.

  12. To store cooked beans in the refrigerator, place them in a covered airtight container or a plastic zipper bag without any additional liquid. Cooked beans will keep 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

  13. To store the beans longer for future use, freeze them. Remove as much moisture as possible from the beans by patting them dry with paper towels. Place the beans in Ziploc bags spread out in single layers; you don’t want to pile the beans on top of each other or they will stick to each other. Freeze, laying the flat single layer down to keep the beans from freezing together. You can freeze several bags this way, one laying flat on top of another.

     

    Chickpeas in single layer in plastic zipper bag, ready to freeze.

  14. Alternatively, you can spread out the beans in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment and freeze the beans for 30 minutes.

     

    Chickpeas on parchment lined baking sheet ready to freeze.

  15. Once they are firm, pour them into a plastic zipper bag or airtight container, seal, and put immediately back into the freezer. Using this method, you don’t need to put the chickpeas in a single layer– because they are already half frozen, they will not stick together.

     

    Frozen chickpeas in plastic zipper bag.

  16. Frozen beans will keep for up to 1 year.

     

    How to Soak & Cook Chickpeas. Learn how to prepare garbanzo beans for use in recipes. Includes storage and freezing techniques. Recipe tutorial and step-by-step video below!

Nutrition Facts
How to Soak, Cook, Freeze and Store Chickpeas
Amount Per Serving
Calories 242. Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g  6%
Sodium 16mg  1%
Potassium 583mg  17%
Total Carbohydrates 40g  13%
Dietary Fiber 11g  44%
Sugars 7g
Protein 12g  24%
Vitamin A  0.9%
Vitamin C  3.2%
Calcium  7%
Iron  23.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional information per serving is for 1 cup of cooked chickpeas (1/3 cup dried chickpeas)– values and cook times will vary based on how what cooking method is used. 

 

By Tori Avey in ‘How to Soak and Cook Chickpeas‘ >

 

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