How To Pepare Bulk Garbanzo Beans


I’ll admit right up front, I’m not sure I’m going to do this one again. Sure, these garbanzos are better than canned. But 12-hours-of-lead-time better? I’m not sure about that.

Maybe I’ll try some in soup. Hmm … time to go look up some recipes …

Oops, sorry, drifted off for a second there. So anyway, if you don’t mind starting on dinner before you’ve had breakfast, here’s how to do it.


bulk, dry garbanzo beans


If you grew up seeing chick peas on the salad bar, yes, we’re talking about the same thing. Well, probably. There are actually several related varieties of beans: Garbanzos (Spanish), Ceci (Italy), Chiche (France), Chana / Bengal Gram (India). See Clove Garden for pictures and descriptions of the difference. The ones I’m using here are the Kabul type.

If you’ve soaked beans before, you don’t have to actually measure things. But since this was my first time, I decided to follow the guidelines. So, one cup of beans.

Spread them out on a white or light colored plate. Sort through them to pick out any stoned, stems or discolored beans.

My batch was nice and clean, but did have this one funky one.

Put the beans in a bowl and add 2-1/2 to 3 cups of water.

Eight hours later, you can see that the beans have absorbed most of the water.

Transfer the beans to a pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the beans are no longer crunchy.

Mine took over an hour, but I may have had the heat too low.

Strain the beans in a colander and rinse with cold water.

These are not at all mushy, like canned garbanzos, and have a much stronger nutty flavor.

And that’s it.


  1. Altissima says:

    It can be tricky to plan ahead, but here are some tips to make it easier…

    I put garbanzo (or other dried beans eg cannellini, lima, borlotti etc) to soak while I’m preparing the previous night’s dinner.

    In case I don’t get around to cooking them the next day as planned, I leave them in the refrigerator to soak – that way I have at least a couple of days to get around to cooking. (If you leave them at room temp they start to ferment after a day or two).

    I soak them in a huge wide mouthed jar with the lid on, to avoid accidental spills.

    One final tip – cooked or soaked beans freeze very well, so I always do extra and freeze a couple of portions. Just as convenient as canned, but much tastier!

  2. Beans are so easy to make I don’t see why people complain about it. You stick 1-2 cups in a bowl of water and put it in the fridge before you go to sleep, get up and make them the next day whenever it is convenient. Cook time for 1 hour can get in the way though.. i wonder if you can make them in a slow cooker without them being ruined?

  3. Altissima, I hadn’t thought about freezing. I’ll try that with what I’ve got left.

    Athy, the reason we complain about it is that some of us don’t plan dinners for the week. We come home from work and check what’s in the fridge or freezer and make that. Yeah, I know, a little planning goes a long way. But when you keep your pantry well stocked you can get lazy.

    • Years late (2008!) but in reply to your “we come home from work and check what’s in the fridge or freezer and make that”…

      …if you, for instance, prepare garbonzos (or any other bean, for that matter) ahead of time, guess what’s in your fridge when you get home.

      You don’t need to know what you’re going to cook with those beans when you prepare them the day before, they just need to be convenient and, as you indicate, you’ll cook ’em.

      Complaining about the “effort” required in soaking beans the night before is like complaining about the “effort” required in taking a can of them off the shelf at the grocery store: takes about as much time and about as much thought.

      I think the problem is in how we think about them.

      • You’re right, of course. And now that I’m eating more beans of all kinds I should go back and try soaking my own more often. Thanks for the kick in the pants.

  4. I’ve also frozen mine with great success, so whenever I soak them, I soak a lot. That way, I have them ready for when I want them. I much prefer dry beans to the canned ones; I find the canned ones have a funky taste to them that the dried ones do not. I made hummos with dried chickpeas as opposed to the canned ones, and now I will never go back!

    The hummos recipe I used called for 1 tbsp of baking soda to be added to the beans when soaking, which the author claimed softened them up a lot more. He was right; I only have to cook my beans for about 20-30 minutes.

  5. Melissa, that’s one tablespoon of sode to how much beans and water? I’m up for anything to speed up the process.

  6. Drew, it’s about 1 tbsp per cup of dried beans. I just dump the soda on top of the beans and then pour the water on. It really, really works. In fact, my chickpeas are usually pretty mushy after about 25 minutes of cooking (which is fine, because they’re only getting pulverized in the blender anyway).

    Oh, and I never bother with picking them over for bad ones…I’m too lazy. 😉

  7. Yeah they are way better and cheaper. If youtry it my way, you’ll never buy canned again. Soak them. Put them in the crockpot on low all day. Cool them. Put 1-2 c. portions in baggies. Freeze. Use them like canned but enjoy them like homemade. Nothing could be more easy and work free.

  8. Stephanie says:

    You have to keep doing the garbanzos this way! It’s how your grandmother would do it! 😉

  9. I love chick peas but I must admit I’m normally too lazy or disorganised to use dried ones and just buy tinned.

  10. I’m trying to convince myself that if I buy a couple of pounds of them, that in the long run I’m saving time that I don’t have to keep buying them. I’m not believing myself yet.

  11. Thanks for the post. What do you do about skins? Are you supposed to peel each bean?

  12. Grace, if they had skins I didn't notice them.

  13. Anonymous says:

    i'm soaking some garbanzos/chicks as we speak.. i've always loved them anyway … but just recently read that 3 oz.s of garbanzos a day can really reduce cholesterol .. hmm .. i think it's worth trying … hummus , on salads .. in salads … pastas … wooohooo … good bye bad choleterol : )

  14. I was just thinking today that I haven't had any in a while. Time to go get them from the pantry.

  15. Anonymous says:

    drew dear .. instead of opening a can … try preparing your own .. un processed beans … it's SIMPLE …and you aren't getting that yucky processed canned flavor and slime …ewww … and you aren't contributing a can tothe land fill … it's easy .. really … think about it … do it ~ : )

  16. Umm, you did notice that's exactly what this post was about, right?

  17. Hey Drew!

    Thanks for your great dried bean recipe. I have only used canned so I am looking forward to this.

    I like to make this simple summer dish with them: Take two cups of cooked beans, cut up one or two green peppers, some green onions, put some italian dressing on it all, mix up and chill in fridge. it's easy and a good summer dish for pot luck dinners or just to nosh on!

    By the way, you got the greatest cooking blog ever, thanks for the hard work! Lisa

  18. Lisa, that sounds like a great idea. Think I'll go grab some beans from the pantry and get started.

  19. Jeff McDonald says:

    I also like to cook A LOT and put it in ziplock freezer bags. Then later on I can thaw, unzip, warm, blend and instant hummus. Wonderful!

  20. Jeff, do you notice any difference in texture after freezing? I guess it doesn't matter so much when you're turning it into hummus.

  21. I make mine in a pressure cooker. It’s much quicker, about 10 minutes with the stove on, and then another 15 minutes to cool down.

  22. Blinky, I never think of the pressure cooker because I’m usually not in that much of a hurry. But planning a day in advance to have a salad has been a bit of a pain. For this, I might find room in the kitchen, and bring the pressure cooker up from the basement.

  23. I guess I’m in the minority here, but I make the hummus and then freeze IT. Check out the post I did on hummus for details. This is most definitely the easiest way for me, but I don’t use chick peas in much other than hummus. I like other beans in soups and such. And I love cold bean salad (like Lisa), but I use black eyed peas for that one.

  24. I’m a little worried about the baking soda. I’d like the shorter cooking time, but how does it change the bean texture? Matter of fact, my beans were soaking for about 2-3 hours when I put the baking soda in about 40 minutes ago, but i got worried and just took the baking soda out by using new water.
    I’m using the beans in fritto misto (ala Giada) and in salads where texture is more important than in hummus.

  25. Sharon, I didn’t use the baking soda and the texture was pleasantly firm. Since the soda is specifically called for to make them softer for a hummus recipe, I’d leave it out.

  26. Hi, I am soaking my first batch of 2 cups of garbonzo beans. I made this decision because I have been paying over $8.00 a day on a wonderful salad from my company’s cafeteria. I can’t leave the garbonzo’s out but they weigh a lot when it comes to paying for your salad by weight. Anyhow, I’m making my own salad know with edamame, cottage cheese instead of dressing and many other delicious and healthy protiens.
    Thanks for showing me what to do with these bulk garbonzos I just bought!!!

  27. Baking soda in a bean soak can cause loss of nutrients

  28. Thanks for this feedback. I think all too often we sacrifice nutrients in the name of convenience. I was considering the baking soda tip. I also often find that I haven’t planned ahead in soaking my beans overnight, but I’m partial to the “quick soak” method of boiling first for ~ 6 min & waiting an hour.

  29. barbara says:

    Another reason why one should use baking soda when soaking any dried bean is to reduce the effect of gas after eating beans.

    • moonpie says:

      if i may, i’d like to suggest that adding baking soda is possibly a mistake.

      i’m all about avoiding any excess processing and this step is just not necessary. seems like this is pretty benign compared to the kind of things that commercial concerns do…but it’s still monkeying with the chemistry of my food.

      to GREATLY reduce the gas i get from ceci beans – ANY beans – i simply change the soaking water a couple of times. the more often, the better.

      no, i don’t set an alarm clock and get up at 130am to do it, i just do it if and when i think about it. to that end, i use a large jar for soaking stuff. i half-unscrew the lid and it’s a seive, dumping out the water easily. then i refill from the tap. 20 seconds, max.

      • You know, that’s a good reminder. We all think of baking soda as “old fashioned” but it’s a chemical that we’ve only been using in it’s refined form since the 1800s. If you can achieve the same outcome just by changing the water a few times, leaving out an additional chemical is probably a good thing.


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