Save time and energy by cooking a big batch of pinto beans and freezing some for later use.

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Q. I cooked a big batch of pinto beans and now I can’t use them right away. Can I freeze them?

A. Yes, you can freeze cooked beans. In fact, that’s a good tip for saving energy and money. Dried beans are cheaper than canned beans, but cooking them can take a while. So it’s a better use of your time and stove to cook a large batch and freeze the extras.

Divide them into smaller portions for recipes, such as 1-cup or 2-cup amounts. Drain some of the cooking liquid, leaving enough just to cover them. Package them in plastic freezer bags or other freezer containers, leaving an inch or so of space at the top of the container to allow for expansion.

Freeze for 2 to 3 months for best quality. They’ll keep their shape better if you thaw them slowly, either in the refrigerator overnight or by adding to a dish toward the end, so they don’t cook too long.