The Easiest Way To Tell When Beans Are Done Cooking

What are chock full of protein, come from leguminous plants (via Healthline), and are featured in the children's book Jack and the Beanstalk? Beans! And while grocery store beans may not skyrocket into a giant beanstalk, they are certainly magical in their own way. For starters, beans help to control one's appetite, aid in gut and heart health, and could lower the risk of cancer due to their high antioxidant levels, per Medical News Today. There are also many varieties to choose from, such as soybeans, fava beans, kidney beans, and even colorful cranberry beans, via Country Living, which means more creative freedom for bean-heavy dishes like beef chili with pancetta.

But whether you're whipping up a batch of Cuban black beans or spicy pinto beans, it's important to know when beans are done cooking, and this isn't always easy to spot. That is, unless you have a fork nearby.

Use this easy bean mashing technique

According to Serious Eats, undercooked beans maintain their firm texture while overcooked beans are too mushy. So with fully cooked beans, you're looking for the sweet spot in the middle, as beans should be plump, but mash easily when you press them with a fork, per Mayo Clinic. They continue to state that you can also place a bean in between two of your fingers and mash them.

And if you don't like getting your hands dirty or your kitchen is fresh out of forks, just place a bean on your tongue, draw it up toward the roof of your mouth, and mash it, as noted by Serious Eats. The source also explains that this should feel effortless, and no traces of firm, undercooked bits should be present (and if they are, the beans are not fully done yet).

Beans are fairly easy to cook, and fortunately, their doneness levels can also be easily checked by using the above mashing technique.