A staple food in many cultures worldwide, beans are prepared in many different ways. You may be wondering just what is the best pot for cooking your beans. We have thoroughly investigated this question and have found some answers that we are glad to share.
The best pot for cooking beans is a bean pot.! Bean pots are usually ceramic but can be made from other materials. Their unique curves allow for slow cooking without burning. Users say that this method provides unparalleled taste! Though there is a slight learning curve, these pots are relatively low maintenance, and you can assemble your dish and leave it cooking for hours. Some of the highest-rated pots for cooking beans are:
- R&M International Traditional Style
- Granite Ware Bean Pot
- Certified International Mariachi Bakeware Bean Pot
- Bean Pot by Kook
That's an interesting list of pots! We have dug into the details about each one and the best way to go about cooking your beans. Keep reading for more information about these decorative pots and their many uses.
What is the History of the Bean Pot?
The bean pot was the original slow-cooker. Many cultures use this method for cooking, and their origins are centuries, if not thousands of years old. Though the cultures are vastly different, their use of bean pots was and is surprisingly similar.
A bean pot allows the beans to cook for hours in a traditional brick oven or regular oven. In the past, the jars were left in the back of brick ovens and over open fires. The wide, thick base and scooped-in neck allow for even cooking throughout. A unique flavor is created by the porous material allowing steam to circulate up and through the beans. This allows the flavor to develop as they slowly simmer to a perfect texture. Beans cooked in this manner are noticeably creamier since the starch from the beans mixes with the water over baking time.
Bean pots, though traditionally ceramic, also can be made of cast iron or clay. Other jars included in this cookware family are the Morrocan Tangine and the French Guernsey Bean Pot. Both of these were and are still used in the same way to slow cook legumes.
What is a Boston Bean Pot?
When talking about the Boston Bean Pot, there could be some confusion! The phrase "Boston Bean Pot" could refer to a recipe for baked beans or a hockey tournament held in Boston.
Boston Bean Pot
When used about a recipe, the term "Boston Bean Pot" is a baked bean recipe that originated with the earliest settlers of the Boston area, the Native Americans. From them, the early colonists learned about cooking beans in brick ovens and open fires.
When the rum trade started, molasses was born, and so were Boston Baked Beans. The settlers would mix pork fat with molasses to season pots of baked beans left in the ovens overnight. It is a low-maintenance treat that many from the area still enjoy today, earning the nickname for their city, "Beantown."
The "Beanpot" is a tournament where four schools compete in college hockey in the Boston, MA area. Named for the legendary regional cooking method, this tournament started as hockey only but has now branched out to include other sports such as basketball and rowing.
How Do You Cook With a Bean Pot?
Bean Pots do best in the oven at low temperatures. 200-300 degrees is a good range to stay in. It will take 5-8 hours for your beans to reach the desired consistency at this temperature. Though traditional bean pot recipes in the States are sweet, the following recipe gets its influence from Brazil. The mild flavor of garlic, cilantro, and chives is sure to please palates from all over!
You will need:
- 1 onion
- 1 head of garlic chopped
- 1/4 pound of chopped bacon (substitute one teaspoon of liquid smoke for vegetarian beans)
- 1 bunch cilantro chopped
- 1 bunch of chives chopped
- 1 pound bag of black or pinto beans (soaked overnight)
- In a frying pan, saute the chopped bacon (or liquid smoke) and onion until the bacon is done and the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and saute a minute or two until lightly browned.
- Transfer the onion, bacon, and garlic with the juices to your bean pot.
- Add your beans to the bean pot, then cover with water about an inch above the beans (two fingers width).
- Bake at 250 degrees for about 5-7 hours, check every few hours and add water as needed.
- Salt to taste, garnish with chopped chives and cilantro. Some cooks even use slices of lime and avocado to complete this dish.
Keep in mind that bean pots are made from natural materials. You would not want to subject them to extreme temperature changes. Though a rare occurrence, they can burst when going from cold to hot or hot to cold suddenly.
R&M International Traditional Style
This highly rated bean pot is made of cadmium-free ceramic. Though not for use on the stovetop, it was reported to be easy to use and holds up well in the oven. Some users did say that the base was thinner than some other models. Standing about 7.75 inches tall, this pot is recommended for 2 pounds of beans, though users report the most success with 1.5 pounds.
Granite Ware Bean Pot
This modern bean pot can be used on the stovetop, making it a more versatile option. Made of anodized aluminum, the core of this pot is carbon steel, which does the same job the clay did in the traditional versions. The core provides through and even heating throughout. Users liked the porcelain finish, which makes this a durable and easy to clean product. Since it is not made of traditional materials, it can handle mistakes and is a good pot for beginners. This is a 4-quart pot that stands over 6 inches tall.
Certified International Mariachi Bakeware Bean Pot
This pot is most popular due to its looks. This festive bean pot is traditional handpainted ceramic. Users like having this pot for decoration and storing their beans. Though it is one of the top-rated bean pots, the reviews are mixed regarding its actual use for cooking. Some users report using this pot on low heat in the oven with great success, while others recommend using it for a decorative serving solution. It stands 7.5 inches tall and holds 2.5 quarts.
Bean Pot by Kook
This spacious bean pot wins both in beauty and function! It is traditional ceramic which means you do not want to use it on the stovetop. Reviewers report success with cooking below 250 degrees in the oven. Do pay close attention to the temperature changes as this is a real bean pot and can burst if improperly handled. Properly cared for, these pots are reported to last generations! This pot holds about 5 quarts and stands over 7 inches tall.
What Else Can You Cook in a Bean Pot?
You don't have to limit yourself to just beans when cooking with these beautiful pots. They are great for anything that needs a slow, even bake. Use these pots to simmer grains and stews. There are even recipes for bean pot bread!
Can You Cook Beans in a Crockpot?
For a true set it and leave it experience, you can use a crockpot! This is a favorite way of cooking beans since many crockpots have timers on them so that they only cook for the desired amount of time, allowing you to go about your day or night knowing that your meal will be hot and ready when you are!
Can You Cook Beans in a Pressure Cooker?
For those who eat beans as a weekly staple, nothing beats a good pressure cooker for quickly turning out basic beans to season and prepare throughout the week. Pressure cookers can cook a huge batch of beans in as little as 30 minutes! The Instant Pot is a favorite with many people because it combines the convenience of electronic crockpot cooking with the efficiency of pressure cooking. It has a function just for beans/chili. Use this pot for your beans, and you may not be able to use anything else ever again!
Enjoy Your Beans!
Now that you know that bean pots are great for cooking traditional creamy beans, have fun experimenting with different recipes for your family and friends. The taste of your beans will be superior, and these beautiful pots will look great in your kitchen for years to come!
For more information on different cooking methods, we suggest the following: