How to De-Gas Beans–What Works and What Doesn’t

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Do you love beans, but they don’t–er–love you? Beans are delicious, nutritious, and cheap, which makes them great for so many reasons. However, they cause gas (aka flatulence or tooting), which is isn’t so great.

Thankfully, I’ve learned how de-gas beans easily to improve your digestion–and your relationships! I’ve tried a bunch of methods and I know what works–and what doesn’t.

Dried Beans in a Pot

You know how it goes: beans beans the musical fruit. Well, there’s nothing magical about stinking up a room. But what is magical is that once you learn how to degas beans, the stinky music actually stops.

When I say that I know how to de-gas means, I mean it.

We used to be vegan and ate a lot of beans. We aren’t vegan now, but we cook a HUGE pot beans in our large pressure cooker several times a week.

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Benefits of Beans

Just in case you wondered why adding more beans to your diet is a good thing to consider, here are some great reasons.

Nutrition powerhouses

Beans are very high in fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates.

Cheap, cheap cheap

Even the price of heirloom organic beans pales in comparison to that of meat.  Now, I am not saying that you shouldn’t eat meat, but beans sure can help you stretch your food budget.

And who doesn’t need a bit of stretch these days?

Long shelf life

In these days of concern about inflationary food prices with folks storing up food for leaner days ahead, beans are a logical choice.  They may take longer to cook as they age, but they do not spoil.

Why Do Beans Cause Gas?

There are two reasons why beans cause flatulence (otherwise affectionately known as gas). We actually called this “poohstinkies” in my family, but that’s beside the point.

Fiber

Beans are high in dietary fiber, which is mostly soluble fiber. Soluble means it dissolves in water. The fiber absorbs water in your digestive tract to form a thick substance.

Fiber is known for its health benefits, but if you increase your fiber intake too quickly, you can end up with (you guessed it)–intestinal gas and bloating.

When dietary fiber makes it to the colon, it’s fermented by beneficial bacteria there and gas is produced.

Raffinose Oligosaccharides

Beans also contain oligosaccharides, specifically the raffinose family. They are sugars that are also found in cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Alpha-galactosidase is an enzyme that digests these sugars, but since it’s not that prevalent in the human digestive tract, you get gas when you eat them.

For the same reason, if any food ends up in the large intestine without being digested, it can cause gas as well.

The enzyme is derived from the fungus Aspergillus niger and is sold as Beano as well as under other names.

If you don’t want to spend a huge amount on Beano, you definitely need these de-gassing tips.

Side note, there’s an article online stating that we get gas from eating beans because we don’t have an enzyme that the beans contain. That makes no sense at all. We don’t have much of an enzyme to digest what beans have in them. 

Does Baking Soda Degas Beans?

Well, yes, but there can be a big problem with this method.

There are some who claim that baking soda  doesn’t work and that it only changes the pH of the cooking water. Others say that changing the pH of the water reduces the amount of raffinose in the beans.

In my experience, it’s true that a little baking soda works to degas beans. However (and this is a BIG however), you will end up with VERY mushy beans.

I mean seriously mushy especially if you cook them in a pressure cooker. Sometimes mushy beans are great (for refried beans, this bean dip, or this savory hummus,) but not so great for chili or bean salad.

How Much Baking Soda Do You Need to Degas Beans?

If you’d like to try the baking soda method, you can. As mentioned, if you’re cooking your beans in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, just be prepared for some mushiness.

Simply add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda to the cooking water for every pound of dried beans and cook as usual.

four columns of dried beans - black beans, navy beans, cherry trout beans, and white kidney beans

How to De-gas Your Beans

Here are my very well tested tips for perfectly de-gassed and non-mushy beans. It’s actually a full court press against bean gas. You can do any of these and it will help, but doing all of them is pretty much guaranteed to give you gas-free beans.

These are the basics. Make sure to read the recipe card below for more details.

soak, drain, and rinse beans
add de-gassing herbs and spices

pressure cook the beans

Rinsed Beans in a Colander
Beans in a colander after being rinsed.

Spices That De-Gas Beans

There are a number of spices that work to de-gas beans. Here are some that work the best. We used to use ajwain and epazote all the time, but more recently have used ginger and fennel. They all work great.

Pinterest collage for How To De-Gas Beans post

Now, here are some more detailed instructions about how to get the toot factor out of your beans.

four columns of dried beans - black beans, navy beans, cherry trout beans, and white kidney beans

How To De-Gas Beans

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Keyword: how to de-gas beans

Instructions

  • Soak beans or for at least 8 hours
    Cover the beans in filtered water with at least enough water so you can touch the beans with your middle finger's tip and have the water cover your second knuckle.  If you're planning to have beans for dinner, you can always start soaking them in the morning when you wake up and then cook them starting 8 hours later.
  • Alternatively, speed soak in a pressure cooker–you can soak beans in only 2 minutes in one of these amazing kitchen tools.  Just cover the beans with filtered water (as instructed above) and cook on high for 2 minutes.
  • Drain and rinse the beans
  • Bring beans to a boil, then skim off the scum/foam that builds up on top.
  • Add a total of 1 heaping teaspoon total (for every 3 cups of beans) of one or more of the following to the beans
    ajwain or epazote 
    ginger
    cumin
    fennel
    asafoetida (an Indian spice that is a good substitute for onion or garlic).
    For ajwain, use 1/2 teaspoon for every 2 cups of cooked beans (or 2/3 cup dried)
    For epazote, use 1 tablespoon for every 1 cup dried beans.

Notes

NOTE: Some beans do not need to be pre-soaked including the following:
lentils – red, green, French (they take a bit more cooking time)
black-eyed peas
mung
split peas (green or yellow)soldier
and also snow cap.
These varieties are great for busy days when you don’t have time for soaking.

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.

Can You De-gas Canned Beans?

To reduce the effects of gassy components from canned beans, rinse the beans twice before using them in a recipe. It’s not as effective as de-gassing dried beans, but it canhelp.

Bean Recipes

Here are some of our favorite bean recipes (surely there will be more in the future!)

More Digestion-Boosting Tips

I’ve mentioned a few of these already, but these are some other topics regarding digestion that might be of interest.

Beans are good for you, good for your budget, and good for your family (and friends) if you de-gas them. Get it? If you eat a lot of beans, by using these tipcs, hopefully you can keep all of your friends and not get disowned.

Do Beans Give You Gas?
Got another de-Gassing tip to share?

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189 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    BEING AN ASSISTANT TO A DEITITION IN 1949 AT A HOSPITAL WAS TOLD TO ALWAYS ADD CARROTS TO THEM TO ELIMATE SO MUCH STARCH AND DE-GAS THEM. IT IS THE TRUE? IT WAS WORKED FOR ME. AND SOAK THEM OVERNIGHT AND DO NOT USE THE WATER FOR COOKING.

    1. Hi there! We’ve used it in our pressure cooker, but the beans turn out really really soft. We like it sometimes but other times it’s too much–actually it’s great for something like this Olive Hummus recipe – well for all of the hummus recipes! Does it make yours SUPER mushy?

  2. I like to mix one can each of navy, pinto, black & white kidney beans.
    I add Mrs Dash, chicken stock & other seasonings. How can I “degas” these ???

    1. Hi there. If you do canned beans, really the only thing you can do it rinse them before using in a recipe–twice is best. I am going to add this to the post – thanks for asking this!

  3. Thanks for the tip! One other thing I’ve heard is to use a 1/4 tsp.of baking soda per cup of beans. So in your case 6 C.would equal using 1.5 tsp.soda. the rumor here was to add that to whatever u prefer amount of water to cover beans,, bring to boil,, and then let soak overnight as we all do normally. Of course ya know toss that water, rinse,, and cook as u do. I use 2 qts of chicken broth for mine. I’m doing a pot of beans w/Earl Campbell hot links cut up in them tomorrow for the superbowl. I hope this helps to save my living room from smelling like a methane infused dairy farm! I always use cumin,( being a Texan),so I’m good there, along with rotel, and chunks of onion and jalapeño. Add cooked Hot breakfast sausage and black pepper and yall too may find it doesn’t matter what ya back end does, as long as the mouth enjoyed eating it! Lmao jk there but hey it is beans we speak of ,so just enjoy and hopefully no gas.

    1. Maybe it’s the Earl Campbell links causing the issue–just sayin’ :). Thanks for the tip and the laugh!

  4. Hello Adrienne,
    Would you please tell me how much ginger,cumin, or fennel I should use in relation to the portion of dry beans? In addition is it best to use all three or only one?
    Thank you, Claudine

    1. Hi there. Good question! I need to revisit that post and redo some things. I just added more info there–hopefully that helps. I don’t know about using a variety of spices but we typically use ginger and fennel now. Enjoy and hope to see you around again!

  5. I’ve heard about ajwain and epazote before, but haven’t tried either one yet. I have, however, tried putting a little strip of dried kombu seaweed in the water with the beans and that seemed to help, as well.

      1. 5 stars
        I always put about 4 large squares of Kombu seaweed in with my pinto the last 10 mins then spoon it out. We don’t like to see the green slimy seaweed once it’s cooked because it come apart. It works every time.
        Thank you Adrienne for a wonderful post, keep them coming.

        1. Yes, that kombu seems to work pretty well too! It’s just a bit harder for people to find I think. Do you purchase yours in bulk?

  6. My grandmother and mother and I have cooked beans and also at the endof cooking added baking soda it will foam up..sometimes real bad and sometimes not much at all …a small pot 1 to 2 teaspoons or large pot up to were the fizz is down and you keep stirring until it almost stops foaming..sometimes you still get a little gas and other times you don’t…they say gas is good and means your healthy women are healthier than men..

    1. Hi there – thanks for this! So having gas in your stomach means you are healthy? My understanding is that it means your digestion isn’t working well. Please tell me where you heard this – thanks!

  7. I read your article, and I thought that I finally found an answer to fixing ham and beans for my family. I soaked overnight, drained and rinsed this morning, boiled until they foamed and drained and rinsed again. Then I cooked with ginger and cumin until done. We ate with cornbread. Within two hours we both had gas. I’m looking for another solution!

    1. Hi there. Sorry that happened to you! How much ginger did you use? We typically do fennel and ginger.

    1. Very funny.

      But truthfully, yes, I have, but not about gas in beans ;). Assuming you won’t get this email response since your name is most likely fake and your email address is odd, but thought I’d play along with the joke.

  8. I learned from my mom and grandma long ago to peel and slice a potato in half, then quarter the two halves and put them in the beans at the beginning of cooking. Once the beans are done, remove and discard the potato pieces. Voila, no gas! I don’t even change the soak water before cooking. Only negative I have found is two fold: A) reheating leftovers brings back the gas by the third day, and B) my natural disdain for throwing away what appears to be perfectly good potatoes, however, I don’t even feed them to my dogs, as that gives them a bad case of gas.

    1. Super interesting! However, why would reheating bring it back if the gas “left” in the potatoes?

  9. I tried soaking lentils with a small teaspoon bicarb. Then I threw the water off and cooked them. They foamed a bit and became much browner but tasted fine and no gas.

          1. Its a more positive step than guessing even though I am not a big bean eater (yet). It may open a wider menu variety for me knowing I won’t be worried about the side (or back) effects of consuming something so healthy and nutritious.

            1. Sorry but I don’t follow your comment “it’s a more positive step than guessing.” What did you mean by that?

    1. Sorry again for not being clear. I’ve been guessing what was happening and now I know that soaking beans in water with bicarbonate something soda before cooking will, appreciate apparently, eliminate the gas.

      Unless i manage to ingest something else along with the degassed beans…

  10. I can’t seem to find anything definitive on this but I have recently started freezing extra beans to keep them longer. What I have noticed since doing this is that almost instantly there has been less gas from eating them. These are cooked beans like navy beans in tomato sauce or others that are canned but not cooked.

    I recently tested this by taking a few spoonfuls of canned beans before freezing them and was rewarded within a short time with more gas than I’m tankful for. Anyway…just putting this out to see if anyone else noticed it. I will continue freezing extras regardless because I don’t end up throwing out food that I don’t use up before it spoils.

    1. Hi there! I wonder if it has something to do w/ the resistant starch. I know that cooling beans will increase this. You are reheating them, correct?

      1. Hi,

        Thank you for the fast reply. Yes, I usually do reheat them before eating them. Especially when they are in pasta sauce, chili, or stews.

        The Navy beans are more warmed by something like fried eggs on top but I have reheated them in a saucepan.

        1. My understanding about resistant starch and digestibility is that cooking, cooking and then eating cold or warm helps with digestion. I’m not an expert but this would make sense to me. You are so welcome!

  11. Hi!
    I do an extra step and with that added, the procedure has worked quite well for me. I stopped eating legumes a while ago because they give me really bad gas. But as it’s a tradition here, I made lentilst for New Year’s just the normal way, without these steps, and they were, as usual, “killing me” the day after… So I was apprehensive about eating them again but wanted give this process a go and to my great surprise and delight, I didn’,t even notice more gas than usual. So after soaking (I soaked plain brown lentils for about 24 hours) I cook them for 10 mins, then I drain them and throw away the first cooking water. For beans it should be after cooking them for 30mins. After that I cook them with ajwain and ginger until soft; then proceed to make whatever dish with them (I made curry with coconut milk and tomato paste). I recommend throwing away the first cooking water, even if u might lose a little bit of the nutrition of the stuff, for me it’s definitely worth it because otherwise I don’t / can’t it legumes at all 🙂

  12. This is a fantastic website, might you be involved in doing an interview regarding just how you created it? If so e-mail me!

  13. I tried the method above using ajwain. It didn’t work for us, and I didn’t like the flavor the spice. With any of the spices it would be good to put them in a small spice bag while cooking or you end up with them in your final product…which is fine if you don’t mind. Think I’ll try the ACV since I know it helps with soaking of grains…maybe beans too? Thanks Adrianne et al!

    1. Sorry about that–we found that the ajwain was fine but the epazote left more of a flavor. Maybe try the others? Hope you find a solution that works well for you!