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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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. Thanks for the great article! The gas is such an unpleasant experience from beans. I do have one question though. Does getting rid of the water that the beans have soaked in for at least eight hours also get rid of some of the essential fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates from the beans? Or does it just get rid of the gas causing elements? Thanks!

  2. OMG!!!!! Have you TRIED ajwain??? I used it in the soak water for two days, then put it all in a pot to simmer for about an hour, then I’ll put them in the crockpot dish. ( it seems my beans NEVER get soft, so I’m ‘overdoing’ it a bit this time!)
    ANYWAY, the ajwain stinks! It LITERALLY smells like sh**eeewww, eeewww, eeewww!!!!
    I bought this because I could not find the epazote anywhere, but I’m throwing it out! I’ll try the baking soda and potato like your readers have suggested next time!

    1. We use it all the time and I don’t have any issues w/ the smell. In fact, we find the epazote has an undesirable odor and taste. So odd. I wonder if yours is bad somehow?

  3. For those with serious gas issues with beans, try removing the beans skins before eating. Chickpeas are paticularly easy to de-skin.

  4. Ok, I know this is an old thread BUT (ha ha) I have question. I’m looking at your lentil recipe for crackers and it led me here about de-gassing my lentils. On the other hand there is a comment that lentils don’t need to be de-gassed. Then it says if you sprout them that is fine, then it says to do all the above with sprout, rinse, add whatever that stuff is you add that I don’t have on my shelves and would have to order. Can you help? I’m new to all this and am overwhelmed!! I want to make healthy food for my family and really thought I have been but want to get away from gluten and have to get away from dairy and eggs…without making my family gag! 🙂 Anyway, I also need to help our digestion too. I suffer from hormone imbalance and I believe it’s mostly from poor gut function. ACK! So much to learn!! I need protein but can’t eat eggs or dairy and meats other than chicken are hard to digest..as are beans, which is the original subject! So, since you can’t put your brain in my head for while I will continue to study your website here and try to learn but if you can help me to know what to do with thee lentils that would be great. Do I have to do more than soak lentils and beans? I hate to have one more thing to spend money on….then again, at the rate I like to make music, especially around “that time” everything makes me musical! LOL!!! It may be worth it! Hope I wasn’t too confusing….thanks!

    1. I always use ajwain in my lentils. Are you saying you can’t find it where you are? Can you order online? The ajwain lasts forever!!! I bought 1 lb from Mountain Rose Herbs a long time ago and still have some left. Here’s my affiliate link if you’d like to check out the pricing: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/?AID=119871

  5. Has anyone ever heard that putting a peeled and quartered potato in with the beans as they soak overnight will also aid in de-gasing?

  6. to de-gas your beans is to cook them with a carminative spice/herb for example cumin, or fennel, or dill…I will use 1/2 tsp. to 1 teaspoon of cumin while cooking the beans..The spice/herbs listed are great for relieving flatulence, (gas), & helps to promote digestion..I at times will use 1 tsp. of fennel seed to soak with my beans which helps as well, but I prefer using cumin & or fennel for flavor & it relieves the gas as well..

    1. Great tips on here, thanks everyone!
      I’d love to try the herbs mentioned here, however, Mt. Rose Herbs shipping is quite expensive (I just found out by placing my first and probably last order with them due to their high shipping fee).
      Years ago I used baking soda, but it didn’t help me at all. Any ideas where one could find a smaller amount of the herbs to try?
      Thanks!

  7. My grandmother taught me to add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to the beans when I soak them overnight to take the fart out of the beans. Rinse them well the next morning.

  8. You said to use the ajwain or epazote in the correct portions, but never explained what the correct portions are. Can the ajwain or epazote be dried? or do they need to be fresh picked?

  9. I’ve always just cooked them with a scrub potato, the potato absorbs the gas and your beans are toot free. Just don’t eat the potato….lol

  10. I plan to can my beans because I don’t have the freezer space. I have canned black beans before, but not tried de-gasing them. Anyone had success combing a de-gas method with pressure canning? I figure I will soak them like normal, then rinse and add the spice to the jars when I can them? Any thoughts advice? I’ve been scouring the internet looking for ideas, but no such luck. Thanks!

  11. I am just getting in to cooking dried beans. It is better for me to cook at home since I have become gluten free. Also, I am not familiar with a lot of spices. Are ajwain and epazote spices or brands of beans? Which is the best brand to buy and what about the store brands?

    1. They are spices. There should be a link in the post – do you see it? It goes to my post on the two of them. I think I link to where you can buy them as well:).

  12. Hi Adrienne, just found you and have been reading posts from your blog. Found this post and wanted to share how I de-gas our beans. We LOVE beans! Pintos, red beans, great northern beans, black beans, etc. I soak overnight for at least 8 hours. Rinse and put fresh water in my crock pot. Then, I cut up a small potato in tiny pieces and cook with the beans. The potato soaks up all the gas–it’s supposed to be some kind of reaction with the gas in the beans and makes it all dissipate. We eat the potato with the beans and most times you can’t even tell it is in there. Not sure how it all works, but the only time we have gas is when I forget the potato!

    1. My grandmother told me to do this! I didn’t know you could eat the potato. She said she would give it to the dog and that “he probably thought the thunder had come.” She has a lovely Kentucky accent. 🙂

  13. I just recently started using thermal cooking with a homemade cooker. When I use it, beans come out very tender and evenly cooked. With the information I just learned from you and the comments, they should be even better. Thanks so much for sharing. Your ideas are truly a blessing to me.

  14. I always add a Tablespoon of baking soda at the end of cooking a large pot to Degas my beans. They fizz and release the gas, I forgot last batch, made black bean brownies and I’m suffering 🙁