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. Hey Adrienne! Just chanced upon this site today. Very happy to know there are blogs like this..was surprised realizing there are more people like our family..we still have a LOT of bean days 🙂
    This degassing trick I learnt was from my grandparents. If soaking didn’t happen and the beans still HAD to be cooked, separate the cooked liquid and chuck it in the blender. There will be a lot of froth, remove the froth. Repeat about three or four times and you’re ready for a safe bean dish for dinner.

  2. Cooking my first pot of beans with cumin added. I am excited to see the results! I really like beans and would have cooked beans as an addition to any meal or by themselves except for their gaseous problem. Beans have come under attack lately because they contain a common plant enzyme called lectins and has been called an anti-nutrient. I am not an expert on lectins but it appears that this is possibly a lot of hoopla. For one, the lectins are cooked out when you cook the beans thoroughly. And who wants to eat raw beans anyway?

    1. Hope it goes well for you! I did hear that most / all of the lectins come out of beans when pressure cooking and soaking so that is a good thing– I don’t know why that is, but that has been shown to be the case–more than traditional cooking. And ditto on the raw / undercooked beans. Yuck!

  3. Never could eat beans until Mrs made a mixed bean salad with apple vinegar. I had about two tablespoons of the salad every day this week and NO GAS! We think the vinegar is the answer after 66 years of avoiding them.

  4. This is so useful, and not much talked about – except by the sufferers – lol!
    I love using beans, and have avoided them a bit, but now I can use them all the time! Thanks to you!

  5. Lol thanks WholeNewMom! I am one that tried to avoid the beans altogether otherwise I’d have world war 3 going on in my intestines! ?Can fennel and ginger essential oil be used? If so are the measurements the same?
    Thanks!

    1. You are so welcome! I would think so but they are MUCH more potent so I would only use like maybe 1 drop in a very large pot? I’m just not sure.

  6. Well what fun are beans without the gas?

    Beans, beans, magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you toot.

      1. I’m just joking around. The little ones did look to have a blast with the fudge though.

  7. Thanks for these helpful tips. I soaked a bag of 15 been soup for 5 hrs and they are on the stove cooking. They have been cooking for 4 hrs on low with a huge ham hock, fresh garlic and onions, green beans, tomatoes and carrots!

  8. After the beans are cooked I just put a long wooden spoon in the pot (just long enough for it to reach the top of the pot) that way the little farts can just climb out.

  9. First, I soak my beans overnight then drain and rinse them. Then, I place a small peeled Irish potato in the pot with beans to absorb the gas. Be use to toss the potato after the beans are done. Enjoy the beans without gas!

  10. I use the soaking and rinsing technique but I add an additional step. The soaked and rinsed beans are then placed in a pot of boiling water, the heat is immediately turned of and the beans are allowed to set in the water and cool before a second straining and rinse. Then just cook them as desired. It does seem to reduce the amount of sugars left in them and thus the amount of gas.

  11. In cooking the dry beans with ajwain or Epazota do you use the whole seeds or ground. I’d like to try both but I don’t want to buy the wrong type. Thanks

    1. Ajwain is the whole seed. Epazote is a like a dried leaf. I don’t grind either of them. You could, but I don’t.

      1. Hi Adrienne. I have the same question. How much of the adwain or epasote should one use to de-gas beans? There is, in fact, nothing included in your above post about how much of the adwain or epazote to use. The term “correct proportions” is not explained: “Cook the beans with ajwain or epazote. I boil the beans first, then skim off the scum/foam that builds up on top and then add the ajwain or epazote in the correct proportions.”

        Also, the brand of epazote you link to on Amazon is no longer available. Any other source for epazote that you recommend?

        Thanks!

        1. Hi there. So sorry for the delay in responding. Your comment got buried under a load of others. The post has been updated and I should have a new link in there for you. Let me know if it doesn’t work for you and happy bean cooking!

    1. What is razored and how do I use it to degas beans are there any other things that will degas beans that’s easier to find

  12. One other good thing about beans…they have a long shelf life…and they don’t need electricity to keep fresh. If you power goes out and you have a camp stove, you can still eat a nutritious meal. Best to keep your deep freeze closed during a power outage

  13. I can beans, so could I put ajwain in the jars when I can them. I”m trying to make the beans easier to digest. Thank you for the great read. Becky

  14. We “soak” until they sprout. I don’t know if sprouted beans are healthier or if all the phytic acid is gone or even how long to let sprout, but once they show a tail, we cook them and they seem to be digested much easier. I am hoping sprouting makes them even more nutritional powerhouses but l have no proof backing it up. Just less background music (and without the noxious smell). Even hubby does better on them.

    1. I have read in numerous places that it reduces carbs and makes them more digestible. Yea for less background music :).

  15. Thanks so much for the tips on degassing beans. So, do you cook the beans and lentils directly or do you use a pressure cooker? Also, how important is it to skim off the foam before adding ajwain, in the degassing process?
    BTW, I am originally from India and ajwain is commonly used in dishes made with garbanzo beans and chickpeas for the same purpose. However, I haven’t tried to use it with other beans and lentils and definitely not while cooking them. So, will definitely try this since my son, who is also on the autism spectrum, has lots of gas problems, with any lentils or beans.

    1. You can cook the beans / lentils either way. I hope this works for you! And welcome. I hope to see you around again!