How to Cook Chickpeas

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Knowing how to cook dried chickpeas is such a great skill in the kitchen, and one that’s easy to learn. Follow my step by step instructions in this ultimate guide for a variety of methods to cook chickpeas from dry.

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I tend to feel guilty every time I open a can of chickpeas. That’s because I know that starting with dried chickpeas is more economical and no doubt healthier, and it’s what my Sitto always did. She never, ever used canned. I never, ever used dried. That is, until I got the hang of cooking beans in culinary school. It’s easy! And the same method I learned applies to any dried legume, so this is a handy thing to know for dried beans of every kind, including black beans, red beans, etc.

The canned variety of chickpeas contain a firmer bean, whereas you can control the texture of chickpeas cooked from dry, for much more tender chickpeas. Once you learn how to cook dried chickpeas, a big batch of chickpeas will be a staple ingredient you have at the ready for all kinds of recipes (such as homemade hummus, or the incredibly delicious filling for potato kibbeh). 

All about Chickpeas

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a type of pulse which are the dry, edible seed of green plants in the legume family. Chickpeas have a buttery, nutty flavor and creamy texture. Like other legumes they are rich in dietary fiber and protein and contain several key vitamins and minerals. 

Because they are so nutritious and have numerous health benefits, some people consider them a superfood. Chickpeas are great for vegetarians and vegans because they are a plant-based complete protein which contain essential amino acids. Chickpeas are a key ingredient in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines and are the essential ingredient in homemade hummus. They can be used in a variety of recipes or simply tossed over a salad or cottage cheese. 

What are the health benefits of chickpeas? Because chickpeas are so nutritious, they provide numerous health benefits: They can promote weight management: They help you feel full since they are so high in fiber. They contain soluble fiber which can help reduce total cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease. They are low on the glycemic index. And chickpeas contain calcium, magnesium, fiber, and other nutrients. Soaking them helps get rid of naturally occurring phytates, which can limit absorption of the calcium in chickpeas. 

Chickpea quantities from dried to cooked

One pound of dried beans will yield 7 cups of cooked chickpeas, or 3 lb. 4 oz.

One cup of dried beans will yield about 2 cups cooked, so about double from dried to cooked.

How to soak chickpeas

Do you have to soak chickpeas before cooking? No, you don’t have to soak your chickpeas before cooking . . . but the soaking method makes the beans cook much faster.  It can take up to twice the time if you don’t soak them first. Also, soaking may help remove some of the phytic acid found in dry beans, making them easier to digest. Soaked beans also tend to plump up without splitting as they cook. As a result, soaked beans simply look more appealing! 

Soak the chickpeas one of two ways.

Long soak: In a large bowl, cover the chickpeas by 4 or more inches with plenty of water, cold salted water (3-4 tablespoons) is best, and let them soak overnight or for 12 hours. Then pour off the soaking liquid. Don’t be tempted to use this liquid as your cooking liquid—fresh water is a must. Consider the soaking liquid “saturated” and not good to use as the cooking water for cooking chickpeas.

Quick-soak method: You can use a “quick soak” method if you don’t have time to soak your beans ahead of time. This will shorten the overall cooking time.

  • Pour the dry chickpeas into a saucepan and cover with 3 inches of water.
  • Boil for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 1 hour.
  • Pour off the soaking liquid before cooking.
Chickpeas in a glass bowl

How to cook dried chickpeas

Here are my favorite ways to cook dried chickpeas. Which cooking method you choose will depend on your preference, equipment, and the amount of time you have.

How to cook chickpeas on the stovetop 

Stovetop method: Place the chickpeas in a large pot and cover by several inches with cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 1.5 – 2 hours, or until soft (but not mushy). Offset the lid of the pot to let some of the steam out during cooking. Salting at this point will slow down the cooking process, so better to wait to salt until the chickpeas are used in whatever recipe you are making.

How to cook chickpeas in an instant pot (pressure cooker)

Step 1. Pre-soaked or unsoaked beans will work in an instant pot. If you pre-soaked the chickpeas, be sure to drain them before adding to the bowl of your Instant Pot. If you are starting with unsoaked beans, be sure to rinse them in a colander and remove any debris that you see, then add to the iInstant pPot.

Step 2. Cover 2 cups of beans with 6 cups of water, so the chickpeas are covered with 1 inch of water. Add in 1 teaspoon salt and add any extra seasoning such as garlic, onion, or bay leaves. Set the Instant Pot to High Pressure, and adjust the timer to 20 minutes (40 minutes if using unsoaked chickpeas). When the cooking time is up, turn off the Instant Pot and release the pressure manually 10 minutes after the beep. Strain the liquid and refrigerate or freeze the instant pot chickpeas in small batches.

How to cook chickpeas in a slow cooker (crock pot)

The cook time for cooking dried chickpeas in a crock pot will vary depending on the type, size and age of the bean as well as the slow-cooker equipment you are using. Generally, if you did not pre soak the chickpeas, they will take 3  to 4 hours on HIGH or 6 to 8 hours on LOW to become tender. You can shorten the cooking time by preheating the water in the microwave for 4 to 5 minutes before adding to the beans. 

Chickpeas on a sheet pan with a red checkered hot pad

How to roast chickpeas?

Oven-roasted chickpeas are one of the easiest healthy snacks to make; they are crunchy and delicious. Rub the cooked chickpeas on a clean, dry paper towel or kitchen towel until the skins fall off. Toss with olive oil and salt, and season with your favorite spices and pour onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Then roast in a 400 °F oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and crispy, stirring every 10 minutes. Serve warm or cool completely before storing in an airtight container. 

Do you cook canned chickpeas?

It depends. Canned chickpeas are already cooked and do not need to be cooked before serving. However, canned chickpeas have a firmer texture and the skins are on the chickpeas. You can boil canned chickpeas in enough water to cover them for 15 minutes to soften and warm them, which is helpful before pulverizing them for hummus or other dips. Be sure to drain them after cooking. 

Chickpeas with baking soda in a pan for smooth hummus
Remove chickpea skins by hand in a bowl of water

How to peel chickpeas for hummus

Why peel chickpeas?

Skins can be tough and dull the flavor of chickpeas. In some recipes like hummus, peeled chickpeas are the key to smooth texture and luscious flavor. In other dishes like bulgur pilafs, peeled chickpeas are best because otherwise the skins fall off and are unattractive in the pilaf.

Step 1. Start with canned or cooked-from-dry chickpeas. In either case, drain and rinse the chickpeas. For canned, simply drain and rinse. For dry, soak overnight, then drain.

Step 2. Cook the chickpeas by simmering in lots of water for a couple of hours until tender. Warm the chickpeas in a sauté pan with a tablespoon of baking soda for about 2 minutes.

Step 3.. Then immerse the chickpeas in a huge bowl of water in the sink. Agitate, popping the skins off every chickpea you can grab. Pour off the water with the skins. Repeat, and repeat again.

Know too that there’s another option here! Try using Peeled Chickpeas. These are dried chickpeas that are already peeled and therefore par-cooked. They cook by simmering until tender for about 90 minutes.

Smooth hummus in the food processor, Maureen Abood

How to store and freeze chickpeas.

  • In the refrigerator: Leftover cooked chickpeas can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
  • In the freezer: Cooked chickpeas can be stored in the freezer for 4 to 6 months. To freeze, spread cooked chickpeas on a baking sheet in a single layer, place in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours (this will help when freezing so they don’t stick together). Once frozen, store the chickpeas in a container or a freezer safe bag in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator before using. They will be softer in texture so these are best in dips and dishes that don’t require a firm bean.
Chickpeas in a ziplock bag for the freezer

Chickpea Recipes

Chickpea and Feta Salad

Potato Kibbeh filled with Chickpeas and Spinach

Best Homemade Hummus Recipe

Lebanese Fattah with chickpeas, pita chips, and yogurt

Lebanese Vegetable Soup with Chickpeas and Kale

Chickpeas in a glass bowl
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5 from 3 votes

How to Cook Chickpeas

There are several methods for cooking dry chickpeas. Each of these will result in tender chickpeas at the ready for recipes. Much more economical than purchasing canned chickpeas!
Servings: 8

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup Dry chickpeas (or any amount, scaling up water as needed)
  • Kosher Salt
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Instructions 

How to cook chickpeas on the stovetop 

  • Step 1. Soak the chickpeas one of two ways:
    Overnight soak: Cover the chickpeas by 4 or more inches with cold salted water (3-4 tablespoons), and let them soak overnight or for 12 hours. Then pour off the soaking liquid. Don’t be tempted to use this liquid as your cooking liquid—fresh water is a must. Consider the soaking liquid “saturated” and not good for cooking chickpeas.
    Quick soak: You can use a “quick soak” method if you don’t have time to soak your beans ahead of time. This will shorten the overall cooking time.
    Step 2. Cook the chickpeas. Place the chickpeas in a large pot and cover by several inches with cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 1.5 – 2 hours, or until soft (but not mushy). Offset the lid of the pot to let some of the steam out during cooking. Salting at this point will slow down the cooking process, so better to wait to salt until the chickpeas are used in whatever dish you are making.

How to cook dry chickpeas in a crockpot

  • The cook time for cooking dried chickpeas in a crock pot will vary depending on the type, size and age of the bean as well as the slow-cooker equipment you are using. Generally, if you did not pre soak the chickpeas, they will take 3  to 4 hours on HIGH or 6 to 8 hours on LOW to become tender. You can shorten the cooking time by preheating the water in the microwave for 4 to 5 minutes before adding to the beans. 
    Pour the dry chickpeas into a saucepan and cover with 3 inches of water. Boil for 5 minutes.Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 1 hour. Pour off the soaking liquid before cooking.

How to cook dry chickpeas in an Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker)

  • Step 1. Pre-soaked or unsoaked beans will work in an instant pot. If you pre-soaked the chickpeas, be sure to drain them before adding to the bowl of your Instant Pot. If you are starting with unsoaked beans, be sure to rinse them in a colander and remove any debris that you see, then add to the Instant Pot.
    Step 2. Cover 2 cups of beans with 6 cups of water, so the chickpeas are covered with 1 inch of water. Add in 1 teaspoon salt and add any extra seasoning such as garlic, onion, or bay leaves. Set the Instant Pot to High Pressure, and adjust the timer to 20 minutes (40 minutes if using unsoaked chickpeas). When the cooking time is up, turn off the Instant Pot and release the pressure manually 10 minutes after the beep. Strain the liquid and refrigerate or freeze the chickpeas in small batches.

Notes

Storage and Freezing Cooked Chickpeas

In the refrigerator: Leftover cooked chickpeas can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
In the freezer: Cooked chickpeas can be stored in the freezer for 4 to 6 months. To freeze, spread cooked chickpeas on a baking sheet in a single layer, place in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours (this will help when freezing so they don’t stick together). Once frozen, store the chickpeas in a container or a freezer safe bag in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator before using. They will be softer in texture so these are best in dips and dishes that don’t require a whole bean.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 91kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 219mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 17IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Maureen Abood
Servings: 8
Calories: 91
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26 Comments

  1. Christina Shape says:

    Hi Maureen!
    I tried to remove the skin from chickpeas (for the first time) after soaking and cooking dry chickpeas. I used baking soda and put in frying pan for a couple minutes and then put in large bowl of cold water and agitated to remove skins-did this about 100 times (lol), but the chickpeas broke down along with the skins (maybe too much baking soda?-I used about two teaspoons). They broke down so much that I ended up with only about four cups of chickpeas. So my questions are: how much baking soda and how long to sauté?? Thanks!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Christina…hmmm…it sounds like the cooked chickpeas were very soft and the next step of breaking down the skins also broke down the bean. I think the problem is occurring in cooking the chickpeas (too long, too soft) more so than the baking soda amount. The sauté time is really just enough to warm the chickpeas through, a minute or two.

      1. Christina Shape says:

        Hi Maureen,

        Thanks for responding-yes, I was wondering about my cooking time as well!
        Also-made your Lubieh for dinner last night and Hushweh is tonight. Your cookbook is a staple in my kitchen and hoping you put out another one!!!

        1. Maureen Abood says:

          Thank you Christina!! So much!

  2. Fabienne says:

    Can I use a pressure cooker to cook the chickpeas? Thanks

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Yes, many are pressure-cooking their chickpeas. I’ll keep you posted when I share my own pressure-cooked chickpea recipe.

  3. Roger says:

    Are you aware of auqafaba??
    It’s the water that the chickpeas have been soaked adn cooked in, the beans release protein which is suspended in the water: this suspension can be used in replace of egg in recipes that call for the protein element of eggs i.e: cakes, pancakes, yorkshire puddings.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/VeganMeringue/

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Yes, super and fascinating thanks!

  4. Karina says:

    I have 2kg of chickpeas that will not cook properly, I have soaked them for 48 hrs and they are still hard and dry after cooking for 2 hrs

    Do you have any suggestions n how to make them more tender?

    I am attempting 72hrs soak now.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Karina–thanks for your question. Keep cooking them beyond the two hours as long as it takes;it may take several more hours and that’s fine. A longer soak won’t necessarily lessen that cooking time by very much. Let me know how it goes–

  5. Michael says:

    OMG!!!!!! I just searched your site and found it!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You’re the BEST!!!!!!!!!

    Next time I’ll scour your site first and ask later. lol

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Fantastic!! Welcome!

  6. Michael says:

    Thank you Maureen!!
    Looked at bunch of “simple” methods for preparing chick peas online and yours is by far the most sensible and straightforward.

    Perhaps you can help me in my long quest for a recipe?
    Years ago a friend who I’ve lost touch with used to make something I believe she called “Lubbin”. Forgive my vague description but she (if memory serves me right) took yogurt, olive oil and a cheese cloth to make this spreadable goodness. Does this sound familiar at all?

    My friend’s mother was Lebanese and made it all the time. She also introduced me to “Lubi” (hopefully I got that right as well) which is a wonderful stew of chicken, chickpeas, tomatoes, green beans, onions and mint served over steamed rice.

    Hope you can help and keep up the great writing! Thank you.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      This is great– I see you found the laban recipe–the lubi is here!

  7. Louise Giordano says:

    The chick peas are sitting in cold water as we speak. Thanks One thing I am not sure of in your recipe is if the lid should be a bit ajar while simmering or after when I can spices etc. An answer would be appreciated again THANKS

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Thanks Louise–I don’t use the lid while the chickpeas simmer.

  8. christine m says:

    is it ok to soak chick peas in stainless bowls? thanks

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hello! Yes, it’s fine to soak chickpeas in stainless bowls–

  9. Roger Toomey says:

    Do you have a recipe with chickpeas, tomato, and ham? I can’t seem to locate one and that is one of the main ways we ate them.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Roger, I haven’t ha chickpeas that way but will let you know what I find.

  10. Rachel Abood says:

    Wow Maureen, I hope my sister Sarah saved that shower cookie for me. Your writing and love of all things family and food warm my autumn heart. I loved the picture of Peg’s b-day cake, too precious. Please keep cooking, baking and sending pure joy from the north. Love, Rachel

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Love you Rachel.

  11. Kristen English says:

    My Mom has the same set of bowls. The middle size is green, and there is one smaller than the red one that is blue. I always liked their retro feel, so she picked up a set for me at a garage sale. 🙂

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      How cool Kristen! Maybe you’ll take a pic sometime and post it….I’d love to see the set….

  12. mimi says:

    I have a robin’s egg blue bowl that looks just like your pink one, so maybe that’s the missing color?

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Robin’s egg blue! You know, I first thought blue and even wrote it, then the longer I looked at the set the more I thought green. Sounds like the set has both blue and green bowls along with the yellow and pink….