How to Cook Dried 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 for a variety of methods to cook chickpeas from dried.

I 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 preparing dried legumes in culinary school. The same method I learned applies to any dried legume, so this is a handy thing to know for dried beans of every kind.

Once you learn how to cook dried chickpeas, a big batch of chickpeas will be at the ready for all kinds of recipes (such as the incredibly delicious filling for potato kibbeh, below!). This is such a simple and economical way to prepare dried beans, a great technique to know and use. 

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. 

Do you have to soak chickpeas before cooking?

No, you don’t have to soak your chickpeas before cooking . . . but it 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. Soaked beans also tend to plump up without splitting as they cook. As a result, soaked beans simply look more appealing! 

Chickpeas in a glass bowl

How do you cook dry chickpeas?

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.

  • 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.

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 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 chickpeas in small batches.

How to cook chickpeas in a 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. Rub the cooked chickpeas on a clean, dry towel  until the skins fall off. Toss with olive oil and salt, and season with your favorite spices and pour onto a prepared baking sheet. 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. 

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.

Chickpeas with baking soda in a pan for smooth hummus
Smooth hummus in the bowl of the food processor

How to peel chickpeas for hummus

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, using pre-peeled chickpeas that are dry and easily cooked, simmering until tender for about 90 minutes.

Chickpeas in a ziplock bag for the freezer

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many cups of cooked chickpeas will I get from a pound of dried beans?

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

What is the difference between canned and dried chickpeas?

Although canned chickpeas are certainly convenient, freshly made chickpeas are superior for many reasons. Fresh cooked chickpeas are creamier and have a richer, fuller flavor than canned chickpeas which can have a grainy texture and somewhat tinny flavor. They are also more cost effective, you can control the amount of salt, and they are BPA free.

Do you have to soak chickpeas before cooking?

You don’t have to soak your chickpeas before cooking, but it makes the beans cook much faster. It can take up to twice the time if you don’t soak them first. And soaking may help remove some of the phytic acid found in dry beans which helps to remove some of their gas-producing properties.  Also, soaked beans tend to plump up without splitting as they cook. As a result, the beans simply look nicer!

Do you cook canned chickpeas?

Not typically. Canned chickpeas are pre-cooked and ready to eat. You just need to drain and rinse them before using in your recipe.

What are the health benefits of chickpeas?

Because chickpeas are so nutritious, they provide numerous health benefits:
Promote weight management: They help you feel full since they are so high in fiber.
Help lower cholesterol: They contain soluble fiber which can help reduce total cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease.
Help control blood sugar:  They are low on the glycemic index.
Can strengthen your bones: Chickpeas contain calcium, magnesium, fiber, and other nutrients for strong bones. Soak them first to get rid of naturally occurring phytates, which can get in the way of absorbing the calcium in chickpeas. 

How to roast chickpeas?

Oven-roasted chickpeas are one of the easiest healthy snacks to make. Delicious! Rub the cooked chickpeas on a clean, dry towel  until the peels fall off. Toss with olive oil and salt, and season with your favorite spices. Pour onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. 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. 

Recipes with Chickpeas to Enjoy

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

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    1. 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….

  1. 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. 🙂

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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. 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–

  8. 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.

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