How to Cook Navy Beans

(c) Photo: Lisa Muhammad

Before we get started, I would like you to read what The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said in the following about navy beans (emphasis mine).

"EAT ONLY small navy beans. They are white and pink in color. There are also large beans of the same color, but do not eat the great big beans - eat the small ones. Cook them thoroughly. Feed them to your children."  -The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, How To Eat To Live, Vol. 1

"SIMPLE NAVY BEANS is one of the best foods that we can eat. You do not have to strain the beans to eat them. Straining the beans is a real habit that we took up years ago. But, they are better if you eat them in their hull (skin)." - The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, How To Eat To Live, Vol. 2

"DO NOT PUT A LOT OF SPICES, or what you call seasonings, in such good food. Do not do this. You ruin your food. The value of the bean is taken away by your putting so much seasonings in them. Just put the beans on and cook them until they are done. LET THE BEAN STAY IN IT'S JACKET..." - The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, How To Eat To Live, Vol. 2

1lb (one pound) Navy Beans  
8 cups water
Large pot

The day before you cook the beans you will need to 
pick over the beans and remove any stones or dark discolored beans.

(c) Photo: Lisa Muhammad

Rinse the beans in a large pot. 
For every 1lb (one pound) of beans add 8 cups of cold water. 
Let the beans soak overnight or at least 8 hours in a large bowl or pot
(Soaking the beans helps to break down enzymes and lessens gas.) 
(c) Photo: Lisa Muhammad

After the beans have soaked, drain the soaked water and rinse the beans.

Place the drained beans into a large pot and cover with 6 cups of hot water for each pound (2 cups) of beans.
(c) Photo: Lisa Muhammad

Place the lid on the pot and bring to a boil, then SIMMER GENTLY until desired tenderness is reached, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. 

That's it. Your done. See how easy that was?

Now all that other stuff is up to you like; adding tomato sauce, peppers, onions garlic. I won't get into recipes here, but I share a few on the site. Look for the links. But this is the basic way to cook navy beans.

I used to add all kinds of things to my navy beans. But NOW, I'm much better. I eat them as simple as possible. It's better that way for you, just like the Messenger said. So, I add a little butter, garlic (fresh-not that powdered junk), salt and pepper and I'm in heaven. Oh and some cayenne pepper. 

Now here are a few tips.

Add 1 to 2 Tablespoons oil (to prevent boiling over). This is optional however. Just make sure you keep and eye on them.


Adding salt in the beginning will toughen beans. Add salt after or just before beans are completely cooked.

Bring beans to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Boil gently with lid tilted until beans are tender when tasted 1 - 2 hours. The FRESHER the beans the less time it take to cook them. If any of you got beans from the farm, you'll notice they only took a few minutes and were SO TENDER.

Add hot water as needed to keep beans just covered with liquid. The best rule is to test frequently during cooking, then come to your own decision when beans are tender. Most recipes will tell you to cook beans until tender. To check for tenderness, pinch or bite a few beans at a minimum suggested time, then every 10 to 15 minutes until the beans are tender). 

Check the beans occasionally to see if they are covered with the cooking liquid. If there is so much liquid absorption and evaporation that the top of the beans becomes exposed, add very hot water to the pot to cover the beans. 

When dried beans boil, a foam forms on the top of the cooking liquid. This foam is water-soluble protein released from the beans and it will be absorbed back into the bean cooking liquid. I remove the foam. I believe it helps to cut down on gas. 

To keep the foam down when cooking beans, add 1-2 Tablespoon of butter or olive oil.  And be careful with corn oil. Years ago, we didn't have the problems we have today with corn oil. Today so much corn is genetically engineered. It's practically impossible to find some that has not been tampered with.
(c) Photo: Lisa Muhammad