Cooking Beans at a High Altitude

I've always been compelled to live near a coast so my experience with high altitude cooking has been limited. On Facebook, a new customer asks about her options and I was stumped beyond suggesting a pressure cooker.


Do you have any good ideas beyond suggesting that she move? I know this affects a lot of people but I also know that mountain people have been cooking legumes for centuries, long before the arrival of the pressure cooker.

5 Comments on Cooking Beans at a High Altitude

  1. The only thing that will really change is just that the BP of water will be slightly depressed. Depending on what the weather’s doing (ie. the barometric pressure) at 7000′ above sea level, water will boil at ~200 F (as opposed to ~212 F). The boiling point will also vary a bit depending on what solutes are in your water. For example, stock will boil at a slightly higher temp than pure H2O (of course you’d never want to add salt at the beginning to increase BP!).

    All in all, just like cooking pasta at elevation, I think the only difference would be that the beans may take a bit longer to cook as they’ll be stewing at a slightly lower temperature.

    When in doubt, just taste test them until they’re done!

  2. Having this kind of approach, can save electrical energy don’t you think? But the only question is? is it safe?

  3. I cook a lot of beans and my house is at 7685 ft.

    I put them in an old Crock Pot, no presoak, run them on high for an hour or two, then drop them to low.

    I cook 90% of my beans overnight so it is another 7-8 hours before I check on them.

    This works beautifully.

  4. When I was at Rancho Casa Luna- we cooked them slowly on the Olla- longer cooking time but fabulous-
    I always suggest people to cook beans at night- put them on during the day- let them slowly cook until you are ready to go to bed.
    I leave out overnight to cool and then use.

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