Monday, July 25, 2011

Dry Bean Conversion and Chili Recipe

     Beans Beans the musical food storage staple! Ok Its been a while for recipes, and what better food storage staple to use than beans?  Beans have a long and glorious heritage, and so does one of our most common foods made from beans- chili. 
     The star of the south, beans can be used in multiple ways, from soups and stews, mashed and fried (or refried as it were) and even as flour! Click HERE for an excellent article on using beans and some little know ways to sneak them into foods without the family noticing.
     One of the things that always gets me though, is how many dry beans equals a can of beans, and vice versa when it comes to recipes. So I'll let you in on a little secret chart I keep written in my recipe book whenever I forget. Also remember that this is for the average bean sizes. There are of course the Limas and then the tiny little beans that you can find as well such as black beans or the smaller red beans. You would probably have to work out your own conversions with these oddball sizes. But for the average joe bean (no not coffee beans) this will work well:

1# dried beans = 2 cups (uncooked)
1# dried beans = 5.5 - 6.5 cups cooked
1 cup dried beans = 3 cups cooked
One 16oz can = 2 cups (with the liquid) or 1.5 cups drained
3 cups cooked beans = 6 servings
1/6-1/8 cup dried beans = 1 serving

     The chili recipe we use is (surprise!) from and listed as a Wendy's copycat recipe. Even for those that haven't tried Wendy's chili (which anymore doesn't taste as good as it used to) this is just perfect. I have since tweaked the recipe as the one on is a bit hotter than Wendy's usually makes it. But otherwise it is exactly the same (and I worked there for three years when I was younger, so I know). Here is my tweaked version:

1# hamburger fried and drained
1 can (15oz) tomato sauce
1 can kidney beans with liquid
1 can pinto beans with liquid
{Note: with our handy dandy conversion chart this equal s 1/2 cup each of kidney and pintos prepared in the usual manner}
1/2 c. chopped onions
2 cans rotel tomatoes (or you can used diced tomatoes and add in 1/2 c. diced green chillies)
1/4 c. diced celery
1-3 t. cumin 
1 T. chili powder (or to taste)
3/4 t. pepper
1 t. salt
1-1.5 c.  water

     Throw all together in a slow cooker or dutch oven for 3+ hours, stirring occasionally. If your from the west serve it with fry bread, if you're from the south serve it with corn bread, if you're from the north eat it with rice, if you're from the east, eat it on a hot dog.
     When I make the chili anymore I cut way back on the chili powder if I use the Rotel tomatoes (my son doesn't like a lot of spice), probably about 1 t. Those Rotels can be pretty spicy on their own. I also use more cumin (yay for cumin!) than most people so I use a whole tablespoon (hint 3t. = 1 T.). 
     This chili also cans up really nice as it is easy to double (or more) the recipe (just process for the same time as hamburger). This is also a good recipe to use with dried foods! I have on occasion thrown this together using nothing but the ground beef and the dried vegetables and water. Turns out just the same. Now with my canned hamburger I can have chili whenever I want. AWESOME!



  1. Thanks for this!

    I was just googling to find conversations of canned beans to dried for a chilli recipe I am making up tomorrow for four families, so when I saw the post title in google, it seemed like fate :) (even though I have my own chilli recipe already).

    I will write down your conversion chart and put it in the front of my own recipe folder :)

  2. I am interested in using dried beans, but am wondering how much extra liquid to add when I substitute 1/2 cup of dry beans for "1 can kidney beans with liquid".
    I know I need to soak and cook them (I am making lots of soups and chilis using dry beans these days) but am wondering how much extra liquid (water?) I need.
    I'm also trying to get my parents off canned beans, and am teaching my Dad how to do the substitutions. I am also wondering when substituting dry for canned if the amount of liquid will vary depending on the type of beans?

    1. After soaking beans you need to cook them before you can substitute them for canned. Once cooked, you can keep them in the fridge for a week or freeze.