Dehydrating cooked beans and more

Why would anyone want to dehydrate cooked beans?

There are many reasons, which include dried / dehydrated cooked foods are perfect for camping, backpacking, traveling, vacationing, cooking away from home (maybe in a hotel room), long-term storage and emergency rations. They are lightweight, take up little space and can be rehydrated easily and quickly for hot, whole meals any time and almost any place.

Dehydrated meal fixin's

However, there are problems with buying foods already dehydrated. For one, the cost can be exorbitant, especially right now. Dried foods are in great demand as food costs rise and consumers worry about an uncertain future. In addition, many processed dried foods contain a LOT of  preservatives and chemicals you may not want to feed your family.

What’s the answer? Cook real foods from scratch, the kind you want to feed your family, without additives and seasoned the way you like them. Then dehydrate and store them. The cost is minimal, the savings are huge and you can feed your family the quality food you desire under any circumstances.

Some simple foods to get started with are rice, beans, fruits and veggies. These foods are staples and can be purchased organic, grown locally, in bulk and in varieties your family will eat.

To cook dried beans, soak for 12-24 hours, drain the soaking water and cook until tender. Let the beans cool, spread them out on dehydrating trays (or on baking sheets for oven dehydrating) and dehydrate until completely dry.

It can be confusing to consider drying cooked beans that were already dried, but remember, the starting product were RAW dried beans, not cooked dried beans. So they must be cooked to be eaten. And once cooked, they can be dehydrated to be stored. The cooked, dried beans do not require long soaking or cooking times and a large amount of precious water as the raw dried beans do, in fact, the cooked dried beans can be rehydrated with boiling water to cover in a pan, bowl or even thermos for no-fuel rehydration.

Lentils are easy to cook and dehydrate as they do not require pre-soaking. Simply cook lentil until done (but still firm), let cool and dehydrate as any other cooked bean. You can salt or season them before dehydrating, but be warned, dehydration intensifies flavors, so season lightly!

Cooked lentils for dehydrating


This weekend, I am cooking and dehydrating lentils, kidney beans, vegetables, brown rice and applesauce. My cooked lentils dried nicely overnight in my Excalibur dehydrator. After drying, I let them cool completely before sealing, as this reduces the chance of moisture and condensation.

Dried cooked lentils



Next, I vacuum-seal them in portion-sized bags and place those alongside the other components of the full meal, so it is easy to grab or pack all at once.



I also dehydrated applesauce “plops” which turned out great as well. I’ll roll them up in parchment and seal those in baggies as well.

My goal is to create dehydrated meals we can take with us camping, or traveling, or for emergencies. We have some thermos bottles and we can place boiling water over these dehydrated foods and have lentils, rice, seasonings and applesauce for dessert.

I’m doing the same with the kidney beans, which I slow cooked overnight. I used some for chili for supper and the rest I’ll let cool and dehydrate overnight. Today I have the dryer filled with more applesauce “plops” and some sliced, blanched potatoes.

Are y’all dehydrating?

About Vickilynn Parnes

A student of health and nutrition for 40+ years, Vickilynn Parnes has over 30 years of actual hands-on experience reviewing and personally using different tools of the homemaking vocation, focusing on the areas of health and nutrition. Vickilynn is a magazine columnist, product reviewer, cookbook author and radio talk show host, as well as being full-time mom to 5 children.