Place soaked or rinsed, dry beans in a pot that has room for soaked beans to expand somewhat and dry beans to triple or quadruple in size. Cover soaked beans with 1-2 inches of water (or cooking liquid) or dry beans with a few inches of water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat so that liquid is gently simmering. Cook uncovered or partially covered until beans are tender.
It is best to use soaked beans for cooking in a slow cooker or they will take far too long to cook. Soaked beans can generally be cooked on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours in a slow cooker.
There are two main types of pressure cookers—stovetop and electric. The former generally cooks at higher temperatures and faster than the latter. Because pressure cookers vary from model to model, it is best to follow the instructions for cooking beans that came with your particular unit. Soaked or unsoaked beans of any type can be safely cooked in a pressure cooker. However, soaked beans cook more quickly and are more likely to stay intact, while unsoaked beans tend to split apart in a pressure cooker.
Beans are done cooking when they are tender in the center and do not taste overly starchy or gritty. However, they should not be cooked so long that they are all falling apart. To get all beans completely cooked, some will generally fall apart.
To amplify the flavor in beans, add dried or fresh herbs or spices and other aromatics while cooking. A common combination is onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns.
An alternate method of cooking that works for whole grains that can keep their shape with cooking— such as rice, quinoa, wheat berries, farro, or barley—is to bring a large pot of water to a boil as you would for pasta and boil the grains until done (testing occasionally for taste/texture), then drain in a fine strainer as you would pasta and then run cool water over the grains to stop the cooking. This method works well if you want to serve whole grains in a salad rather than as a warm side.