Basic Chickpeas (aka Garbanzo Beans)

by Mary on January 21, 2012

soaked chickpeas in a pot with bay leaves and garlic

chickpeas soaked, ready to cook, with garlic, bay leaves

I make a big pot of chickpeas from time to time and use them in meals for a few days. I like to have them on hand for salads, and to add to stir-fries and other recipes.

You can always use canned chickpeas, and sometimes I do, but they have a fresher, nuttier flavor from scratch. Plus you avoid any undesirable chemicals such as BPA in the can lining, not to mention the excess salt in most canned beans.

Chickpeas expand to almost three times the volume of the dried beans when cooked. So a pound, slightly over two cups dried, will make over six cups cooked. That should be enough for most kitchen projects. Sometimes I cook four cups of dried chickpeas just to generate a lot of extra to freeze.

Soak the chickpeas in a big pot overnight, with enough water to reach three times the height of the beans in the pot. Or use the quick-soak method: bring to a boil, simmer for a few minutes, then turn off the flame. Let the beans soak in the hot water for an hour, then cook.

For each two cups of beans, add several peeled pieces of garlic and several bay leaves to the pot. Cooking time can vary depending on the freshness of the beans but can be as little as 35 minutes, or as much as an hour. When they first become soft they are done, don’t keep cooking them until they get mushy. Add salt to taste at the end of the cooking time and remove the garlic and bay leaves. Drain, and they are ready to serve or use in another recipe.

Basic Chickpeas (aka Garbanzo Beans)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Keep your vegetarian kitchen stocked with home-made chickpeas with this easy recipe.
Recipe type: beans
Serves: 5
  • 1 pound, or a generous two cups, of dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 3 large peeled cloves of garlic
  • 3 large or 4 or 5 small bay leaves
  • salt to taste
  1. Measure chickpeas into a large pot.
  2. Sort through the chickpeas to find any rocks or clods of dirt.
  3. Cover the chickpeas with water to three times the level of the beans in the pot.
  4. Leave to soak overnight or for eight hours.
  5. Drain, refill pot with water to several inches above the level of the soaked chickpeas.
  6. Add garlic and bay leaves to the pot.
  7. Cook until soft, 35 minutes to an hour.
  8. Add salt to taste.


I first learned this recipe from Jack Bishop’s The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook: 350 Essential Recipes for Inspired Everyday Eating, one of my top favorite cookbooks. His recipes are not fussy and his directions are very clear and complete, a reflection perhaps of his many years at Cook’s Illustrated. He includes a wide variety of recipes from pizzas to frittatas to bean dishes and more.

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