There are many, many ways to do this. Whatever you do, it’s going to take you a bit of time, but it’s so worth it. How much time? That depends.
Whatever method you use, start off by rinsing the dried beans and checking them just to make sure there aren’t any non-beans (e.g. little pebbles) in the mix by mistake. It’s rare, but trust me, it happens. Your teeth will thank you.
The traditional way is to soak the beans in water (enough to cover them) overnight. The next morning, change the water, then bring the beans to a boil and let them simmer for about an hour. They’re done when they’re tender.
You can also boil the beans right away for 1-2 mins. Let them sit off the heat for an hour, then bring them back to a boil and simmer them for another hour. Again, they’re done when they’re tender.
My new favorite method is to bring the beans to a boil on the stove, then finish cooking them IN THE OVEN. Blasphemy, I know. While the beans are coming to a boil on the stove, preheat the oven to 275F. As soon as the beans boil, stick them straight in the oven for about 75 mins. Check them every 20 mins or so to make sure they aren’t drying out. If they are, add a little more water. Again again, they’re done when they’re tender.
You read that right, the oven method requires NO SOAKING. It’s culinary magic at it’s finest. Try it out, and leave a comment to let me know how it goes for you!
N.B. Never add salt to the water when cooking beans – it hardens them.