top of page

How to Cook Fresh Fava Beans

Fresh fava beans in the - how to cook

Fava beans are one of the oldest domesticated food legumes. They have been part of the Middle Eastern diet since at least since the 4th century.

Beans are a great source of fiber, protein, fiber, iron, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium and many other beneficial nutrients. If you have never tried fresh fava beans, they’re really special– they have a mild, creamy flavor that compliments many spring dishes. Fresh from the pod they are bright green and very pretty

Most forms of fava beans need to be peeled before eating, unless they have already been prepped. It takes time, but is not difficult at all.


2 lbs fresh fava beans in pods

You will also need: medium pot, large mixing bowl, ice cubes, slotted spoon


1. When you look at the fava bean pod, you will notice that the edges have a seam. To open the pod, snap off the tip and pull down; the seam will open like a zipper. If you have trouble "unzipping" the pod cleanly, don't worry. Once the pod is open at least somewhat you can easily tear it open the rest of the way with your hands.

2. Remove the beans from the pod. Each pod should have 4 or 5 beans. You may want to collect them all in a bowl.

3. When you are done, fill a mixing bowl with cold ice water (enough to cover the beans) and set aside.

4. Fill a pot with water (enough to cover the beans) and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, blanch the fresh fava beans for 30 seconds.

5. With a slotted spoon, immediately transfer the blanched fava beans to the bowl of ice water. This will stop them from cooking any longer.

6. Your beans are now ready to peel. The skins should slip off fairly easily by pinching between your thumb and forefinger.

7. 2 pounds of fava bean pods will yield about 1 cup of blanched, shelled beans.

8. Once the shells have been removed they will be quite tender. You can steam them longer to heat through, add them to salads, or use them in any recipe you like.


If you would like to freeze your fava beans for future use, first allow the beans to cool completely, then transfer them to a freezer safe container. I like to measure out 1 ¾ cups of beans in each bag, which is equivalent to the amount in a standard sized can. They will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.

When ready to use your frozen beans, remove them from the freezer and thaw. They can be reheated on the stovetop, added to soups and stews, or used however you would use canned beans.

Once the shells have been removed they will be quite tender. You can steam them longer to heat through, add them to salads, or use them in any recipe you like.

Important note — fava beans are a trigger food for G6PD, a hereditary enzymatic deficiency. Those who have this deficiency can develop anemia (potentially severe) from eating fava beans. Populations with the highest percentage of people affected by the deficiency include Sephardic Jews and those of Mediterranean and African heritage. People who are diagnosed with G6PD should not consume fava beans, and if you ever experience symptoms or discomfort after eating them you should be tested for this genetic deficiency. See the full post:

bottom of page