How to Cook Fava Beans or Broad Beans


Fresh broad beans or fava beans are absolutely delicious, in fact I like them so much that I usually only buy them when they’re in season, otherwise I never buy them. I think this is not only a healthy routine, to be one with the seasons, but also an added pleasure when broad beans season comes back in force ;D But before cooking, it’s best to share some of what i think are the best ways to peel, choose and finally cook fava/broad beans.

Firstly, in the market or supermarket, the really good broad beans are the ones with a very green pod and very firm, with the pod still green and without any discoloration. You know you have good broad beans when you open the pod and it’s super crunchy and the beans almost jump out.

To open the pod you can break off the end bit or you can twist the pod, it should crack easily or up up like an easy seal (yes, the plastic kind), but if the pod has a texture more like rubber and doesn’t open up easily then the broad beans are no longer very fresh and the pod has already lost a lot of its natural moisture.

So after taking them out of the pod the broad beans still have a skin covering them and we’ve reached the first crossroads, as this broad bean skin is perfectly edible once cooked, even some dishes ask for it to be cooked with the skin on, especially if the broad bean is super fresh the outer skin, if cooked well, becomes tender and adds texture to the broad bean dish, also if the cooking technique is very agressive, the skin will protect the inner bean.

However, I understand that some people don’t like it, don’t want it or it’s not needed in the recipe, in which case you have two options, you can peel the broad beans raw, the technique is simple, looking at the broad bean from the side you see that it has a rounded side and a side that goes inwards and at the top there is a small filament, you stick your fingernail or a dull knife into the beginning of this filament and pull upwards in the direction of the filament, in this movement you will separate the entire top of the skin from the broad bean inside, it looks complicated but in two movements you will peel the broad bean, once you have removed this part it is easy to remove the rest of the skin without damaging the broad bean inside.

On the other hand, you can blanch the broad beans, i.e. put them in a pan of boiling water for about 3 to 5 minutes and then remove them from the hot water to a bowl of very cold water for another 2 minutes. This will make the outer skin more malleable and detach it from the bean, like boiled peanuts, after blanching it’s super easy to separate the skin.

And that’s it, I rarely blanch, my process is almost always the same: I’ll the beans with the skin from the pod and steam it, or I’ll peel it completely and cook it immediately in a frying pan, or if I don’t think I’ll have time to cook it, then I’ll peel it completely and freeze it, already peeled, so then I just pour it into a soup or a stew and that’s it, the broad beans lose a bit of their texture if frozen, so it’s best for dishes with a lot of liquid to break up the beans a little so its always delicious.

Ohh and in case you didn’t know, young broad beans can be eaten raw, still in their pods, and ripe broad beans can be peeled completely and the tender pod eaten raw too, the texture is different and it tastes like grass with a hint of broad bean hehehe, however and this is super important! Some people are very allergic to raw fava beans as well as fava beans have a toxic compound called vicine that is toxic if eaten in large amounts, so when i say eat raw i mean a taste or a couple, not a full meal, fava beans should always be cooked, i know a lot of people are very much into raw eating, thats cool, but not all foods should be eaten raw, like potatoes!

How to Cook Fava Beans

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Normal
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Print

These are just some ways to cook fava beans until tender.


  • Fava Beans – 200gr
  • Olive Oil – To Taste
  • Vinegar – To Taste
  • Saffron – To Taste
  • Paprika – To Taste
  • Pepper – To Taste
  • Salt – To Taste


  1. You can cook fava beans as many ways as you can cook pretty much any bean, my 2 favorite ways are to steam them and or pan fry them, so im going to give you both ways here and you can choose the ones you like best.
  2. If you haven’t yet peel the fava pods and remove the fava beans, wash them well, for the steamed version, you don’t need to peel the fava beans, just prepare a pot with hot water on a medium heat and a steamer tray on top, put the fava beans, put a lid and let it cook for approximately 8 minutes not much longer then 10 minutes and if smaller fava beans, think about 5 minutes, just take one after 5 minutes and taste.
  3. After they are done take them out and put them on a dish, i like to season them like a salad with 1 spoon of olive oil, a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice), a bit of salt and a bit of pepper, but you can season as you like, i also tend to just drop them in a salad or better yet a potato salad (that tends to be sweet so the tangy fava beans cut a bit of the richness).
  4. If i’m stir frying then i’ll peel the fava beans completely including its inner skin and put a bit of olive oil in a pan and add the fava beans, season with a a bit of spices, like saffron and paprika, maybe a curry mix, and fry then until their are tender, its about 5 minutes, sometimes i add a fry egg in the mix or maybe some portuguese chorizo and thats it, taste and adjust seasonings and its ready to go, enjoy!
Notes: Of course you can steam the fava beans without the skin, but they will cook faster and get a bit more moushy, so it’s best if you cook them with the skin and if you don’t like the skin, just take it out while eating. You can also use frozen fava beans for these recipes, just make sure they are raw frozen and not pre-cooked frozen.

This recipe for How to Cook Fava Beans was originally created on Esta receita de Como Descascar Favas foi publicada em português no


Per Serving: 300 calories; 10 g fat; 40 g carbohydrates; 15 g protein.

Did you try this recipe?

So do you like broad or fava beans? What do you call them hahaha? ;D Leave a comment below!


Leave a Reply

You May Also Like