How to Cook Canned Beans

Beans are incredibly easy to cook, and the perfect base for dishes like soup, chili, tacos, rice, and dips. They are chock-full of protein and fiber, affordable, and versatile.
black beans

Let’s be honest, most of us don’t have the time or patience to cook dried beans. That’s why canned beans are the perfect alternative. 


Whether you’re cooking black beans, red beans, pinto beans, lima beans, cannellini beans, garbanzo beans, or any other type, we’ll show you how to cook canned bean and turn them into a nutritious, budget-friendly meal.


Beans 101

Why are canned beans time savers? They’re already cooked!  Unlike dried beans, there is no soaking required. Typically, dried beans soak up the flavor of the dish while cooking, which is why some people think beans from a can tend to be bland. 


How to Cook canned beans

1. Drain & Rinse 

After draining the can,  thoroughly rinse your beans to wash off excess liquid. This applies to working with all different types of beans, no matter how you plan to prepare them.


You can cook canned beans without draining, but it really comes down to preference. Using all the contents of the can actually adds lots of flavor. If you’re concerned about sodium, look for no-salt added or low-sodium (<140mg/serving) beans.


2. Choose Your cooking technique

Stove Top

Probably the most common method, especially for black, kidney, and cannellini beans. You just need a few ingredients to transform them into a delicious dish.


Liquid: certain beans with creamy, starchy interiors call for an extra boost of hydration. Cooking in 1/2 cup water or broth will help retain their shape while keeping the interior creamy and smooth.


Seasoning: to really add flavor, be sure to season the beans before cooking. 


Fat: adding olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil, butter, or any other whatever oil you prefer, is essential for flavor.


The trifecta of flavor: onions, tomatoes, and garlic are natural flavor enhancers to any dish. Sauté with beans until soft and fragrant.


To cook: 

  1. Heat oil on the stove top and season beans.
  2. Add your trifecta of flavor, season, and sauté until soft.
  3. Mix in canned beans & liquid, bring to a simmer.
  4. Remove and add additional seasoning if necessary. 
Oven Roasted

Beans like chickpeas are more solid and crisp up nicely when roasted. Season them however you’d like for the perfect crunch in salads or as a snack. 


To cook:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Spread chickpeas on a kitchen towel and pat dry.
  3. Transfer to baking sheet. Toss with olive oil and your preferred seasoning.
  4. Roast 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

3. Add to your favorite dish

Stove top and oven roasted are the best way to cook beans as a standalone side dish, but you can also add them to some of your favorite recipes to bring extra texture and flavor.


Kidney beans are great for soups and stews, while black and cannellini beans are delicious in chili. Transform your chickpeas into a homemade hummus or toss in your favorite salad.  Black beans are also perfect for burritos, rice bowls, nachos, and omelets.


No matter the bean, no matter the dish, a can of beans in your pantry will always come in handy. 

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