Do You Really Need To Rinse Canned Beans?
Canned beans are a quick and easy way to stretch a meal, and they add protein and fiber to almost any dish — including desserts! Many people, myself included, keep a few cans of beans stashed in the pantry for these reasons.
If you use them in your cooking, you may have wondered whether you ought to drain or rinse canned beans before using them. It might be a straightforward question, but it turns out that the answer is a bit more complicated!
After doing some research on the topic, I’m ready to share what I’ve learned about rinsing canned beans, and that’s what I’ll be doing in this post! By the time you’re finished reading, you’ll have a better understanding of what rinsing beans does and doesn’t do, and when it and isn’t useful.
What Is The Liquid Inside A Can Of Beans?
Canned beans are typically packed in the liquid they were cooked in. If you’re familiar with canning, you know that the food being canned actually gets cooked during the process, and that’s exactly what happens with canned beans.
Both during canning and after, the starches from beans leech out into the water, thickening it and even making it feel a bit slimy. But the liquid is really just extra-starchy bean water, so there’s no harm in eating canned beans that haven’t been rinsed!
The Special Case Of Canned Garbanzo Beans
- The liquid inside a can of garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas) is so uniquely useful that it has its own special name: aquafaba.
- When you drain canned chickpeas, you can save the aquafaba and use it in all sorts of interesting ways in the kitchen.
- Aquafaba is often used as a vegan substitute for egg whites, and apparently makes an excellent vegan meringue!
When Should You Rinse Canned Beans?
Rinse Canned Beans When…
- You want to cut back on sodium, since the liquid can be salty.
- Your dish is already salted or well seasoned.
- You want to avoid feeling gassy, as rinsing canned beans helps remove some of the beans’ gas-causing sugars.
Don’t Rinse Canned Beans When…
- Your recipe specifically calls for undrained or un-rinsed canned beans.
- You’re cooking something you want to thicken — even a small amount of the starchy liquid from the can will help thicken a sauce or soup!
How To Rinse Canned Beans
To rinse a can of beans, open the can and dump the beans into a colander or sieve over your sink (or over a bowl, if you’re saving the liquid). Rinse the beans under cool water until the water runs clear — avoid turning your faucet on all the way to avoid smashing the soft beans.
Wondering About Rinsing Other Types Of Food?
Where do you stand on whether to rinse canned beans?