Should You Rinse Canned Beans? What You Need To Know

Wondering if you should rinse canned beans? If you do rinse them, use a colander under running water.

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.

If you want to save the liquid, empty the can into a colander over a bowl, then rinse the beans.

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!

If you rinse canned beans, you may want to save the liquid in a bowl.

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!
Canned beans are sturdy, but if you rinse canned beans, avoid using the water full force so you don't damage the beans.

When Should You Rinse Canned Beans?

Rinse Canned Beans When…

  1. You want to cut back on sodium, since the liquid can be salty.
  2. Your dish is already salted or well seasoned.
  3. 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…

  1. Your recipe specifically calls for undrained or un-rinsed canned beans.
  2. 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!
To rinse canned beans without saving the liquid, just empty the can into a sieve or colander over the sink, then run cool water over the beans until the water runs clear.

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.

Where do you stand on whether to rinse canned beans?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Food & Recipes

  • I picked up some pinto beans in mild chili sauce at Randall’s a while back because they were on clearance for $0.80 each. I stuck them in the cabinet and forgot about them. The other day I wanted to make beef enchiladas, and I always stretch the recipe by adding in refried beans and extra seasonings. Since I didn’t have refried beans, I decided to use the pinto beans I bought. I threw them in a pot, undrained, and took a potato masher to them. They were delicious! I’ll never buy refried beans again.

  • I rinse for certain recipes like cold bean salads but for dishes like chili, I include the liquid in the mix. All depends on the recipe.

  • I don’t rinse beans — canned or home-made — unless I need “clean” beans in the recipe, which is almost never. And if starch or gas were a problem, I wouldn’t eat beans at all — what’s in the water is a tiny fraction of what’s in the beans

  • We no longer use canned beans. We buy the dried and cook them ourselves. My husband has HBP and even the low salt beans (which they charge more for) were too much. Now we have a bean day, cook them and then freeze them for when we want to use them. Much healthier!

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