Yes, You Should Rinse and Drain Canned Beans—Here's Why

Wondering why it is necessary to drain and rinse the liquid from a can of beans? Our Test Kitchen has the answer, plus must-have tips for using canned beans. We're also sharing our favorite recipes that start with a can of beans.

Canned beans are a healthy (and inexpensive) pantry staple perfect for quick weeknight dinners. But what about that cloudy, thick liquid the beans are packed in? Yes, it helps keep the beans preserved for a long shelf life, but the liquid is mostly starch and salt that may impact the texture or flavor of a finished dish. For that reason, most of our Test Kitchen recipes call for draining and rinsing canned beans, which can also remove the metallic flavor sometimes found in cans. Follow these easy steps to drain and rinse the beans so they're ready for chili, enchiladas, and more.

rinsing black beans
Andy Lyons

How to Rinse and Drain Canned Beans

Unless the recipe tells you to keep the canned beans in their liquid, you should drain your can and give the beans a good rinse before using.

  1. Open your cans of beans using a can opener ($14, Target).
  2. Dump beans into a colander ($8, Bed Bath & Beyond) over your sink.
  3. Rinse with cool water until the liquid runs clear. Give it a good shake to remove excess water.

Test Kitchen Tip: If your recipe calls for drained, rinsed chickpeas, try saving the liquid (known as aquafaba) and using it as a vegan egg substitute or whip into a meringue-like texture.

Once your canned beans are ready for cooking, make a warm bowl of Tuscan bean soup. Use a couple of cans of pinto beans to make burritos for a quick vegetarian dinner. Or make some baked beans from scratch for an easy and delicious side dish. Out of canned beans? Try keeping some dried beans in stock for your recipes, too.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles