washing canned beans

Joined Aug 13, 2006
I have a question that probably has been asked and answered many times in the past, but if i do a search for "wash canned beans" i get every single post that has any of those words in it, and i guess it might be of interest to others too so I'll ask and maybe some of my learned friends here will answer.

In many recipes using canned legumes they say to drain and rinse the beans. I don't often do dried beans because i get home from work late and am incapable of planning in the morning what i'm going to feel like eating at night and anyway, I don;t eat them that often except in soups, and so I make the soup base and add the canned ones.

The question is, why do so many recipes say to rinse them first? I don't see the point, since i would think you'd be rinsing away some of the bean broth, which would be added flavor for the soup.

Making pasta e ceci for tonight and after doing the soffritto, was rinsing the chickpeas from the can and wondering why i was doing it.

Joined May 29, 2006
Sometimes I do and other times do not . Depends what I am making. To me the liquor from the beans is loaded with nutrients and flavor but sometimes a bit salty depending on brand and type of bean. I taste first
Joined Dec 2, 2009
Agree with Ed, but wanted to add.
Sometimes the beans taste a bit canned...sometimes draining and rinsing helps. Sometimes.
Every few months I have a bean prep day.
Cook half way using usual seasonings and technique then freeze in small quantities.
Pull out and finish cooking when needed.
Joined Jul 21, 2006
Sometime I rinse them and sometimes I don't. About the only time I use canned beans is when Les makes chili and I don't have time to plan ahead. Usually, I buy dried beans, soak overnight, then throw in the slowcooker when I get up. I let them cook on low until soft, then portion and freeze. I can just pull those out and throw them in whatever I am making.
Joined May 26, 2001
The main reason for rinsing is to remove excess salt. If the liquid will be diluted, that might not be necessary.

But as allie and dillonsmimi have pointed out, it's easy to cook a batch of dried beans ahead and freeze them. My friend Rancho Gordo has instructions for cooking beans, including a video. The only thing to remember is that the "fresher" the beans (that is, the closer to harvest and drying), the faster they cook.
Joined Aug 13, 2006
thanks! I think I'll stop rinsing for soups.

If i'm going to do cooking on the weekend, it won't be boiling beans. I don't particularly like legumes unless they're fresh (freshly shelled borlotti - yum. Fresh beans are to dried beans as fresh peas are to dried peas - a whole nother vegetable. The difference between a home cooked dried bean and a canned one is much less.) Also having had to cook for many years for a vegetarian daughter, and with the mad cow scare at the same time, I ate enough beans for a lifetime! I occasionally make pasta e ceci or other such dishes when she comes to visit. Since i can't think that far ahead i never even remember to take stuff out to defrost.

Also i have a very small freezer, the kind attached to a small european fridge - It's usually full of other stuff. Beans are not high on my priority., If anything i would boil the fresh ones, but i'm just not organized enough to think of it.


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
The search feature here is pretty limited. If you want a more detailed search, you can use google and limit it to only results from cheftalk wtih the site: modifier. No space after site: and the site itself.

So the search string

wash canned beans site:ChefTalk Cooking Forums

I use google a lot for digging for specifics here on Cheftalk rather than the Cheftalk search feature.

A pressure cooker makes quick work of dry beans and solves my issue of failing to plan ahead.
Joined Dec 2, 2009
I have always had a pressure cooker phobia...and when Eli's exploded (this season's Top Chef) my fear has only increased. Don't get me wrong...I WANT to learn. Maybe a bit of culinary psychotherapy would help...
Joined Mar 21, 2008
The liquid in canned beans can have a nasty chemical taste so I always rinse. Dried beans are better but I don't always have time to go that route.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Dillonsmimi: Don't let Eli's experience temper your decision one way or the other. Remember, he insisted on using a broken machine that he tried to jury-rig with duct tape. The problem wasn't with a poorly designed machine, it was with a stupid cook.

That aside, modern pressure cookers are as safe as any other kitchen utensil. Don't confuse them with the poorly designed and built units of the 1940s and '50s. We've all heard the horror stories, many of which are apocraphal. But today's pressure cookers are not subject to those problems, because they have all sorts of safety devices built in.
Joined Dec 23, 2000
Suzanne- Thanks for the ref.!

That webiste of your friend Rancho Gordo has a whole lot of Mexican-oriented recipes that look to be really good. It's in my bookmark list now.

Not sure i'm going to find his exotic beans, though.

Mike ole! :peace:
Joined Nov 6, 2004
Hi siduri,

Much like MaryB I always rinse my canned products (one exception being tomatoes). The fluid always has that funny taste, pheewy.

Joined Aug 13, 2006
I usually buy them in glass jars, so maybe that's why i don;t notice any bad taste?
Joined Dec 4, 2009
I suppose there could be some logic to rinsing canned beans, as many people state.

But with that same logic, why aren't we asked to rinse canned corn, canned tuna, canned peas, and canned tomato sauce?

Aside from canned tomato products, I almost never use canned foods. But I have used canned beans in the past and I've found nothing wrong with them; no excessive saltiness, no chemical flavors, no metallic aftertaste.

Why do I think this is a case of "we do this because we've always done this"? Was there a really good reason in the past?

Joined Nov 6, 2004
Hi Joe,

I can't speak for anyone else but I didn't always rinse my canned vegetables. I started doing it when I began to note that much of the liquid in canned vegetables tastes similar despite being a different vegetable all together.

I prefer to grow my own or buy from small (known) local producers in decent soil. But because this isn't always possible I will sometimes buy in season vegetables from certain grocery stores. Some are better than others...and one of the two best is a large Asian store that will import in season vegetables from all over the world and an Italian grocery store that does the same (although not as large).

If I have to buy from a large chain supermarket I prefer to buy frozen vegetables (corn, beans, etc.). If I have to make buy canned vegetables, for whatever reason, I rinse them. I'll rinse every canned vegetable that I buy, except canned tomatoes.

But that's just what I do...someone else can (har har) do whatever they choose to do.


(dang...I wonder how Shel is doing? )
Joined Nov 6, 2004
Huh! There's an Italian grocery store that I normally go to ,Caputo's, and they have real nice import sections (many countries...not just Italian imports). I'll have to see if they offer beans in a glass jar.


Joined Jan 10, 2010
I'll often drain and frequently rinse canned beans depending on what I'm preparing. However, over the past few years the beans I use have been unsalted, or contain very little salt, so salt is no longer a reason to drain the beans. But, in the past, it has been a reason to drain and rinse. Also, the canned beans that I currently buy are packaged in lined, BPA-free cans, and the metallic or off tastes frequently associated with canned beans are no longer an issue.

So, the short answer is that draining and rinsing have resulted in fresher tasting, less salty products. I will also drain and rinse beans and then dry them in the oven or in a skillet on the stove if I am going to marinate the beans, as the dryer, less salty beans seem to absorb the marinades better.

However, there is a gradual shift here to more use of good quality dried beans, and Ranch Gordo seems like a good source. Since I've retired, there's more time to spend doing the things I like, such as cooking, so dried beans seem like a good alternative to canned in many instances.

FWIW, Eden Foods produces some good quality canned beans - low salt, lined cans, all organic. I especially like their garbanzo beans.

Kind regards,

Joined Nov 16, 2009
There should be some materials in the canned food. they have been stored for a long time. SO it would be better to watch them.

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