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Are Canned Beans Cooked? Revealed

If you’re searching your pantry to satisfy your midnight cravings and suddenly spot canned beans lying around, you may wonder if they are (actually) cooked. 

I’ve been buying canned beans from the supermarket for a decade now and experimenting with them ever since. That’s how I know they come pre-cooked. This means you can directly eat from the can or use them in your recipes. The convenience makes canned beans a quick and easy addition to your kitchen. 

In today’s read, I’ll walk you through the following topics and much more:

  • Are canned beans cooked?
  • Are canned beans healthier than dried ones?
canned beans close up, with the tin lid lifted off

Are canned beans considered cooked?

Yes, canned beans are (really) cooked, and don’t be surprised!  

Here’s why: For canning, the manufacturers blanch the dried beans to make them perfect to eat. Then, they seal them in cans with water and a bit of salt (It helps preserve them and adds a zesty touch). 

Finally, the sealed cans go through a high temperature using steam pressure. This cooks the beans.

And you know the interesting part? High heat and steam pressure combo not only cook the beans but also fight against germs and diseases to make your canned goodies taste as yummy as ever. It’s a win-win for your taste buds and your well-being!

Are canned beans healthier than dried ones?

Let me put this straight for you. Canned beans are pre-cooked and very convenient. But they’re not as healthy as the dried ones.

During the canning process, some nutrients in beans are affected. For instance, soluble fiber (An essential component for digestion and heart health) may break down a little. 

Certain water-soluble vitamins (Such as C and some B vitamins) are also sensitive to high temperatures.

And don’t get me started on minerals! Canned beans lose several of them (Like potassium, magnesium, and calcium).

On the other hand, dried beans are packed with nutrients because they haven’t undergone the canning process. They are full of dietary fiber (Which supports digestion and helps control blood sugar levels). They’re also a superb source of plant-based protein. 

Dried beans also have some important things your body loves, like B vitamins. These vitamins (Such as folate, thiamine, and pyridoxine) help you get energized, think clearly, and feel great overall.

But that’s not all – they also come with antioxidants to protect your body against free radicals (Which can literally harm your red blood cells). 

So, I guess the battle of the beans is done here. If you’re looking for the healthiest option, dried beans have got your back!

What happens if you don’t rinse canned beans?

There are certain additives used in canned beans (Which help them get cooked in the cans). 

So, if you don’t rinse them before using them in your culinary adventures, your dishes will turn out to be bad in taste. The texture will suffer, too! This is definitely very unappetizing, right? 

In my experience, canned beans (often) have added salt for flavor and preservation. That’s why rinsing helps you to get rid of it and make your dish healthier (Especially if you’re watching your sodium intake). 

And I’m not done yet! A thorough rinse can help you remove any extra starch from the beans. 

This is particularly useful if you’re making dishes like salads or certain bean-based dips (Where you want them to hold their shape and not become too mushy). 

Can you use the liquid in canned beans?

A selection of branded canned beans

You can absolutely use the liquid in canned beans with no hesitation at all!

Here’s the reason: The liquid (Often referred to as “Bean liquid” or “Aquafaba”) contains starches and proteins that are quite useful in cooking and baking. 

Since canned beans are pre-cooked, this liquid also holds some of the flavors and nutrients that shouldn’t go to waste.

Let me tell you how I use this liquid. I use it as an egg substitute in vegan dishes. I whip it into a foam to replace egg whites in many recipes (Like meringues, macarons, and vegan mayonnaise).

You can also use it as a binder in recipes for veggie burgers or as a thickening agent in soups and stews. How amazing! 

Are there any special recipes I can cook with canned beans?

Although canned beans are already cooked. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use them in your recipes. Here’s what I usually cook with these gems:

1. Bean Tacos

To make delicious bean tacos just the way I do, you’ll need some canned beans, seasoning, and shells (Either hard or soft).

Now, wash and chop the lettuce, grate some cheese, and have your salsa and sour cream ready. Next, open a can of your favorite beans (Like black, pinto, or kidney), put them into a saucepan, and heat them up.

Once they’re warm, sprinkle your taco seasoning over them to add some magic. Stir nicely and let them cook for a few minutes to soak up those delicious flavors.

It’s time to assemble your tacos! Take your shells and fill them up with seasoned beans. You can load them up with lettuce, cheese, salsa, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, or any other favorite toppings you have on hand.

Congratulations! You’ve just made bean tacos that are quick, easy, and bursting with flavor.

2. Homemade Bean Dip

Start by picking your favorite canned beans from the market and give them a nice bath under cold running water. Next, peel and chop 1 or 2 cloves of garlic (Depending on your taste preference). 

Now, take a blender and put your rinsed beans and chopped garlic into it. Then, squeeze a lemon for a zesty kick and add 2 tbsp of olive oil for creaminess. You can also put some salt and pepper.

Blend all the ingredients together until they form a smooth and creamy dip. If it seems too dense, you can add some more olive oil or a splash of water (To reach your desired consistency).

And that’s it! Your perfect homemade bean dip is ready! Enjoy it with your favorite veggies or french fries. 

Ending Note

So, there you have it, my fellow food enthusiasts! I’ve answered your question: “Are canned beans cooked?” and touched on many other related topics. 

In the end, it’s all about your choice! If you opt for the quick and easy route with canned beans or pick dried ones, the world of flavors is yours to savor.