How to Cook Canned Black Beans
Black beans are a great-tasting, healthy addition to any meal. They can be served either as a standalone side or as part of a dish. However, do you really know how to cook canned black beans?
Most people sell themselves short when it comes to cooking their beans. Too many people think cooking black beans is as simple as opening a can, pouring the contents into a pot, and letting the beans warm over low heat.
The days of merely heating canned black beans in a pot are over. There are numerous ways when it comes to how to cook canned black beans that will result in beans that are unlike anything you’ve ever tasted before.
If you’re interested in learning how to cook canned black beans, you’ve come to the right place.
The Many Health Benefits of the Humble Black Bean
Black beans are one of the healthiest foods out there and and come with numerous health benefits. They are high in both protein and fiber. A half-cup of black beans contains a whopping 114 calories, nearly 8 grams of protein, and 7.5 grams of fiber.
But black beans’ amazing health benefits extend far beyond the protein and fiber they provide. Here’s a handful of more health benefits of black beans.
Black beans are low in sodium and cholesterol, which can be beneficial for those trying to stay within healthy blood pressure ranges. Additionally, black beans contain minerals that have been shown to help lower blood pressure, such as:
Fiber has also been known to assist with regulating cholesterol levels. As a high-fiber food, black beans could help you decrease your chance of heart disease and lower your cholesterol.
Additionally, black beans are rich in quercetin, which studies have shown protects against the adverse effects of LDL cholesterol on the cardiovascular system.
Last but not least, black beans are rich in saponins, which have been proven to help prevent damage to the entire cardiovascular system, including the heart and blood vessels. This is because they help lower blood cholesterol and blood lipid levels.
It’s not just milk that can help you strengthen your bones. As mentioned, black beans are high in calcium, which can help maintain or improve bone structure. Black beans also contain iron, phosphorus, copper, manganese, and zinc.
All of these nutrients can help contribute to a healthier bone structure. They can also help improve joint health, something you may find beneficial as you age.
Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes
The high fiber content in black beans can also help you manage diabetes. Studies show that those diagnosed with type 1 diabetes were able to lower their blood glucose levels when they consumed diets that were high in fiber.
Similarly, patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes were able to improve lipids, blood sugar, and insulin levels when staying on the same diet.
Reduce Your Risk of Cancer
Many of the compounds in black beans have been shown to help prevent the risk of cancer. For example, black beans contain selenium, which has been shown to help detoxify carcinogens that enter the body.
Selenium has also been proven to slow down, or even decrease, the rate at which tumors grow. The saponins found in black beans have been proven to be able to prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells.
Additionally, black beans contain folate, which is beneficial regarding preventing cancer cells from forming due to genetic mutations. Lastly, diets high in fiber have been shown to reduce the chance of colorectal cancer.
Digestion and Weight Loss
The high fiber found in black beans promotes a healthy digestive tract and helps your body develop a regulatory cycle. Fiber can also help encourage the growth of healthy bacteria in the colon and other areas of the gastrointestinal tract.
Fiber can also be helpful for those trying to lose weight because it helps people feel full when they eat. When you feel fuller for more extended periods of time, you will be less likely to eat. And when you are less likely to eat, your daily caloric intake drops and you begin to lose weight.
How to Cook Canned Black Beans: Mistakes You Can Make
Although you may find fresh beans to be more flavorful, there’s nothing wrong with using canned black beans. But as you learn how to cook canned black beans, there are a few things you may want to consider.
First things first, make sure you rinse the beans before using them. Beans in a can come in a thick, syrup-like liquid, a noticeable difference from dry beans. This liquid tends to be high in starch and sodium. Some recipes, like chili, may call for you to use this liquid. But, if your recipe doesn’t call for it explicitly, don’t use it.
Then, run them under running water that is room-temperature. You do not want to turn the sink up all the way. Otherwise, the force of the faucet stream could cause the beans to burst.
Many people are not aware that the ratio from dried beans to canned beans is different. It’s ok to use canned beans in a recipe, but be sure to substitute appropriately. Dried beans will increase in weight when cooked, nearly doubling in size.
If you are using canned beans as a substitute, know that one can of beans roughly equals a half-cup of dry beans.
Another common mistake on how to cook canned black beans is when people over-season them. We recommend purchasing low-sodium black beans, which should give you more flexibility in your recipe to season the beans as you’d like.
If you use canned beans that are not low in sodium, you won’t need much seasoning at all. Even if you rinse the beans, they can still be salty. Lastly, make sure that you store your beans properly.
Some people put the beans back in the can, which you should not do. There’s no lid to keep the beans sealed. And, a metallic taste will seep into the beans, ruining your next meal. Instead, use Tupperware or other similar storage, and put the beans in the refrigerator. They can last for approximately one week while refrigerated.
Preparing Black Beans
Now that you’re sold on the health benefits and know the mistakes to avoid, it’s time to learn how to cook canned black beans. When you learn how to cook canned black beans in a Carbon Steel China Wok, you’ll quickly find that there are numerous methods and recipes available.
Several of our favorites are listed below.
How to Cook Black Beans from a Can
Don’t be afraid to try all of the recipes until you find one you like. You may even find that as you learn to cook canned black beans, you create a personal recipe. If this happens, be sure to share it with us!
Heat in a Saucepan
This recipe, courtesy of All Recipes, instructs you how to make a basic dish with canned beans in a saucepan and put it in a NuWave PIC. The prep time for this recipe is ten minutes, while the cook time is a mere five minutes. To get started, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- 16 Ounces, or One Can, of Black Beans
- ¼ Cup Broth of your Choosing
- One Small Onion
- 1 Garlic Clove
- One Tablespoon Fresh Cilantro
- ¼ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Begin by chopping the onion, garlic, and cilantro. Then, rinse the beans. Combine the beans, broth, onion, and garlic into a medium Ceramic Coated Pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Afterward, season with the cayenne pepper and cilantro. Feel free to add salt if needed. Allow this mixture to simmer for five minutes, and then serve warm.
In the Microwave
If you are really in a rush, you can also cook canned black beans in a microwave. Canned black beans are convenient for this because they do not require time to soak. Fresh, dry beans, however, must soak in water for a reasonable amount of time before you can use them. Learning how to cook with canned black beans can allow you to make a meal in a matter of minutes.
This recipe from Kids Health is for a Mexican-inspired dish. The recipe makes about six cups worth of food, which breaks down to about four 1-1/2 cup servings. To begin, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Two Cups of Brown “Instant” Rice
- 2 Cans of Black Beans
- Two Cups of Chopped Bell Pepper
- 1 Cup of Romaine Lettuce, Shredded
- ½ Avocado, Diced
- 4 Tablespoons of Chunky Salsa
Begin by cooking the rice in a Slow Cooker. The directions to do this should be on the back of the package. While the rice is cooking, rinse the canned black beans. Once the rice has prepared and you have cleaned the beans, combine them both in a microwave-safe bowl and add the salsa. Stir until combined.
Then, microwave on medium-high heat for approximately two minutes, or until the entire dish is warm. Remove from the microwave, and add the avocado and the bell pepper. Stir again, and let cool for one minute. Serve the dish on a bed of romaine lettuce, and enjoy.
How to Prepare Dried Black Beans (without Going Insane)
Dried black beans need to be soaked overnight in order to be cooked relatively fast so you can keep your sanity intact. Keep in mind that the older the beans are, the longer they take to prepare.
But don’t despair. The pros have agreed to share with us some hacks to help us cook even some of the most stubborn dry black beans out there.
If you think that cooking dry black beans is too much of the effort, think of the benefits attached to it.
Dried black beans are much cheaper than canned black beans like two to four times cheaper especially if you buy them in bulk. Also, because you are the one to choose the type of black beans to put on your family’s table, dried black beans can be a lot tastier than their canned counterparts. For some delicious beans check out your local farmer’s market or if you’re blessed enough to live in a rural area, ask a farmer to sell you some.
Plus, cooked dried beans are much healthier than canned dry beans as they don’t contain all those synthetic chemicals Big Food puts in canned beans to make them last an eternity.
Cooked dried beans are also more nutritious than canned black beans because the nutrients in them don’t have time to seep into the canned beans’ liquid. That’s why many nutrition experts recommend cooking with the liquid (if you don’t mid the added chemicals of course.)
Prepare Dried Black Beans Like a Chef
Rock-hard black beans need to be soaked first. There are two methods to soak dried black beans to turn them tender enough to cook in reasonable times: the overnight method (it takes between 8 and 10 hours) and the fast method (it should take around 2 to 4 of hours).
The Overnight Method
Let the black beans sit in a large container under 2 inches of fresh water overnight or for at least 8 hours). Make sure that the container is large enough to allow the beans to expand as they will nearly double their volume and absorb some of the water. This way, you’ll be cutting in half the cooking time of the beans.
The next day, rinse off the black beans, drain them, and cook them according to the recipe. To make them less cook them until very tender and discard the water your preparing them in at least two times.
Yes, we know, many of those nutrients might get down the kitchen sin drain, but don’t worry. You won’t be losing all of nutrients and a lower risk of flatulence is nearly priceless.
The Quick Soak Method
We call it the quick soak method because it takes only 2 to 3 hours rather than 8 – 10. There are two variations of this method:
- Bring the beans to a boil and cook in a pot for just a couple of minutes (make sure that the water covers the beans and the pot is spacious enough for them to expand); let them sit in water for a couple of hours. Prepare the black beans according to the recipe.
- Add 1 tsp of baking soda to the beans and bring to a roiling boil; cook for a couple of minutes and let the beans sit in the water for 3 to 4 hours. The major upside of this method is that the beans will cook faster, but you will also degas them in the meanwhile.
The greatest downside of the quick-soak method is that the beans might break up during preparation, so if you need the beans whole such as for a salad or tacos, opt for the overnight method.
Very important note: If you live in a hot climate or if your kitchen is hotter than usual, keep the container with the soaking beans in the refrigerator. You will prevent fermentation this way. One of our readers learned this tiny detail the hard way…
We hope we answered you’re question about how to prepare black beans. We also hope you’ll enjoy our suggested nutritious and healthy black bean recipes too! Bon appetit!
You may also like
TheKitchenAdvisor is a team of energetic and enthusiastic food bloggers and collaborators with a unifying passion for great food and cooking. We’re committed to bringing you only the best and most accurate info on food and kitchen gear through our in-house reviews, interviews, blog posts, and editorials. You’ll also find food trivia, cooking hacks, and many, many beginner-friendly recipes here, as we constantly strive to infuse our readers with enough confidence to become a bit more experimental in their home kitchens.