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Do You Have to Rinse Canned Beans?

Multiple cans of beans are opened with beans still inside.

Canned beans can be a delicious and convenient addition to a busy weeknight meal. But when you open the lid, it’s not hard to miss the gooey liquid in the can. But what is it, and is it okay to cook with?

Turns out, it’s often better to rinse and drain your beans before adding that mysterious liquid to your meal.

In most cases, the liquid in canned beans consists of nothing more than salt, water, and starch that processes from the beans themselves. The liquid helps preserve the beans so they last longer on the shelf.

Since the liquid contains high levels of salt, rinsing the beans decreases the high sodium content in your meal. Managing your salt intake can lessen bloating and also lower your blood pressure. Dousing your beans in water and allowing them to drain for several minutes is a healthier option when cooking with canned beans.

Rinsing the beans also eliminates the metallic taste that can carry over from the can.

Basically, it’s always a good idea to rinse your canned beans, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the liquid inside. You can save some of the liquid and use it as a flavor booster for your meal as well as a thickening agent in soups or stews.

While this liquid helps preserve the life of your canned beans, don’t forget that yes, canned goods can expire.

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