Cooking Tips

Stop Draining Your Beans!

That starchy canning liquid is magic in the kitchen; don’t let it go to waste.

Published Jan. 12, 2023.

Has anyone else ever been irrationally terrified of canned bean liquid? The viscosity, the cloudy opacity concealing who-knows-what lurking in its depths? (Spoiler alert: It’s just beans.) 

For everyone’s sake, I hope I was the only one. Because bean liquid is magic! It’s starchy and flavorful, adding velvety body to everything it touches. (Soups! Chilis! Pastas!) 

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However, some of our recipes do call for draining and rinsing beans before using; the canning liquid has a decent amount of sodium and can vary from brand to brand, so drained and rinsed beans allow for the most precise seasoning. If you choose to forgo the rinsing step in recipes that call for it, that’s fine! Just be prepared to pull back the salt elsewhere to balance the extra sodium.

Here are some of our favorite recipes that use canned beans and their liquid.

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