How To Drain Kidney Beans


Kidney beans really do stir up a lot of controversies, don’t they? When they’re canned, people always ask whether they should be drained and rinsed, or if the liquid should be used alongside them in the dishes you’re making. When they’re fresh (which people are discovering more and more these days), people wonder about similar things.

Do they need to be rinsed before use and how should they be drained after cooking? Well, wonder no more, because today we’re taking you through everything you need to know about preparing, rinsing, and draining kidney beans – both canned and fresh. With all that being said, let’s just get to it!

Should You Rinse And Drain Kidney Beans (Fresh And Canned)?

Unless the recipe specifically tells you otherwise, yes, you should always rinse and drain both fresh and canned kidney beans. Why you need to do that is slightly different for both, so let us break it down for you.

Canned Kidney Beans

How To Drain Kidney Beans

Canned kidney beans should always be drained and rinsed before using, unless the recipe you’re looking at specifically tells you to keep it. Sometimes in things like a bean soup, or other similar dishes, the cloudy, slightly thicker liquid from the beans can actually help thicken and add some extra nutrients to a super healthy dish.

But most recipes will expect you to drain and rinse them first. But why? Well, that liquid is full of starch and salt to keep the beans fresh and ready for consumption. Adding this salty, starchy liquid to a dish can really upset the delicate balance of the recipe and leave the resulting dish tasting overly salty and feeling a little slimy because of the liquid. So draining your kidney beans makes sense.

Rinsing them will also help because it’ll remove any of the liquid that has stuck to the beans after draining. It sounds strange, but even a little extra liquid can have an unwanted effect on the dish. Sometimes canned beans can have a slightly metallic taste from the can, so rinsing kidney beans is beneficial because it’ll help remove that taste too!

Fresh Kidney Beans

How To Drain Kidney Beans

Fresh kidney beans need to be rinsed before cooking and drained after cooking. Obviously, fresh kidney beans come in pods and don’t have any preservative liquid surrounding them, so there isn’t anything to drain at the start. Instead, they need to be rinsed before you cook them. But why?

Well, it’s because we should wash most fresh produce such as fruit and veg before use. On certain farms, pesticides, insecticides, and other chemicals are necessary to keep the crop fresh, and the same applies to kidney beans. Whilst someone will already clean them before packaging, it’s a good idea to rinse them anyway to remove anything that may have been missed.

Besides, once you open up the pod to cook the fresh brown beans, you’ll want to rinse them to make sure nothing is inside the pod that you wouldn’t want to eat. It’s just a common food safety procedure.

And unless, again, the recipe you’re using tells you to keep the cooking liquid of the fresh kidney beans, then they should be drained after you have cooked them before adding to the finished dish. Only in certain dishes will the cooking water be necessary for the dish, so unless it tells you to save it, drain those fresh beans too!

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How Do You Drain And Rinse Canned Beans?

Being careful whilst draining and rinsing your canned kidney beans is important. They’ll already be soft from soaking in that liquid for so long, so dumping them into a colander and blasting them with water is not a good idea. Treat them a little kinder, and you’ll have kidney beans that hold their shape and firmness in the finished dish. So, that’s what not to do, and here’s what to do:

  1. Open your canned kidney beans with a can opener.
  2. Tip the contents carefully into a colander.
  3. Rinse the beans under cold water gently.
  4. Wait until the red/brown liquid runs clear.
  5. Stir the beans occasionally to make sure they’re all liquid free.
  6. Turn off the cold water and stir the beans some more until most of the water is out, too.

That’s really all there is to it. Make sure you don’t add soaking wet beans into a dish without making sure most of the water is gone first. If you do and you’re making something like an enchilada filling, then you might end up with a watery mess. Not a thick delicious filling for your enchilada wraps!

How To Drain Kidney Beans

How Do You Rinse And Drain Fresh Beans?

Your first step is to rinse the fresh beans before cooking, for all the reasons we explained earlier. So here’s what to do:

  1. Cut open the bean pods very carefully, you don’t want to split the kidney beans too.
  2. Place your beans into a colander.
  3. Rinse the beans under gently running cold water. Fresh beans are even more delicate than canned, so be careful with the water so it doesn’t start breaking them down.
  4. Then they’re ready to cook.

Cooking them should only take around 15 minutes in a gently boiling pot of water. Remember, being gentle with fresh kidney beans is even more important, so be careful when you drop them in the water, too. Once cooked, you’ll need to drain them.

Just pour the kidney beans and the boiling water into a colander so the water drains away. Then the kidney beans are ready to be added into whatever delicious dish you’re making.

Thanks for reading, We hope this post answers any questions you may have! But before you go, check out our store where you’ll find everything from digital cookbooks to other digital products that will help you make those delicious home-cooked meals, be sure to check us out!

Points To Remember

When you’re rinsing and draining canned or fresh kidney beans, remember to do so carefully. You don’t want to break them down before they’ve had time to cook or else you’ll just end up with mush. Remember to also read the recipe very carefully! Usually you’ll have to rinse and drain the kidney beans, but you’ll be disappointed if a bean soup required the canned kidney bean liquid and you’ve already thrown it out.

So, read your recipe, rinse and drain carefully, and then sit back and enjoy your meal! Kidney beans aren’t looking so controversial anymore, right?

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