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Does Rinsing Canned Beans Remove Sodium?

By Cook's Illustrated Published March 2018

Given that we often drain and rinse beans before use, we were curious: Exactly how much sodium does that wash away? To find out, we sent cans of beans to a lab for analysis.

A ½-cup serving of canned chickpeas or beans often contains more than 400 milligrams of sodium. That's a sizeable portion of the 2,300-milligram daily limit recommended for adults in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Given that we often drain and rinse beans before use, we were curious: Exactly how much sodium does that wash away? To find out, we sent cans of chickpeas, cannellini beans, pinto beans, and black beans to a lab for analysis.

With one set of cans, the lab measured the sodium in a combination of the beans and their liquid. With the second set, the lab carefully drained and rinsed the beans, as we do before using chickpeas to make hummus or stirring black beans into chili.

If you're watching your sodium intake, we have good news. In each case, draining and rinsing beans lowered the sodium by about 100 milligrams per ½-cup serving—or 20.7 to 26.5 percent.

Rinsed Beans:

  • Goya chickpeas: 24.7% less sodium
  • Goya cannellini beans: 21.4% less sodium
  • Bush's pinto beans: 26.5% less sodium
  • Bush's black beans: 20.7% less sodium