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Cooking Canned and Dried Beans

By Cook's Illustrated Published March 2010

Here are the proper ways to incorporate both types of beans into your recipes.

Many recipes will specify whether to use canned or dried beans, but they often leave out these important tips that will enhance the flavor and texture of your beans.

Dried Beans: Brine 'Em

Forget conventional wisdom warning against salting beans before they're cooked. Our testing revealed that adding salt to the overnight soaking liquid (2 teaspoons per quart of water)—in effect "brining" the beans—yields better-seasoned and more evenly cooked results.

Canned Beans: Observe the 30-minute Rule

When adding canned beans to soups and stews, simmer them for a full 30 minutes to give them time to take on the flavor of other ingredients. Always drain and rinse first; the salty, starchy packing liquid can throw off recipes.

1 POUND DRIED =

If you don't have dried beans, you can substitute canned. For every pound of dried beans called for...

3 OR 4 CANS

...you'll need 58 ounces of canned beans (3 or 4 cans, depending on size).