Can you cook beans in the can? (1 Reason to Avoid)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, can you cook beans in the can? We will discuss some reasons that would discourage you from cooking beans straight in the can and the associated scientific aspect. We will also discuss a method to prepare canned beans. 

Can you cook beans in the can?

You can not cook beans in the can. Cooking food in the can releases harmful chemicals including BPA. Even though tin cans are supposed to use tin-plated steel, some manufacturers use plastics instead. 

Canned beans are usually already cooked and it is not needed for you to cook the contents again. You can heat the beans to a gentle temperature while the beans are still in the can but avoid heating the can for long periods or at a high temperature. 

Why must you refrain from cooking beans in the can?

According to an article in Scientific American, there are health risks that are associated with heating cans. Needless to say, it depends on the constituents and the manufacturing process, but cooking cans directly could release Bisphenol A, chromium, and nickels. 

While there are recipes and claims that require you to heat food while they are still in the can, it can have negative health consequences. 

Even though cans are designed to transport and store food, during packaging the food is subjected to high pressure and temperatures. However, this does not mean that the consumer is free to do so as well. 

At the industrial level, heating and cooking are carefully monitored and controlled according to the food being manufactured and the can material. 

Foods cans that are made in the US, use steel rather than tin. Steel cans come with a layer of chromium and nickel, which could easily make their way into the food in minute quantities if the heat was applied to them. 

You can buy dried beans and cook them to your liking as they have a richer taste and can be used in more versatile ways than canned beans. However, canned beans are also a good option as it spares the hefty task of washing, soaking and waiting hours for them to cook. 

Beverage cans are usually made of aluminum which has even more detrimental consequences on your health. To name a pre-dominant health concern, aluminum cans are linked to nervous disorders. 

Moreover, the deadly Bisphenol A chemical is a plastic hardener that is used as epoxy in cans, is a menace to the human reproductive system, and is associated with cancer and diabetes. Even companies who claim to manufacture BPA-free products have been found to contain significant levels of BPA. 

Graciously enough, there is a small chunk of food manufacturers who resort to using a natural alternative to BPA as an epoxy. Eden Food Company uses enamel lining sourced from plant oils and resin which works as epoxy in their food packaging. 

How to cook canned beans?

Instead of cooking beans while they are still in their packaging, there is a safer way to do so. Even though canned beans come pe-cooked, there lies a temptation to cook them to improve their taste. Canned beans lack in flavor, and tend to have a bland and metallic taste. 

To cook canned beans, first, open the can and drain the liquid away. Getting rid of the liquid, significantly improves the quality of the beans as it gets rid of the liquid that has an unpleasant starchy and salty taste to it. 

Transfer the beans to a pot and then season them with olive oil, salt, onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and celery. Also add garlic, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, chili, and spices to the beans. Put it on the stove and let it cook on a medium flame for 15 minutes as a significant part of the liquid evaporates. 

The cooked beans can not only be used instantly but can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. 

Canned beans are quite versatile, you could either devour them on their own with a salad or toast or make it into a recipe. You can use them as an ingredient in hummus and dip, salad, or veggie burgers. You could also follow the classic recipe and eat the cooked canned beans on toast. 

Beans are also a great option for veggie burgers. Moreover, you do not need to replace the meat altogether, you could add the beans to your meat-based recipe for additional nutritional value to your food and stretch the meat longer. 

In this brief guide, we answered the question, can you cook beans in the can? We discussed some reasons that would discourage you from cooking beans straight in the can and the associated scientific aspect.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.