The Seasoning Tip You Need For Impressive Canned Black Beans

Mexican cuisine and Tex-Mex are both well-loved for a lot of reasons. Besides being delicious, many recipes, like the ultimate chicken nachos or spicy slow-cooker beef chili, don't take a ton of time to make, so they're a win-win. Both of these foodways often include black beans. While using canned beans can be a big time saver considering how long dried beans take to prepare, the canned version can fall flat and end up being the weak link in an otherwise tasty dish.


There are a few simple ways to up the flavor game with canned black beans so they not only complement the rest of the dish but take a star turn of their own. The simplest way is to simmer the beans in olive oil for a few minutes, which will give them a creamier texture. You can also add some garlic, thyme, bay leaf, or oregano to improve the flavor.

Simmer your canned black beans

Before getting to improving the flavor of canned black beans, you need to first avoid the common mistake you're making with canned beans by checking the salt content. You can read the label or simply pop a bean into your mouth out of the can to test how salty it is before you add more seasoning. You need a baseline before you begin. Once you've determined this, drain the beans (if they are going into a recipe) and put them in a saucepan with the olive oil.


The key to the simmering technique is using good olive oil like an extra virgin olive oil from a tin rather than a clear glass or plastic bottle (to ensure it retains its flavor profile). And don't be afraid to use a lot of oil here. Smash a clove of garlic and toss it in as well along with one or more of the aforementioned herbs: Garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and oregano. The hot oil will bring out their fragrances. You can use a neutral oil, like grapeseed oil, if the flavor of olive oil clashes with the other ingredients in the recipe you'll be adding the beans to.

Finish the canned beans with an acid

For even more flavor, you can finish off the canned black beans with either lime zest or a squeeze of lime juice. The acid in the lime will add depth, brighten the flavor, and help unify things. You can also achieve this with vinegar to taste. It's important to take into account the rest of the recipe to which you're adding the beans, which may mean adjusting the flavors so they mesh with the rest of the dish.


If you're using the canned black beans as a side dish, you can still use the same simmering technique with a few changes. You don't need to drain the beans since there's a lot of flavor in the liquid, but as mentioned above, taste it before you start adding other ingredients to determine how salty it is. Also, if you're including other ingredients like onions and jalapenos, you'll want to saute them in the oil before adding the beans. Whether your canned black beans are going into a recipe or end up as a side, with a few easy additions, you can make them taste homemade.