Are Canned Chickpeas Already Cooked?

There are plenty of ways to use a can of chickpeas. The versatile kitchen staple can be tossed into a salad, turned into a base for homemade hummus, or even mashed into a vegan tuna sandwich. While these legumes are a great source of plant protein, with ½ cup providing almost 20 grams, the fact that a can opener is the only tool needed to eat them is a real selling point.

On top of being affordable and nutritious, the convenience of these canned beans is unmatched. While other protein sources like chicken thighs or fish filets come raw and have to be cooked before consumption, canned chickpeas come pre-cooked and are packaged with the leftover liquid, aquafaba — a great base for vegan whipped cream. Chickpeas essentially come ready to eat, making them the ultimate convenient pantry item. Of course, there are countless ways to prepare these beans depending on the dish you're craving and how much time you have.

You can chill your canned or jarred chickpeas in the fridge if you plan to blend them into a spread or add them to a cold veggie wrap. Alternatively, tossing canned, rinsed chickpeas in spices and air frying them will give you an incredible crunch on your salad or Buddha bowl. While canned chickpeas can also be heated on the stovetop in soups or stir-fries, no additional cooking is required before eating.

Using canned versus dry chickpeas

Canned chickpeas offer the best of both worlds — they can be eaten right out of the can or reheated as part of a hot meal. While Mashed recipe developer Alexandra Shytsman recommends dried chickpeas when making a falafel sandwich (otherwise, they'll become too mushy), she recognizes that the canned variety is a convenient option for some recipes, as they don't require any soaking or cooking.

While you can purchase various dry beans in bulk at most grocery stores, a large bag of uncooked chickpeas isn't always worth the prep time. Dry chickpeas have to be soaked in water for 8 to 12 hours or overnight before they're cooked. While a pressure cooker can prepare soaked beans in less than an hour, the stovetop method will take around two hours if using pre-soaked beans. Since this route requires significant prep time and planning, it's not ideal for those wanting to throw together a quick meal.

Luckily, canned chickpeas are easy to find on grocery shelves and are quite affordable, with most stores charging around $1 for 15.5 ounces. You can even add canned chickpeas to your baked goods or use them as a base for gluten-free cookie dough. With both sweet and savory recipe options, canned chickpeas are a pre-cooked pantry staple.