Thursday, June 18, 2009

Chickpeas: Dried vs Canned

cooked chickpeas
Cooked (dried) chickpeas

I love the versatility of chickpeas (garbanzo beans). So versatile that they're always available at the supermarket. You can use them in any dish in almost every cuisine. Dried chickpeas are hard to find here unless you visit a health food store. But once I got a hand of them, I prefer soaking and cooking chickpeas than buying a can from the supermarket except if I don’t have any other options. With canned chickpeas, all you have to do is grab your indispensable can opener and open the can and voila, chickpeas are ready to use. But cooking dried chickpeas allows the flavor to burst that doesn’t come from canned chickpeas which has been sitting in salted liquid for ages.

chickpea copy

Dried chickpeas

I know not everyone has the time to soak chickpeas. Actually, you do have the time to do other things while the chickpeas are soaking in water. Because all you need to do is to add enough water to soak the chickpeas and leave it. I leave it overnight, about 8-10 hours. One cup of dried chickpeas allowed to soak in water will fill up a 4-cup measuring liquid container. Drain and rinse the chickpeas after soaking. Place them onto a large pot and filled with room temperature water halfway plus about a third more liquid. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to simmer. Skim off the foam floating to the top. Cover the pot partially and cook until the chickpeas are tender. Then season with salt when they are almost tender. Cooking time would vary. Some cookbooks would suggest cooking them for 3-4 hours, while others would require 2 hours. I cooked mine within an hour. I also save the cooking liquid in making soups.

soaked chickpeas1

Soaked (dried) chickpeas

If you’re planning to use chickpeas to make hummus or a puree of chickpea soup or even used in salads, I would suggest to cook your own as you want the clean and fresh taste of the chickpea. Canned chickpeas may be best used in hearty soups or stews where there are other ingredients present.

canned chickpeas

Canned Chickpeas

The cooked dried chickpeas have indeed a pure and wholesome taste. They have a hint of sweetness if you chew them well. They are bigger in size and darker in color. The canned chickpeas have been tainted with other compounds coming from the tin itself and the way it was cooked so the taste is somewhat ruined. They are smaller in size and lighter in color. When it comes to texture, cooked dried chickpeas are softer while the canned chickpeas are harder. But then again, chickpeas vary in size and color. But we're also talking about between dried and canned.

Both dried and canned are welcome in the kitchen. Sometimes you can't control your circumstances and you are only left with canned chickpeas. But as of now, I would take advantage of the availability of dried chickpeas and cooking them my own and hopefully, they are available all the time.


  1. I am a fan of the dried as well. I have even made hummus by first peeling the makes for a fantastically smooth hummus.

    Here is a link to the post if you like,

  2. hi! i'm a friend of your sis susana. today she let me taste a concoction of yours with tomato sauce and chickpeas in it... usually i'm not a big fan of chickpeas, but it was delicious! tasted like something i would normally have in an upscale spanish restaurant :)

    would appreciate simple recipes that i can use at home. mostly those using chicken breasts, fillets of fish, and vegetables. my husband doesn't like to eat pork and beef too much. thanks!!

  3. I'm glad you liked it. Thank you. I normally do plant-based ingredients because they're easier to work with. (Unless I have a kitchen studio where I can cook and take photographs at the same time. I will try my best to include recipes using chicken fillets, fillets of fish and vegetables. In the meantime, you can email about more specific ingredients.

  4. D! Please.. please.. more recipes of chicken. It's my sons' fave and I'm running out of recipes.
    I made hummus before using canned chickpeas.. that's all that's available here.

  5. Wow, just read this. Was browsing through an saw this about garbonzos. We just made some chole masala last night with lots of ginger and nigella. If I don't use fresh, I use the Eden Soy brand since they do not have any added sodium. Thanks for the post.

  6. great post - very informative. thank you!!!

  7. I've also heard you can freeze cooked garbanzos/chick peas. Maybe would be efficient to cook up a big batch and freeze some to have on hand in lieu of canned!

  8. I've also heard you can freeze cooked garbanzos/chick peas. After cooking up a big batch (takes the same amount of time to cook 4 cups as 1 cup!) and freezing to have on hand in lieu of canned. I'm going to try it!


Your comments, suggestions, feedback are all welcome.