Do You Drain Beans For Chili?


Chili is one of the most popular Mexican dishes. And you can make it at home really easy as long as you have the right recipe.

Most people use canned beans when they make chili as it is easier. And they offer a great taste to your final dish. The most common dilemma, however, is whether you should drain the beans before adding them to the chili recipe. Or you should add them along with the water that comes in the can.

Utilizing drained beans or undrained beans is a matter of personal preference. Some chili recipes recommend draining the beans while others recommend using them undrained.

There are also recipes that don’t even mention anything about this aspect. So, let’s see what you should know about adding drained or undrained beans to your chili!

When Making Chili Do You Need To Drain The Kidney Beans?

Kidney Beans

When you decide whether or not to drain the beans for chili, you also have to take into account the type of liquid your beans are soaked in while they stay in the can.

If the liquid in the can is high in salt, you might want to drain them and also rinse them to eliminate extra salt from them. This is particularly important if you watch your salt intake.

However, if you are not concerned about the salt intake, you can add the beans along with the water from the can and adjust the seasoning according to how salted they are.

There is no set-in-stone rule, thus you don’t need to drain the beans unless you want to do that. Plus, it will depend greatly on the chili recipe you intend to make as well.

Can I Add Soaked Beans To Chili?

Adding soaked beans to chili is a way to skip the draining step and it will not affect your final dish in a negative way.

Since you will give your ingredients time to simmer anyway, you want to add your beans soaked if you are looking to save time. And if you are not bothered by the salt in the liquid of the beans.

If you are soaking the beans yourself, you should change the water at least once and add them to your chili with the second water. At the same time, you can add different seasonings to the beans water if you want to increase the flavor of your food.

Forgot To Drain Beans For Chili?

If you wanted to drain your beans but you didn’t, there is no reason to worry. You can add the beans along with the liquid in your chili and cook your recipe as you usually would.

However, if you are worried about having too much liquid in your chili, you have to let it simmer a little longer. The excess of water will evaporate, giving you the texture you want.

At the same time, if the water of your beans was rich in salt, you can skip adding any extra salt to your chili. And the taste will be balanced in the end.

Therefore, even if you wanted to drain your beans for the chili recipe. But you didn’t drain them, there is no reason to be concerned as you can adjust your recipe as you cook it.

Do You Drain The Tomatoes For Chili?

Canned Tomatoes

If you use fresh tomatoes for your chili, you will not have any reason to drain them. But if you use canned tomatoes, you will notice that they are more watery than fresh ones. And you might be tempted to drain them.

The truth is that you don’t have to drain your tomatoes for chili unless you are concerned about ending up with a watery dish. If your tomatoes are too juicy, you can simmer them longer as you are cooking your chili.

Do You Drain Beans After Cooking?

Once you cook your chili or any other dish with beans, you don’t drain the beans. You can decide to boil your beans separately before you add them to various dishes. And if you do that, you can drain them as well.

It is important to note not to drain the beans after you cook them in different seasonings. If you drain them, you will alter their flavor. And you will waste even more herbs and seasonings to add to your recipe. But if you just boil the beans in water, you can drain them before you use them in your recipe as you wish.

What Happens If You Don’t Drain Beans?

If you decide not to drain your beans before you add them to your chili or any other dish, you will naturally end up with a dish that is more watery.

You can still keep the watery aspect under control by simmering. Or cooking your ingredients a bit longer so the liquid evaporates.

On the other hand, beans that stay too much in water without being in a sealed container such as a can will get mushier and will lose their crunchiness.

However, this also depends on the type of beans you use, how are they drained, and how you cook them.


Cooking chili is easy and you can choose to make it with ground meat or in a vegan manner by using ground soy. Either way, the type of beans you add, being them drained or undrained is up to you. Soaked beans can add flavor to your chili as well as an interesting texture.

At the same time, drained beans give you more control over the texture of the dish since you will be able to decide how much water to add and how much salt to add to your food.

Ultimately, your personal cooking style as well as your personal taste will play an important role in the way you use your beans for your chili.

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