7 Canned Black Beans To Buy And 6 To Avoid

spread of black bean cans
spread of black bean cans - Static Media / Getty

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Whether you stuff them in a burrito, dump them into a pot of chili, or mix them into a salad, black beans are a versatile and delicious staple. Also known as turtle beans, black beans originate from Central and South America and are an integral ingredient in Latin American and Caribbean cooking. In addition to tasting delicious, the beans are a good source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Given this impressive profile, they carry many health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and keeping blood sugar levels in check.

Luckily, canned versions make it even easier to incorporate black beans into any meal in a pinch. If you're like us, you keep them stocked in your pantry so you can crack open a can whenever inspiration strikes. However, make sure to take a closer look at the back label. Not every batch of black beans is created equal 一 some are high in sodium and others may contain less-than-ideal ingredients.

To help you in your shopping, we've done our research and put together a list of some of the best and worst canned black beans, judging the taste, texture, nutrition facts, ingredients, and customer reviews for each can. Bear in mind that for almost all of these choices, a serving is equal to a ½ cup, unless otherwise noted. For more on our process, check out the methodology section at the end of the article.

Read more: 6 Canned Meats You Should Buy And 6 You Shouldn't

Buy: Bush's Black Beans

can of Bush's Black Beans
can of Bush's Black Beans - Bush's

Bush's knows beans. The company has been canning the delicious legumes since 1908, developing a reputation for quality. Bush's Black Beans follow this trend, offering simple ingredients in the convenient format of a can. There's nothing unexpected here: The only ingredients in the can are cooked black beans, water, and salt. Free of preservatives, these beans offer 7 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber per serving.

Plus, customers seem to love them. "I feel like you get good quality for the money, and the cans are pretty packed with beans and not too much liquid," remarked one satisfied customer. Others complimented their taste and firm texture, saying they work well in a number of different recipes. The only downside is that the beans are a tad high in sodium, with 450 milligrams per serving. However, draining and rinsing them can lower the sodium content. Alternatively, Bush's makes a low-sodium version that contains 55% less than the regular Black Beans. You can find Bush's Black Beans at any major retailer or supermarket nationwide.

Avoid: Iberia Premium Black Beans

can of Iberia Black Beans
can of Iberia Black Beans - Iberia

With "premium" in the name, Iberia Premium Black Beans set high expectations. However, they fail to live up to this standard. At first glance, the beans look pretty good. The only ingredients are black beans, water, salt, and calcium chloride, a firming agent deemed safe by the FDA. The sodium content is on the lower side for canned black beans, at 150 milligrams per serving. So where does it go wrong?

Unfortunately, the black beans fall short in texture and flavor, according to those who have tried them. Rachel Meltzer Warren, a reviewer at Consumer Reports, conducted a blind taste test of several canned bean varieties, including Iberia Premium Black Beans. Warren advised skipping them, citing a tough consistency and overly firm centers that made them unpleasant to chew. The beans were also lacking in flavor. Another reviewer found them more tolerable, describing the beans as "Good but not great." Iberia Premium Black Beans are sold at Walmart, Target, and other large retailers.

Buy: Goya Black Beans

can of Goya Black Beans
can of Goya Black Beans - Goya

Tracing its origins back to 1936, today Goya is one of the top distributors of Latin American, Spanish, and Caribbean food products in the U.S. Among its offerings are canned black beans, which consist of three simple ingredients: beans, water, and salt. One serving has 410 milligrams of sodium, which is pretty standard across the board for canned beans. On the plus side, you'll get a bit more protein than most other options, at 8 grams per serving.

Goya also shines when it comes to customer reviews. "Were cooked to perfection so they had a nice texture and taste which made them a satisfying and comforting addition to any dish or even on their own," shared one buyer. Other reviews ranged from displays of satisfaction to glowing recommendations, with some naming Goya their preferred brand for beans. You can pick up a can of Goya Black Beans at large retailers like Walmart or Safeway and at many smaller local markets nationwide.

Avoid: Kirby Black Beans

can of Kirby Black Beans
can of Kirby Black Beans - Kirby

Available at major grocers across the country, Kirby Black Beans come pre-seasoned, meaning you can enjoy them on their own without much effort. In addition to black beans and water, the can contains olive oil, sweet peppers, salt, vinegar, sugar, spices, and onion and garlic salt. What stands out here is that the beans contain a lot of salt 一 three different types of it.

A single serving (7.5 ounces) of the beans has an astonishing 670 milligrams of sodium, which is 28% of the total daily value the FDA recommends consuming. To put it into perspective, the FDA considers any amount of sodium that's more than 20% of the daily value to be high. This is significantly higher than other canned beans, though to be fair, the serving size is about 50% greater. Keep the numbers in check by reducing your portion.

In terms of customer feedback, Kirby Black Beans have mostly positive reviews, with some that are even glowing. However, a former fan of the beans wrote that they could no longer taste the Creole seasoning, suggesting the brand has changed its recipe.

Buy: Eden Organic Black Beans

can of Eden Black Beans
can of Eden Black Beans - Eden Foods

Founded in the 1960s, Eden Foods is a natural foods company that primarily partners with local farmers. Eden Organic Black Beans are unique because they contain no added salt. Instead, kombu seaweed is the only other ingredient besides water. Kombu enhances the flavor and helps soften the beans without contributing huge amounts of sodium. In fact, this can of beans only contains 15 milligrams of sodium per serving, making it ideal for anyone seeking to limit it in their diet.

While many low-sodium products suffer from blandness, Eden Organic Black Beans have overwhelmingly positive reviews. According to customers, the beans and seaweed combo works wonders flavor-wise. One customer actually preferred them to another major brand, saying, "The beans are smaller, blacker, have more flavor [and] they are more al dente so they hold their shape when added to soups but are still easy to mush down for nachos." The only drawback that people mentioned is the price, which is typically higher than non-organic canned beans. Eden Organic Black Beans are available for purchase at many health food stores, markets, and co-ops nationwide.

Avoid: Iberia Seasoned Black Beans

can of Iberia Black Beans
can of Iberia Black Beans - Iberia

Making the list a second time is Iberia, this time with its Seasoned Black Beans. Unlike the brand's plain offering, these beans pack a lot of sodium. One serving has 490 milligrams, which is 21% of the daily value for sodium, per the FDA's guidelines. This increase in sodium is likely due to the product's flavor additions: tomato paste, salt, and a blend of sofrito seasonings. Sofrito is a mix of diced vegetables and seasonings cooked slowly over low heat. It forms the base for many sauces and dishes in various cuisines, including Spanish, Latin American, and Caribbean.

Other than the high sodium content, you may be thinking these seasoned beans sound delicious. However, customer reviews suggest otherwise. "I was trying to buy Goya seasoned beans which are delicious. But none were available. So I got these instead. They are terrible. Plain and barely even salted," wrote one customer, vowing to avoid them in the future. Another customer had doubts they were even black beans, citing their taste and reddish color. They also found the seasoning blend to be underwhelming, and the whole experience disappointing. Iberia Seasoned Black Beans are sold at Target, Walmart, and other major chain stores.

Buy: Westbrae Natural Organic Black Beans, Low Sodium

can of Westbrae Black Beans
can of Westbrae Black Beans - Westbrae Natural

Westbrae Natural is a bean company committed to fighting against the effects of climate change. Its canned products are available for purchase at Whole Foods, Sprouts, and smaller grocery stores across the country. Westbrae Low Sodium Organic Black Beans are a great way to contribute protein to a meal without adding extra sodium.

With 7 grams of protein and 0 milligrams of sodium per serving, you really can't go wrong with these beans. The only ingredients are organic black beans and water, so you can rest easy knowing you're putting simple, whole ingredients in your body. Plus, customers approve of the taste, so you don't have to sacrifice anything in the name of decreasing your sodium intake. Texture isn't an issue either, as one customer explains: "Beans were firm. Not a ton of sauce, unlike other canned beans I've used." It's worth noting customers mention they are pricey, at least compared to your standard can of black beans.

Avoid: La Costeña Whole Black Beans

La Costeña Black Beans can
La Costeña Black Beans can - La Costeña

La Costeña is known for supplying a variety of canned goods throughout Mexico as well as at many large retailers internationally. However, the brand's Whole Black Beans leave much to be desired. Along with water, black beans, and salt, the label lists soybean oil, onion, jalapeño, and garlic.

Soybean oil can have harmful effects on your health if eaten in large amounts, mainly since it contains excessive linoleic acid. Serious digestive issues such as colitis can arise from eating too much food that's heavy in linoleic acid. In the U.S., soybean oil is the most widely consumed oil, and it's especially prevalent in processed foods. As most people likely already get enough linoleic acid, it's recommended to monitor and limit your intake of soybean oil when possible. For this reason alone, La Costeña's Whole Black Beans are a no-go.

If you need more convincing, the beans only offer 5 grams of protein per serving, or 10 grams per cup. To put this into perspective, 1 cup of black beans typically contains 16 grams of protein, according to the USDA. While customer reviews are generally favorable when it comes to taste and texture, we say these beans just aren't worth it.

Buy: 365 Black Beans, No Salt Added

can of 365 Black Beans
can of 365 Black Beans - Whole Foods

If you happen to live near a Whole Foods, the natural grocer's private label, 365, makes a wide variety of reasonably priced (for Whole Foods) products that are worth checking out. In this case, the brand's Black Beans with No Salt Added are a great option for anyone looking to include protein and fiber in their meal. Made with just black beans and water, these beans contain a measly 5 milligrams of sodium per serving, meaning they're suitable for those on a sodium-restricted diet. Thankfully, this doesn't detract from the beans' flavor, according to customers. "These beans are soft but firm, the Goldilocks of black beans, if you will -- just right for any dish you have in mind," wrote one satisfied shopper.

A serving offers 7 grams of protein, which is average for black beans. You'll also get 9 grams of dietary fiber, which comes out to 32% of the minimum amount the FDA recommends consuming per day. Compared to the fiber content in similar canned black bean brands, this value is on the higher end. With these stats, 365 Black Beans with No Salt Added are a win all around.

Avoid: Great Value Black Beans

Great Value Black Beans can
Great Value Black Beans can - Walmart

The Walmart-owned brand Great Value has a line of canned foods that include black beans. However, you might want to look elsewhere for your bean fix. Many customers have had negative experiences with the product, with some going so far as to advise others to avoid them at all costs. One customer opened their can only to find its contents were 90% water. Another shopper was disappointed by the beans themselves, saying, "First time I almost threw a can across the kitchen. Beans were dried out and nasty looking."

It's not all bad, however. On paper, these beans look perfectly fine. Examining the back of the can, the label lists beans, water, salt, and calcium chloride as the only ingredients. They're relatively low in sodium, with 130 milligrams, as well as 9 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein per serving, which isn't shabby at all. Still, for most people, taste and texture are more important deciding factors when it comes to beans (or any food, really).

Buy: S&W Low Sodium Black Beans

can of S&W Black Beans
can of S&W Black Beans - S&W

Founded in 1896, S&W is now owned by Del Monte Foods, another household name in the canned foods industry. You can find the brand's products at major chains across the country, including Safeway, Walmart, and Target. S&W Low Sodium Black Beans is a good choice for anyone interested in limiting their sodium intake. A serving of the beans has 140 milligrams of sodium, which is half the amount that's in the brand's regular black beans.

The amount of fiber these beans carry is also impressive. A ½-cup serving packs 10 grams of fiber (or 20 grams for 1 cup), which is more than most canned black beans. For reference, on average 1 cup of black beans contains 18.2 grams of fiber (per the USDA). All in all, these beans receive high marks from shoppers. One customer wrote in a review, "I love black beans and these low sodium black beans are both tasty and healthy! I enjoy putting them on top of sweet potatoes to make a filling, inexpensive dinner."

Avoid: Kuner's Black Beans With Cumin & Chili Spices

cans of Kuner's Black Beans
cans of Kuner's Black Beans - Kuner's

A can of beans pre-seasoned with delicious spices may sound perfect, but not every brand hits the mark. Kuner's Black Beans with Cumin & Chili Spices is one such case. To give the product some credit, it has a relatively low sodium content for what it is. One serving contains 330 milligrams of sodium, which is less than 20% of the daily recommended value for sodium.

However, the seasoning contains some undesirable ingredients. In addition to spices and salt, you'll also find sugar, dextrose, and soybean oil. These ingredients often hide in processed and packaged foods and can add up throughout the day. As we covered earlier, it's best to limit added soybean oil intake. Dextrose, a type of sugar, is no different. When ingested, it can cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly, which can be dangerous for people with diabetes. Eating food with dextrose can also lead to weight gain, heart disease, and other health concerns.

Though customers have mostly taken favorably to Kuner's Black Beans with Cumin & Chili Spices, it may be worth it to add your own seasonings to upgrade the canned beans. Anyone still interested in a shortcut can find the brand at Walmart and other large retailers.

Buy: Good & Gather Low Sodium Black Beans

Good & Gather Black Beans
Good & Gather Black Beans - Target

As Target's own private label, Good & Gather covers all the pantry essentials. The brand's Low Sodium Black Beans play into the increasing demand for heart-healthy, low-salt foods. Looking at the ingredient list, these beans are packed with water, salt, and calcium chloride. Though not entirely salt-free, the beans manage to keep the sodium content to a minimum, with 130 milligrams per serving. This is much lower than most canned beans on store shelves.

According to customers, these Low Sodium Black Beans are as delicious as they are healthy. "I think the low sodium taste better than the regular ones," one shopper expressed in a review. Others praised the flavor and low price, saying that it's a good value option for low-sodium beans. The only downside some customers mentioned was that the ratio of water to beans was too high for their liking. Still, if you're shopping at Target, these beans are a solid addition to your cart, and your plate.


cooked black beans in bowl
cooked black beans in bowl - Beppe Castro/Shutterstock

To determine our list of canned black beans, we read countless labels and customer reviews online. For every can, we looked at the types of ingredients used, including additives and seasonings, and the content of nutrients like sodium, protein, and fiber, comparing these numbers to the FDA's daily value guidelines. When it came to the reviews, we considered what customers had to say about taste, texture, and overall quality. While this is not a comprehensive list, we hope it gives you some direction in what to look for when shopping for beans.

Read the original article on Mashed.