The Best Black Beans to Add to Your Cart, According to Our Test Kitchen

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You want the best black beans for your recipes. But do you know which can is really the tastiest? Our Test Kitchen sampled 10 options to find out!

Test Kitchen Preferred the best black beansTaste of Home

When you want to add a little more protein to your dinner, reaching for a can of beans is always a good idea. Beans make chili a bit more hearty, that nacho platter tastier and really fills out a skillet dinner. But when you crack open that can of black beans, the last thing you want is to discover that the beans are too salty, too bland or too mushy for your liking. You want the best black beans!

Well, you know our Test Kitchen had to find out which beans were really the best for all these recipes so your dinners, apps and snacks turn out their best yet.

How Our Test Kitchen Found the Best Black Beans

Our Test Kitchen staff gathered ten different cans of black beans to sample (we have to be thorough!) and judged them blindly with these categories in mind:

  • Flavor: We know it’s just a plain can of beans but we still asked a few questions. Did the beans taste pleasant? Did they have the right level of salt? Were there any additional flavors? “Off” flavors?
  • Texture: Were the beans firm? Too mushy?
  • Appearance: How did the beans look? Perfectly shiny? Beautifully black? Were any of the beans broken or irregular?

Our Test Kitchen-Preferred Black Beans

A few cans stood out among the pack. These are the best black beans according to our Test Kitchen, and what we recommend you buy on your next shopping trip.

Best Flavor: Bush’s

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The biggest name in baked beans is also a winner when it comes to black beans. Bush’s black beans were satisfying heated right from the can. These beans looked a bit smaller than other options we tested, but they were shiny and delicious. Our Test Kitchen thought Bush’s were perfectly seasoned. These beans are definitely ready to add to your recipes without any fuss.

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No Seasoning Required: S&W

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Because beans are such a basic food, they do require some seasoning, even if it’s just salt. But when you crack open a can of S&W black beans, you don’t need to worry about adding any extra. These beans were perfectly salted according to our Test Kitchen pros. Without any additions, they’re ready to add to a recipe, like these chorizo breakfast bowls.

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Best Store Brand: Target

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Nope, you don’t always need to reach for big brands to get something good. Target’s Market Pantry and Good & Gather black beans proved that (Target also makes one of our Test Kitchen’s favorite cheeses). These black beans were perfectly shiny and had the right salt level. Spoon them over your favorite chips with some extras for delicious, hearty nachos.

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Best for Simmering and Soups: Goya

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Like pasta, when cooked too long, beans can start to fall apart in recipes that simmer for a long time (think soup or chili). But if you need a bean to stand up to a little extra cooking time, try Goya. These black beans had a slightly firmer texture than other competitors. Add these to your next batch of black bean chili and don’t worry about them going too soft.

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What to Make with Black Beans

Black beans are a staple. It’s always a good idea to keep a can or two in the pantry since they can be used in so many different recipes. Craving a healthy vegetarian chili? Grab black beans. Want burgers? You can make ’em with black beans! Brownies—yes, even brownies can be made with canned black beans. These recipes are just the tip of the iceberg. For even more tips, check out how to quick soak beans, or see what else you can do with the best black beans:

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Note: This blind taste test was performed by our staffers and was not part of a sponsorship. All opinions shared are our own, and have not been influenced by advertisers.

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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an associate editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.