Dried Beans to Canned Beans Conversion


Buying and cooking dried beans is about as cheap as food gets (particularly for vegans).

Unfortunately, most recipes don’t give measurements in terms of dried beans. Instead, they list the amount of canned (and cooked) beans you’ll need.

To make things more complicated, different legumes expand to different sizes when cooked.

So, I did some experimenting to figure out how to convert an amount of canned beans to dried beans.

Dried Beans to Cooked/Canned Beans Conversion Table

This was a pretty simple thing to test, although it took a few weeks to test all the different types of legumes.

I soaked 1 cup of each legume overnight, then drained and let it sit for the day before cooking it.

1 cup of dry chickpeas

After I cooked each bean or lentil, I measured how much it expanded to.

cooked chickpeas

The table below shows all my results.

Bean Type Dry Amount Cooked Amount To Convert Dry to Canned
Chickpeas 1 cup 2.25 cups Divide by 2.25
Navy beans 1 cup 2.25 cups Divide by 2.25
Black beans 1 cup 2.5 cups Divide by 2.5
Brown Lentils 1 cup 3 cups Divide by 3
Red Lentils 1 cup 2.25 cups Divide by 2.25
Kidney beans 1 cup 2.25 cups Divide by 2.25

In total, 1 cup of dry legumes expands to 2.25-3 cups, which is quite the range.

Note that it may differ a bit by brand as well, but this should be a good guide for you to get started with.

How Many Cups of Beans Are In a Can?

I hate when recipes call for “1 can of beans,” because different places have different can sizes.

For reference, a typical can of beans weights 15-19 fluid ounces (oz). Converting this to metric:

  • 15 fl oz = 443 mL = 1.87 cups
  • 19 fl oz = 562 mL = 2.38 cups

That’s quite a significant difference, so it’s nice when recipes specify how big of a can to use (or a volume).

Don’t confuse fluid ounces with ounces. Fluid ounces is a measure of volume (beans covered in liquid in this case), while ounces are for dry weights.

Hopefully the imperial system will die out one day, but until now we’re stuck with it in most recipes.

Rule Of Thumb For Converting Dried Beans to Canned Beans

While there’s a bit of a range in results above, most of the dried legumes bulked up by about 2.25-2.5 times.

So if you see a recipe that calls for 3 cups of canned beans, and don’t have this post handy, you’ll know you can soak just over a cup of dried beans in advance for it.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.