How to Cook Canned Black Beans in the Microwave?

Looking for a quick and effective way to cook canned black beans?

You’re in the right place.

This guide is designed to walk you through the steps to achieve perfectly cooked black beans using your microwave.

The microwave is more than just a reheating tool; it can be a game-changer when you’re short on time or just want fewer dishes to clean.

Whether you’re adding these nutrient-rich legumes to a last-minute dinner or prepping them for the week ahead, microwaving black beans is an efficient and foolproof method you’ll want to know.

Stick around as we delve into the specifics, answering common questions and offering pro tips to ensure your black beans come out flavorful and perfectly cooked every time.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Microwave Canned Black Beans

This section provides a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to successfully cook canned black beans in the microwave. If you’re short on time or just want a convenient cooking method, this guide is tailored for you.

Step 1: Gather Ingredients and Tools

Kitchen countertop setup with black beans can, salt, spices, microwave-safe bowl, microwave, colander, and spoon
Step 1: Gathering ingredients and tools for microwaving canned black beans.


  • 1 can of black beans
  • Salt (optional)
  • Spices (optional, like cumin or garlic powder)


  • Microwave-safe bowl
  • Microwave
  • Colander or strainer
  • Spoon

Having everything in one place makes the process smoother and quicker.

Step 2: Drain and Rinse the Beans

Black beans being rinsed in a colander under cold water in a sink.
Step 2: Draining and rinsing the canned black beans.

Pour the canned beans into a colander or strainer to drain out the liquid.

Rinsing them under cold running water helps to remove excess salt and any residue from the can.

This step is crucial for achieving the best flavor and texture.

Step 3: Place Beans in Microwave-Safe Bowl

Microwave-safe bowl on a countertop with rinsed black beans, next to pinches of salt and spices.
Step 3: Transferring rinsed beans to a bowl and seasoning.

Transfer the rinsed and drained beans into a microwave-safe bowl.

At this point, you can season the beans with salt and any spices you prefer, like cumin or garlic powder.

The choice is yours, but even a simple dash of salt can elevate the dish.

Step 4: Microwave the Beans

Microwave with door ajar, revealing a bowl of seasoned black beans covered with a microwave-safe lid.
Step 4: Microwaving the seasoned black beans.

Cover the bowl with a microwave-safe lid or plate, ensuring you leave a small gap for steam to escape.

Set your microwave on high and heat the beans for 2-3 minutes.

Stirring halfway through the cooking time helps in even heating.

Step 5: Check and Serve

Steaming bowl of hot black beans on a kitchen countertop with a spoon and additional seasonings.
Step 5: Checking and serving the microwaved black beans.

After microwaving, carefully remove the bowl from the microwave—remember, it will be hot.

Stir the beans and taste them to see if they need any additional seasoning.

Once satisfied, serve as desired, whether as a side dish or as an ingredient in another recipe.

How Long Does It Take to Cook Black Beans in the Microwave?

The time it takes to cook canned black beans in the microwave varies depending on the microwave’s power and the quantity of beans you’re heating.

Generally, it should take about 2-3 minutes on high setting for a standard can of black beans.

However, if you’re heating a larger quantity, you may need to extend the time slightly.

It’s advisable to stir the beans halfway through the cooking time to ensure even heating.

How Do You Know When Black Beans Are Cooked Enough?

Determining the doneness of black beans is crucial for both flavor and texture.

When properly cooked, black beans should be tender but not mushy, holding their shape while being easy to bite into.

You can test the beans by taking a few out of the microwave-safe bowl and tasting them.

If they still feel a bit hard or grainy, they may need an additional minute or two in the microwave.

However, overcooking can make them mushy, so it’s essential to keep an eye out and perform taste tests for optimal results.

Is It Possible to Overcook the Beans in the Microwave?

Absolutely, it is possible to overcook black beans in the microwave. Overcooking can lead to beans that are mushy, unappealing in texture, and less flavorful.

It’s easy to cross that line if you’re not careful, especially because microwaves can heat unevenly.

This is why it’s a good idea to stir the beans halfway through the cooking time and to perform taste tests to ensure they’re cooked to your liking.

Overcooked beans can also become dry, losing their natural moisture, which can be especially disappointing if you’re planning to incorporate them into a dish where their texture matters.

Pro Tips for Perfectly Microwaved Black Beans

Elevate your microwaved black beans with some of these pro tips:

Using Flavored Oils or Spices: Enhance the taste of your black beans by adding a dash of flavored oils like garlic or chili oil. If you prefer dry seasoning, spices like cumin, paprika, or even a Cajun blend can add a kick.

Selecting the Best Microwave-Safe Bowls: The bowl you use can make a difference. Opt for a microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl, as these materials usually heat more evenly than plastic. This ensures that your black beans are uniformly warmed.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Even though microwaving black beans seems simple, there are pitfalls you should steer clear of:

Over-seasoning: While it’s tempting to add a lot of spices or salt, remember that flavors become more concentrated upon cooking. Start with a little and taste-test before adding more.

Improper Draining: Failing to drain or rinse the canned beans well can make your dish too salty or give it an off-putting taste. Always rinse thoroughly to remove excess salt and preservatives.

By keeping these pro tips and common mistakes in mind, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying perfectly microwaved black beans.


We’ve walked you through the simple yet effective steps for microwaving canned black beans. With the right techniques and a sprinkle of creativity, you can enjoy perfectly cooked beans in minutes. Now you’re fully equipped to make quick and tasty black bean dishes right in your microwave. Cheers!

FAQ: What You Need to Know About Microwaving Black Beans

How to Cook Dried Black Beans in the Microwave?

Cooking dried black beans in the microwave is possible, but it’s not the most recommended method, especially because the beans need to be soaked first.

If you must, you can use the microwave to expedite the soaking process by placing the dried beans in a microwave-safe bowl, covering them with water, and microwaving on high for 10 minutes

Allow the beans to sit in the hot water for another 40 minutes to complete the soak. After soaking, drain and transfer the beans to a larger bowl, cover with fresh water, and microwave on medium power, checking every 10 minutes until tender.

Do Beans Cook Faster in the Microwave?

Yes, the microwave can cook beans faster compared to traditional stovetop methods, especially when you’re dealing with canned beans that are already cooked.

However, microwaving might not be the best option for dried beans, which require soaking and prolonged cooking to become tender.

Can You Cook Raw Beans in the Microwave?

Technically, you can cook raw beans in the microwave, but it’s not advisable due to the long cooking time required to make them tender and the risk of uneven cooking. A stovetop or slow cooker is better suited for cooking raw beans.

Can I Add Other Ingredients Like Vegetables or Meat?

Absolutely! Feel free to toss in some chopped veggies, spices, or even bits of cooked meat before microwaving your canned black beans. Just be aware that adding extra ingredients may affect the cooking time.

What if My Microwave Doesn’t Have a High Setting?

If your microwave doesn’t have a high setting, you’ll need to adjust the cooking time. You can microwave the beans on a medium setting for a bit longer, but make sure to check and stir the beans at regular intervals to ensure even cooking.

Can I Refrigerate Leftover Microwaved Black Beans?

Yes, you can refrigerate leftover microwaved black beans. Make sure to store them in an airtight container to keep them fresh and prevent them from drying out.

How Long Do Leftover Microwaved Beans Last?

Stored correctly in the fridge, your leftover microwaved black beans should last for up to 3-5 days. If you’re unsure whether the beans are still good, check for off smells or mold.

Can I Use Microwaved Black Beans in Other Recipes?

Definitely! Microwaved black beans can be a quick and convenient ingredient in a variety of dishes. Use them in salads, as a filling for burritos or enchiladas, or as a simple side dish.