Why You Should Always Dry Beans Before Roasting Them

Roasting beans is a great way to pack tons of flavor into those tiny nutrition packed little legumes. Roasting will give most beans a crisp outer shell and soft, chewy interior that goes great with just a little salt and olive oil as a healthy substitute for other deep-fried alternatives. It can also serve as a base for whatever spices you feel like experimenting with to take things to another level. Whether you're working with chickpeas, white beans, or black-eyed peas, some time in the oven can quickly transform most beans into a favorite snack, side, vegan taco filling, or salad topping.

When Fountain Avenue Kitchen's Ann Fulton decided to update her crispy chickpeas recipe she found that there was one important step that helped improve the roasting process. She recommends making sure that your beans are dried thoroughly before seasoning and roasting them. Working with wet beans can cause them to pop in the oven and make a mess, or keep them from their full flavor potential.

Dry beans means flavor

The liquid from a can of beans has plenty of good uses in the kitchen. You'll want to make sure all of that liquid is gone if you plan to roast your beans though. The goal of a proper roast is to crisp up the exterior of your beans, and also trigger a Maillard reaction that is going to multiply the flavor getting packed into every bite.

According to Serious Eats, the Maillard reaction is a series of chemical reactions that gives intense savory flavors to foods like steak, and roasted potatoes, and that makes perfectly crusty bread taste so phenomenal. The same thing is happening when you roast your beans. One of the biggest obstacles to achieving those chemical reactions is moisture. You're usually looking for a dry heat when you're going for a Maillard reaction, so having excess water on your food will prevent that reaction from happening.

Epicurious recommends pouring your beans out onto a towel after draining off any liquids, patting them down, and then giving them a brief rest to air dry before getting them in the oven. This should allow them to dry well enough that you'll have perfectly crispy beans every time.