Chickpeas are cheap and versatile. Our guide will tell you everything you need to know about cooking chickpeas including different varieties like dried, tinned, and even black chickpeas.
Chickpeas are a variety of legumes that originated in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and parts of Asia but are enjoyed all over the globe. In different countries, they have alternative names so you may see them listed on the label or in a recipe as Garbanzo beans (in America or Spain) or Gram and Chana (in India). They have a creamy texture and a buttery, slightly nutty flavour.
You can buy chickpeas either dried or cooked and tinned. Either option is cheap and good to stock up the store cupboard with. Tinned chickpeas are the more low maintenance and efficient choice – you can use them straight from the can and then blend them into hummus, stir them into a stew or crisp them up in the oven and your dish is ready.
They also contain the liquid aquafaba, which is a vegan egg white alternative, so a useful option if you do a lot of vegan baking. However, it is universally acknowledged that dried chickpeas give a better texture and flavour. This is because you can soak them for your desired amount of time and add any flavourings you want to the poaching liquid when you cook them.
Are chickpeas healthy?
What are black chickpeas?
How to prepare chickpeas
Preparing dried chickpeas
How to prepare tinned chickpeas
How to cook chickpeas
Cooking dried chickpeas
How to cook dried chickpeas: boiled
Cooking dried chickpeas in an Instant Pot
How to cook tinned chickpeas
Roasting tinned chickpeas
How to cook tinned chickpeas: pan-fried
Chickpeas are a healthy ingredient. Just three tablespoons of them count for one of your five a day. They are also high in plant based protein and fiber and relatively low in fat.
The main nutritional difference between tinned and dried chickpeas is that tinned chickpeas tend to contain higher levels of salt as they are processed. When you cook something entirely from scratch you can control the ingredients that are added to it in cooking. However legumes should be cooked in salt to bring out their flavour so this doesn’t make them “unhealthy”, it is just worth noting.
Black chickpeas are a variety of chickpeas that are native to India and feature a lot in their cuisine. They are also known as kala chana and there are two types of them: desi and kabuli.
Black chickpeas are less widely available in the UK but you can buy them online and in some health food shops. They do tend to be a bit more expensive as well.
Understandably you have to approach the preparation of dried or tinned chickpeas differently. We will take you through these two processes below.
Dried chickpeas should be soaked prior to cooking to give a good texture and speed up the cooking process. You should cover chickpeas in cold water and leave them to soak for 12 hours, or overnight, before cooking them.
Adding 1tsp of bicarbonate of soda will help to soften the skins of the chickpeas, which is useful if you want to remove the skins after cooking them. If you are short on time you could place the chickpeas in a pan with cold water, bring it to the boil for 5 mins and then leave it for 1 hour to soak.
Tinned chickpeas are pretty much ready to be used. You should drain them and then rinse them to wash off their liquid and then pat them dry if you are roasting them, which will ensure a crispy exterior. Otherwise, you can add them directly into a sauce or blitz them up into a dip.
The liquid they are tinned with is called aquafaba and it is a vegan egg white substitute. It can be used to make cakes like our vegan blondies or mixed with sugar to create meringues.
Canned chickpeas should be kept in a cool dark space and kept for as long as it says on the tin (usually one year). Once the tin has been opened it should be placed in a container in the fridge for up to five days.
The aquafaba will keep in the fridge for three days, in an airtight container, though you could also freeze it one and then defrost it in the fridge when you are ready to use it.
If you reheat the tinned chickpeas, e.g. roasting them or added them to a stew, they should also be kept in an airtight container for 3-5 days. Dried chickpeas should be kept in a cool dark place for up to one year.
If you soak the chickpeas you can leave them in their soaking liquid in an airtight container for 3-5 days until you are ready to cook them.
Chickpeas are such a wonderful and versatile ingredient and they can be used in many ways to create different dishes. There is a bit of a difference between cooking tinned and dried chickpeas however so read on to learn more…
Once the soaking has taken place cooking dried chickpeas is relatively easy.
- Bring a pan of water to a boil. Add your soaked chickpeas along with 2tbsp of olive oil and any flavourings you like; parsley, garlic, lemon, onion, etc.
- Cook for 45 mins – 1 hour or until tender. It is best to try out one chickpea to see if it is tender. If not cook it in 5 min increments until it is.
- After soaking your chickpeas overnight, drain them, rinse them and place them in the instant pot. Add just enough water to cover them along with any aromatics and cook on high for 15-20 mins.
- Drain off any excess liquid and serve.
Tinned chickpeas are already cooked but you can heat them through or cook them again to incorporate them into a dish. If you are serving them as a side you could try one of the following methods but chickpeas can also be simply drained and then stirred into a soup, stew, or tagine towards the end of cooking time to heat through…
- Preheat the oven to 200C/ Gas 4.
- Drain the chickpeas and pat off excess moisture. Pour into a roasting tray with 1tbsp olive oil, salt, and any other flavourings (e.g. paprika and cumin). Roast for 20-25 mins until crisp.
- Heat ½ tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and bring up to high heat.
- Add spices and cook for 30 seconds then add the drained chickpeas and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until crispy.
There are plenty of things you can make with tinned chickpeas including soup, salad, and tagine. We have a selection below of our very favourite recipes…
This vibrant and aromatic salad would make a gorgeous lunch or veggie side. The sweet pomegranate seeds, creamy mint yogurt, and homemade chat masala pair perfectly together.
Get the recipe: Chickpea salad
Spiced sweet potato, chicken, and chickpea bake
This one tray dinner is packed full of lovely flavours. The spiced sweet potato and chickpeas bulk this dish up with plenty of nutrients. The homemade marinade is made with garlic, ginger, coriander, and tomato puree.
Get the recipe: Spiced sweet potato, chicken, and chickpea bake
Homemade hummus is much more flavoursome than shop-bought. You can get it to your preferred texture and it tastes so much fresher and creamier. This recipe takes just 15 minutes to prepare.
Get the recipe here: Hummus