Chickpeas are incredibly versatile, being the star ingredient in everything from creamy hummus dips to roasted crunchy snacks and the most filling, never-soggy ingredients in soups, stews, and casseroles to name just a few.
They’re also very inexpensive and super high in nutritional value, so buying in bulk is a very wise decision. If you don’t have room in your pantry, but you do have plenty of space in your freezer, what can you do?
Can you freeze chickpeas? Yes, chickpeas are very freezer-friendly and will defrost with very little structural damage, making them just as delicious for any future dish.
This article will look at the best ways to freeze chickpeas as well as many different options for preparing them and reasons to eat them at every opportunity.
What Are Chickpeas?
For millennia, chickpeas have been a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, but in more recent years they’ve been making a name for themselves in all other corners of the earth as well.
You may also know them as garbanzo beans, but either way, they’re a member of the legume family.
Dried Chickpeas vs Canned
As a general rule, if you can purchase your chickpeas dried instead of canned, that’s the better option. When you buy them dry you have more control over how they’re cooked. You will know there are no additives or preservatives or even salt added unless you add it.
There are also some health concerns related to eating food that has been sitting in a tin can for too long, so you eliminate that worry as well when you buy them dry.
Dried chickpeas are also very inexpensive. When you buy them canned, you are essentially paying a premium for someone else to do the work of soaking and cooking for you, which is convenient but comes at a price.
With all that being said, most canned chickpeas are just as nutritious as dried and don’t actually have additives in the can, so if convenience is king in your household, opt for the canned variety and enjoy. If you’re more focused on frugality, dried chickpeas will be your staple.
How to Cook Chickpeas
Dried chickpeas are very easy to cook, but they do take some time, even before you heat the water.
Before you start cooking, you want to prime your chickpeas by soaking them. This is most conveniently accomplished by simply adding your chickpeas to a container of water and letting them soak overnight the day before you want to cook them.
This will allow them to cook in half the time and, more importantly, makes them easier to digest. If you’ve ever heard the amusing children’s chant about beans you know what I mean.
Soaking your beans and then rinsing them well before cooking in freshwater helps break down a unique type of complex sugar that your body is unable to digest.
Instead of letting it ferment in your intestine, soak it out of your beans for a much easier trip through your digestive tract.
Once they’re soaked and rinsed, chickpeas will still take a long time to cook. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add your drained chickpeas, and reduce the heat to a simmer.
They’ll need at least an hour, but if you want them nice and soft, keep simmering for another 30 minutes.
How to Cook Canned Chickpeas
Canned chickpeas are already cooked, so all you need to do with them is add them to your recipe.
If you’re making hummus or another type of dish that requires mashing or pureeing, pour them directly into your blender.
If they’re going into a soup or stew, you can add them to the recipe about 15 minutes before the rest of the dish is fully cooked.
This will give them just enough time to warm up to the same temperature as the rest of your meal but won’t overcook them.
How to Freeze Chickpeas
If you’d like to freeze your chickpeas, you have two ways of doing so:
- Freeze them after being soaked and drained
- Fully cook them first and then freeze them
Chickpeas freeze really well but you may find that they split.
Aside from roasted chickpeas, not many dishes will be compromised by split chickpeas, and they may actually be nicer to eat in smaller sizes, but it’s worth mentioning because it is a common side effect of the freezing process.
Freezing Soaked Chickpeas
Once your chickpeas are soaked, rinse them well in cool water.
Spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and let them dry as much as possible. You can even let them sit overnight if you want. This will protect them from being damaged by ice crystals when they freeze.
Once they’re dry, transfer them to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag and squeeze out as much air as possible. Pack them into your freezer and they’ll be ready to cook whenever you need them. Try to use them within 2-3 months.
How to Freeze Cooked Chickpeas
If you’d prefer to get the cooking out of the way before freezing them, you can either drain them of their cooking liquid before freezing or you can freeze them in their cooking liquid.
This will depend on whether you want to use the cooking liquid in your future recipe or not.
If not, we recommend still keeping the cooking liquid, also known as aquafaba, and either freezing it separately or using it immediately in your baking.
Either way, when you cook your chickpeas, take them off the heat 15 minutes early so that they won’t be over-cooked when you’re ready to defrost and reheat them at a later date.
Another very important step is to make sure your chickpeas are completely cooled before you freeze them.
To freeze cooked chickpeas, simply transfer the cooled chickpeas, with or without their cooking water, to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag or Tupperware container. Remove as much air as possible and label your container with the date.
It’s best to use frozen cooked beans within 2-3 months.
Freezing Cooked Chickpea Dishes
As easy as it is to freeze chickpeas on their own, they also freeze just as well in a chickpea stew, curry, or another pre-made dish. In these cases, the other ingredients will be the deciding factor.
For example, you never want to freeze a dish with pasta, as the noodles will be a mushy mess upon defrosting.
If your other ingredients are safe for freezing, simply transfer your cooled meal to a freezer-safe Tupperware container and place it in your freezer. We always recommend dating your freezer meals and eating then within 3 months if possible to preserve freshness and texture.
You can also freeze mashed or pureed chickpeas. Whenever you’re freezing a spread or dip, make sure there’s an inch of headspace in your container to allow for expansion as it freezes.
Freezing Canned Chickpeas
First things first: safety. Whether you can yourself or you have purchased a can of chickpeas, you should never put canned goods in a freezer.
They are pressurized and the liquid inside will expand as it freezes. With nowhere to go, the best-case scenario is that it cracks the can or glass canning jar. The worst-case scenario is that you have a minor explosion to clean up in your freezer.
This being said, if you have more room in your freezer than your pantry, you can open your canned chickpeas, transfer to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag, remove all the air, and freeze this way.
Your chickpeas will freeze and thaw the same as if you had cooked them from dried beans and frozen them in the simmering liquid.
Chickpeas Benefits and Side Effects
As plant-based diets continue to increase in popularity, so do chickpeas. They’re very high in protein, as are most legumes, so they make a filling and satiating meat alternative.
Since their a plant, they are also high in fiber, which is something more than 90% of Americans are lacking in their diets.
Though chickpeas are high in carbohydrates, since they’re also packed with protein and fiber, your body has to work hard to convert the complex carbs to sugar, reducing the impact on your blood sugar and improving insulin sensitivity.
They’ve been shown to help with weight loss programs, helping dieters feel full and satiated for longer periods of time between meals, as well as reduce risk factors for heart disease such as high cholesterol and blood pressure.
|Per 100 g dry chickpeas|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)||
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||
Can you freeze black beans?
Yes, the process for freezing black beans is the same as the process for soaking, cooking, and freezing chickpeas, so read the previous article and you’ll be ready to freeze any type of bean you enjoy eating.
Can you freeze canned green beans?
As with any canned good, you don’t want to place them in your freezer when they’re still inside their sealed, pressurized can or jar.
If you feel the need to freeze them instead of storing your canned goods in your pantry or basement, you want to first open the can, transfer them to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag or Tupperware container, and then freeze them.
Can you freeze uncooked beans?
Yes, if you have a lot of dry beans you can store them in your freezer and they’ll last more or less forever.
Dry beans will last almost indefinitely in any cool, dry storage situation though, so there’s not a lot of reason to freeze them. If you choose to, make sure they are well-sealed so that no moisture can reach then.
They’ll defrost quickly, but you’ll want to soak them as normal with dry beans before cooking.
Up Next: Can You Reheat Chickpeas?