I've taken to buying bags of dried garbanzo beans instead of canned, however, no matter how long I soak them, they never expand to be as large as the canned, pre-cooked variety. This means when I try to roast them according to most of the recipes I find, they end up burned. I know there are different types of beans in that family, but the canned kind and the dried kind do appear to be the same. Can anyone tell me where the discrepancy in size comes from?

  • 9
    The canned ones are cooked as well as being soaked. You don't mention cooking the dry ones, just soaking them...
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 17, 2022 at 19:42
  • Ecnerwal: that seems like an answer, post it?
    – FuzzyChef
    Aug 17, 2022 at 19:48
  • @FuzzyChef done, but was seeking confirmation that what is implied by the wording of the question is the case.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 17, 2022 at 20:18
  • You title says "beans". Are the question and its answers generalizable to all beans? If not, you should update your title to reflect that your question is specific to garbanzo beans. Aug 19, 2022 at 2:16

2 Answers 2


Dried beans swell when soaked, and swell further when cooked. Your question implies that you are only soaking, not cooking the dried beans - which would both mean they would not get as large as the cooked canned ones, and that they would presumably roast differently than the cooked canned ones.

I employ the difference in making felafel with soaked, dried beans rather than canned beans - the soaked, dried beans need no binder, while cooked or canned beans need some sort of binder such as wheat flour.

It may well be possible to roast soaked, dried, uncooked beans, but it may require different time and temperature than cooked/canned ones.

Incidentally, if you have the time, cooking your own from dried (when you want cooked beans) is far superior to canned ones on all fronts (taste, cost, amount of salt, etc.) except being exceedingly fast.

  • 1
    If you factor in the energy cost of cooking the beans, and the already small price difference between buying dried or canned I doubt soaking and cooking them yourself is cheaper.
    – blues
    Aug 18, 2022 at 8:15
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    @blues On the Walmart website, a bag with 13 servings (120 cals) of chickpeas costs $1.28. A can with 3.5 servings (also 120 cals) of chickpeas costs $0.78. Buying 13 servings with the cans would cost 0.78*13/3.5 = $2.90. I very much doubt that $2.90 - $1.28 = $1.62 of energy is used in cooking the beans. More like a few cents. A lot of the cost is probably in the can. Aug 18, 2022 at 9:44
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    @StevenGubkin never mind that a bag is smaller to store than the equivalent in cans.
    – stanri
    Aug 18, 2022 at 11:31
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    @StevenGubkin and if you buy big bags of beans cheap, the saving is greater still. I get a good selection from a local Bangladeshi-run supermarket. Slow cooking is good, 6 servings take just over 1kWh
    – Chris H
    Aug 18, 2022 at 11:46
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    @blues I do factor it in, and it is cheaper. Tasting better too doesn't hurt the math at all.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 18, 2022 at 14:10

There’s different varieties of chickpeas (garbanzo beans). Canned chickpeas I’ve seen have all been Kabuli, a large and light-colored variety. Dried chickpeas in bags are an even split between Kabuli and Desi, a smaller and darker-colored variety. It’s possible that the dry ones you have are Desi chickpeas; that would explain not only why they didn’t expand as much, but also why they seemed to burn.

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