Chickpeas are a versatile and nutritious legume that have been a staple of many cultures for centuries. Whether you prefer them in hummus, salads, stews, or curries, it’s important to know how and how long chickpeas can be stored and still be safe to eat.
In this article, we’ll cover the shelf life of all three varieties: dried, canned, and cooked chickpeas. Use the table of contents below to jump to the section that interests you.
Chickpeas are also known as garbanzo beans, so if you are searching for information on these, all the information below also applies.
How Long Do Canned Chickpeas Last?
Canned chickpeas last at least 2 to 3 years and easily keep quality for months beyond the printed date. Once you open the can, the chickpeas last for 3 to 4 days in the fridge, or you can freeze them if you need more time.
Canned chickpeas, as pretty much any other canned food, keep for years, and the printed date is only a conservative estimate of how long the legume will retain best quality. It stays safe for months or even years past that date, as you’d expect from a canned good.
That said, once you open the can, the clock starts ticking, and the chickpeas stay safe for only a couple of days if stored properly.
Now, let’s talk about what “stored properly” means in the context of leftover canned chickpeas.
How to Store Chickpeas After Opening the Can
Remove the chickpeas from the can, then rinse, drain, and let them dry for 10 to 15 minutes before transferring them to an airtight container and to the fridge. Or empty the chickpeas (along with their liquid) into a plastic container and refrigerate.
Both options work, so choose the one that makes the most sense.
For example, if you have already drained the chickpeas and found that you have more than you need, letting the leftovers dry and transferring them to a freezer bag or container is the natural solution.
But if you have preemptively opened a can or know in advance that you only need half a can, you might as well leave the remaining half in the liquid. Just be sure to submerge all of the chickpeas and add some water if necessary.
Freezing is yet another option. Let’s talk about it.
Can You Freeze Canned Chickpeas?
You can freeze canned chickpeas, but only after opening the can. To do so, rinse, drain, and dry the chickpeas, then pre-freeze them on a cookie sheet for an hour or two. Afterward, transfer them into an airtight container or freezer bag and place them back in the freezer.
The thing with canned chickpeas, or canned goods in general, is that they last ages.
If your can is approaching its best-by date, don’t worry. As long as the seal is intact and the can has not been opened, it can last for months or even years beyond the date printed on it.
As for the freezing process, here’s how you freeze leftover canned chickpeas:
- Start by rinsing, draining, and drying the chickpeas thoroughly. Allow the chickpeas to air-dry for at least 20 to 30 minutes, or pat them dry using a paper towel. This will help prevent any water from freezing and forming ice crystals on the chickpeas.
- Pre-freeze the chickpeas by transferring them onto a cookie sheet in a single layer, making sure they don’t touch each other. Place the tray in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours until the chickpeas are frozen solid.
- Transfer the frozen chickpeas to an airtight container or freezer bag and seal it tightly, removing as much air as possible. You may also want to label the container with the name and date for easy identification later.
- Finally, place the container of chickpeas back in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.
This method will help prevent the chickpeas from sticking together, making it easy to take out only what you need.
Once you’re ready to use them, defrost the chickpeas overnight in the fridge or add them frozen to whatever you’re cooking. The latter works only for dishes cooked on the stove or in the oven.
How Long Do Cooked Chickpeas Last in the Fridge?
Cooked chickpeas, or any dish containing cooked chickpeas, lasts 3 to 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. If that’s not enough for your needs, most dishes with cooked chickpeas freeze well.
In other words, you treat cooked chickpeas the same way you treat any other perishable leftovers.
What if you accidentally left them out on the counter?
The official USDA guideline is to throw out perishable foods such as cooked chickpeas if they’re left out for more than two hours at room temperature. That’s because bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F (or about 5°C to 60°C).
Of course, it is up to you whether you follow the rule to a tee or treat it as a reminder not to keep the cooked legumes without refrigeration for too long.
Nevertheless, if you left out the cooked chickpeas overnight, toss them out no matter what.
(All of the above work for cooked lentils, too.)
How to Store Cooked Chickpeas
After cooking chickpeas or any dish containing them, allow them to cool to room temperature before transferring them to an airtight container or freezer bag and refrigerating. Stored this way, the chickpeas will last for 3 to 4 days.
As mentioned in the previous section, don’t leave them on the counter for more than 2 hours.
If you’ve cooked a large batch of chana masala or any other curry or stew that will take longer than 2 hours to cool, divide it into multiple bowls. This will allow it to cool and be ready for refrigeration in approximately 30 minutes.
Can You Freeze Cooked Chickpeas?
Yes, cooked chickpeas freeze perfectly fine. To freeze, drain them and let them cool to room temperature. Maybe pat them dry with paper towels. Then pre-freeze on a cookie sheet for 1 to 2 hours, transfer into a freezer bag or container and put back in the freezer.
If you want to freeze a dish containing cooked chickpeas, let it cool down and divide it into individual portions. Then, transfer each one into its own freezer bag or container, and freeze.
When you’re ready to use the frozen chickpeas or dish, defrost them overnight in the fridge or on the stove and enjoy!
(For step-by-step instructions, check out the section on freezing canned chickpeas.)
How Long Do Dried Chickpeas Last?
Properly stored, dried chickpeas retain best quality for 1 to 2 years at room temperature, but they stay safe to use for months past the printed date.
Store them in a tightly closed bag or container in a cool place to ensure their quality for as long as possible.
While dried chickpeas can remain safe to eat for months, even years, beyond the date on the label, they gradually lose their oil content.
This not only affects their nutritional value but also impacts their ability to rehydrate completely. If chickpeas don’t rehydrate properly, they will remain hard even after being cooked for two or more hours.
In other words, they won’t be spoiled in the traditional sense of the word, but they’ll become practically useless.
That’s true for other dried beans, too.
How Long Do Soaked Chickpeas Last in the Fridge?
You can store soaked chickpeas in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. To do so, drain the water and let the chickpeas air dry for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, seal them in an airtight container and refrigerate them.
However, there are a couple of issues with storing soaked chickpeas.
First, you don’t want them to lose too much water before refrigerating, so it’s not a good idea to dry them completely. On the other hand, storing uncooked food with plenty of moisture might result in premature spoilage, so you don’t want the chickpeas to be too wet, either.
The 15 minutes of air drying suggested above is not ideal, but it should get the job done.
Alternatively, you can avoid this issue by planning ahead and cooking the chickpeas right after soaking them. That’s what I do.
How to Use Leftover Chickpeas?
So, you’ve got some leftover cooked or canned chickpeas, and you’re wondering what to do with them? Here are some tasty ideas:
- Whip up a batch of homemade hummus. Chickpeas are the base for hummus, and with a few pantry staples like tahini, garlic, and lemon juice, you can make your own hummus dip in no time.
- Add them to salads. Cooked chickpeas make a hearty addition to any salad, providing extra protein and fiber. Roast them with some herbs for extra flavor and crunch.
- Use them in curries. Chickpeas are a staple in many Indian curries, so why not try making your own? Check out this streamlined chana masala recipe by Adam Ragusea for inspiration.
- Make veggie burgers. Mash the chickpeas with breadcrumbs, eggs, and spices to make a delicious and healthy vegetarian burger patty. You could also make falafel patties if you prefer.
- Use them in soups. Chickpeas are a filling addition to soups and can replace croutons if you roast them. If you have a lot of chickpeas leftover, try making a chickpea soup.
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