Bean

We Tried All the Canned Chickpeas So You Don't Have To

February 23, 2018

Everyone had an opinion about our upcoming chickpea taste test. And by an opinion, I mean just that—like, the same opinion. “I vote for Goya!” one staff member chimed in. “Are you going to do it blind?” another asked. Should I? “Yeah, you should. Because I’m going to pick Goya. Brand loyalty.” A few days later, as I was opening cans, more commentary: “It’s got to be Goya.”

What is this? A chickpea club no one invited me to? (Also, doesn’t a chickpea club sound fun? Do you want to start one with me?) I’ve eaten plenty of canned garbanzos—more than I’ll ever admit, even to you—but I’m not committed to any one brand. I mean, they’re all, more or less, the same. Right?

We decided to put it to the test. Five cans, facing off: Which one is Goya? You tell me. (And by you, I mean my co-workers, who, very generously, ate very many chickpeas for this test.)

Trader Joe’s Organic

These were favorited by no one. Several mentioned “no salt” (not true, guys, but noted), while others remarked that they were “bland.” They were also noticeably firmer than their competitors. While this makes them well-suited for cooking—say, an olive oily braise—they won’t get an invite to our salads anytime soon.

Eden Organics

Does organic mean less delicious? (Asking for a friend—the comment section is below!) Like the Trader Joe’s variety, these chickpeas were largely described as underseasoned. “Not a fan!” one remarked. The adjectives “bland,” “mealy,” and “mushy” were also thrown around.

Progresso

One lone taste tester marked these the “Clear winner!” (And also underlined each word, just in case.) No one agreed with her. One person said these chickpeas tasted “canned, metallic.” Another called them “slimy.” A few did commend their effort, though: “Tastes very chickpea-y.” And “strong chickpea flavor.”

Goya

I’ll cut to the chase: Most of our taste testers declared these their favorite. One drew a heart. Another, a star. The beans were praised for being well seasoned and creamy—a friend to salads everywhere. Side note: This test took place over a couple hours, as staff swung to/fro editorial land at their leisure. As other chickpeas started to oxidize and turn grey, these ones, somehow, stayed perfectly rosy-beige.

Goya Organic

A little curveball for all you Goya loyalists. Bon Appétit’s Basically declared these “The Best Canned Chickpeas.” Over here at Food52, we disagree. “These taste like meat,” one fan noted. “Yum.” Others, meanwhile, declared them underseasoned, from “neutral flavor” to “blandest so far.” Some considered their composition lackluster, from “kind of mushy” to “too much skin.”

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Certainly not a comprehensive taste test but i’m definitely pro-Goya myself for canned chickpeas. My neighborhood market even has the big 29oz cans which are great. I was also surprised by how not delicious the trader joe’s chickpeas are. Whole foods 365 brand are good enough i pick those up when i need some instead of making another stop”
— Ttrockwood
Comment

Are you loyal to one brand of canned chickpeas? Is it Goya? Discuss in the comments below!

23 Comments

Andikap June 16, 2018
I have been making my hummus’s for years and always buy what’s on sale. Last week in Costco I notice an 8 pack of Goya chickpeas so I picked it up. When I made hummus last week in was so creamy I thought maybe I put too much olive oil. I made it again today and OMG I’m never buying anything else but Goya chick peas. That’s how I found this post, I googled Goya chickpeas.
 
Susan May 14, 2018
Whole Foods 360 brand is our go-to canned option. No preservatives please.
 
Jana May 14, 2018
Most of the brands I've tried are flavorless except the organic (chemical free) generic brand at my local store. I don't care how good beans taste, if they are sitting in a chemical soup I don't buy them. They say chickpeas, water and salt or they go back on the shelf. Period.
 
NuMystic May 13, 2018
Worth noting that the Goya and Progresso use preservatives while the other brands tested don’t. Personally, under seasoned is a plus. I don’t want my canned beans pre-seasoned. They’re an ingredient not a ready to eat dish. I much prefer the flexibility of seasoning them in exactly the way I want myself.
 
ninadora February 25, 2018
For some reason the Faurway house brand of canned chick peas (and black beans) are unusually good! I don’t know if these get private labeled at other supermarkets I just know they are noticibly better than other canned beans!
 
Ttrockwood February 25, 2018
Certainly not a comprehensive taste test but i’m definitely pro-Goya myself for canned chickpeas. My neighborhood market even has the big 29oz cans which are great. I was also surprised by how not delicious the trader joe’s chickpeas are. Whole foods 365 brand are good enough i pick those up when i need some instead of making another stop
 
Joan D. February 24, 2018
I love the Fred Meyers Store brand of chick peas.
 
Mike E. February 24, 2018
All right, so it's Goya. But how do they compare to dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked?
 
jenniebgood February 24, 2018
I agree - Would love to know how all of these brands stand up to soaked from scratch/cooked!
 
George H. February 24, 2018
I only eat dried chickpeas. I always soak and cook myself. Why bother if you are food52-organized?
 
Stephanie B. February 23, 2018
Ok so I don't remember trying Goya - I'm sure I have I just don't remember them being particularly memorable. But I did recently try Kroeger's house brand. They were a surprisingly more saturated golden color than other chickpeas I had, and I thought they tasted great.
 
witloof February 23, 2018
Marcella Hazan recommended Goya.
 
emarie February 23, 2018
I usually cook chickpeas by the pound and freeze them, but I always have a few cans of Goya on the shelf for emergencies!
 
Windischgirl February 23, 2018
Buy dry, soak overnight, and cook in your Instant Pot for 15-20 minutes. Delicious and freeze well. Cheaper too.
 
jpriddy March 1, 2018
That's what I do. I heat just to a simmer, leave them overnight and they cook fast.
 
nan J. February 23, 2018
Goya...for any kind of beans. Fewer cans with broken mushy beans at the bottom.
 
birdseedkitchen.com February 23, 2018
I'll admit, I haven't tried Goya. I usually use La Preferida because they come in larger cans. To the store!
 
Panfusine February 23, 2018
Most Indian dishes involving chickpeas require long cooking times, and the flavor of the chickpea is smothered with the various masalas.. but yes.. Goya rocks in terms of the plumpness which is fantastic for some South Indian recipes like Sundal as well.
 
WoooPigSooie February 23, 2018
Goya! Deb Perelman has bee saying it for years!!
 
WoooPigSooie February 23, 2018
"been" not bee...
 
Candy February 23, 2018
"All" = 5????
 
joe May 15, 2018
I'm with you, Candy... Five brands is far from "All the canned Chickpeas" out there. My far-from-well-stocked local grocery has at least five brands, and don't include Trader Joe's, or Eden whatever. Are brands like Bush's or Hanover so "low class" or something as to never be considered? Reminds me of a time year's ago when Cook's magazine found that Red Pack was not only the cheapest brand anywhere, but they found them to be the best tasting canned whole tomatoes available - period. <br />Go figure. Maybe they didn't know that they're sometimes labeled "Garbanzo beans." <br />Sorry folks, but this is far from the final word on the subject. Certainly you could of/should of included cooked dried beans for comparison and worked from there.
 
Nancy W. February 23, 2018
Goya all the way