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Can You Eat Black Beans Raw? (Read This First!)

Black beans are a type of legume containing high amounts of protein, fiber, and nutrients. It’s healthy food for both vegetarians and vegans. To avoid health complications, you have to maintain some procedures before eating it. Let’s find out more about black beans.

Can you eat black beans raw?

No. You can’t eat black beans raw without cooking and processing them. There are already cooked canned black beans that you can eat without any processing. Black beans contain a toxic called phytohemagglutinin (Lectin). Even a small amount of raw black beans can make you sick.

It’s dangerous to eat raw black beans without proper processing. Among legume families, black beans contain the most amount of lectin, which can cause severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

So, what is lectin? Let’s start from the first. Animals can move and defend themselves from predators. But plants can’t move and defend themselves from the plant-eaters. 

So, they came up with different strategies. Some plants started growing toxic components that will make herbivores sick so they avoid eating that plant.

Lectin or phytohemagglutinin is one of those toxins and a very effective defiance system against predators. Black beans contain high amounts of lectin and can make you sick if you eat only 4-5 raw black beans.

Black beans are seeds and the plants need to save their seed from predators. That’s why beans contain a high amount of lectins. 

lectin is also a common toxic in most of our vegetables but a small amount. That is why you can’t eat every vegetable raw as a salad. It is even more dangerous to consume wild black bean raw as it contains more lectin.

How does the lectin of black beans make us sick? Well, it’s a complicated process. But in short, our stomach enzymes and acid can not break lectin. It binds with our stomach and intestine’s wall. It makes little wounds in our stomach. Our body responds badly to stop the damage. 

As a result, severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea happen. It can take only 3 hours to feel sick after consuming black beans.

Most lectin stays in the outer part of the black beans and lectin is a water-soluble protein. Soaking it for a few hours removes most lectin out of the black beans. Boiling it at a low temperature for another few hours will make it completely safe to eat.

If you don’t want to waste time on the processing of dry black beans, fully cooked canned black beans can be an option for you. Canned black beans are processed and cooked perfectly. You can eat canned black bean raw without any processing. 

However, canned black beans are costly and contain high amounts of sodium. You can reduce the sodium level to less than half by washing it.

Check out if you can eat those black beans raw.

Canned black beans raw: 

Canned black beans are processed, fully cooked, and do not contain any lectin. You can eat raw black beans out of the can.

Fresh black beans raw:

You can’t eat fresh dry black beans raw. It needs to be processed and cooked to eat safely.

Sprouted beans raw:

Don’t eat sprouted beans raw. You will need to cook for 1-2 hours before consuming sprouted black beans.

Black turtle beans raw:

Black beans are also called black turtle beans. You can’t eat black turtle beans raw.

Are raw black beans poisonous?

Yes, raw black beans contain a poisonous protein called phytohemagglutinin. It can cause serious abdominal discomfort and diarrhea. 

Black beans are compact with high nutrition and energy. It’s a super healthy food that provides many essential nutrients, and health benefits. But lectin must be removed before consuming.

Soaking it overnight and boiling it for 1-2 hours will remove all the poisons from the black beans. Canned black beans are ready to eat but wash canned black beans before eating to reduce the salt amount.

What happens if you eat uncooked raw black beans?

Eating uncooked raw black beans is dangerous. About one-fifth of annual food poisoning is caused by eating poorly cooked or uncooked beans. 

Raw beans have a toxin called lectin. It is indigestible and makes small wounds in the stomach. That leads to serious diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and abdominal pain

The symptoms will start within 3 hours and usually recover within another 3-4 hours. Consuming a big amount may require hospitalization.

Eating undercooked and processed raw beans can also make you sick. It depends on how many lectins were left in the black beans and how much you consumed.

Black beans must be soaked in the water for 2-3 hours and boiled another 1-2 hours before consuming.

How many raw black beans will make you sick?

Eating a few raw black beans will cause symptoms of lectin poisoning. Only 4-5 beans are enough to make you sick. Black beans contain higher amounts of lectin than other beans. The outer part of the bean has the most lectin. 

So, never eat raw black beans, not even one. Your abdominal system will have to work hard to clear those poisons from your stomach. All kinds of beans have lectin in common. Kidney beans and black beans have the most amount of lectin.

Consuming a lot of raw beans will make your sickness worse. No mortality is reported because of black beans. But lectin poisoning can harm smaller animals like rats.

Can you eat undercooked black beans? How to tell if it’s undercooked?

It’s not safe to eat undercooked black beans. 4 raw black beans will cause the symptoms, make it 10 for the half-cooked black beans. 

Black beans contain lectin which is a toxic water-soluble protein. If you soak the beans in water they will break down. But it needs 2-3 hours to remove all the lectin from the outside of the black beans. But if you don’t let it soak for enough time, the lectin will remain. 

Boiling denatures the protein from the outside and inside of the beans. But it also needs time. So, lectin will remain in the undercooked black beans which is enough to make you sick.

Usually, no one eats raw black beans, but lectin poisoning is often caused by undercooked beans.

You can tell if the black beans are cooked well by eating them. It should taste creamy inside with intact skin. The cooking process should take 1½ hours normally. But if the beans are old. It may take 2 hours. 

How long to cook canned black beans?

You can eat canned black beans from the can but it does not simply taste good. You need another 30 minutes of boiling at a low temperature to marry the flavor. Here are the basic steps to cook canned black beans –

Discard the liquids:

Discard the liquids from the can, it’s just the salt solution to keep the beans fresh.

Rinse the beans:

Rinse the beans well. It will reduce the salt.

Boil it:

Boil it for 30 minutes. It will make it tastier and reduce the excess salt.

Eat or cook further:

You can eat it like this or cook with other ingredients.

Here is how you can process and cook dry black beans.

Wash and soak:

Wash the black beans and soak the beans in a bowl for at least 2-3 hours. You can soak the beans overnight.

Discard the water:

Discard the water and rinse it carefully. Put the beans in a pan, add new water and start cooking it at high temperature.

Cook in lower temperature:

When the water starts to boil, lower the temperature and cook it for 1 ½ hour.

Check the beans:  

Now check the beans. If they are still hard, cook for another ½ hour.

What are the health benefits of black beans?

Black beans have some extraordinary health benefits that make them a good choice for your regular diet.


Black beans are antioxidant-rich. Antioxidants protect our cells against free radicals. It helps to lower the risks of cancer and heart disease.


High fibers of black beans help digestion and reduce inflammation in our body. The fibers digest slowly, so it provides you energy for a long time.

Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes:

As it digests slowly, it helps to lower blood sugar and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.


Black beans are rich in protein. It’s the best option to gain protein without gaining weight as it provides lower calories than animal protein. However, it can’t be replaced by animal protein as it lacks amino acids.

Final thoughts

Black beans are dangerous to eat raw as they can cause serious food poisoning. Canned black beans are safe to eat raw. Considering the amazing health benefits of black beans, they can be a great addition to your diet. Just make sure to process and cook it well.