Types of Beans for Cooking

Beans are such a popular food. They even have a particular song (you know which one I’m talking about). But, aside from their funny side effect, what else do you know about these tasty and nutritious culinary superstars? And yes, they are fruits (technically). Let’s look at 18 different kinds of beans and learn more.

While we refer to them as beans, the egg heads (scientists) call them Phaseolus vulgaris (also known as the common bean). With such a catchy name, it’s surprising most people call them beans, isn’t it? Beans are a fantastic source of protein and among the most-eaten foods in the world. Another wonderful thing about beans is they are prevalent in every cuisine. In fact, in many cultures and countries, they are a staple. It’s hard not to love them!

types of beans

But Wait, Aren’t Legumes the Same as Beans?

Legumes are the opposite of beans. They are defined by how they grow in pods, while beans are another type of legume, peas, lentils, and peanuts. All one big happy legume family!

Both legumes and beans are also members of the Fabaceae plant family. But once again, they are not strictly the same. You see, while all beans are legumes, not all legumes are beans. For example, green beans (green bean), the asparagus bean,  and the snap bean are not really beans but rather legumes. And the coffee bean is neither.

The Different Kinds of Beans

Let’s take a look at 18 kinds of beans.

bean types

Cannellini Beans

Cannellini beans are the most prominent white beans and are widely appreciated for their mild and nutty taste. With a meatier texture compared to other white beans such as Navy or Great Northern beans, Cannellini beans are a great addition to soups and stews and can be used in salads, giving them a remarkable flavor. Minestrone is a classic Italian soup that often includes the cannellini bean, although red kidney beans are also popular.

Nutritional Information: Per half-cup (cooked and salted) — Calories: 110 Protein: 7g Fat: 0.5g Carbohydrates: 20g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 0g Calcium: 59.8mg Potassium: 270mg Sodium: 260mg

Great Northern Bean

The Great Northern white bean offers a mild taste and is ideal for slow cooking. They are an excellent base for soups, stews, and casseroles, as Great Northern white beans won’t break down when cooked. Their ability to absorb the flavors of other components makes them the ideal ingredient to create a delicious meal. Great Northern beans can make savory dishes that satisfy the whole family.

Nutritional Information: Per quarter-cup (dry) — Calories: 170 Protein: 11g Fat: 0.5 Carbohydrates: 31g Fiber: 10g Sugar: 1g Calcium: 89.8mg Potassium: 710mg Sodium: 5.1mg

Fayot Bean

Fayot beans are a popular ingredient in traditional French dishes. These tiny beans are grown in France and come from various legumes. Their subtle flavor makes them perfect for enhancing the flavor of other ingredients. Fayot, also known as flageolet beans, are small, tender, creamy, and mild in flavor.

Nutritional Information: Per cup (in pods and raw) — Calories: 180 Protein: 10g Fat: 0.5g Carbohydrates: 34g Fiber: 22g Sugar: 1.0g Calcium: 59.8mg Potassium: 800mg Sodium: 0mg

Fava Bean

Fresh fava beans can be purchased at local farmer’s markets or grocery stores. They have a unique flavor that’s a mix of bitter and sweet. To prepare, fava beans must first be removed from the pods, then blanched to soften and enhance flavor. Then, they can be cooked in different ways, from stewing, braising, and roasting to sautéing or adding to pasta dishes.

Nutritional Information: Per half-cup (cooked and salted) — Calories: 111 Protein: 10g Fat: 0.92g Carbohydrates: 22.2g Fiber: 9.45g Sugar: 11.6mg Calcium: 46.6mg Potassium: 163mg Sodium: 31.5mg

Lima Bean

Lima beans have a unique look – they are small, green, and resemble seeds. Their flavor is slightly grainy, yet they have a distinct mealy and creamy consistency. These beans sometimes referred to as butter beans, can be found in many parts of the world.

Nutritional Information: Per cup (cooked) — Calories: 229 Protein: 14.6g Fat: 0.69g Carbohydrates: 42.4g Fiber: 14g Sugar: 0g Calcium: 52.8mg Potassium: 730mg Sodium: 5.46mg

Red Bean

red beans

These little beans boast a mild flavor with a hint of sweetness and nuttiness, making them perfect for various dishes. Their soft texture and ruby-colored skin make them a popular choice for Caribbean, Cajun, Latin, and Creole recipes, such as chilis, soups, and popular recipes like red beans and rice. This small, oval shaped bean is a tasty addition to any meal.

Nutritional Information: Per quarter-cup (dry) — Calories: 160 Protein: 10g Fat: 0g Carbohydrates: 28g Fiber: 7g Sugar: 1.0g Calcium: 60.1mg Potassium: 513mg Sodium: 0mg

Kidney Bean

Chili is one popular dish that uses kidney beans as an ingredient. These beans are easy to find in the canned food aisle and range in size from medium to large. Several varieties are available in your local grocery store, such as red kidney bean and white kidney beans (also known as cannellini beans), plus more unusual options like purple, black, and even spotted beans.

Nutritional Information: Per cup (cooked, salted, and sweetened) — Calories: 215 Protein: 13.4g Fat: 1.54g Carbohydrates: 37.1g Fiber: 11g Sugar: 4.74g Calcium: 87mg Potassium: 607mg Sodium: 758mg

Mung Beans

Mung beans are often overlooked in a culinary setting and are a small, green, soft, and mealy legume. They are great for adding to various dishes, including soups, salads, stir-fries, and casseroles. Before cooking, however, you’ll need to soak them for some time. But, it is well worth the effort, as they are full of nutritional value. For instance, the mung bean contains high protein levels and minerals, such as potassium, folate, magnesium, and B vitamins.

Nutritional Information: Per cup (cooked, salted, and sweetened) — Calories: 187 Protein: 12.6g Fat: 0.68g Carbohydrates: 34.3g Fiber: 13.7g Sugar: 3.58g Calcium: 48.6mg Potassium: 477mg Sodium: 347mg

Pinto Beans

They are often considered the standard; Pinto beans are a light brown-colored legume, often seen in refried beans or chili. They have a distinctively creamy texture and a nutty, earthy flavor, making them an excellent option for various dishes. The pinto bean is incredibly versatile and can be used in many recipes.

Nutritional Information: Per half-cup (cooked and salted) — Calories: 110 Protein: 6.01g Fat: 0g Carbohydrates: 21g Fiber: 8.06g Sugar: 0g Calcium: 62mg Potassium: 289mg Sodium: 208mg

Navy Bean

Navy beans are a small variety of white beans, distinct from the Great Northern beans. While they lack the shape-holding properties of their counterpart, they are still dense and filling. Navy beans offer a creamy texture and mild flavor, making the navy bean ideal for various meals.

Nutritional Information: Per cup (cooked and salted) — Calories: 296 Protein: 19.7g Fat: 1.13g Carbohydrates: 53.6g Fiber: 13.4g Sugar: 0.734g Calcium: 123mg Potassium: 755mg Sodium:880mg

Chickpeas (Garbanzo)

If you’re looking for a crunchy treat, try roasting chickpeas. Cooked up, they make a delicious and healthy snack. You can also add them to salads for a bit of texture or use them to make creamy hummus. Whether you’re looking for a side dish or a snack, chickpeas offer a unique and firm texture, unlike pinto or black beans.

Nutritional Information: Per half-cup (cooked and salted) — Calories: 160 Protein: 10g Fat: 2g Carbohydrates: 26g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 1g Calcium: 80mg Potassium: 310mg Sodium: 290mg

Anasazi

The Anasazi bean hails from the Southwestern region and is easily identified by its spotted red and cream-colored pattern. It is slightly smaller than its pinto and black bean counterparts yet still maintain the same shape. These funky beans give a real visual punch to any recipe.

Nutritional Information: Per quarter-cup (dry) — Calories: 150 Protein: 10g Fat: 0.5g Carbohydrates: 27g Fiber: 9.02g Sugar: 0g Calcium: 59.8mg Potassium: 340mg Sodium: 0mg

Black Beans

Black beans are comparable to pinto beans in terms of taste and consistency. They make an excellent alternative when it comes to cutting back on carbs. For those who have dried black beans, a simple cooking process can be conducted on the stove.

Nutritional Information: Per half-cup (cooked and salted) — Calories: 120 Protein: 8g Fat: 1g Carbohydrates: 21g Fiber: 5.98g Sugar: 0g Calcium: 40.3mg Potassium: 360mg Sodium: 350mg

Peas

It’s true; peas are a kind of bean. Those tiny-shelled, pod-shaped greens have been misleading you. As a budget-friendly and multipurpose vegetable, it never hurts to have a package of frozen peas in your freezer.

Nutritional Information: Per quarter-cup (raw bean) — Calories: 178 Protein: 11.3g Fat: 1.9g Carbohydrates: 30.3g Fiber: 11g Sugar: 1.5g Calcium: 22.3mg Potassium: 417.5mg Sodium: 2.45mg

Black-Eyed Peas

Black-eyed peas are a unique type of bean; they possess a denser consistency than other varieties and an earthy flavor. In terms of texture, the black eyed pea is similar to chickpeas and white beans, being firm and tender.

Nutritional Information: Per quarter-cup (dried bean) — Calories: 170 Protein: 12g Fat: 0.5g Carbohydrates: 30g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 3g Calcium: 560mg Potassium: 560mg Sodium: 10mg

Lentils

When you cook lentils, they become silky and smooth. This is why they make a fantastic addition to soups, imparting the perfect texture. I recently put this to the test when I used red lentils in a delicious homemade soup.

Nutritional Information: Per quarter-cup (dried beans) — Calories: 100 Protein: 8g Fat: 0.5g Carbohydrates: 23g Fiber: 7g Sugar: 0g Calcium: 20mg Potassium: 260mg Sodium: 10.2mg

Soybeans

Once the soybeans have been cooked, they are transformed into edamame, the popular snack often served in Japanese eateries and throughout East Asia. The inner beans are a pleasingly chewy texture and a delicate flavor that makes them suitable for eating on their own or as an added ingredient to salads and pasta dishes. The hull should not be eaten.

Nutritional Information: Per cup (cooked) — Calories: 296 Protein: 31.3g Fat: 15.4g Carbohydrates: 14.4g Fiber: 10.3g Sugar: 5.16g Calcium: 175mg Potassium: 886mg Sodium: 1.72mg

Adzuki

what kinds of beans

These small red beans have a unique flavor, combining a hint of sweetness with a nutty, mild taste. They are great for baking but can also be incorporated into savory dishes. The Adzuki bean is a great accompaniment to vegetables such as mushrooms and sweet potatoes, which have a harmony of flavors.

Nutritional Information: Per quarter-cup (dry bean) — Calories: 162 Protein: 9.78g Fat: 0.26g Carbohydrates: 31g Fiber: 6.25g Sugar: 2g Calcium: 32.5mg Potassium: 617.5mg Sodium: 2.46

A Few Other Bean Varieties

  • Cranberry beans (Cranberry bean)
  • Broad bean
  • Adzuki bean
  • Runner bean
  • Garbanzo bean
  • Black turtle beans
  • Wax bean
  • Pole beans
  • Butter bean
  • Bush bean
  • Robusta bean
  • Hyacinth bean
  • Broad beans

The Best Way You Can Store Beans

Buying beans in bulk is a wise investment. The shelf life of beans is one of the main reasons they are celebrated worldwide. You can store beans in your pantry for an entire year (granted, it’s in a dry and cool place — of course). You want to ensure they are stored in an airtight container.

Different Ways You Can Cook Beans

The first thing you’ll need to do is soak your beans. You can do so either overnight in water that’s at room temperature or for about one hour in a pot or bowl of hot water. Soaking helps reduce the starches in beans that may upset your stomach.

You also want to avoid cooking dry beans in the slow cooker, as the low heat is not enough to kill all of the toxins.

How Much in Cooked Beans Does 1 Cup of Dry Beans Yield?

A single cup of dry beans should yield roughly 2-3 cups of cooked beans. However, this will vary depending on the bean.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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