Red Beans vs Kidney Beans: What’s the Difference

If you cook with beans on a regular basis, we’re confident you’ll appreciate numerous recipes that call for red beans. However, there are several red-colored beans, one of which being kidney beans.

Red beans and kidney beans are not the same thing, contrary to common perception! But what distinguishes them? Let us compare and discover.

Difference Between Red Beans and Kidney Beans

The primary distinction between red and kidney beans is in their form and size.

Red beans have an oval form and are substantially smaller in size. Kidney beans, on the other hand, do not have an oblong or round shape. These beans, as the name suggests, are kidney-shaped and larger in size.

Beans are classified as belonging to the legume family. Legumes, in turn, are a kind of vegetable.

Beans have a high fiber content and a high protein level, which is intriguing.

There are hundreds of different types of beans in nature, and they come in a variety of sizes and colors, the most common of which being navy beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, fava beans, and lima beans.

Returning to our subject, red and kidney beans not only vary in appearance, but they also have a somewhat distinct taste, texture, and culinary purposes. So let us compare their various attributes, ranging from color and taste to ingredient combinations and shelf life.

Color: crimson beans are light crimson, almost pinkish in color, and seem much brighter than kidney beans. Kidney beans, on the other hand, have a darker, more intense red.

Red beans have a somewhat beany and nutty taste. Kidney beans have a meatier taste and a slight sweetness.

Kidney beans absorb the taste of the things they are cooked with, so their somewhat sweet and meaty flavor is not as obvious. However, red beans keep their beany flavor.

Red beans have a much creamier and smoother texture than green beans. Kidney bean skin is dense and thick. Kidney beans are harder and denser on the interior, even when properly cooked.

Red beans are a staple in traditional Louisiana red beans and rice recipes as well as a range of Mexican dishes such as red Mexican casserole, nachos, and burritos. Kidney beans, on the other hand, are a mainstay in recipes such as fajitas, Indian dal, rajma, and Mexican Ragu chili.

Pairings: Both types of beans combine well with rosemary, garlic, thyme, parsley, and onion. Red beans taste wonderful when mixed with cajun, cayenne, and paprika. Kidney beans, on the other hand, pair well with cumin, bay leaf, and oregano.

Red and kidney beans should be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Shelf life: All bean types have the same shelf life. After two years, raw beans lose their nutritious content and quality. Cooked red and kidney beans may be refrigerated for 3 to 5 days.

Red Beans vs. Kidney Beans Comparison Table

Category Red Beans Kidney Beans
Shape Oval Kidney-shape
Size Smaller (0.5 inches) Bigger (0.6 inches)
Color Pale red Dark red
Flavor Beany and nutty Meaty and sweet
Flavor absorber Retain their flavor Absorb the flavor of other ingredients
Texture Creamy and smooth Thick and dense
Uses Louisiana red beans and rice, red Mexican casserole, nachos, burritos Fajitas, Indian dal, rajma, Mexican Ragu chili
Ingredient pairings Rosemary, garlic, thyme, parsley, onion, cajun, cayenne, paprika Rosemary, garlic, thyme, parsley, onion, cumin, bay leaf, oregano
Storage Cold, dry area and in an airtight container Cold, dry area and in an airtight container
Shelf life Dry red beans have a shelf life of up to 2 years. Refrigerated and cooked red beans have a shelf life of 3 to 5 days. Dry kidney beans have a shelf life of up to 2 years. Refrigerated and cooked kidney beans have a shelf life of 3 to 5 days.

Nutritional Content Breakdown: Which One Is Healthier?

Both types of beans are nutritious. Red beans are lower in calories and higher in fiber than kidney beans.

However, it is important to realize that the nutritional makeup of canned kidney beans vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some manufacturers, for example, increase the salt amount while others slightly decrease it.

Overall, the nutritional table demonstrates that these differences are small. As a result, regardless of the kind, you will not make a mistake in terms of nutritional content.

Red Beans vs Kidney Beans: Nutritional Profile

Category (1 cup) Canned Red Beans Canned Kidney Beans
Calories 200 207
Carbs 92g 38g
Fat 0g 0.9g
Sodium 99.4mg 655mg
Protein 32g 13.4
Fiber 63.9g 11g
Sugar 4g 4.7g
Vitamins & Minerals
Calcium 240.5mg 74.2mg
Iron 10.8mg 3.2mg

General Health Benefits of Red Beans & Kidney Beans

Because red and kidney beans have somewhat different nutritional compositions, they are linked with comparable health benefits. Here are a few health benefits that beans bring.

  1. Beans aid in the maintenance of a healthy liver. Beans’ low saturated fat and high fiber content protects the liver’s health.
  2. Beans may be used in place of animal protein. They include a variety of necessary amino acids that form up proteins. However, as compared to meat-based protein sources, beans have fewer calories.
  3. Beans are high in antioxidants, notably polyphenols. These are some of the most common antioxidants used to fight free radicals.
  4. Eating beans is good for your heart. They reduce cholesterol levels, which helps to avoid a variety of cardiac diseases. Beans also lower the risk of heart disease due to their high fiber content.
  5. Beans contain a lot of folate. Folate, commonly known as vitamin B-9, promotes red blood cell synthesis and normal cell function.

Can I Substitute Red Beans for Kidney Beans & Vice Versa?

Despite having somewhat distinct textures and tastes, red beans may be substituted for kidney beans and vice versa.

Chili is one of several recipes in which the terms may be used interchangeably. Just keep in mind that kidney beans are firmer and will help to structure the chili, whilst red beans will provide a creamier texture.

Furthermore, various bean varieties may be substituted for either kidney beans or red beans. Pink beans and cranberry beans may be substituted. Pinto and black beans are also good kidney bean substitutes.

Cooking With Canned Red Beans & Kidney Beans

Canned red beans and kidney beans must be properly cooked to maximum taste. Here are some ideas for cooking using canned red and kidney beans.

Tip #1: Always drain and rinse! The water and salt in canned beans cause starches to be released, which might alter the taste and consistency of your meal.

Tip #2: Make use of the liquid in the can! Because it is made up of water, salt, and starch, the residue may be utilized to flavor and thicken soups and stews.

Tip #3: Don’t go abroad! Because canned red beans are already salted, don’t go crazy with the spices and herbs in your dish.

4th tip: Don’t overcook! While fresh beans may be simmered for a few hours, tinned beans would end in a mushy nightmare. Because they are completely cooked, they should be added last.


Have you ever considered the distinction between red beans and kidney beans? We hope that clarifies things for you!

If you go to the farmers market and see dark red beans, which are normally bigger, they are kidney beans. crimson beans are significantly smaller and a lighter crimson in hue.

When cooking, keep in mind that kidney beans have a thicker outer shell that helps them preserve their texture. Red beans, on the other hand, are greater flavor absorbers.

Whether you love red beans or kidney beans, there is no doubting that beans are a godsend because of their excellent flavor and significant health benefits. So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to start eating beans more regularly!


Can I use red beans instead of kidney beans?

Red beans and kidney beans are not the same sort of bean. What is the major distinction? Red beans are smaller and rounder than pinto beans, but they are red. These beans are, however, quite similar and may be used interchangeably in recipes that call for either dry or canned beans.

Which is healthier red or kidney beans?

Kidney beans are one of the healthiest forms of beans to utilize as a protein source, having somewhat less fat and saturated fat than other bean varieties but equivalent fiber and protein levels.

Do red beans taste different than kidney beans?

Red beans have a somewhat beany and nutty taste. Kidney beans have a meatier taste and a slight sweetness.

Are red beans or kidney beans better for chili?

Which Dried Beans Make the Best Chili Beans & Chili? When making chili beans from home, Dried Red Kidney Beans are often the beans of choice. They’re also the sort of beans that are most often utilized in a beloved chili recipe.

Why not to eat red kidney beans?

Toxin Found in Red Kidney Beans

Lectins also inhibit nutrition absorption in the gut. According to the FDA’s “Bad Bug Book,” the lectin phytohaemagglutinin has hazardous effects on humans when taken in excessive amounts. It is most abundant in red kidney beans.

Do red kidney beans taste the same as white kidney beans?

Red kidney beans have a somewhat nutty taste that is more noticeable than white kidney beans. They are often used in meals that need a long cooking period. This kidney bean variety is often used in Creole recipes, soups, stews, and chili.

Which beans is healthiest?

5 Heart-Healthy Beans and How to Eat Them
Black Beans: An Antioxidant-Rich Household Staple.
Chickpeas: A Delicious Legume That Can Help You Maintain a Healthy Blood Sugar Level.
Navy beans are a high-fiber food that lowers the risk of heart disease.
Pinto Beans are inexpensive and simple to prepare.
‘Meat Without Bones’: Soybeans

Which bean has the most protein?

It has the greatest protein concentration of any bean at 100 g. Even when dried, fava beans are a nutritious powerhouse, containing plenty of carbs, protein, fiber, and vitamins!Faba Beans

With about 26.12 g

How long do you soak red beans?

This is the most straightforward technique. Fill a big container halfway with cold water for each pound (2 cups) of dried beans. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

What are the best beans for chili?

Pinto, kidney, and black beans are the finest beans for chili, as shown in this simple and flavorful recipe. This 3-bean chili freezes well for later-in-the-week dinners. If you want your chili thinner, add one additional can of tomato sauce. Green chiles aren’t spicy and give a great taste, so don’t be hesitant to use them.

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