Red Beans vs Kidney Beans: What’s the Difference?

Red Beans vs Kidney Beans

Beans come in different sizes, colors, shapes, and flavors.

They are a type of legume, rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins, used in different dishes. You can find them in fresh, dried, or canned form. They all have different textures, flavors and need a different preparation method.

Red beans and kidney beans are two different types of beans. However, because they look similar, they are often confused with each other.

Red beans are rounder and smaller than kidney beans with light red almost pink color and soft, creamy, and smooth texture. They work well in different Creole and Southern dishes like salads, soups, chili con carne, and the famous red beans and rice dish.

There are four types of kidney beans with different colors and sizes including red kidney beans, white kidney beans, red speckled kidney beans, and lightly speckled kidney beans.

Red kidney beans are bigger than red beans, with darker red color and kidney shape.

They also have thicker skin than red beans and are cooked longer, absorbing the flavors of the other ingredients in the dish. Kidney beans are usually used in dishes like jambalaya, chili, baked beans, soups, stews, salads, and rice dishes.

They should be soaked and well-cooked before use. Because kidney beans contain toxic protein which is eliminated with soaking and cooking.

Red Beans vs Kidney Beans: Key Differences

Differences Red beans Kidney beans
Color Light red almost pink Dark red
Shape Oval Kidney
Flavor A mild, slightly nutty flavor Absorbing the flavors of the other ingredients in the dish
Texture Soft, creamy, smooth Harder texture, with thicker skin

Red beans and kidney beans come in different sizes, shapes, textures, and flavors. However, in some dishes, they can be used as each other’s substitute.

Red Beans vs Kidney Beans Nutrition

Red beans

Red beans and kidney beans are very nutritious food. According to Web MD kidney beans contain essential nutrients important for people’s health.

Kidney beans contain iron, manganese, folate, phosphorus, and thiamine. 1 cup of canned kidney beans contains 16,2 gr of protein,16,5gr of fiber, and 219 calories.

Red beans also have nutrients like magnesium, potassium, calcium, protein, and fiber. In 1 cup of canned red beans, there are 17,3 gr of protein,16,8 gr of fiber, and 294 calories.

Red beans and kidney beans are good sources of plant-based protein and fiber for vegans and vegetarians. They are rich in various vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibers, and other important compounds, so both can help with some health problems.

They are good for high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and weight loss.

In the following table, there are the nutritional values of 1 cup of cooked red beans and kidney beans. The percentage can vary depending on the type of red and kidney beans and the brand.

Nutrients Red Beans Red Kidney Beans
Calories 294 219
Fiber 16.8 grams 16.5 grams
Protein 17.3 grams 16.2 grams
Copper 34% 26%
Folate (vitamin B9) 70% 33%
Iron 26% 29%
Magnesium 30% 21%
Phosphorus 39% 24%
Potassium 35% 21%
Thiamine (vitamin B1) 18% 15%
Vitamin B6 11% 9%
Zinc 27% 10%

Can I Substitute Kidney Beans for Red Beans?

You can substitute kidney beans for red beans even if they don’t have a similar flavor since they share similar content of nutrients. Cook the dried kidney beans properly to avoid any unwanted side effects. The FDA suggests following these steps to prepare kidney beans.

  • Soak the kidney beans for more than 5 hours, or overnight.
  • Drain the kidney beans from the soaking water.
  • Rinse the kidney beans and put them in a pot of fresh water. Boil the kidney beans for 10 – 30 minutes at 212 °F. Lower the temperature and let the kidney beans simmer until they are soft and well cooked.

You can use the cooked kidney beans in curries, salads, soups, and many other dishes.

Which is Better Red Beans or Kidney Beans?

They are both good sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients important for people’s health. Red beans and kidney beans are interchangeable in stews, and rice dishes but they can be also used in many other recipes.

Which one you will use depends only on your taste and the type of dish you are preparing.

Kidney beans are best used in long-cooked dishes because they have harder skin than red ones. Red beans, on the other hand, have a soft texture and work well in chili, soup, and rice recipes.

Is There Another Name for Red Beans?

Red beans are also known as Mexican red beans or just red beans.

Do Kidney Beans Taste Like Red Beans?

Kidney beans don’t taste like red beans. Red beans have a mild slightly nutty flavor, while kidney beans are absorbing the flavors of the other ingredients in the dish.

What is the Difference Between Red Beans and Chili Beans?

Kidney beans are usually used to make chili beans.

However, pinto beans and black beans can be also used to make chili beans. They are cooked with chili sauce and served with rice, in a burrito, with cornbread or corn tortillas.

Red beans are similar to pinto beans. They both provide a rich, soft and creamy flavor, but have different colors.

Red beans have a light red almost pink color while pinto beans have a beige color with brown-red flecks when they are dry, which turns into light brown or pale pink when cooked.

Red Beans or Kidney Beans for Chili?

Common beans for chili include pinto beans, kidney beans, red beans, black beans, and fava beans. Which one you are going to use in your chili depends on your taste.

If you want to get a smooth and creamy texture you can use red beans or pinto beans. However, if you prefer firm beans that don’t disintegrate during cooking, opt for kidney beans.

You can also use kidney beans and red beans for your chili to give it a richer and different flavor.

Final Words

Kidney Beans

There are many different types of beans on the market. However, there are also beans that look similar but have different flavors and textures such as beans red beans, and kidney beans.

They look similar but they taste different, so they are often confused for one another.

If you can’t choose between the red beans and kidney beans you can try each one of them and see which one will pair better to your taste. But be sure that whichever you choose your dish will be packed with a beautiful flavor and many nutrients that are good for your health.

Red beans and kidney beans have essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein, and fibers which will help you with some health problems if you have them. You only have to prepare them properly to avoid any unwanted food poisoning.

We hope that we helped you to decide which beans to use in your chili, salad, or rice dish. Let us know which one is your favorite in the comments below.

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