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Bean Types

Beans | Types

Besides adding nutritional value to a meal, dry beans bring a variety of colors, textures and flavors to the table. Because there are so many bean varieties available – each with its own unique characteristics – beans are a versatile ingredient that can be used in virtually any type of cooking. The following chart gives a brief overview and cooking suggestions for some of the most popular bean varieties.

Baby Lima
Flat-shaped, white-colored beans
Smooth, creamy texture
Popular as a sidedish or added to soups and casseroles
Cooking Time: 1 hour

Black
Medium-sized, black-skinned ovals
Also called Turtle bean
A favorite in South and Central American and Caribbean cuisine
Cooking Time: 1 to 1 1/2 hours

Blackeye
Medium-sized, oval-shaped, with black dot on white colored skin
Distinct, savory flavor and light, smooth texture
Also called black-eyed pea
Popular in Southern cooking in recipes such as Hoppin’ John, traditionally served in the South on New Year’s Day to bring luck
Cooking Time: 30 minutes to 1 hour

Cranberry
Medium-sized, mottled tan and red ovals
Becomes tender easily and absorbs flavors of spices very well
Also called Roman bean
A favorite in Italian dishes
Cooking Time: 45 to 60 minutes

Dark Red Kidney
Large, deep reddish-brown and kidney-shaped
Famous in Red Beans and Rice
Popular in chili, soups and salads
Cooking Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours

Garbanzo
Round, medium-sized, beige color
Nut-like flavor and firm texture
Also called chickpea
Popular in soups and salads; main ingredient in Middle Eastern dishes hummus and falafel
Cooking Time: 1 to 1 1/2 hours

Great Northern
Medium-sized, white oval
Belongs with the White bean or Haricot bean family
Often used in soups, stews and Cassoulet
Cooking Time: 45 to 60 minutes

Light Red Kidney
Large, light red and kidney-shaped
Famous in Red Beans and Rice
Popular in chili, soups and salads
Cooking Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours

Large Lima
Flat-shaped, white-colored beans
Smooth, creamy, sweet flavor
Also known as Butter Beans
Popular as a sidedish or added to soups and casseroles
Cooking Time: 1 to 1 1/2 hours

Navy
Small white ovals
Belongs to the White bean or Haricot bean family
Often used in baked beans, soups and salads
Cooking Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours

Pink
Small, pale, pink-colored
Turns reddish brown when cooked
Often used in South American recipes and “Old West” recipes like chili
Cooking Time: 1 hour

Pinto
Medium-sized, mottled beige and brown ovals
When cooked, loses mottling and turns brown
Staple in Latino cooking
Often found, whole or refried, in favorites like burritos and tacos
Cooking Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours

Small Red
Dark red color, with flavor and properties similar to Dark Red Kidney bean, only smaller
Holds shape and firmness when cooked
Also called Small Red Mexican bean
Often used in soups and Creole dishes
Cooking Time: 1 to 1 1/2 hours

Beans | Types