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Red Beans Vs Kidney Beans: What’s The Difference?

Both red beans and kidney beans have been used for centuries as an important source of protein, fiber, iron, and other nutrients that help keep you healthy.

They’re both also known to be high in antioxidants, which can help protect your body from free radicals and reduce the risk of certain diseases like cancer.

Red Beans Vs Kidney Beans

There are, however, a few differences between red beans and kidney beans, including their size, shape, color, and flavor.

We took a look at the differences between red beans and kidneys in an attempt to discover why they are so different – as well as the places where they share similarities.

Nutritional Values (Per 1 Cup Serving)

Red BeansKidney Beans
Calories294219
Fiber16.8g16.5g
Protein17.3g16.2g
Copper34%26%
Folate (Vitamin B9)70%33%
Iron26%29%
Magnesium30%21%
Phosphorous39%24%
Potassium35%21%
Thiamine (Vitamin B1)18%15%
Vitamin B611%9%
Zinc27%10%

What Are Red Beans?

Red beans are dried, small-to-medium-sized legumes native to Africa.

The most common variety is called “dried red kidney beans.”

These beans are often sold with the skin on, but many chefs decide to remove the skins before cooking to create different textures and tastes.

The name “red bean” comes from the fact that these beans turn reddish when cooked.

This occurs because of the presence of anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant that gives them their deep purple color.

You can cook red beans just about any way you would cook regular white beans and for best results, you should make sure to soak them overnight first – this will make them easier to cook, and will give them more flavor.

To cook red beans, drain off the water and rinse them under cold running water.

Then add them to a large pot along with enough fresh water to cover by 2 inches (5 cm).

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat to low and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1 hour.

If you want to use canned beans instead of soaking them yourself, simply drain them and rinse them thoroughly before adding them to the pot.

What Are Kidney Beans?

Another popular type of beans is kidney beans. Kidney beans are smaller than red beans but still larger than navy or pinto beans.

They come in several varieties, including black, pink, and yellow.

Kidney beans can be eaten raw, although they are more typically cooked like red beans. To prepare them, drain and rinse them under cold water.

Add them to a large pot with enough fresh water to completely cover them by 3 inches (8 cm) and bring the mixture to a boil.

Lower the heat to low and let it simmer until the beans are soft, about 45 minutes.

Kidney beans tend to take longer to cook than red beans, but they are much milder in taste.

If you prefer a stronger flavor, try using red beans instead.

Where Can I Find Them?

Both red beans and kidney beans are available year-round, though you may find them in specialty stores during the fall and winter months.

When shopping for red beans, look for packages labeled “dried red kidney beans” or “dried red beans.”

For kidney beans, look for packages marked “kidney beans” or ‘pink beans.”

Red Beans Vs Kidney Beans

Both types of beans are commonly found in grocery stores, especially in ethnic markets.

You can also order them online through grocery delivery or other websites.

Once you have purchased your beans, store them in an airtight container in a cool place.

Beans can also be frozen once prepared; you can simply freeze them in freezer bags, and remember to label each bag with the date and contents so you know what was frozen when you defrost them later.

Similarities Between Red And Kidney Beans

There are a number of similarities between red and kidney beans, and these include:

Good Sources Of Fiber

Both red and kidney beans provide good sources of fiber; one cup of dried red beans contains 4 grams of dietary fiber, while one cup of dried kidney beans provides 5 grams.

High In Protein

Both beans are high in protein. A half-cup serving of dried red beans has 23 grams of protein, while a half-cup serving of dried kidney beans has 24 grams.

Low Glycemic Index

The glycemic index measures how quickly carbohydrates cause blood sugar levels to rise after eating.

Foods with a lower glycemic index are better for people who want to control their weight or manage diabetes.

Both red and kidney beans have a relatively low glycemic index, meaning they won’t cause your blood sugar to spike too fast.

Healthy Fats

Both beans are rich in healthy fats. One cup of dried red beans has 3 grams of monounsaturated fat, while one cup of dry kidney beans contains 4 grams.

High In Iron

Iron is essential for maintaining strong bones and helping our bodies produce energy.

Red and kidney beans both contain significant amounts of iron.

A half-cup serving contains 6 milligrams of iron for red beans and 7 milligrams for kidney beans.

Preparation And Cooking

One of the main similarities between red and kidney beans is that they are prepared and cooked in a similar way.

Before you begin cooking your red beans, you need to soak them overnight. This will help soften them up and make them easier to digest.

To do this, pour the beans into a bowl and cover them with at least twice as much water as the amount of beans you plan on making.

Let them sit in the refrigerator overnight, and the next day, drain the beans and rinse them well under cold running water.

After rinsing the beans, transfer them to a large stockpot.

Cover the beans with fresh water by 2 inches (5 cm), and bring the mixture to boil over medium-high heat.

Lower the heat to low and allow the beans to simmer until they are tender about 1½ hours.

You can serve the beans hot or cold.

The best way to reheat them is to put them back in their original saucepan and warm them over medium heat.

Alternatively, you can just leave them out at room temperature.

Differences Between Red And Kidney Beans

There are also a number of differences between red beans and kidney beans, and it is important to understand these to ensure that you choose the right options for your recipe.

Some of the main differences between red beans and kidney beans include:

Taste

Kidney beans tend to be sweeter than red beans.

They also have a stronger flavor, which means they work well when used in dishes where other ingredients take center stage.

Nutrition

While both beans are packed with nutrients, red beans are higher in potassium, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin B6, folate, and niacin.

On the other hand, kidney beans are higher in fiber, phosphorus, iron, and calcium.

Storage

Red beans should always be stored in an airtight container in a cool place. You can keep them for up to two years if properly stored.

However, kidney beans should only be kept for a few days if canned. It should be noted that dried beans of both types will have a much longer lifespan.

Texture

When cooked, red beans turn from a creamy texture to a mushier consistency, while kidney beans remain firm even after being cooked.

Which Are Better: Canned Or Dried Beans?

Whether you are purchasing red or kidney beans, there are two options: canned or dried beans.

Both types of beans offer many benefits, but each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Canned Beans

Canned beans tend to be convenient because they are ready to use without having to cook.

In addition, they are usually cheaper than buying dried beans.

However, some people find that canned beans don’t taste quite as good as those made from dried beans.

Dried Beans

While dried beans are more expensive than canned beans, they are often considered superior because they retain their shape and texture better than canned beans.

Also, they are generally healthier since they contain fewer preservatives. They do, however, require more time to prepare.

Final Thoughts

Both red beans and kidney beans are nutritious foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals.

While they may not be interchangeable in every dish, they can easily be substituted for one another depending on what type of bean works best for your particular recipe, and both have their own pros and cons to allow you to choose the perfect option for every dish that you cook, depending on your nutritional needs and preferences.

Jess Smith