Difference Between Kidney Beans and Red Beans (With Table)

Beans do have a great variety. They differ in shape, texture, color, and even taste. Generally, people consider both kidney beans and red beans under the same category though they are not. Both the beans have their specific uses and textures and are used in a different forms. Both of them are legumes but of totally different types, that are mainly used in rice recipes.

In this article, we shall discover their features and study them individually. This shall help us understand their differences and specific functions.

Kidney Beans vs Red Beans

The main difference between a kidney bean and a red bean is their physical structure. They differ in shape, size, texture, and also taste. Kidney beans are kidney-shaped dark crimson beans, comparatively large and mix smoothly with other ingredients. Red beans possess pinkish color and are smaller, oblong, and add a beany taste to the dish.

Kidney Beans are larger and harder and take a longer time to cook. They are very nutritious and healthy. Adding it to the diet results in several positive effects. It has been used historically for its multiple health benefits. It is mainly rich in iron and minerals. Their nutritional value differs when canned or dried. They are known to taste better with hot dishes.

On the other hand, Red beans are smaller and take comparatively less time to cook. They do possess a beany flavor and are a great choice for rice and stew recipes. It is highly recommended for its high protein content. It has a low carbohydrate content which is very effective for weight loss. They are known to taste better with cold dishes.

Comparison Table Between Kidney Beans and Red Beans

Parameters of ComparisonKidney BeansRed Beans
ShapeThey are kidney-shaped beans and that is where their name comes from. They are also comparatively large and dark crimson..They are comparatively very smaller in shape, pinkish in composition which grows into reddish. Also, it is much brighter.
TextureKidney Beans are generally harder and take a long time to cook.Red Beans are delicate as compared to kidney beans and take lesser time to cook.
TasteKidney beans do not affect the taste of the food. It naturally absorbs the flavor of the ingredient used.Red beans have a typical beany taste and indeed affect the taste of the dish.
ValueThey are mainly known for their nutritious value. It is a good source of iron.They are mainly used for the combination of flavors. It is a good source of protein.               
TypeThere are a lot of varieties of Kidney beans.There are a few varieties of red beans.

What are Kidney Beans?

Kidney Beans are named after their shape. They are kidney-shaped and dark crimson. It has a hard texture and absorbs the ingredients well when mixed with other dishes. Hence does not add any extra flavor.

It is very rich in iron which is a very essential element required by the body. It is known to prevent heart diseases. It has a unique antioxidant property, known for fighting various diseases.

Proper cooking of the beans is highly essential. Raw or undercooked kidney beans can be dangerous to our bodies. Cooking at a limited temperature. Well-cooked beans can serve as a good ingredient for chili recipes, rice as well as soup.

There are a lot of patterns and varieties when it comes to Kidney Beans. However, there are four main types – red kidney beans, red speckled kidney beans, lightly speckled beans, and white kidney beans.

What are Red Beans?

Red Beans gets the name from their color, which is typical pinkish red. They have a smooth, creamy texture and possess a mild beany flavor. They can be eaten alone or as an addition to several dishes.

However, raw Red Beans are toxic to our bodies. They contain elements which can drastically affect our health This is why it is advised to boil the seeds for 30 minutes. This helps in getting rid of those toxins.

Adding beans to our regular diet is a very healthy habit. It contains antioxidants that act as a barrier and saves our body from diseases. One cup of cooked red beans contains approximately 17.3 grams of protein. Also, its high fiber and magnesium content help to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

They are a great source of ingredients for soups. In India, consuming Red Beans with rice is quite popular. It is known to be a light and healthy diet. Bean salad is yet another healthy choice that people love to have.

Main Differences Between Kidney Beans and Red Beans

  1. The unique difference between a Kidney Bean and a Red Bean is the shape and color. Kidney beans are large beans that possess the shape of a human kidney. Red beans are oval and are pinkish red with a distinct flavor.
  2. Their taste is another distinct point though they are consumed with the same food. Kidney beans do not affect the taste of the food with which it is eaten since they can well absorb the flavor of the ingredients. Red beans however do not mix well and give a beany flavor to the food.
  3. Coming to nutritional value, both of them are a great source. Kidney beans are a great source of proteins as well as minerals. Red beans on the other hand are a rich source of iron and antioxidants.
  4. Kidney beans go better with some hot dishes however red beans are preferred to be served cold. Hence they might not be a great substitute for each other in a lot of cases.
  5. There are four main types of Kidney Beans – red kidney beans, red speckled kidney beans, lightly speckled beans, and white kidney beans. On the other hand, Red beans do not have a lot of variety.


Both Kidney beans and red beans fall under the small bean category, It is a great ingredient in Indian food with high nutritional values. They are quite popular in rice and soup recipes. Despite having distinct characteristics, their canned or dry form might be a good substitute for each other. However, cooking them properly is very essential. Undercooked beans can be harmful since it contains elements which work as toxins towards our body. Hence a slow cook is suggested with 30 minutes of pre-boiling to get rid of the toxins.

Kidney Beans and Red beans are very healthy options for a good diet. The high fiber content helps in lowering bad cholesterol in the blood. It also reduces blood sugar and heart risks. They are also rich in magnesium which is very vital to our body. Their antioxidant property protects the body and helps in fighting diseases.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0260877498001277
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1997.tb04420.x
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