The Difference Between Red Beans and Kidney Beans

Though red beans and kidney beans share many similarities, red beans and kidney beans are in fact different in many ways.

The key differences between kidney beans and red beans include shape, size, and the time needed to cook them. Kidney beans, for example, are naturally harder than red beans, so they have to cook longer to prevent illness and to avoid poor texture when they are used in various foods.

There is a seemingly infinite amount of beans in the world, all have different tastes, textures, and nutritional values. Red beans and kidney beans, likewise, have significant differences.

The Difference Between Red Beans and Kidney Beans

Red beans and kidney beans have quite different uses, but they are also very different because there are many types of kidney beans to compare against red beans.

Kidney Beans

There are four types of kidney beans. They are red kidney beans, light speckled kidney beans, red speckled kidney beans, and white kidney beans. Kidney beans are very nutritional, however, if they are not cooked properly, they can have disastrous effects.

Red Kidney Beans

Out of all the types of kidney beans, red kidney beans can be the most toxic if they are not prepared carefully. Red kidney beans contain phytohemagglutinin, a toxic plant protein. Though this protein is used for medical purposes to help with immunity, it is not safe to ingest without a specialist, as they know how it needs to be administered and how much needs to be administered.

One can get food poisoning from red kidney beans that are not prepared properly. If you cook these beans at a high temperature for the correct amount of time, they are completely safe to eat because the toxin will be killed. It is suggested to cook them for 90-120 minutes.

There have been many reports of people having serious food poisoning issues from eating red kidney beans that were not thoroughly cooked. Symptoms of eating red kidney beans before they are completely cooked include diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. Extreme cases can even result in death.

Cooking red kidney beans

Red kidney beans need to be soaked before they can be cooked with other ingredients. Kidney beans are dry when you buy them, so it is necessary to soak them so they can absorb some water and become softer. You can skip soaking the beans if you cook them in the oven.

Begin with rinsing them off quickly and putting them in an oven-safe pot. Add water to cover the beans by two or three inches and a pinch of salt. Cover the beans with a lid and cook them at 375° for 2 hours. If they are not quite done when you check them at the 2-hour mark, increase the cooking time in intervals of 30 minutes.

Light Speckled Kidney Beans

Light speckled kidney beans originated in Mexico and Argentina but are now of high popularity in China. Light speckled kidney beans are quite high in nutritional value. They are high in protein, calcium, iron, and vitamin B. This makes them a good option to include in your diet. Light speckled kidney beans are also helpful in speeding up one’s metabolism and increasing kidney health.

Red speckled kidney beans

Red speckled kidney beans are a great source of minerals, fiber, and protein. Red speckled beans are also high in iron and zinc. These beans are often used to treat anemia in pregnant women.

Red speckled kidney beans are also popular because they can be stored dry or canned.

White Kidney beans

White kidney beans are also known as cannellini beans. White kidney beans are tender. These beans are used in Italian dishes, including Minestrone.

Red Beans

Red beans are smaller in size than kidney beans and are shaped like pinto beans. Red beans have a softer texture than kidney beans. Red beans originated, and are most common, in the Caribbean.

Red beans are a great source of protein. Just one cup of red beans has more protein than two eggs. Red beans are a great source of iron and assist in taking oxygen to different parts of the body.

The Difference in Using Kidney Beans vs. Red Beans

Kidney Beans Uses

Kidney beans have a multiplicity of uses in food. Some uses of the kidney beans include being used in pasta salads, taco soup, and Indian foods.

Kidney beans are also great for weight loss. In a study run by Healthline, it was discovered that adults who included kidney beans in their diets lost more weight than those that did not include kidney beans in their diets. While white kidney beans target a specific area of the body, other kidney beans do not target certain areas of the body.

Oftentimes, white kidney beans are advertised as starch blockers because they assist in weight loss, however, other kidney beans assist in weight loss as well. White kidney beans specifically target abdominal weight, so including them in your diet can assist in losing the extra weight you are trying to lose.

Kidney beans have proteins, fiber, and antinutrients. Antinutrients in their primary form are a plant protein that prevents the body from absorbing certain nutrients. Normally eating antinutrients is not a good idea, however, in kidney beans, the antinutrients are starch blockers, so they prevent the body from absorbing unnecessary starch.

Red Bean Uses

Red beans are often made with rice. One common meal to use them in is Louisiana Red Beans and Rice. The dish, itself, is an example of a Louisiana Creole cuisine. This meal is favored because of the nutritional value of the red beans used as well as the combination of flavors.

Red beans also provide great health benefits. Some of these benefits include diabetes protection, cardiovascular health, and cancer prevention. Because of their starch resistance, red beans can improve heart health and lower one’s chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

Since red beans are high in fiber, they can help protect against the effects of breast cancer. Red beans also prevent free-radical damage, a possible causation of cancer.

Eating kidney beans and red beans at a young age will considerably prevent health issues in the future. It is never too late to add these beans into your diet, though. You will still be able to experience the health benefits from adding them to your diet.

Though red beans and kidney beans have different health benefits, they are both great sources of protein and can be used as substitutes for the other.

Anna Silver

Anna Silver is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to new go-to original recipes. Inspired by her grandmother’s love of cooking, Anna has a passion for treating the people in her life to delicious homemade food and loves to share her family recipes with the rest of the world.

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