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16 Types of Beans to Cook With: A Comprehensive Guide

Do you enjoy cooking with beans? There are so many different types of beans to choose from, each with its own unique flavour and texture.

This guide will explore 16 different types of beans that you can cook with. From black beans to kidney beans, we have you covered.

different types of dried beans in bowls

We will also provide some tips on preparing these beans and share some delicious recipes for you to try. Beans are so versatile, they can be used in many things, from spicy bean burgers to hummus.

So, whether you’re a seasoned bean cooker or just getting started, read on for some delicious inspiration!

Aduki Beans

Aduki Beans

Adzuki beans, also known as aduki beans, are small red beans native to Asia, primarily China and Japan.

They have a sweet, nutty flavour and are often used in sweet dishes, such as red bean paste in desserts.

Adzuki beans are a good source of fibre and protein, and they are also low in calories. Because of their small size, they are quick-cooking and easy to digest.

Adzuki beans can be found dried or canned, and they can be used in a variety of recipes. When cooked with rice, they make a deliciously hearty and healthy meal. The beans can be cooked in various ways and are a versatile ingredient in many different recipes.

Because of their small size, aduki beans usually do not need to be soaked before cooking. However, some people find that soaking the beans helps soften them, making them easier to digest and producing a creamier result once they are cooked.

Additionally, soaking the beans can help to reduce the cooking time. If you decide to soak your aduki beans, simply place them in a bowl of water and let them sit for several hours before cooking.

Adzuki beans take about 45 to 60 minutes to boil, depending on the freshness of the beans and whether they were soaked.

Popular Adzuki Recipes

  • Red Bean Paste
  • Adzuki Bean Stew
  • Adzuki Bean Soup
  • Adzuki Bean Salad

Black Beans

Black Beans

Black beans are a type of legume that is native to Central and South America. They are small, black, and oval-shaped, with a firm texture and a slightly nutty flavour.

Black beans are often used in Latin American cuisine, and they can be found in dishes such as rice and beans, black bean soup, and black bean enchiladas.

In addition to being a culinary staple, black beans are also a good source of nutrients.

Black beans can be bought dried or canned. If you are using dried black beans, they will need to be soaked in water for several hours before cooking.

Canned black beans are already cooked, so they can be used in recipes without any further preparation.

Dried black beans take about 60 minutes to boil, but this can vary depending on the freshness of the beans and whether or not they were soaked.

Popular Black Bean Recipes

  • Black Bean Soup
  • Mexican Black Bean
  • Black Bean Chilli
  • Black Bean Enchilada
  • Black Bean Sauce (for beef or chicken)
  • Black Bean Burger

Black-Eyed Beans

Black Eyed Beans

Black-eyed beans, also called black-eyed peas, are small, round beans that have a black dot on one side.

They are native to the Americas and have been cultivated for centuries. Black-eyed beans are a popular ingredient in many cuisines, including African, Caribbean, and Southern American.

When cooking dried black-eyed beans, it is better to soak them overnight before cooking. This will help to soften the beans and reduce the cooking time.

Black-eyed beans take about 45 to 60 minutes to cook. Once they are cooked, they can be used in a variety of recipes or simply enjoyed on their own.

Popular Black-Eyed Bean Recipes

  • Black Eyed Beans and Rice
  • Black Eyed Bean Chilli
  • Mixed Bean Chilli

Borlotti Beans

Borlotti Beans

Borlotti beans are a type of common bean that is popular in many Italian dishes. The beans are large and kidney-shaped, with red and white mottled skin.

When cooked, they have a creamy texture and an almost sweet flavour. Borlotti beans can be used in a variety of dishes, including soups, stews, and risottos. They can also be roasted and served as a side dish.

Borlotti beans can be bought fresh, dried or tinned. It’s preferable to soak dried beans overnight before cooking them (for about 60 minutes or until soft).

Popular Borlotti Bean Recipes

  • Borlotti Bean Stews
  • Borlotti Bean Soup
  • Mixed Bean Chilli

Butter Beans

butter beans

Butter beans, also known as lima beans, are a type of legume that is popular in many parts of the world. The beans are large and flat, with creamy white flesh.

They can be cooked in many different ways, including boiled, baked, or roasted. Butter beans are often used in soups and stews or simply as a side dish. Whatever way they are prepared, butter beans are a delicious and nutritious option for any meal.

Popular Butter Bean Recipes

  • Butter Bean Mash
  • Butter Bean Stew
  • Butter Bean Salad
  • Sausage and Butter Bean Casserole

Cannellini 

Cannellini Beans

Cannellini beans are a type of white kidney bean that is popular in Italian cuisine.

The beans are large and oval-shaped, with a creamy texture and a nutty flavour. They can be used in a variety of dishes, including soups, stews, and salads.

Popular Cannellini Recipes

  • Minestrone Soup
  • Cannellini Bean Soup
  • Spanish Bean Stew

Chickpeas

Chickpeas

Chickpeas are a type of legume that is often used in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine. They can be eaten whole, or they can be ground into flour that is used to make flatbreads and pastries.

In addition to being used in savoury dishes, chickpeas can also be roasted and used as a snack food. Chickpeas are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of ways.

Chickpeas are available dried or canned. If you are using dried chickpeas, they will need to be soaked in water for several hours before cooking.

Canned chickpeas are already cooked and can be used in recipes without any further preparation. Dried chickpeas take about 60 minutes to cook, but this can vary depending on the freshness of the beans.

Popular Chickpea Recipes

Edamame Beans

Edamame Beans

Edamame beans are a type of soybean that is harvested when it is still immature. The name “edamame” actually means “beans on twigs,” referring to the fact that the beans are often served with their pods still attached.

These beans are a popular dish in Japanese cuisine, and they can be served boiled or steamed. They can also be added to soups or stir-fries. Edamame beans are a nutritious and delicious option for any meal.

Edamame beans can be bought fresh, frozen, or canned. If you are using fresh beans, they will need to be cooked for about five minutes before eating. Frozen beans can be thawed and then cooked, or they can be added to dishes without thawing first.

Canned edamame beans are already cooked and can be used in recipes without further preparation.

Popular Edamame Recipes

  • Edamame Salad
  • Stir-Fried Edamame Beans
  • Edamame Soup
  • Edamame Dip

Fava Beans/Broad Beans

Broad Beans

Favas, also known as broad beans, are a type of legume that is popular in many Mediterranean countries.

The beans are large and flat, and they can be either white or green in colour. Favas are typically cooked before they are eaten, and they can be used in a variety of recipes.

When shopping for fava beans, look for ones that are firm and have a bright green colour. Avoid beans that are wrinkled or have brown spots, as these may be past their prime.

When cooked properly, fava beans have a nutty flavour and a creamy texture. They can be enjoyed on their own or used as an ingredient of other dishes.

Broad beans can be bought fresh, frozen, canned or dried.

Popular Broad Bean Recipes

  • Broad Bean Soup
  • Broad Bean Dip
  • Broad Bean Salad

Haricot Beans

Haricot Beans

Haricot beans are a white bean popular in many cuisines, including French, Italian, and Spanish.

Haricot beans, also known as navy beans, are often used for making baked beans. They hold their shape very well and work well when cooked in tomato sauce.

Haricot beans can be bought dried or canned. If using dried beans, they will need to be soaked in water for several hours before cooking.

You can also add other seasonings, such as garlic or onion powder. If you want a heartier meal, you can cook the beans in broth with diced vegetables like carrots, celery, and potatoes.

Another option is to make a savoury stew by cooking the beans with sausage, bacon, or other meats.

Canned haricot beans are already cooked and can be used in recipes without further preparation. Dried haricot beans take about 60 minutes to cook, but this can vary depending on the freshness of the beans.

Popular Haricot Bean Recipes

  • Baked Beans
  • Cassoulet (a French dish made with haricot beans)
  • Tuscan White Bean Soup
  • Spanish Bean Salad
  • White Bean Casserole

Lentils

Red Lentils

Lentils are edible legumes that come in a variety of colours, including green, brown, and red. They have a nutty flavour and a firm yet tender texture.

Lentils are a staple food in many cultures, and they can be used in a wide variety of dishes, from soups and stews to salads and veggie burgers.

Cooking lentils is a simple process that can be done in various ways, depending on your preferences. For the quickest method, Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the desired amount of rinsed lentils. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

Related: How To Cook Red Lentils

You can also cook them in a slow cooker, soup maker or pressure cooker. If you’re cooking them on the stove, start by sautéing some onions and garlic in olive oil before adding the rinsed lentils and water. Season with salt, pepper, and any other desired spices.

Popular Lentil Recipes

Mung Beans

Mung Beans

Mung beans are a type of legume that is native to Asia. They are small, green, and have a slightly sweet taste.

Mung beans are often used in Asian cuisine, and they can be cooked in a variety of ways. They can be stir-fried, stewed, or made into a soup.

Mung beans can be cooked as a main dish, side dish, or even used as an ingredient in soups and stews.

Mung beans are often cooked with rice, as they have a similar cooking time. The rice and beans can be cooked together in one pot, or the beans can be cooked separately and added to the rice later.

Mung beans can also be boiled and then fried or sauteed. Mung beans can also be sprouted and added to salads or used as a topping on sandwiches and wraps.

Popular Mung Bean Recipes

  • Mung Bean Curry
  • Mung Bean Noodles
  • Muing Bean Soup

Pigeon Peas

Rice and peas

Pigeon peas, also known as gungo beans, are a popular addition when making a Jamaican rice and peas dish.

Pigeon peas are a type of legume that is native to Africa and Asia. They are closely related to black-eyed peas and are often used in Indian and Caribbean cuisine. Pigeon peas are small, round, and off white in colour, with a chewy texture and a slightly nutty flavour.

In addition to being cooked as a standalone dish, pigeon peas are often used in soups, stews, curries, and rice dishes.

Popular Pigeon Pea Recipes

  • Jamaican Rice and Peas

Pinto Beans

Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are a common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) widely cultivated throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, and the southwestern United States.

The name “pinto” means “painted” in Spanish and refers to the mottled brown and white colouration of the beans.

Pinto beans are a staple food in many regions and are often used in dishes such as refried beans, chilli con carne, and rice and beans.

Pinto beans have a mild flavour and a creamy texture, making them a versatile ingredient that can be used in both savoury and sweet dishes.

While pinto beans can be enjoyed simply boiled or mashed, there are many other ways to cook them.

One popular way to prepare pinto beans is to pressure cook them. This method is quick and easy, and it allows the beans to retain their nutrients and flavour.

To pressure cook pinto beans, simply add the beans to a pressure cooker with water and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. Once the beans are cooked, they can be enjoyed as is or used in any recipe that calls for cooked beans.

Pinto beans can be bought dried or canned. If you are using dried pinto beans, it is recommended to soak them overnight, although not essential.

Popular Pinto Bean Recipes

  • Refried Beans
  • Smoky Pinto Beans

Red Kidney Beans

Red Kidney Beans

Kidney beans are a type of legume that is native to Central and South America. The name “kidney bean” comes from the bean’s kidney-shaped appearance.

Kidney beans are a popular ingredient in Mexican and Indian cuisine, and they can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups and stews to rice and salads.

Kidney beans are often bought canned making them easy to include in a recipe as they are already cooked.

If you do use dried kidney beans it’s important to soak them overnight and then boil them rapidly for 20 minutes before rinsing them. It is then that they are ready to be cooked according to the recipe you are following.

Popular Kidney Bean Recipes

Soya Beans

Soya Beans

There are over 2,500 types of soya beans, with edamame being one of them.

Soya beans are a type of legume that is native to East Asia. They are a key ingredient in many Asian cuisines and are also used to make soy milk, tofu, and tempeh.

They can be eaten whole or used to make flour, oil, and other products. Soya beans have been cultivated for thousands of years, and play an important role in both Asian cuisine and agriculture.

Although most people buy products that have already been made with soya beans – soy milk, tofu and tempeh – soya beans can also be bought dried or fresh to make your own or added to other recipes.

Popular Soya Bean Recipes

  • Soy Milk
  • Tofu Curry
  • Marinated Tempeh

Dried Beans Vs Canned Beans

Canned Beans

There are many benefits to cooking with dried beans. They are typically cheaper than canned beans, and they have a longer shelf life.

Dried beans also tend to have a better texture and flavour than canned beans. However, they do require more time and effort to prepare.

Canned beans are a convenient option for busy cooks who don’t have the time to soak and cook dried beans.

They are also good for recipes that call for pre-cooked or pureed beans. When choosing canned beans, look for ones that are labelled “low sodium” or “no salt added.”

If you’re using dried beans, it’s important to soak them overnight and then boil them for 20 minutes before cooking them according to recipe instructions. Dried kidney beans should be well rinsed after soaking and pre-boiling.

Where To Buy Beans

beans on wooden spoons

Beans are typically sold in the canned goods section of the grocery store. You can also find them in the international aisle or in the health food section.

Dried beans can be found in the bulk foods section or in packages near the rice and pasta. When shopping for dried beans, make sure to check the expiration date to ensure that they are fresh.

If you want to buy organic or speciality beans, you may need to visit a health food store or an online retailer.

How To Store Beans

dried beans in storage jars

Canned beans can be stored at room temperature until their expiration date. Once opened, transfer them to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to one week.

Dried beans should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. They will keep for up to one year.

Cooked beans can be stored in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to six months.

How Long Does It Take To Cook Dried Beans?

cooking beans in a stew or chilli

The cooking time for dried beans will vary depending on the type of bean and how you are cooking it.

Generally, it takes about 30 minutes to cook beans on the stove, but they can also be cooked in a slow cooker or pressure cooker.

Some people like to soak their beans overnight before cooking, while others find it unnecessary.

How To Soak Dried Beans

Soaking Beans

If you are soaking your beans, start by placing them in a large bowl and covering them with water. The water should be about two inches above the beans.

Let them soak for eight hours or overnight. Drain the beans and rinse them before cooking.

Do I Need To Soak Dried Beans?

Soaking dried beans is not required, but it does help to reduce the cooking time. It also helps soften the beans, making them easier to digest.

If you decide not to soak your beans, make sure to cook them for a more extended period of time. You may also want to add some baking soda to the water, which will help soften the beans.

How To Quick Soak Dried Beans

If you don’t have time to soak your beans overnight, you can quick soak them. Start by placing the beans in a large pot and covering them with water.

Bring the water to a boil and let the beans simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for one hour. Drain the beans and rinse before cooking.

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