Adzuki Beans vs Black Beans: Taste and Nutrition Comparison


Adzuki beans and black beans are fairly similar to each other, but do have some differences.

I’ll go over the main ways they differ when it comes to taste, nutritional value, and when to use them.

Taste of Adzuki Beans vs Black Beans

Even though adzuki beans and black beans are a very similar size, the taste is significantly different if you pay attention to it:

  • Adzuki beans – These are small red beans (although they can come in other colors) with a bit of a sweet taste, which is why they are even used in Japanese desserts. They are also often used in lighter variations of soups, stews, and curries.
  • Black beans – Black beans are a bit firmer and have more of an earth texture. They are typically used in South and Central American dishes, along with other red beans like kidney beans.

Can I Use Adzuki Beans Instead of Black Beans?

adzuki bean

In most cases it’s okay to substitute one of these for another if you’re in a pinch. However, adzuki beans substitute better for black beans than the other way around.

For example, chili often incorporates both black and red beans. And although adzuki beans aren’t the most traditional red bean, they share enough of the defining qualities to fulfill the role.

The big exception is when it comes to dessert recipes that include adzuki beans. You can’t really substitute any other bean and expect comparable results.

Nutritional Value Comparison

I have compiled the main nutritional information for adzuki and black beans and put it side by side here.

All data is per 100 grams of cooked beans, which is a bit over 1/2 a cup.


The overall macro profile of each bean is fairly similar:

  Adzuki beans Black beans
Energy (kcal) 127.8 132.0
Protein (g) 7.5 8.9
Total Lipid (g) 0.1 0.5
Carbohydrate (g) 24.8 23.7
Fiber (g) 7.3 8.7
Sugars (g) 0.0 0.3

However, if you’re eating 2 cups or more, some of the differences do add up.

The big differences are:

  • Black beans have more calories, protein, and fiber
  • Adzuki beans have more carbohydrates

Since most people incorporating beans into their diet often want more protein, black beans are arguably better suited for most diets. Two cups of black beans have roughly 5 grams of extra protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

Legumes are great sources of minerals.

I’ve only included the amount of minerals that are found in significant amounts. Both have significant amounts of iron, magnesium, zinc, and more. However, there are some significant differences if you’re interested in particular minerals.

Note that the RDA amount is a general RDA for adults. Use it for a general reference, but different genders and age groups will have different actual RDAs.

  RDA Adzuki beans Black beans
Iron (mg) 18 2.0 2.1
Magnesium (mg) 400 52.2 69.8
Phosphorus (mg) 700 167.8 140.1
Potassium (mg) 532.2 355.2
Zinc (mg) 11 1.8 1.1
Manganese (mg) 2.3 0.6 0.4
Thiamin (mg) 1.2 0.1 0.2
Folate (µg) 400 120.9 148.8

While the differences aren’t huge, we can see that:

  • Adzuki beans are richer in phosphorus, potassium, and zinc
  • Black beans have more magnesium and folate

If you’re not worried about any of those nutrients in particular, then I wouldn’t worry about it.

Do Adzuki or Black Beans Cause More Gas?

Beans often give people stomach problems, especially if they’re not used to them.

Let’s see if either bean is better than the other by looking at the 2 main causes of gas from beans:

  • Fiber – Both are high in fiber, but black beans are slightly higher, which may exacerbate digestive issues.
  • Oligosaccharides – These sugars in beans are hard to absorb and produce gas when they ferment in the large intestine. While I don’t have specific numbers, one study showed that red and black beans have a similar amount.

Adzuki beans might be slightly easier to digest than black beans because they have less fiber, but not by a large amount.

What Are the Differences Between Adzuki Beans and Black Beans?

There are a lot of similarities when it comes to the size and nutritional value of the two types of legumes.

However, there are a few small differences that make each bean better suited to certain types of meals and diets:

  • Black beans have more of an earthy texture, while adzuki beans have a bit of sweetness
  • Black beans have a bit more fiber and protein, and slightly fewer carbohydrates

Both are great sources of vegan protein, and can provide some variety when you get sick of one or the other.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. I've spent over 6 years as a freelance nutrition writer and researcher. During this time, I've tested over 50 vegan protein powders, and over 100 other types of vegan supplements.

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