Black Beans vs Pinto Beans: Taste, Nutrition and Protein


Ever since I went vegan, I’ve been eating a ton of beans.

Pinto beans and black beans are 2 of my favorites, so I thought I’d do a detailed comparison of the two.

Like you might have guessed, they’re mostly similar, but there are a few differences.

Taste Testing: Black Beans vs Pinto Beans

The biggest difference isn’t anything to do with nutritional content, but taste.

  • Black beans – Harder than pinto beans, and have a nuttier flavor and earthier texture.
  • Pinto beans – Softer and creamier. Much more versatile, and they pair well with most other flavors and aromatics.

Of course black beans can be eaten as they come, but due to their hard texture, they’re great for thick soups and dips.

Pinto beans on the other hand are typically used for fillings.

And because they have unique textures and flavors, both pinto beans and black beans actually pair nice with each other to provide a bit of variety.

Protein: Black Beans and Pinto Beans Are Pretty Similar

Let’s take a look at nutrition from a macro perspective, particularly the protein.

  Black Beans Pinto Beans
Serving size 1 cup 1 cup
Calories 227 245
Fat 0.9 g 1.1 g
Carbohydrates 40.8 g 44.8 g
Fiber 15 g 15.4 g
Protein 15.2 g 15.4 g

Pretty similar, but pinto beans have slightly more calories, carbohydrates, fiber, and protein than black beans.

Nutritional Value: Lots of Minerals in Black and Pinto Beans

Again, the nutrition in both types of beans are pretty similar, although pinto beans give you a little bit extra overall.

Here’s a comparison of all the nutrients that are in either bean in reasonable amounts:

  Black Beans (%DV) Pinto Beans (%DV)
Serving size 1 cup 1 cup
Thiamin 28% 22%
Vitamin B6 6% 20%
Folate 64% 74%
Calcium 5% 8%
Iron 20% 20%
Magnesium 30% 21%
Phosphorus 24% 25%
Potassium 17% 21%
Zinc 13% 11%
Copper 18% 19%
Manganese 38% 39%
Selenium 3% 15%

Beans don’t provide too much in the way of vitamins, but do have a lot of minerals.

Comparing black beans to pinto beans, most nutrient levels are similar, but pinto beans do have significantly more vitamin B6 and selenium. Not the most important nutrients, but a difference nonetheless.

Summary: The Main Differences Between Black and Pinto Beans

The nutritional profiles were very similar between both types of beans. Pinto beans are ever so slightly more nutritious overall, but it’s so close.

I found similar things when looking at black beans vs kidney beans and pinto beans vs kidney beans.

The biggest difference is in the taste. So if you like one bean over the other, you don’t need to worry about the nutritional aspects, just eat the one you like best.

About the author

Dale C.

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance writer. Trying to do my small part in making the world better by writing about the wonderful world of veganism.

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