Navy Beans vs Kidney Beans: (Taste and Nutrition Comparison)


Navy beans are a popular type of white bean, while kidney beans are usually bought as red beans.

However, the white kidney bean is quite similar in appearance to navy beans, so you might be wondering if there are any significant differences.

This post is a short head-to-head comparison of kidney beans and navy beans.

Taste of Navy Beans vs Kidney Beans

It can be hard to compare taste since it’s objective, but here’s how the taste of each bean is usually described:

  • Navy beans – The most popular type of white bean that’s often used for baked or barbecued beans. They have a soft, creamy texture and only a very slight nutty taste.
  • Kidney beans – A very versatile bean that goes well in a wide variety of recipes (chili, soup, salads, etc.). They have a creamy texture, plus a significant earthy and nutty taste.

Can I Use Kidney Beans Instead of Navy Beans?

kidney beans

You can substitute kidney beans for navy beans in some recipes like bean salads and soups. White kidney beans are ideal when substituting. 

However, recipes like baked beans specifically need a bean like navy beans or great northern beans and kidney beans should not be used.

Nutritional Value Comparison

Beans have great nutritional value, so let’s take a quick look at how these two specific beans stack up.

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

Macronutrient Profiles

Let’s start with the macronutrients, which are quite similar:

  Navy beans Kidney beans
Energy (kcal) 140.1 127.1
Protein (g) 8.2 8.7
Total Lipid (g) 0.6 0.5
Carbohydrate (g) 26.0 22.8
Fiber (g) 10.5 7.4
Sugars (g) 0.4 0.3

There’s not much of a difference, although navy beans are slightly higher in calories, carbohydrates, and fiber.

Even if you have 3-4 servings, it’s a relatively small amount that most people don’t need to worry about.

Vitamins and Minerals

There’s almost no difference in the vitamin and mineral content of navy and kidney beans.

I’ve included a general RDA column below for reference so that I could sort the data from most significant to least.

  RDA Navy beans Kidney beans
Folate (µg) 400 140.1 129.9
Manganese (mg) 2.3 0.5 0.5
Phosphorus (mg) 700 144.0 141.8
Potassium (mg) 2000 389.0 402.8
Thiamin (mg) 1.2 0.2 0.2
Iron (mg) 18 2.4 2.9
Magnesium (mg) 400 52.7 45.2
Vitamin B-6 (mg) 1.3 0.1 0.1
Vitamin K (µg) 75 0.6 8.4
Zinc (mg) 11 1.0 1.1
Choline (mg) 550 44.7 30.5
Calcium (mg) 1200 69.2 28.2

Both are very healthy and contribute a significant portion of the RDA value in a single 100 gram serving.

Other than vitamin K, which kidney beans have much more of, the profiles are almost identical.

What Are the Differences Between Navy Beans and Kidney Beans?

It turns out that navy beans and kidney beans are one of the most similar pairs of beans that there are.

They have a similar texture and a near identical nutritional profile.

The only significant difference is that navy beans have a more mild flavor and soak up other flavoring ingredients a bit better.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.