Pinto Beans vs Kidney Beans: Comparing Nutrition and Taste

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Pinto beans and kidney beans are both easy to find in can or dry form.

But I’ve often wondered which one is best in terms of taste or nutrition (protein, calories, fiber, etc.), so I decided to find the answers and make a clear summary here.

As it turns out, there’s not a huge difference between them, but there are some small ones that may affect the one you choose to eat sometimes.

Taste Test: Kidney Beans vs Pinto Beans

Compared to other types of beans, kidney beans and pinto beans are both soft and relatively plain.

They both absorb flavors well, which makes them great in recipes with lots of spices and flavors.

However, in my experience, pinto beans are a bit creamier, while I think of kidney beans as mushier (more on the dry side).

Kidney beans are larger and heartier, which is why they’re often the main bean used in chilis.

Which Bean is Best in Chili?

As mentioned, kidney beans are the standard, but you can certainly swap in pinto beans if needed.

There aren’t too many chili recipes that call for pinto beans, but there are some.

pinto bean chili

Personally, I often throw just about every type of bean I can find into my chilis, including both pinto and kidney beans.

Side-By-Side Nutrition Comparison

The second main part of this comparison is to look at the nutritional value of both beans.

I’ve divided this into 2 sections.

First, we’ll look at the macro nutrients of both (that’s the calories, protein, etc.).

Then, we’ll look at the nutrients (vitamins and minerals).

Macro Nutritional Profile of Kidney and Pinto Beans

Like most common beans, the overall nutritional profile is quite similar for each of these:

  Kidney Beans Pinto Beans
Serving size 1 cup 1 cup
Calories 225 245
Fat 0.9 g 1.1 g
Carbohydrates 40.4 g 44.8 g
Fiber 11.3 g 15.4 g
Protein 15.3 g 15.4 g

Pinto beans do have more calories, which could be slightly important if you’re on a cut. Note that pinto beans also have quite a bit more fiber. But then again, if you’re having beans at all, you’re probably not lacking fiber in your diet.

Comparing the Nutrients in Kidney and Pinto Beans

Both beans have a few vitamins in them in significant amounts, and a ton of minerals.

Let’s look at how much of each nutrient each type of bean has, in terms of recommended daily value (%DV).

  Kidney Beans (%DV) Pinto Beans (%DV)
Serving size 1 cup 1 cup
Vitamin K 19% 7%
Thiamin 19% 22%
Vitamin B6 11% 20%
Folate 58% 74%
Calcium 6% 8%
Iron 22% 20%
Magnesium 19% 21%
Phosphorus 24% 25%
Potassium 20% 21%
Zinc 12% 11%
Copper 19% 19%
Manganese 38% 39%

Pinto beans “win” most categories, but most of those are by insignificant amounts.

The only big differences are that kidney beans have a lot more vitamin K, which isn’t a particularly important or hard to get vitamin, and that pinto beans have a decent amount more of folate.

The 30 Best Vegan Vitamin K Food Sources

Overall, they’re quite similar.

The Main Differences Between Pinto and Kidney Beans

Nutritionally speaking, they’re almost identical.

You should prefer kidney beans by a bit if you’re on a cut, otherwise there aren’t any important differences.

The biggest difference is taste and texture. So honestly, just pick the one you like most, but they can be used in place of each other in most recipes without a huge change in meal quality.

While they’re all similar, you might also find my kidney bean vs black bean or pinto beans vs black beans posts interesting.

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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