Difference between Red Beans and Kidney Beans

By: | Updated: Jun-25, 2019
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Small beans such as red beans and kidney beans are popular ingredients in jambalaya or rice recipes. These beans are also often used in soup and chili. Red beans and kidney beans are both good sources of protein, iron, and fiber. Though they have the same reddish color, these beans are quite different. Continue reading this article and we’ll explain their differences.

Summary Table

Red Beans Kidney Beans
Smaller in size Slightly larger in size
Oblong shape Shaped like a kidney
Pinkish red Dark red or brownish red
Smoother texture Have thicker, less smooth skin
Good source of iron and antioxidants High in protein and minerals


Red beans
Red beans

Red beans are small, oblong beans. They have a pinkish red color and a smooth texture. These beans are packed with flavor. Red beans are rich in antioxidants and are a good source of iron. These beans are sometimes called, Mexican red beans and are often used in a variety of rice, soup, or chili recipes.

Kidney beans
Kidney beans

Kidney beans are small beans that are shaped like a kidney. They have a dark red or brownish red color, thick skin, and a somewhat smooth texture. Kidney beans do not have any cholesterol and are a good dietary option because they are high in fiber and protein. These beans have a flavor and aroma that is very satisfying, and they easily absorb the flavors of other ingredients they are cooked with.

Red Beans vs Kidney Beans

The main differences between red beans and kidney beans are in the shape, size, and texture of the beans. Red beans are smaller than kidney beans. Red beans are oblong and have a pinkish red color. Kidney beans, on the other hand, are shaped like kidneys and are a darker shade of red. Red beans tend to be smoother in texture than kidney beans.

Both red beans and kidney beans are very nutritious and are good sources of fiber. Moreover, red beans are a good source of iron and antioxidants, while kidney beans are a good source of minerals and protein. When cooked, both red beans and kidney beans remain intact in their shape and firmness.

These type of beans are packed with flavor and aroma. They go well with rice, soup, and chili recipes. In terms of taste, red beans give out a “beany” flavor, whereas kidney beans usually absorb the flavors of the ingredients they are cooked with. Red beans tend to taste better when served cold. Conversely, kidney beans are better in hot or warm dishes.

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