Your Guide To Everything Beans

Did you know that there are about 400 varieties of beans out there?  Not only are beans a great source of protein, they are one of the most commonly eaten foods in the world. Below are some of the most common varieties you will find at your local grocer.  And if you are looking for some amazing bean recipes, check out our free Kelley Bean cookbook!

Dish of Pinto Beans

Pinto Bean

Cooking time: 1.5 to 2 hours

Pinto comes from the Spanish word “painted,” highlighting their mottled beige and brown skin. This medium-sized bean is the most widely produced bean in the U.S. and a staple in the diets of Northern Mexico and the American Southwest. The solid texture and flavor of Pintos make them great for Chili, burritos, refried beans, and many dips.

Kelley Bean Great Northern Beans

Great Northern Bean

Cooking time: 45 to 60 minutes

Great Northern beans are a medium sized bean with a fairly flat kidney shape. This North American bean is popular in the Middle East, Northern Africa, Spain, Greece, Italy, and particularly France where it is used for making cassoulet (a white bean casserole). The Great Northern adds a delicate, slightly nutty flavor to dishes and can be a substitute for the smaller Navy bean in any recipe.

Dish of Black Beans

Black Bean

Cooking time: 1 to 1.5 hours

Black beans, or Black Turtle beans are medium to small, oval shaped beans with a shinny black skin (actually a dark purple) and a small white eye or spot (called a “keel”). This bean is the most popular in the Americas and Caribbean and has enjoyed a recent popularity surge in the U.S. The black bean’s wide use in salads, dips, stews, thick soups, and burritos comes from its sweet tasting, mushroom-like flavor and soft texture.

Kelley Bean Kidney Beans

Kidney Bean

Cooking time: 1.5 to 2 hours

Forget all of the hogwash that true chili doesn’t have beans, Kidney beans have been a standby for generations. The obvious shape and color of the Kidney bean make it easy to guess where the name came from. Whether the light red class or the dark red class, the Red Kidney’s size and color makes it a wonderful addition to nearly any dish. The Light Red Kidney is especially popular in the Caribbean region as well as Portugal and Spain. Along with chili or chili con carne, Kidney beans’ full flavor and soft texture make them perfect for salads, sandwiches, dip, and red beans and rice. They retain a wonderful shape even with cooked dishes that require a long-simmering time.

Kelley Bean Red Beans

Small Red Bean

Cooking time: 1 to 1.5 hours

The Small Red bean is popular in diets from the Caribbean and Central American regions where it is often eaten with rice. Although often used interchangeably with Kidney beans, Small Reds have a slightly smoother texture and taste. The Small Red holds its shape and firmness when cooked and can be used in chili, baked beans, spicy Cajun recipes (including the famous red beans and rice), or any recipe that calls for a Kidney bean. 

Kelley Bean Navy Beans

Navy Bean

Cooking time: 1.5 to 2 hours

The Navy bean is also known as a Boston or Pea bean. The small white bean draws its name from the fundamental role it played in the diet of the U.S. Navy during the second half of the 19th Century. The Navy bean is widely used for the Boston or English baked beans but has the flexibility to be found in many other recipes. Its refined texture and skin which does not break up during cooking and its delicate flavor make it perfect for soups, salads, casseroles, or ethnic dishes.

Pink Beans

Cooking Time: 1.5 to 2 hours

Pink Beans are small, oval-shaped beans with a pale, pink skin. Pink Beans are very popular in Caribbean countries. These beans have a smooth, meaty, and almost powdery texture, and a semi-sweet, delicate taste.

Pink beans are a favorite in Old West recipes, barbecue-style dishes, and Mexican-American cuisine.They can be used in place of red kidney beans or pinto beans to make chili and refried beans. Pink beans are also called “Santa Maria pinquitos” because they are featured in the famous barbecue dishes of the Santa Maria Valley in California.

Large Lima Beans

Cooking Time: 1.5 to 2 hours

Lima beans originated in Peru where they were cultivated even before corn. They are so entrenched in Peruvian culture that they appear on the pottery of the Moche people, who inhabited northern Peru in the 15th century.

Packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, the lima bean is one of the most nutritious foods in the world. A favorite in the American South, limas are actually named after the capital of Peru, and they have more nicknames than any other bean: butter bean, Rangoon bean, Burma bean, Madagascar bean, and chad bean.

Blackeyed Beans

Cooking Time: 1.5 to 2 hours

Blackeyed beans have been cultivated since prehistoric times in China and India. They are related to the mung beans and the ancient Greeks and Romans preferred them to chickpeas. These beans were brought to the West Indies by enslaved West Africans in 1674.

Originally used as food for livestock, we now see this dense consistency bean used in a variety of dishes. With their full earthy flavor, black-eyed beans are used to make all kinds of dishes, including soups, salads, side dishes, stews, and casseroles.

Dish of Cranberry Beans

Cranberry Bean

Cooking time: 45 to 60 minutes

The Cranberry bean (Roman/October bean) is a medium-sized bean, with red speckles and streaks that contrast its mottled tan skin. The bean of preference in Northern Spain and Italy, the Cranberry has a creamy texture with an earthy flavor that approaches that of chestnuts. A must try dish is Pasta e Fagioli (pasta with beans) from Italy.

Kelley Bean Great Northern Beans


Cooking Time: 1.5 to 2 hours

Garbanzos (or chickpeas) are round and medium in size with a beige color. Cooked, they have a firm texture and nut-like flavor which make them excellent in salads and soups. They can also be ground into a flour and used as a main ingredient in Middle Eastern dishes such as hummus and falafel. Garbanzos are higher in fat and protein than other commonly eaten beans.

Yellow Popcorn

Cooking time: 2 to 4 minutes

Popcorn was discovered in the Americas thousands of years ago, and has captivated people for centuries with its mythical, magical charm.

Popcorn is quite possibly the world’s most perfect snack! At the heart of this endearing little kernel is a naturally low in fat and calories, gluten-free, and non-GMO product. This makes popcorn a great fit for today’s health conscious consumer. From its association with “movie night,” to popcorn balls, garland and more, It’s easy to understand why popcorn has remained so popular over time.

Baby Lima Beans

Cooking Time: 1.5 to 2 hours

Baby lima beans are considered milder and less starchy than large lima beans, which have an earthy flavor. Some American baby lima beans are exported to Japan where they’re cooked, sweetened, and pureed into a paste known as anko, used as an ingredient in pastries and desserts.With many of the same nutritional benefits of its large variety counterpart, baby lima beans are a great addition to many meals, or as a dish all of their own.

Yellow Splits

Cooking Time: 35 to 40 minutes

Yellow Split Peas are part of the legume family. Due to their versatility, yellow split peas are found in the traditional dishes of a variety of cultures. They’re commonly used to make soups such as American split pea with ham soup and khoresht gheimeh, a Persian stew made with yellow split peas and lamb.

Split Peas have a very ancient history and were domesticated before 6000 B.C. in the ancient near east. From here they spread across Asia, through China and also through the Mediterranean region. Both Greek and Roman civilizations relied on dried peas as an important ingredient in their diets.

Mayo Coba Beans

Cooking Time: 1.5 to 2 hours

The Mayo Coba bean, also known as the “Canary Bean” or “Peruano Bean,” got its name from a small village in Mexico. Despite one of their commonly known names being “Peruano Bean,” (“Peruano” means “Peruvian” in Spanish), they are actually native to Mexico and are a common ingredient in Mexican soups and side dishes.

Mayo Coba beans are a good source of calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, and magnesium. They also contain folate, niacin, thiamin, and pantothenic acid, fiber, and protein. With the many nutrients these beans provide, you gain numerous health benefits by adding them to your diet.

Green Splits

Cooking Time: 35 to 40 minutes

Green split peas are native to Southwest Asia, and are one of the oldest-known crops gathered in the wild and cultivated by human beings. The ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians all cultivated and consumed peas.

Split pea soup is soup made typically from dried peas, such as the split pea. It is, with variations, a part of the cuisine of many cultures. It is most often grayish-green or yellow in color depending on the regional variety of peas used