What Types of Beans Are There?

Some of the most common types of beans around the world are pinto beans, kidney beans, fava beans, black beans, white (or “Great Northern”) beans, cranberry (or “Roman”) beans, Navy beans, pinks beans and small red beans. Beans can be broadly classified as either protein-rich shell beans or as snap beans, which are grown for pods.

Among the most common varieties, pinto beans are the most popular in the United States as well as one of the most popular in the Americas generally. In Mexico, they are the base ingredient for refried beans. Like many other varieties of bean, they have a naturally mottled appearance that disappears after cooking.

Kidney beans are also common in the United States. They are used widely in salads, chili, soups and traditional regional dishes like red beans and rice.

Some beans that are more common elsewhere include adzuki (a variety of snap bean) and edamame (or green soy beans), both of which are common in Asian cooking. The dark and nutty adzuki and soy beans are well-known for their high protein content.

Fava beans are among the oldest varieties of cultivated beans. After soy beans, they are the richest source of non-animal protein. They can, however, be time consuming to prepare since each bean will need to be skinned before it can be eaten.