Black Beans Vs Pinto Beans – What’s The Difference?

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Beans, beans, and more beans!

Beans are incorporated in most of our meals. They are either known to make or break a meal. The cultivation of beans had its beginning in Peru and later began to grow in varieties all over the world.

Beans can provide multiple health benefits such as potentially reducing cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and so on. Among the top healthiest beans we have are the black beans and pinto beans. 

So, what is the difference between black beans and pinto beans? The most distinguishing factor between the two is the nutritional value and the color. Black beans have more nutritional value and higher fat content as compared to pinto beans. Also, pinto beans have dark brown spots on a brownish background whereas black beans are shiny and black in color.

If you want to know more about both the common and uncommon differences between black beans and pinto beans, read on!

What Are Black Beans? 

Black beans are also known as turtle beans because of their hard outer shell and they’re about 1 inch long. The first cultivation of black beans dated back to South America about 7000 years ago.

Black beans are the seeds of the family of plants called Fabaceae. These beans have a shiny black color which is actually a dark purple, with a white dot at the center commonly known as the keel.

They are shaped similarly to kidney beans. Black beans are sweet, creamy, and have an earthy and meaty taste. Black beans can be substituted for meat in a vegetarian diet.

The beans are commonly found in American and Mexican cuisines. They are served in stews, burritos, and dips. No one can do without a black bean soup.

The health benefits provided by black beans can reduce the risk of various health problems. They are rich in fiber, protein, and carbohydrates. Additionally, they also contain 15.2 grams of proteins and 15 grams of fiber

What Are Pinto Beans? 

Pinto beans are also known as “Poroto Frutilla” in South America, which means “strawberry beans”! In Spanish these beans are also known as Judias Pintas which translates to “speckled beans”.

Pinto beans are mid-sized and are brownish in color with dark reddish marks on the brownish background. Once cooked these beans change their color to pink.

If you’ve bought canned pinto beans, the color of the beans once cooked will turn beige.

Note that pinto beans are usually preferred in vegetarian diets because of their flavor that makes the dish stand out. 

There are multiple ways of cooking pinto beans as they are available in cans and also, as dried beans. However, most people prefer dried pinto beans over canned ones.

Pinto beans are rich, creamy, and nutty in taste. Since these beans are soft and mushier they go well as fillings or even as spreads

When it comes to the uses, these beans are commonly served in burritos. They are also served alongside mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and fried chicken.

You can also refry pinto beans. In fact, they make the best refried beans because of their creamy and nutty texture

These beans are used in multiple cuisines such as Brazilian cuisine, Spanish cuisine, and Mexican cuisine.

These beans are commonly known for their highly nutritious value. They are rich in fat, vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Moreover, they contain 234 calories and can help maintain blood sugar levels and heart health.

Black Beans Vs. Pinto Beans: Comparison Table 

The comparison table below will help you find the differences between both black beans and pinto beans. 

Category Black Beans Pinto Beans 
Origin South America Peru
Color BlackBrownish with red spots
Flavor Sweet and nuttySoft and creamy
SizeInch longMid-sized
Texture CrunchySoft
Nutritional ValueHigh in proteins High in proteins and fats
Health Benefits Reduces cholesterol Reduces heart diseases 

Black Beans Vs. Pinto Beans: What Is The Difference? 

Black beans and pinto beans may belong to the same family but they do have their own characteristics that make them different from each other.


Black beans originated in South America around 7000 years ago and were considered the staple diet in most parts of the country.

Pinto beans have their origin in Peru and are also known as common beans since it has been derived from a common bean ancestor that had its origin in Peru.


The most distinguishing factor of beans is their color. Every bean has a color of its own that distinguishes it from the others.

As the name suggests, black beans have a shiny black coating. They may appear black in color but they are usually dark purple once cooked.

Perfectly dried black beans have a dark black color. Black beans get the black color from a group of flavonoids called Anthocyanins.

Pinto beans are tan-brownish in color and have dark, reddish spots on them. Once cooked these dark spots on the beans disappear and the beans get a creamy texture.


Beans usually are rich in texture but do not have as much flavor as that of the canned beans. Both black beans and pinto beans get their flavor from the dish they are cooked with.

Black beans are soft and mild in taste and are not overwhelming. Because of this, people prefer them in many dishes. 

Pinto beans are described as having an earthy flavor as they are creamy and nutty. Most think that pinto beans taste like kidney beans but that is not true as kidney beans are sweet as compared to pinto beans.


The size is another factor that helps us distinguish the black beans from the pinto beans.

Black beans are of the size of a pea, usually an inch long, and are shaped like a kidney bean. Pinto beans, on the other hand, are slightly larger than the Black bean both in length and width. They are oval-shaped.


The texture of the beans helps you decide the beans to be used while preparing your favorite dish.

Since pinto beans are soft and creamy they are preferred as fillings or even as mashed bean dips.

On the other hand, black beans don’t have a texture as soft as pinto beans. So, they are preferred mainly in soups as they can stand the high temperature.

Nutritional Value 

One and a half cups of black beans includes 109 calories and one cup includes 227 calories, 8.3 grams fiber, and 7 grams protein.

These nutrients can help reduce the risk of various chronic diseases, fight allergies, and also help strengthen bones.

One cup of pinto beans includes 234 calories. Pinto beans have a higher sodium content as compared to black beans.

Additional Points 

Here are some small minute differences to be noted whenever you use pinto beans or black beans!

Cooking time 

The cooking time required for black beans is 90-120 minutes as compared to Pinto beans which require only 60-100 minutes. So, pinto beans cook faster as compared to Black beans.


The best way to store beans is by using an airtight container. If the beans are cooked then make sure that they stay in the refrigerator and be sure to consume them within 3 days.

Avoid Anti-Nutrients

Note that both the beans include a component called phytates in them which is a plant compound. Soaking the beans for about 1-2 hours or overnight may help reduce the amount of anti-nutrients present.


An important point to be noted about black beans is that they lose their pigment once cooked. The shiny black color will fade away once the beans are cooked. Make sure you use black beans for the right dish.

Shelf Life

For cooked pinto beans the shelf life is about 3-5 days provided they are refrigerated. The shelf life of dried pinto beans is about 6 months to 1 year. The same applies to black beans.

Can You Opt For Black Beans Instead of Pinto Beans?

Cooking with beans is easy as they are available in both canned as well as dried. The important question to be noted here is, when can you opt for black beans instead of pinto beans and when can you not?

Whether canned or dried black beans or pinto beans, the process of cooking the two remains the same. There are multiple misconceptions that follow but nevertheless, you can substitute them for each other

For food such as rice, black bean is the perfect substitute. If you are using dried black beans make sure that you allow the beans to cook for a long time since black beans require more cooking time.

You can use black beans instead of pinto beans when you want to reduce the sodium content present in your food. It is because black beans have less sodium content as compared to pinto beans.

However, keep in mind the one major disadvantage of using black beans is that once cooked, the black beans lose color.

So, for dishes where the color of the broth is important or for any other dish make sure that you avoid using black beans.

Also, if you want to prepare a dish faster or you don’t have much cooking time, remember that black beans take much longer to cook. So, try avoiding black beans if you want to cook your dish faster.

Related Questions

Now that we’ve gone over the difference between black beans and pinto beans, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!

Can you add baking soda to pinto beans while cooking?

Yes, usually beans take about 30 minutes to cook provided that they are soaked overnight. By adding baking soda the time required to cook the beans reduces.

Do you need to cook canned black beans?

The canned black beans are pre-cooked and can be consumed directly. However, you can also cook the beans if you are not sure of consuming them directly.

Can you refry pinto beans? 

Yes, in fact, all beans can be refried. Refried bean is actually a simple recipe that can be used in tacos and burritos. Usually, the refried beans recipe is vegan and gluten-free.

Are black beans or pinto beans better in burrito?

When it comes to Mexican cuisine, most people go for either black beans or pinto beans. So, if you’re confused about what to choose for a burrito, here’s what you need to know.

As mentioned above, black beans are a healthier alternative to pinto beans. So, if you’re preparing a healthy snack, go for them.

But, if you prefer taste over nutrition, pinto beans are definitely better with their earthy and delicious taste.

Up Next: Best Meats To Smoke For A Beginner 

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