Black Beans Vs. Pinto Beans | What’s The Difference? 

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 Beans are no stranger to most households and are cooked for their amazing taste and rich nutritional content. If you are not a bean expert, you might confuse two beans of the same family, black and pinto beans being the ones being discussed today. 

Black beans and pinto beans

Apart from their different names, are there any significant differences between black beans and pinto beans? They differ in appearance, texture, taste, shape, and even how they are used.

But some more questions come to mind. Which one is healthier than the other? Which has more flavor? If you want to clear out the fog of questions, then stick with me till the end.

Today we will deeply discuss black beans vs. pinto beans and uncover all the hidden facts and information. Before jumping right into the debate, let’s look at the differences between them. 

Black Beans Vs. Pinto beans | Difference table

Basis Of Difference Black BeansPinto Beans
Plant FamilyFabaceae Fabaceae 
OriginSouth AmericaPeru
ColorShiny blackSpeckled with shades of brown and caramel
TextureHard Shell, FirmSoft, Creamy
TasteSweet, nutty, meatyEarthy, creamy
ShapeBoat shape similar to kidney shapeOval shape
UsageSoups, salads, burritos, stewBroth, dips, spreads
Nutritional ValueFiber, protein, and carbohydratesFat, vitamins, minerals, & proteins 

What are black beans? 

black beans

 Black beans are also called turtle beans because of their hard shell. Their shape resembles kidney beans with a white center called a keel. They have a sweet, meaty, and creamy yet crunchy taste. 

With richness in fiber, protein, and carbohydrates, it has many health benefits. 

The first cultivation of black beans was in South America, and today black beans are primarily found in American and Mexican cuisines. 

Black bean soup is widely popular and considered a traditional dish in Cuba. 

Different kinds of black beans are available, like Domino, Black Magic, Blackhawk, Condor, and Raven. The most common one is black turtle beans and available in both dry and canned forms.

What are pinto beans?

Pinto Beans

Did you know that pinto means “painted” in Spanish? If you see a pinto bean, then it is sprinkled with shades of brown and caramel, and after being cooked, the outer shell turns pink. Pinto beans are very soft and have a nutty flavor. 

These beans are usually used as a spread on burritos. Pinto beans are rich in fat, vitamins, minerals, & proteins and help to maintain blood sugar levels and heart health.

Pinto beans originated in Peru and spread throughout America. Later on, Spanish explorers brought pinto beans to Europe, and then these beans made their way to Africa and Asia. Today, America, Asia, Spanish, and Mexico are the largest consumers of pinto beans.

Like black beans, there are different varieties of pinto beans as well. ‘Burke,’ ‘Hidatsa,’ and ‘Othello’ are different varieties of pinto beans. Another red pinto bean originating from northern Spain is alubia pinta.

Black beans Vs. Pinto beans | Differences Between The Two

Black beans and pinto beans

Black beans and pinto beans belong to the same family of Fabaceae, but they are way too different from each other in every aspect. 

Beans are common ingredients in many dishes; they can make any dish yummy or spoil it completely. Let’s dig into the black beans vs. pinto beans without much fuss.

1. Origin

The first cultivation of black beans was back 7000 years ago in South America. Nowadays, they are commonly used in American and Mexican dishes.

When we talk about pinto beans, they originally come from Peru but were also used as a trading product by natives of Central and South America.

2. Color, shape, and texture

Black beans have a shiny black coating with a white circle in the center as in the shape of a boat.

The black beans’ shells are hard; therefore, they require around 90-120 mins to cook. The black color of black beans remains the same after cooking also.

On the other hand, pinto beans have a splash of brown and caramel shade and turn pink after cooking. They require less time to cook than black beans.

The texture of pinto beans is soft and creamy and usually mashed before adding them to any dish.

3. Taste and flavor

The flavor of black beans is similar to the meaty flavor. Hence, it can easily replace meat in any dish. They are firm and crunchy after cooking and also have a nutty flavor with a hint of sweetness. Pinto beans, as compared to black beans, are softer and mushier and have a subtle earthy flavor. 

4. Nutritional value

Black beans are high in fiber, protein, and carbohydrates. They are usually low in sodium and have many health benefits.

They also have calcium, iron, and vitamin K. Compared with black beans, pinto beans are a little high in calories, but they are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and proteins.

Black beans and pinto beans belong to the same family and have negligible nutrient content differences.

5. Usage

Cooked beans add robust flavors to soups, salads, broth, etc. However, black and pinto beans hold authentic places in several cuisines and cultures separately.

Black bean soup is usually served with rice in Cuba and generously consumed in America and Mexico. 

Like black beans, pinto beans are also an essential and common ingredient in Spanish, Brazilian, Mexican, and North American cuisines.

Soft pinto beans are best for spreads in burritos and pair well with creamy dishes like mashed potatoes.

6. Storage

If the beans are dry, they can be stored for an extended period, as any beans have a long shelf life. When it comes to canned beans, you can keep them in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

Cooked beans, especially black beans, can last up to 6 months if stored properly.

7. Preparation

While cooking, black beans, and pinto beans take a long time. In comparison, black beans require a little more time to cook than pinto beans. It is best suggested to soak the beans overnight for around 7-8 hours.

You can also quickly boil them and then let them sit in warm water for about an hour. The canned beans, on the other hand, can be directly consumed after heating them in a microwave.

Top dishes with Black Beans

1. Chipotle black beans soup


Chipotle black bean soup is a very easy bean soup. Just add some onions and garlic. Cook them for a while, and add the black beans. You can add spices of your own choice. Pour enough water and let the beans cook for around 2 hours. If beans are soaked overnight, they will take less time to cook.

2. Mexican Black Beans


Mexican black beans are similar to chipotle black bean soup. The only difference is the species used. The Mexican black beans are simpler, with little cumin and salts. Add cilantro for an aromatic smell and taste.

3. Black bean and rice


Black beans and rice is another Mexican-style dish. The beans and rice are cooked in a single pot with a little seasoning. Lime juice can enhance the flavor and fill your stomach.

4. Black bean burgers

bean burger

Black bean burgers are a healthy substitute for normal burgers. Just cook the beans with onion, garlic, and spices. Bind it with the help of flour and eggs. Roll it into a circle and either bake or grill the patty. Place the patty on buns with cheese and other ingredients, and enjoy!!

5. Black bean salad


Black bean salad is the best option as you can eat them at any time of the day. Boil the beans and add vegetables of your choice, like corn, red and yellow peppers, etc.

Toss some olive oil and salt and have a mouth full of healthy salad as a snack or dinner.

Top dishes with Pinto beans

1. Mexican Pinto Beans

mexican pinto beans

Mexican pinto beans are an easy bean recipe. Instead of soaking pinto beans overnight, boil the beans.

Leave it for an hour and then bring in the other ingredients like chicken broth, onion, bell peppers, spices, and boiled beans in a pan and cook them together. Simmer it for an hour or two. Serve it hot.

2. Pinto Bean Nachos

Pinto Bean Nachos

Pinto bean nachos will make a healthy snack. Cook pinto beans with garlic, cumin, and chili powder. Spread the same on a tortilla. Bake it in the oven and top it with some cilantro. Another easy and healthy snack is on your plate.

3. Pinto Bean Burrito

bean burritos

Pinto bean burrito is mainly pinto beans mixed with vegetables and spices and wrapped with a tortilla. Easy to make, they are fulfilling and healthy items to consume.

4. Pinto bean chili

bean chilli

Pinto bean chili can be a vegetarian or non-vegetarian dish per personal preference. Sauté onion, bell paper, garlic, spices, and cooked pinto beans. Put some crushed tomatoes with cumin seeds and chili powder. Simmer it for 15-20 mins. 

5. Smashed Pinto Beans Tacos

smashed pinto beans

Smashed pinto beans are a quick 20 mins recipe. As mentioned in the above recipes, cook pinto beans like usual by sauteing them with garlic and onions.

When cooked, mash it evenly and spread it on a warm tortilla. You can sprinkle some cheese, and voila, you have a pinto beans taco.

6. Pinto Beans and Rice

pinto beans and rice

Like black beans and rice, this is also a Mexican dish. The only difference is that black beans and rice are single-pot dishes.

For pinto beans and rice, cook your beans with vegetable or chicken broth and spices. Cook your rice by toasting it and then cooking them. Pinto beans and rice are cooked separately and served on a plate side by side.

Black Beans Vs. Pinto beans | Which is tastier?

black and pinto beans

Black beans are nutty and meaty in taste, whereas pinto beans have a creamy soft texture with a mild flavor. Without a doubt, black beans have a better taste as compared to pinto beans.

Black beans can be a perfect meat substitute and can easily be used in various recipes.

Black Beans Vs. Pinto beans | Which is healthier?

black and pinto beans

Black beans and pinto beans have similar nutrient content. Pinto beans are a little high in sodium and fats. However, pinto beans are rich in minerals as well.

I prefer black beans over pinto beans as black beans help in weight loss and maintain blood sugar levels.

Black Beans Vs. Pinto beans | Which is more versatile?

black bean

There is no doubt that black beans are more versatile. The meaty and nutty flavor can enhance any dish, and there are various ways of cooking black beans.

Black beans and pinto beans can be used in salads, dips, soups, and stews, but black beans have a robust flavor that can enhance any recipe. 

Black Beans Vs. Pinto beans | Which is better? 

black bean

Clearly, black beans are a better option as they are healthier, have better flavor, and are more versatile than pinto beans.

In many dishes, black beans can also be used as a substitute for pinto beans. Black beans are the clear winner over here.


We are at the end of the debate on black beans vs. pinto beans, and we also have a winner- Black Beans! I hope you are now familiar with the differences between both and also aware of the other type of beans available. 

I know we all want Jack’s magic beans, but with so many yummy bean recipes, we can at least fill our stomachs with warm and delicious meals.

See you next time with another exciting and different food item. Until then, soak your beans overnight.

Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQs)

Can we substitute black beans with pinto beans?

Yes, we can substitute black beans with pinto beans in many recipes, but one should check on the cooking time as black beans take longer to cook.

Which beans are best for burritos?

Both black and pinto beans are the best option for burritos. If you want a nutty and meaty flavor, then go with black beans; otherwise, for an earthy and creamy flavor pinto beans can be a good option.

Which beans have a higher level of protein, black or pinto beans?

Black and pinto beans are similar in nutrient content, but black beans are a little higher in protein as compared to pinto beans.

Are black beans helpful in weight loss?

Yes, black beans can help you lose weight as they have a lower calorie count than pinto beans.

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