Healthy Bargains: Pinto Beans vs Black Beans

Their Nutrient Content and What Makes Them Different

Beans or pulses are one of my least eaten kinds of vegetables but, as I was exposed to them, I somehow appreciate their taste and nutritional value all the more. Of all the kinds of pulses, pinto beans and black beans are one of the most common types we see in groceries, usually sold as canned. Apart from their appearances, what really is the difference between these beans?

If you want to know what pinto vs black beans taste like, their health benefits and whatnot, this article will surely do the work for you.

Getting to Know Pinto Beans and Black Beans

Beans, along with lentils and peas, are edible seeds that grow inside a pod that is part of a plant called the legumes. They are classified as pulses and identified by the USDA as a subgroup of the vegetable group. They are typically kidney-shaped and come in a variety of colors and textures. There are a lot of types of beans but we’re going to specifically dwell first on pinto beans vs black beans.

What is a Pinto Bean?

Pinto beans are oval-shaped beans with spots of brown and caramel shades. These beans may come in various colors, from greenish hue, yellow, and purple to white-pink or pink but the most common one you’ll find is the reddish color. Pinto beans are usually used as the main ingredients to make soups, stews, dips, and burritos. 

Canned pinto beans:

What is a Black Bean?

Black beans, as the name hints, have a matte black color on the outside but are fleshy white on the inside. These beans have a strong color that even if you soak them in water, they will still retain their dark, rich color. Black beans’ shape is quite similar to that of a kidney bean but its size can grow up to ½ inch lengthwise. 

Canned black beans:

What’s The Difference Between Pinto Beans vs Black Beans

Black Beans and Pinto Beans


Pinto beans are a member of the Fabaceae plant family. They are said to have originated from the Peru highlands and were also used by the Central and South American natives for trading since 3000 BCE.

Meanwhile, black beans are the most popular member of the Fabaceae plant family. Their origin roots back in South America and were first used for eating about 7000 years ago, at that time, they were considered a staple ingredient in the daily meals of central and South Americans.


They both belong to the same plant family but somehow differ on the specific area they have come from. Although they are also both from the South America regions, it was explicitly concluded that pinto beans are said to have originated from the Peru highlands, while black beans were just mentioned to have come from South America.

Cooking Facts

Pinto beans, no matter which color, lose some of their dark brown pigmentations when cooked. Raw pinto beans, when soaked overnight, have to be simmered for about 40-50 minutes for them to be cooked. Canned pinto beans however have a beige tan once cooked.

Black beans are almost similar to pinto beans, with a cooking time of about 45-60 minutes when soaked overnight. Canned black beans are softer and easier to cook. That’s why many would opt for canned beans found in supermarkets. 


The difference between pinto and black beans in this area is that pinto beans are slightly easier to cook than black beans. Nevertheless, they actually have similar ways of cooking and can be interchangeably used in various dishes. 

Tastes and Texture

Pinto beans are creamy and earthier. They are known for their soft and mushy texture, which makes them an ideal choice for dishes that favor a creamy consistency. When cooked, they can easily assimilate the aroma and taste of the other ingredients they are mixed with. Moreover, pinto beans are soft and mushier which makes them more susceptible to moisture exposure which makes them a better option to make bean spreads.

Black beans, on the other hand, are denser and heartier and have a more robust texture. Some also describe them as almost lightly crunchy or grainy in consistency. As they are denser than pinto beans, they can be exposed to higher temperatures and moisture and retain their structure without getting mushy or watery. Black beans are best for making thick soups and dips because of their sturdier and denser texture.

Verdict on Pinto vs Black Beans Taste: 

The key difference between these two beans is found in this part—their tastes and texture (apart from their colors of course). Pinto beans are creamy and earthier and known for their soft and mushy texture while black beans are denser, sturdier and more robust. 

Consumption and Production

Although it has its origin in the highlands of Peru, in the present times, pinto beans are consumed all over the world, with the U.S and Mexico being two of the biggest markets. “Poroto frutilla” is what a pinto bean is called in South America, which translates to “strawberry beans.” Pinto beans are a staple food of Southwestern American and Mexican cuisine. 

Brazil is known as the top producer and consumer of black beans in the world, with a production of 438,240 tons in 2020 according to In the U.S food market, the popularity of black beans has been growing steadily since the 1980s, with more than 160 black bean products launched in 2016. Black beans are a staple of Cajun and Creole cultures.


Although both beans came from ancient times, they are now both widely used across almost all countries around the world. One of their similar points is that both have recorded production and origins in South America.

Health Benefits

healthy protein alternatives for vegan

Pinto beans contain a handful of vitamins and minerals we need on a daily basis. A cup of pinto beans has 15 grams of protein. The same serving will provide 62% of our body’s recommended daily fiber intake, which plays a vital role in our digestion and bowel functions. Pinto beans are also higher in calories which give us energy but should not exceed the daily requirement to avoid body fat.

Black beans actually possess almost similar nutrients to pinto beans. A single cup of black beans gives us 60% of our daily requirement of fiber, which can help lower cholesterol, and better regulate blood sugar levels. These matte dark beans can also contribute to weight loss and decrease the risk of diabetes. A cup of black beans provides 28% of your recommended daily thiamin consumption and 64% of your recommended daily folate intake. These nutrients are essential for supporting cell growth and heart health. Particularly folate helps maintain a healthy heart, metabolism, and brain function.

Verdict on Pinto vs Black Beans Nutrition:

These two beans are comparable when it comes to the nutritional value they both possess. Due to their nutritional composition, these pulses can potentially improve the diet quality and long-term health of those who consume beans on a regular basis. While they are indeed nutritious, they also have their downside though: they are quite gassy, which can cause bloating and gas pain. To save yourself from this, you can opt for canned beans instead of dried beans since they’re typically easier to digest but if you only have the latter, just soak them overnight or for 6-9 hours to make them softer and easier to digest.


When we talk about pinto vs black beans taste, there can’t be any winner as taste can be subjective to each person. As for the black vs pinto beans nutrition, both are winners as they actually have similar to almost the same vitamins and minerals that our bodies require daily. The same reason that both can be the best replacements for meats for a vegan diet. 

These beans, whether dried, canned or raw, can still be the star of your dishes depending on how you cook them. While they are surely healthy, it is still best to consume them in moderation as beans can cause gas pain and gastrointestinal discomfort.