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

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Beans are one of the most diverse foods we eat today. Using the right type of beans can either make or break a dish. In addition, you can get great health benefits from using a particular type of beans, and you can also eat specific beans according to your specific nutritional requirements.

Beans were first cultivated in Peru, and then they started spreading globally. Today, beans are used in almost every culture globally, whether Indian, Chinese, or Arab. Beans have increased in popularity ever since Vegans have entered the scene.

Two of the most popular beans available in the market (among at least 400 others) are Black beans and Pinto beans. These beans have great nutritional value, amazing taste, and are easy to cook. But some differences set them apart, the least of which is their color.

This makes us wonder, “Is one a better option from a health perspective than the other?”, “Can we use these beans interchangeably in any recipe?” or “Which one of them tastes better?”. In this article, we will answer many such questions and make a detailed comparison between two of these yummy, nutritious beans.

But before we get started, did you know that turtle bean is another name for black beans? Or that Pinto is the Spanish word for Painted? Also, according to a survey, it was estimated that 3.02 million metric tons of beans will be produced in Brazil in 2019-2020.

Basic Differences Between Black Beans and Pinto Beans

Pinto beans and Black beans belong to the same family; legumes. But they still have major differences in their color, shape, size, texture, taste, and nutritional value. So, let’s take a closer look at each of these factors. 

Shelf life

Shelf life is one of the most important factors in choosing food for people who can’t cook every day. Food with longer shelf life stays edible for longer periods without becoming prey to microorganisms so that they can be stored for longer. Cooked Black beans can last anywhere between 3 – 5 days if properly refrigerated.

Dried Black beans, on the other hand, can last from 6 months and up to a year. This long shelf life in dried beans is because of their lack of moisture, making it really hard for microorganisms to attack them. All of this applies to Pinto beans as well. 

Cooking Time 

Black and Pinto beans both have different cooking times. Black beans have a hard outer coating which makes them harder to cook. It takes anywhere between 90 – 120 minutes to cook Black Beans properly. On the other hand, Pinto beans usually cook between 60 – 100 minutes. 


Black beans have an earthier texture than Pinto beans, which are creamy and softer. This difference in texture is why chefs use certain beans in specific recipes. Pinto beans are soft, so they are usually used in recipes as fillings or mashed form. Black beans are generally used in soups, and hot foods, as they can withstand the high temperatures without losing form.


Size is an important factor in choosing which type of bean you should use in your recipe. Black beans are, on average, one-inch-long and are shaped similar to kidney beans. Pinto beans are slightly longer and wider and have an oval-shaped instead of kidney. 


The Flavor is perhaps the most important factor that distinguishes almost every type of bean. But generally speaking, both Pinto and black beans have a soft mild taste that doesn’t overwhelm the consumer. This is where beans get their versatility from. You can use beans in many dishes without the dish tasting exceedingly like beans. 

However, there is a slight difference between these two beans; Black beans have a more natural, earthy, and bold Flavor, while Pinto beans have a soft, mellow, and creamy Flavor. Many people have a misconception that Pinto beans taste just like red kidney beans, but that’s not true; kidney beans are much sweeter and softer than Pinto beans. 


Pinto beans are generally tan-brownish and have tiny spots that disappear once we cook them. As their name suggests, Black beans appear to have a deep black color which they get from Anthocyanins (a group of Flavonoids) contained in them. This color difference is what separates one type of bean from the other.

Nutritional Comparison of Black Beans and Pinto Beans

Both Pinto Beans and Black Beans are rich in nutrients and bioactive substances such as anti-oxidants. Pinto beans have 20% lower calories as compared to Black beans. So, if you are trying to lose weight, toss your Pinto beans in a pan; instead of Black beans, cook, and enjoy. 

Additionally, Black beans have 25 % more dietary fiber than Pinto beans, but Pinto beans are also a good source of dietary fiber. One hundred grams of Pinto beans contain 5.5 grams of dietary fiber, while the same amount of Black beans has 6.9 grams. Dietary fiber is essential to maintain good GI health and regulate normal hunger and appetite. 

Black Beans are high in Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic acid, Thiamin, and Folate. These micronutrients are essential for maintaining good health and proper functioning of the body. Pinto beans are a good source of calcium, providing 63 mg calcium per 100 gram of beans. 

But according to research, the phenolic content of beans is negatively affected during cooking. So, it is important not to overcook your beans to maintain their nutritional value.

So What’s the Difference Between Black Beans and Pinto Beans

  • Black beans are shiny black, while Pinto beans are tan- brownish with spots.
  • Pinto beans have a rich, creamy Flavor, while Black beans have a much stronger Flavor.
  • Black beans’ cooking time is between 90 – 120 minutes, while Pinto beans take 50 – 100 minutes to make. 
  • Black beans have an earthy texture, while Pinto beans have a creamy texture. 
  • Black beans have an earthy texture, while Pinto beans have a creamy texture. 
  • Black beans are smaller than Pinto beans.