Hello I would like to ask the community, if this the kidney beans are (which are good for rajma) or these are the red beans. The package says RED BEANS only..

Thank you

  • 1
    As far as I've ever seen red beans are red kidney beans, but it may be a language thing. Where are you in the world?
    – GdD
    Oct 20, 2020 at 9:47
  • in Middle Europe.. but the package says: Product of Argentina.. and the Company sounds turskish. Lol
    – theSpyCry
    Oct 20, 2020 at 12:10
  • In the US, they are the same.
    – RonJohn
    Oct 20, 2020 at 20:36
  • 3
    @RonJohn Wow, not in some parts of the US, like Louisiana. Red beans and rice is not kidney beans and rice. Oct 21, 2020 at 4:17
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    @RonJohn This is very dependent on who you are talking to. My first instinct hearing ‘red beans’ is adzuki beans, which are very much not kidney beans, and most US dishes I know of that have ‘red beans’ in their name use something different from kidney beans in the most common form of the recipe. Oct 21, 2020 at 12:35

2 Answers 2


Though people seem to consider them 'the same thing' they are actually not. There is a 'red bean' distinct from a kidney bean.

What you have there, though, are kidney beans.

I found a couple of sources of comparison. The first, in text, from an actual bean company, Randall, which I thought gave it some added authority.

Kidney Beans
Of the three [they were including pintos, which we don't need here], kidney beans are noticeably the biggest and plumpest. Looked at side-by-side with other beans, kidney beans also have a much more distinct shape that isn’t as round and oblong and looks more like a kidney. Go figure! Their thicker dark red skin makes them ideal for and commonly used in lots of dishes that are cooked over long periods of time like chili, baked beans, and jambalaya where they are great at soaking up and absorbing other flavors in the dish. But, they are also a great hearty and healthy protein topper for salad too.

Red Beans
While many people think kidney beans and red beans are the same, they are actually two different kinds of beans! When you put one next to the other, the visual differences are immediately apparent. Where kidney beans are one of the largest beans, red beans are much smaller and retain the classic oblong shape. And while both are red, kidney beans have a darker, more crimson shade while red beans are much brighter, almost pinkish, shade of red and have a much “beanier” taste. Despite their differences, red beans do often go in similar rice and stew recipes as kidney beans and pinto beans.

…and another source with pictures… Difference Guru

Kidney beans
enter image description here

Red beans
enter image description here

  • 3
    So useful! I never realized about the thick skins. This is why the beans dissolve into mush when I use non-kidney beans in my chili.
    – csk
    Oct 20, 2020 at 14:56
  • 2
    And if you're cooking anything Jamaican, or from the West Indies generally, they'll typically call beans "peas" - red kidney beans are called for in those recipes as "red peas".
    – J...
    Oct 20, 2020 at 19:25
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    This answer has excellent content which answers the question well, but the phrasing of the opening is misleading — it gives the impression that “red bean” has a single universal meaning, different from kidney beans. As other answers + comments show, “red bean” is used around the world for several kinds of bean, including both kidney beans and other kinds. May I suggest editing to fix this, acknowledging that the usage varies?
    – PLL
    Oct 21, 2020 at 12:08

"Red beans" almost always refers to red kidney beans, which these look to be. This is true in many, even most, varieties of English.

Other common beans are reddish ((such as Adzuki beans) but none are as red and uniform as red kidney beans. The "small red bean" or "Mexican red bean" is rare - I couldn't find them in stock anywhere online. Anyway the two can be substituted for each other)

  • 7
    I think "almost always" is a reach - especially when you branch out into non-western cuisine. Almost universally, "red bean" in Asian dishes means adzuki bean, and it's frequently used in sweet deserts. It really depends on the context.
    – J...
    Oct 20, 2020 at 19:24
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    @J... I'm including my (limited) understanding of Indian English - Indian recipes I've got in books, and brands I've bought treat them as synonymous
    – Chris H
    Oct 21, 2020 at 8:08
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    By "Asian" I mean "East Asian"... I just noticed you're in the UK. Important distinction.
    – J...
    Oct 21, 2020 at 10:32
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    @J... I checked a few sources apparently in the US as well as Indian; one of the cookery books I referred to happens to be Australian. "Red bean" referring to adzuki beans seems to mainly apply to red bean paste - which is of course widely used
    – Chris H
    Oct 21, 2020 at 10:39
  • 1
    @J... I originally tried to cover a fairly worldwide view, hence UK/US/India and (by chance) Australia; I also happened upon some Caribbean usage supporting my assertion. I only thought of East Asian uses in response to your comments, especially the second. I also admit Louisiana use as in red beans and rice as a further counter-example (even if kidney beans are often used). I stand by my first paragraph, but won't go into it further; I'm resisting the temptation to make arguments based on numbers of English speakers in various countries
    – Chris H
    Oct 21, 2020 at 10:51

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