Pinto Beans vs. Cannellini Beans

Pinto Beans vs. Cannellini Beans – What Is the Difference?

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Beans are one of the best fiber and protein sources. They are such an easy addition to your daily diet because you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. There are several kinds of beans, and among them, you’ll be hearing about pinto beans and cannellini beans a lot. So, Pinto Beans vs. Cannellini Beans – how to know which is which?  

For starters, pinto beans look nothing like cannellini beans, which have a creamy white texture and a nutty flavor. On the contrary, pinto beans have a pink-mauve shade and become brown when you cook them. Cannellini beans, also called white beans, are Italian in origin, while pinto beans are Mexican. 

They also differ in nutritional value, taste, cooking times, and how they’re used in recipes. They are different in a few ways and similar in several ways with how regular beans are usually. If you want to learn more about their differences, you have come to the right place. So, read the full article and find out more about these tasty and nutritious beans. 

How Do Pinto Beans and Cannellini Beans Differ? 

As I’ve already mentioned, pinto beans and cannellini beans have different nutritional facts. Pinto beans classify as wild beans, while cannellini classify as common beans. Besides their origin, they also have separate substitutions and recipes. 

Here are four ways by which pinto beans are different from cannellini beans. 


Pinto beans don’t have many varieties, and they’re usually small and look plump. They get their name from the Spanish word for paint as they have a streaky-brown color when raw. When you cook them through, they will have a firm, reddish-brown shade that resembles kidney and red beans. 

Compared to kidney beans, pinto beans have a much creamier and softer texture, making them ideal for mashing. But if you decide not to mash, the beans will hold their shape even if you cook them. If you want creamy texture in your recipe, pinto beans are an excellent choice. 

On the other hand, cannellini beans also have a creamy texture, and they’re white. They are also called white kidney beans and are more significant than pinto beans. Additionally, they seem to be a bit firm on the outside and softer on the inside. The skin is very smooth, and the interior is silky. 


Both of these beans taste amazing, and what suits your taste depends on your preference. Pinto beans often frequent vegan recipes because they taste so good. The flavours’ are unique and robust, making them stand out and be the hero of any dish. 

Often, you’ll see people describing the taste of pinto beans to be earthy, nutty, and creamy. They also taste similar to kidney beans. You can use pinto beans easily in savory dishes because they have an excellent ability to accept flavorful spices. 

Cannellini beans are better options for salads, where you can keep the beans wholly. They also have tender and earthy tones to their flavor. Besides, cannellini bean lovers often describe their overall taste to be nutty. This flavor makes them a favorite in Italian cuisine, especially when you pair them with chicken or fish. 

Besides, if you don’t have much time and want to cook a dish fast, you’ll want to go with cannellini beans. It’s because their cooking time is less than pinto beans, where the cannellini beans take five minutes, and pinto beans take about 120 minutes. 

Check out this tasty Cannellini beans salad:


Between pinto beans and cannellini beans, the latter is a bit more nutritious than the former. Don’t get me wrong because both beans have incredible nutritional value and are excellent sources of proteins and fiber. But the cannellini beans take the win with a little higher mineral and protein composition. 

Cannellini beans also have a lower percentage of calories. A cup of cooked white beans has 242 calories, while pinto beans have 245. Besides, cannellini beans are rich in their 17 grams protein composition. Contrarily, a cup of cooked pinto beans has about 15 grams of protein. 

Pinto beans and cannellini beans are both very fibrous. They both have thiamine, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. But cannellini beans also have copper, folate, zinc, vitamin B6, calcium, selenium, and riboflavin. 

These vitamins are highly nutritious and essential, so you can benefit a lot by including them in your meal. Cannellini beans are primarily used in soups, salad, stew, pestos, and baked meals like artichokes and baked beans. Overall, going for cannellini beans is an excellent choice if you want dishes with an Italian theme. 

Pinto beans fare better in traditional Mexican dishes. They make excellent fillings for burritos, spreads, and dips. You can also use them as side dishes with chicken and other meats. Dishes that use pinto beans are mostly very flavorful and have spices, and they also make tasty chilis. 

Here is a delicious pinto beans burrito recipe:

Health Benefits

I’ve already established that both the beans are very nutritious. So, undoubtedly, they also have several health benefits. While pinto beans and cannellini beans share several similarities, they also have a few differences in their health benefits. 

Firstly, pinto beans are great for your gut health as they’re loaded with fibers. Consuming them every day will give you the expert’s recommended fiber intake amount. They also have antioxidant properties, so you can lower the risks of getting terminal illnesses. 

It may also improve your blood sugar regulations and help with your heart health. Pinto beans also promote weight loss because of their protein and fiber components. And because they accept so many flavors, you can add them to your daily diet and eat something new every day. 

On the other hand, cannellini beans also do most of these things for your body and more. They can also lower your blood pressure besides the blood sugar. Also, because they’re rich in polyphenols, you can prevent inflammation with their antioxidant properties. 

Cannellini beans can also balance the fluids of your body. The high iron and magnesium composition ensure that the blood circulation and transportation system work well and keeps your heart pumping.

Substitutes for Pinto Beans and Cannellini Beans 

Beans come in plenty of varieties, and the best thing about having so many is that there are substitutes if you can’t acquire the bean of your taste. Before cooking, you’ll need to soak the beans overnight to have the best texture for your dish. Make sure you change the water and simmer till they’re tender.  

There are several options on the grocery store shelves. So, for some reason, if you can’t get cannellini beans or pinto beans, here are a few other kinds of beans you can use. For pinto beans, you can use the following. 

Pinto Beans Substitutes 

  • Black beans
  • Navy beans 
  • Borlotti beans or cranberry beans 
  • Great Northern Beans 
  • Kidney beans 
  • Red beans 

Among these, black beans are the best option. Sometimes, you can also use cannellini beans as a substitute for pinto beans, but for specific dishes mostly. For cannellini beans, you can use the following as substitutes. 

Cannellini Beans Substitutes 

  • Great Northern Beans 
  • White Beans 
  • Red kidney beans 
  • Baby lima beans 
  • Garbanzo
  • Fava beans 
  • Black beans 

The best choice among these is the great northern beans and red kidney beans if the color doesn’t matter to you. Besides, you can also use navy beans and borlotti beans if you want. 


When it comes to Pinto beans vs Cannellini beans there is really not much to compare between the two besides their physical structure. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. 

They are both nutritious in their own ways and based on who you ask you’ll receive a different opinion on which tastes betters. So, the best thing is to try them out and decide for yourself. 

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