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Butter Beans vs Cannellini Beans: 6 Main Differences

You may be familiar with butter beans as the large, white beans often used in soups and stews.

But did you know that these hearty legumes have a nutty cousin called the cannellini bean?

You might not think there would be much difference between butter beans and cannellini beans.

After all, they’re white beans often used in similar dishes. 

But these two varieties of beans differ quite a bit, from their flavor and texture to their nutritional content.

In this blog post, we’ll closely examine the similarities and differences between butter beans and cannellini beans so that you can make an informed decision about which one to use in your next recipe. 

Keep reading to learn more about butter beans and cannellini beans.

Butter Beans vs Cannellini Beans
The main differences between butter beans and cannellini beans are their texture, taste, shape, color, nutritional values, and uses. Butter beans are large starchy legumes and oval-shaped, with a smooth skin that ranges in color from white to yellowish-brown. Meanwhile, cannellini beans are smallkidney-shaped legumes with a smooth texture.

What are Butter beans?

As its name suggests, the butter bean has a creamy texture similar to butter.

It is also sometimes known as the lima bean, although this is technically a different type of bean altogether.

Butter beans are large starchy legumes with a mild flavor and are oval-shaped, with a smooth skin that ranges in color from white to yellowish-brown, and can be found fresh, frozen, or canned.

When cooked, butter beans become tender and have a soft, mealy texture and a nutty flavor.

Butter beans are popular in southern cooking and are often used in soups and stews. 

They can also be mashed or puréed and used as a thickener for gravy or sauce.

In addition, butter beans can be roasted and served as a side dish or added to salads for extra protein.

What are Cannellini beans?

Cannellini beans are smallkidney-shaped legumes with a creamy white color and a smooth texture.

Like butter beans, cannellini beans have a nutty flavor. However, their flavor is milder than that of butter beans.

Because of their form and color, Cannellini beans are often referred to as white kidney beans.

Cannellini beans can be found dried, fresh, or canned.

When cooked, they become tender but hold their shape well. 

Cannellini beans are popular in Italian cuisine and are often used in dishes such as minestrone or pasta e Fagioli.

They can also be puréed and used as a replacement for mayonnaise or cream in dips and sauces.

In addition, cannellini beans can be added to salads or roasted and served as a side dish

What are the differences between Butter beans and Cannellini beans

Butter beans and cannellini beans are two popular beans often used in recipes.

While they may seem the same, there are many differences between them.

1. Texture

One of the most significant differences between butter beans and cannellini beans is their texture.

Regarding texture, butter beans are smoother and creamier than cannellini beans.

This is due to their higher fat content; butter beans have about twice as much fat as cannellini beans.

As a result, butter beans make a good choice for dishes like creamy soups and sauces.

On the other hand, Cannellini beans have a firmer texture that holds up well in salads and other side dishes.

They are better suited for recipes where you want the bean to be the show’s star.

2. Taste

Butter beans and cannellini beans also have different tastes.

Cannellini beans have a milder flavor than butter beans, making them more versatile.

They have a more neutral flavor with a slight hint of bitterness.

They can be used in many dishes, from soups and stews to salads and pasta dishes.

On the other hand, butter beans have a richer, nuttier flavor than some people prefer.

However, their intense flavor is best used in hearty dishes like soups and stews. 

3. Shape

Butter beans and cannellini beans also differ in shape

Butter beans are large and oval-shaped, while cannellini beans are small and kidney-shaped.

This difference in size can be helpful when deciding which bean to use in a recipe.

For example, butter beans may be a better choice for a soup or stew, while cannellini beans may work better in a salad or pasta dish.

4. Color

Butter beans and cannellini beans also differ in color.

Butter beans are light green or yellow, while cannellini beans are white.

This color difference can be helpful when choosing a bean for a particular recipe. 

For example, if you’re making a dish that has a white sauce, you may want to use cannellini beans instead of butter beans so that the sauce will maintain its color.

Similarly, butter beans may be a better choice if you’re making a dish with a green or yellow sauce.

5. Nutrition

These two varieties of beans also differ significantly in terms of nutrients. 

Both butter beans and cannellini beans are excellent sources of protein, fiber, iron, and magnesium.

However, cannellini beans have a few nutritional advantages over butter beans.

They’re lower in calories; one cup of cooked cannellini beans has about 250 calories, compared to 400 calories for the same amount of butter beans.

In addition, cannellini beans have less sodium than butter beans.

One cup of cooked cannellini beans has about 10% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for sodium, while one cup of cooked butter beans has about 20% of the RDI for sodium.

Finally, cannellini beans contain more vitamin C than butter beans; one cup of cooked cannellini beans has about 15% of the RDI for vitamin C, while one cup of buttered beans has just 5% of the RDI for vitamin C

6. Uses

Butter beans and cannellini beans can be used in various sweet and savory dishes.

However, as we mentioned earlier, their different textures make them better suited for different dishes.

Pureed butter beans make an excellent replacement for mayonnaise or cream in dips and spreads, while whole cannellini beans can be used whole or chopped in salads and other side dishes. 

Both types of beans can also be added to saladsrice dishespasta dishes, and more.

Butter beans vs Cannellini beans: Are they the same?

As you can see, there are quite a few differences between butter beans and cannellini beans.

So, what’s the difference between butter beans and cannellini beans?

Regarding nutritiontastetexture, and uses, there are similarities and differences between these two types of beans.

  • Butter beans have a creamy texture and a nutty flavor, while cannellini beans are slightly more firm with a milder flavor. 
  • In terms of shape, butter beans are large and oval-shaped, while cannellini beans are smaller and kidney-shaped.
  • Butter beans are white with a yellowish hue, while cannellini beans are entirely white.
  • Butter beans are often used in soups and stews, while cannellini beans are commonly used in salads and as a side dish. However, both types of beans can be used in various dishes.

So, which type of bean is better? 

It depends on your preferences and needs.

If you’re looking for a versatile bean with a milder flavor, then Cannellini beans are the way to go.

On the other hand, if you want a creamier bean with a richer flavor, then butter beans are the better choice.

Now that you know the difference between butter beans and cannellini beans, you can choose the right type of bean for your recipe. 

Both types of legumes are versatile and can be used in various dishes.

So experiment with different recipes to find your favorite ways to use these delicious ingredients.

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