We’re told to get more legumes into our diets because they’re great for fiber and protein, but which is the best type that offers the best nutrition while also being tasty to eat.
Many of us choose the baked-bean option because they’re tasty and covered in sauce, but does the extra flavor come at a cost when it comes to nutrition?
In this article, I’ll compare store-bought canned baked beans against canned ready-to-use kidney beans to find the differences between the ingredients and which is best for nutrition and cost.
Also in This Article
In a hurry, or looking for something specific? Use the links below to jump to the relevant section:
By comparing the ingredients of the two, we can see the main differences between products.
Firstly, the beans used in baked beans are white beans known as navy or haricot beans, as well as beans and water, baked beans contain tomato, sugar, and other ingredients which help to create a tasty sauce.
Kidney beans are canned in water with some added salt, although some brands add sugar for extra flavor. If you’re looking for a healthy option it’s a good idea to check the label for added ingredients before you buy.
The table below shows the ingredients of the two brands of beans which I’ll be comparing in this article.
|Baked Beans Ingredients||Kidney Beans (canned) Ingredients|
|Water, White Navy Beans, tomato paste, sugar, salt, white vinegar, red bell peppers, garlic, dehydrated onions, spice, calcium chloride, chipotle peppers, paprika, mesquite smoke flavor.||Prepared Kidney Beans, Water, and Salt|
Baked Beans Vs. Kidney Beans Nutritional Comparison
We’ll now take a look at the nutritional comparison and compare each nutritional category in-depth to find out which type of beans offers the most health benefits.
To keep the comparison as fair and accurate as possible, I’ll be comparing the two products weight-for-weight (per 100g).
For consistency, I’ll be comparing Heinz brand baked beans against S&W brand canned kidney beans using USDA nutritional data as the source (links to this data are available at the bottom of this page).
Best for Calorie Content
Neither kind of beans are particularly high in calories, but when choosing between the two, if you’re looking for a lower calorie option, kidney beans contain 15 calories less than baked beans per 100g.
|Beans Type||Calories Per 100g|
Best for Carbohydrate Content
If carbohydrate content is an important consideration for your diet, then if choosing between the two, kidney beans are lower-carb than baked beans, with 4.6g fewer carbs per 100g.
|Beans Type||Carbohydrates Per 100g|
Best for Sugar Content
Baked beans are known for being high in sugar so when comparing them against kidney beans which don’t have added sugar, there’s quite a big difference between the two.
In this comparison, baked beans contain 6.1g more sugar than kidney beans per 100g.
|Beans Type||Sugars Per 100g|
Best for Protein Content
Beans are a good source of protein and both types contain a respectable amount per serving, but when comparing the two, kidney beans contain slightly more protein per 100g than baked beans.
|Beans Type||Protein Per 100g|
Best for Fat Content
If fat content is an important consideration for you and your diet, both types of beans are a great option.
Baked beans contain less than a gram of fat per 100g and they don’t contain any saturated fat, whereas kidney beans contain no fat at all, making them the winner of this category.
It’s worth noting that some types of baked beans have meat added to them such as bacon or sausage and in this case, the fat content will be much higher than the vegetarian option which I’ve compared in this article.
|Beans Type||Fat Per 100g||Saturated Fat per 100g|
If you’re keeping a check on your cholesterol intake then you’ll be pleased to know that neither the baked beans nor kidney beans that I compared contain any cholesterol.
This is applicable to vegetarian baked beans, so if you choose baked beans with added meat, this might not be the case – if in doubt, check the label.
Best for Fiber Content
Beans are a good option if you’re looking to increase your fiber intake, but between the two types that I compared, kidney beans contain 2.4g more fiber per 100g than baked beans.
|Beans Type||Dietary Fibre Per 100g|
Best for Sodium/Salt Content
Sodium (or salt) is usually added to both baked beans and canned kidney beans, although in some cases you can get reduced-sodium options.
In the case of the beans I compared, there is 204mg more sodium in baked beans than canned kidney beans.
|Beans Type||Sodium/Salt Per 100g|
Best for Vitamins/Minerals
There was limited data available for vitamins and minerals for the beans I compared and they also vary between products, so I was unable to make a fair comparison in this category.
The table below shows the limed data available for information.
|Vitamin/Mineral Type||Baked Beans||Kidney Beans|
mcg = microgram (1000th of a milligram) / mg = milligram (1000th of a gram)
Best for Flavor/Texture
When it comes to comparing flavor and texture, these are two fairly different products in which baked beans have a tasty sauce compared to kidney beans which are plain.
Most people chose to use kidney beans in dishes with other flavors and you can also replicate baked beans using kidney beans by adding your own version of a tomato sauce.
To get a true idea of the public favorite, I’ve set up the poll below, please vote for the beans you prefer and once you vote, you can see the votes so far (no personal information required).
Best for Price
To make a fair price comparison between the two types of beans, I’ve compared the price per ounce as can sizes vary,
At the time of writing this article the average price of canned kidney beans per ounce is 4-8¢ (depending on the brand).
The average cost of baked beans is 8-13¢ per ounce (depending on the brand and type).
Based on this information, kidney beans are the cheaper option, although please note this depends on the brand and the store selling them, as prices can fluctuate with offers, etc.
All categories have now been compared and I can now reveal the winner of the most categories for nutrition and cost are – Kidney Beans!
In fact, kidney beans won every single category for nutrition and they’re also the cheapest. This isn’t to say baked beans are bad, because they were similar in some categories, it’s just that kidney beans were that bit better.
Ultimately it all comes down to personal taste, but if you like kidney beans then they’re worth the switch for the added health benefits.
|Comparison Category||Winner (Baked Beans or Kidney Beans)|
|Best for Calorie Content||Kidney Beans|
|Best for Carbohydrate Content||Kidney Beans|
|Best for Sugar Content||Kidney Beans|
|Best for Protein Content||Kidney Beans|
|Best for Fat Content||Kidney Beans|
|Best for Fiber Content||Kidney Beans|
|Best for Sodium Content||Kidney Beans|
|Best for Vitamins/Minerals||Inconclusive|
|Best for Price||Kidney Beans|
|Overall Winner||Kidney Beans|
More Baked Beans Vs. Kidney Beans FAQ’s
No, canned baked beans are usually made with white navy (or haricot) beans, although you can make baked beans using kidney beans and adding a tomato sauce.
Baked beans are made from a white bean known as the navy bean or haricot with a tomato sauce and sometimes meat such as bacon or sausage. Kidney beans are a different variety of beans usually canned in water and salt or sold dried.
I hope this article has helped you to find the information you were looking for; you might also find the following articles helpful too:
Fiber One Cereal Vs. All-Bran Buds
References Used for this Article
To ensure the nutritional information used in this article is accurate, I have used data from USDA Food Search; the links below contain the source information:
Baked Beans USDA Nutritional Information