You are currently viewing Pinto Beans Vs. Great Northern Beans

Pinto Beans Vs. Great Northern Beans

Phaseolus vulgaris, also known as the common beans, is a species of beans that can be found worldwide. 

This widely used bean has so many varieties which can have a wide range of features including color, size and texture.  

Some are found in specific regions of the world, and some are better suited for certain recipes.

Pinto beans and great northern beans are both varieties of the common beans.

In this post we are going compare these two members of the common beans, highlighting their different features.

Difference between pinto beans and great northern beans

Pinto beans are grown mostly in Mexico

Pinto beans is one of the most popular bean varieties in Mexican and the southwest united states, it can be found a lot of dishes in the local cuisine from snack to soups and stews.

Great northern beans are very popular in North America, these beans are predominantly grown in the midwestern united states  

Great northern bean is a white bean

The great northern bean is a white colored bean of medium size. 

It has a mild flavor and a smooth creamy texture, and it can used in place of other white beans such as cannellini beans and navy beans.

pinto” means “painted” or “spotted.”  

The raw pinto bean has a tan color with reddish brown spots. When cooked, the spots on the raw pinto beans go away and the beans become brown in color. 

Pinto beans have a creamy texture, and a delicate nutty flavor with slight sweetness.

They are both nutritionally similar

There is not so much difference when both varieties of common beans are compared nutritionally. 

These beans are rich in nutrients Including proteins, fiber, and they also contain lots of vitamins and minerals 

There may be a slight difference between both varieties of beans when their nutrients are compared, however, this difference is negligible. 

Uses of pinto and great northern beans

Pinto beans are used in different dishes in Mexican, Spanish, and Tex-mex cuisine 

They can be used whole, pinto beans can be mashed, and they can also be refried.  

Pinto beans can be eaten as a main dish or side dish. These beans can be eaten on its own as well.

Pinto beans can be used as a filling for Mexican snacks. It can be used in chili, soups, or salads  

Great northern are versatile. These beans can be used in different dishes including soups, casseroles, dips, salads and stews. 

They can be used together with other ingredients that have strong flavor as they absorb flavor of the dish where they are used in 

In some recipes, these beans can be used as binders, and they could also serve as thickeners in some dishes. 


Pinto beans and great northern beans can be available fresh, they can also be available canned or dried. 

The dried beans are soaked in water and boiled for hours to soften, soaking the dried beans before cooking them shortens the time it takes for the beans to cook. 

The canned beans are more convenient to use, and can readily be found in the grocery stores  

The canned beans are not only soaked in water where they are preserved, sometimes they are pre-cooked, and therefore cook faster 

The flavor and the nutritional composition of the canned beans are also slightly different when compared to the fresh beans, and the canned beans may contain a lot of salt