Starch Content In Beans: What You Need To Know

Are Beans Considered a Starch? [Or Protein..] Eat For Longer

The Importance of Starch Content in Beans

Beans are a staple food in many parts of the world, and for good reason. They are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. However, not all beans are created equal when it comes to their starch content. Starch is an essential component of beans that affects their texture, cooking time, and nutritional value.

What is Starch?

Starch is a carbohydrate that is found in many plant-based foods, including beans. It is made up of long chains of glucose molecules that provide energy to the body. In beans, starch is primarily found in the endosperm, which is the part of the bean that provides nutrients to the developing seed.

The Different Types of Starch in Beans

There are two main types of starch in beans: amylose and amylopectin. Amylose is a simple, linear chain of glucose molecules that is less soluble in water and takes longer to break down during cooking. Amylopectin, on the other hand, is a more complex, branched chain that is more soluble and cooks faster.

How Starch Content Affects Texture and Cooking Time

The amount and type of starch in beans can have a significant impact on their texture and cooking time. Beans with a higher amylose content tend to be firmer and hold their shape better, making them ideal for salads and other dishes where texture is important. Beans with a higher amylopectin content are softer and cook faster, making them better suited for soups and stews.

The Nutritional Value of Starch in Beans

Starch is an important source of energy in the diet, providing the body with glucose that is used for fuel. In addition, the type of starch in beans can affect their glycemic index, which is a measure of how quickly carbohydrates are absorbed into the bloodstream. Beans with a higher amylose content tend to have a lower glycemic index, which means they are absorbed more slowly and can help to regulate blood sugar levels.

Tips for Cooking Beans with the Right Starch Content

Choosing the Right Beans

When selecting beans for cooking, it is important to consider their starch content and the type of dish you are making. If you are making a salad or other dish where texture is important, choose beans with a higher amylose content. If you are making a soup or stew, choose beans with a higher amylopectin content.

Soaking and Cooking

Soaking beans before cooking can help to reduce their cooking time and improve their texture. However, the length of time you soak your beans can also affect their starch content. Beans that are soaked for longer periods of time tend to have a lower amylose content and a softer texture. For firmer beans, soak them for a shorter period of time or skip the soaking altogether.

Adding Acids

Acids such as vinegar, lemon juice, or tomatoes can help to break down the starch in beans and make them softer. If you are looking for a softer texture, add some acid to your cooking liquid. However, if you want firmer beans, avoid adding acids to your cooking liquid.


Understanding the starch content of beans can help you to choose the right beans for your dish and achieve the desired texture and nutritional value. Whether you are making a salad, soup, or stew, selecting the right beans and cooking them properly can make all the difference. So next time you cook with beans, consider their starch content and experiment with different cooking methods to achieve the perfect texture and flavor.