Difference Between Lentils and Beans

The main difference between lentils and beans is that lentils are smaller and flat disk-like whereas beans are large and oval or kidney-shaped. Further, lentils are biconvex seeds whereas beans are seeds that grow in long pods.

Lentils and beans are legumes that grow inside a pod. They are rich in proteins. Since both lentils and beans have a plant origin, they contain incomplete proteins. Based on the features of these grains when cooked, their culinary use may differ. Generally, beans tend to retain their shape when cooked when compared to lentils. Therefore, lentils are mainly used in soups. 

 Key Areas Covered 

1. What are Lentils
     – Definition, Facts, Uses
2. What are Beans
     – Definition, Facts, Uses
3. What are the Similarities Between Lentils and Beans
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Lentils and Beans
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Beans, Incomplete Proteins, Legumes, Lentils, Size, Shape

Difference Between Lentils and Beans - Comparison Summary

What are Lentils 

Lentils are the edible pulses that are flattened and biconvex seeds. Lentils differ in size, shape, and color. Some lentils are large and flat while the others are small and more rounded. Lentils are a good source of proteins and fiber. They are rich in calcium and vitamin A and B. They are sold with or without seed coat, whole or split. Lentils are a great substitute for meat. They can be used as the base for salads or simmered into soups. 

Difference Between Lentils and Beans

Figure 1: Lentils

The most common variety of lentils is the green or brown lentils. They have the seed coat and the inside is yellowish in color. French green lentils or Puy lentils have a strong flavor. Red or Egyptian lentils are small and round in shape. They are sold without the seed coat. Yellow lentils or dal are mostly used in India.  

What are Beans 

Beans are the edible seeds that are kidney-shaped and grow in long pods. The two main types of beans are red beans and white beans. Red beans include red kidney beans, pink beans, pinto, red beans, pea beans, black beans, etc. White beans are white kidney beans or cannellini, chickpeas, navy beans, Great Northern beans, etc. Beans are rich in complex carbohydrates, proteins, folate, and irons. They are also rich in soluble fibers

Main Difference - Lentils and Beans

Figure 2: Red Kidney Beans

Similarities Between Lentils and Beans 

  • Lentils and Beans are legumes. 
  • Both types of grains grow inside a pod. 
  • They are a source of incomplete proteins. 
  • They require very little fertilizer to grow. 
  • Both can be found in dried, canned, fresh, roasted or cooked versions. 

Difference Between Lentils and Beans 


Lentils: Edible pulses that are flattened and biconvex seeds

Beans: Edible seeds that are kidney-shaped and grow in long pods


Lentils: Small 

Beans: Comparatively large 


Lentils: Flat disk-like 

Beans: Oval or kidney-shaped 


Lentils: Little difficult to keep the shape when cooked 

Beans: Tend to keep the shape when cooked


Lentils: Brown/Spanish pardina, french green/puy lentils, green, black/beluga, yellow/tan lentils, etc.  

Beans: Red beans and white beans 


Lentils are small and flat while beans are comparatively large and kidney-shaped. Both lentils and beans are legumes that are rich in protein. The main difference between lentils and beans is the size and the shape. 


1. “Lentils.” Whfoods.com, Available Here
2. “Common Types of Beans.” REALSIMPLE, Available Here

Image Courtesy:

1. “3 types of lentil” (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia 
2. “Red beans” By Zenia Nuñez (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things. She has a keen interest in writing articles regarding science.

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