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What Are Peruvian Beans?

T. Carrier
T. Carrier

Beans are a type of edible plant seed. They are typically small and possess somewhat of an oval shape, although particular appearance may differ by the type of bean. Individuals cook and eat beans in bunches, where the beans may take on a soupy or a creamy texture. Peruvian beans, also known as Peruano beans, canary beans, or mayocoba beans, tend to have the latter texture, and they are also somewhat large and yellowish or tan in color. The beans are particularly popular in Mexico, where they may be eaten alone or placed in other foods like salsa or tortilla dishes.

Appearance-wise, Peruvian beans are rather distinctive. Due to their density, they take on a large stature when cooked. An unusual yellow-tan color also marks the Peruvian bean. This color gives the beans yet another popular nickname: canary beans.

Peruvian beans may be roasted and consumed as a snack.
Peruvian beans may be roasted and consumed as a snack.

Peruvian bean lovers prize these beans for their creaminess and softness. In this manner, the beans contrast other bean varieties that may have more of a liquid, soupy, and hard appearance. This particular texture often results from slow simmering of the beans. Bean eaters may describe the taste of these beans as very rich and somewhat buttery.

In spite of their moniker, Peruvian beans derive from Mexico. In fact, an alternative title for the beans is Mexican yellow beans. Some regions even value the beans over their more well-known cousins, pinto beans. Other than Mexico, other common cultivators of Peruvian beans are Peru and the United States.

Peruvian beans are popular in Mexico.
Peruvian beans are popular in Mexico.

The process for cooking Peruvian beans is relatively straightforward. Removal of unwanted particles is key, so close inspection and a good rinsing with cool water is advisable. The beans should be further soaked in water overnight. Following this process, the cook usually boils the beans for a few minutes and then allows the beans a thorough hot water soak.

Peruvian beans may be featured in burritos.
Peruvian beans may be featured in burritos.

Cooks can create focal Peruvian bean dishes or pair the beans with other culinary favorites. A solid simmering combined with additives like bay leaf can produce a good Peruvian bean soup. Flavor may be further enhanced by putting in vegetables ranging from carrots to tomatoes.

This bean also acts as an effective ingredient. It is often used in salads or in dishes with foods using refried beans, like burritos. In the cuisine of Peru, it may be paired with traditional Peruvian foods such as potatoes and corn. Some individuals even mix beans with components such as peppers and feta cheese to create compressed bean cakes.

Discussion Comments


I make enchiladas with Peruvian beans and they're so good. They're very easy to make and full of protein. I don't know why Peruvian beans aren't well known. I think they're great.


@fBoyle-- I don't grow them, but I've eaten Peruvian beans a couple of times. They definitely have a mild flavor but I wouldn't say that they are tasteless. The texture of the bean when cooked is very rich, soft and creamy. I think it's a great bean for stews and soups because it makes the whole dish thicker. They're very nutritious too.

Where are you located? I don't know what type of soil and climate is best suited for these beans but my brother has grown them in Michigan. If you think that you have a suitable soil and climate, definitely give them a try. I'm sure you'll find something to do with them.

I saw Peruvian beans at the seed store. My wife wanted to try them but I hesitated. I've never had them before and to be honest they have a very bland appearance. They look like they don't have much of a taste. Maybe I'll get some next time I go and plant them next season.

Does anyone here grow Peruvian beans? What does they taste like? What do you do with them?

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    • Peruvian beans may be roasted and consumed as a snack.
      By: Ildi
      Peruvian beans may be roasted and consumed as a snack.
    • Peruvian beans are popular in Mexico.
      By: Tupungato
      Peruvian beans are popular in Mexico.
    • Peruvian beans may be featured in burritos.
      By: JJAVA
      Peruvian beans may be featured in burritos.
    • Some choose to mix Peruvian beans with feta cheese.
      By: Lilyana Vynogradova
      Some choose to mix Peruvian beans with feta cheese.