What Does Lima Beans Taste Like?

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Lima beans have a buttery taste and some sweetness to them. This well-loved bean originating from Peru lacks the beanie flavor of other legumes.

Lima bean has a bad reputation regarding its taste. But many people also state that it has a delectable flavor. You may get confused about which among these is true. Understanding what lima beans taste like requires knowledge of the correct preparation methods.

Many harbor unpleasant childhood memories about the ‘awful’ taste of lima beans. But many recipes are not complete without these legumes. Now might be a good time to revisit this flavor in a new light.

What Are Lima Beans?

Lima beans belong to the legume family. This family includes edamame, broad beans, and other common beans that you know. Lima beans get their name from Lima, the capital of Peru. The South and Central American countries have used these beans since ancient civilizations.

The off-white or green-colored Lima beans have a larger size than other beans. As a rich source of energy and protein, these beans have earned a solid space in our diet. You can consider it as a superfood considering the many health benefits it holds. It offers protein, soluble fiber, and other nutrients.

What Does Lima Beans Taste Like?

Lima beans have a unique taste that doesn’t feel beanie like other beans. A subtle green flavor is still there, but it doesn’t overpower the taste. It almost feels buttery on your tongue. The silk-like creaminess it holds can elevate the flavor experience. Some people say that they taste bland. This may be due the due to the mildness of its flavor.

The nutty taste of lima beans gives the flavor a lot of character. The starchy taste of these beans gets a delicate garnishing of sweetness. These delicious beans also have a tint of an earthy taste to the flavor. A person’s preference for tastes also affects how you interpret these beans. When some people love the mushy starchy flavor, others find it unappealing.

Overcooked lima beans can taste bitter and gross to you. They also develop a sulfur-like taste that could make you detest them for life. You have to slow cook them to bring about the characteristic flavor. Undercooked beans have a dry texture that makes you unable to sense any delectable taste.

You will find that fresh lima beans taste far better than canned ones. Even dried ones taste good compared to them. The starchy-rich flavor in dried limas comes out nicely with more cooking time. Only then will the chalky taste of starch turns into something smooth and creamy. Small baby lima beans have the mildest flavor. They are less starchy and beanie than the matured ones.

How to make Lima Beans Taste Good

The reason why lima beans taste unpleasant is because of the way we cook them. Boiling them for too long can rip them off their flavor. It will also split open the bean and destroy the texture. You have to soak the beans overnight to soften them before cooking. Skinning them before using them in recipes offers a better flavor.

Soups put forward a convenient and tasty way to savor lima beans. You have to soak and pre-cook them before adding them to the soup. Limabean soup with ham and simple bean soup make some examples.

Lima beans go well in succotash. The versatility of these creamy beans allows them to pair with any other vegetables. Soaking and pre-cooking the beans are required here as well.

Stews are another way to make lima beans taste good. You can make Brunswick stew with lima beans, chicken, potatoes, and corn. Kentucky burgoo stew uses lima beans, cabbage, corn, carrots, okra, and pepper.

Slow-cooked baby lima beans flaunt the buttery lima bean taste with diced ham. Overnight soaking of the beans is required to make this meal.

Do Lima Beans Taste Like Edamame?

Lima beans and edamame belong to the legume family. But their taste and texture differ from each other. We have seen that lima beans are buttery, soft, and have less bean-like flavor. Edamame doesn’t share these properties.

Edamame is hard and chewy. It does feel buttery, but the bean taste predominates. These beans also have a sweet side and some nuttiness.

Edamame has double the protein content that lima beans contain. But lima beans give you more vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron.

Edamame is a green, immature soybean. Lima beans don’t share this feature with it as well.

Why are Lima Beans So Bad?

It’s not only the calk-like starchy taste that puts-off people from eating lima beans. They contain many chemicals that can go wrong if not handled carefully.

The primary concern you may have could be about cyanide in lima beans. The cyanide content is more in wild varieties than in cultivated ones. The compound linamarin in lima beans decomposes into hydrogen cyanide after consumption.

Phytohaemagglutinin in lima beans can cause gastroenteritis in some. These beans also contain anti-nutrients like saponin, oxalate, and phytic acid. They can inhibit the absorption of nutrients by our body.

There is no need to worry about using lima beans. You can overcome the problems easily by boiling them for more than 10 minutes. As the usual cooking time exceeds this, you don’t have to get concerned.


Lima beans have a buttery taste with a hint of sweetness. The nuttiness and an earthy flavor impart a distinct taste to these beans. The best part about its taste is that they don’t feel beanie like other beans. The smooth, silky texture of this bean makes it feel creamy in the mouth.

You may think that lima beans are similar to edamame. But they have more differences than things in common. Lima beans taste great in bean soups, stews, and succotash. They taste delightful in slow cooker baby lima beans.

The abundant presence of starch stands as the main reason why people dislike lima beans. If overcooked, they taste bitter and sulfurous. They contain many chemical compounds which if prepared incorrectly can harm your body.

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