Lima Beans Vs Fava Beans: 8 Key Differences

You cannot speak of a highly nutritious meal without calling beans. Beans are great ingredients that can serve either as a main dish or as a side dish. So, all beans are a great staple in the kitchen.

However, recipes may require a change while using any beans. Lima beans and fava beans are great beans but they have features that differentiate one from the other.

In addition, this might cause you to want to know about lima beans and fava beans so you can make the right choice. If you want to make recipes but cannot decipher which would suit your needs, then this guide is for you.

Right… Stick around because by the end of our guide today you would learn about Lima beans vs fava beans.

So let us begin!


What are lima beans?

lima beans

Lima beans are great beans that most people use in their meals because of their nutritional values. Let us see a succinct description of lima beans;

Scientific name: Phaseolus lunates

Family: Fabaceae

Size: larger than most beans

Color: cream, light green, white, brown

Other names: butter beans, Madagascar beans, sieve beans, Chad beans, wax beans

Native to: South America

These are memorable descriptions of lima beans. Now let us learn about these beans!

Lima beans, like other beans, are legumes that most people grow because of the edible seeds that the seeds produce. Lima beans contain huge nutrients that make them noticeable.

Lima beans have this kidney-like shape and are relatively larger than most beans. Many people use lima beans in many recipes and can easily use them in recipes that call for peas.

What do lima beans taste like? 

If you are wondering why many people find Lima beans great for their recipes, it is the fact that lima beans hold a distinct flavor that makes them outstanding.

They have this buttery taste if they cook well. Little wonder many people refer to it as butter beans. The earthy flavor leaves some notable desire for more.

What can you make with lima beans? 

You can prepare a good number of dishes with lima beans, namely; rice, French-fried onions, Dutch oven pot roast, beef barbecue, and French-fried onion chicken.

How long do lima beans last? 

While dried lima beans last for 2 to 3 years, canned lima beans last over 1 year.

So much goodness for Lima beans, right? Well, wait until you see fava beans; are you ready?

What are fava beans?

fava beans

Fava beans are beans that most Asian countries cannot have enough of, although it is native to Northern Africa. They are very easy to grow and maintain. Therefore, Asian cuisines have many recipes to attribute to fava beans. Let us see a concise description of fava beans.

Scientific names: faba vulgaris Moench, faba vulgaris var

Family: fabaceae

Other names: broad beans, bell beans, horse beans, Windsor beans

Size: larger than many beans, even lima beans

Color: green, brown, black, white, dark red/purple

Native to: Northern Africa

Let us quickly learn about fava beans.

Fava beans are one of many beans that many people all over the world enjoy. They are round oval; it is usually flat.

Fava beans are highly nutritious, just like other beans. Therefore, it can easily fit in most recipes that require any beans.

What do fava beans taste like? 

Fava beans have this delicate flavor. Almost similar to lima beans, fava beans have this nutty and buttery taste when you cook them appropriately.

These beans are relatively sweet; the dried beans have this mild flavor very similar to chickpeas.

What can you make with fava beans? 

Like lima beans, you can prepare quite a lot with fava beans. You can make rice; merge it with asparagus and many other dishes.

How long do fava beans last? 

Fava beans last for about 2 to 3 years if you leave them at normal room temperature.

Cooked fava beans will last for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator. Unopened canned fava beans would last anywhere from 3 to 5 years.

Read: Are Borlotti Beans The Same As Cannellini Beans?

Similarities between lima beans and fava beans

  • Both lima beans and fava beans are legumes.
  • They both are rich in nutrients- protein and fiber, and antioxidants.
  • Lima beans and fava beans have almost the same texture.
  • With their flavor virtually the same, you can substitute one for the other.
  • They both belong to the Fabaceae family.

Although lima beans and fava beans share quite a lot in common, they differ from each other. Let us see the key differences.

Lima beans vs fava beans: key differences

1. Fava beans are less starchy compared to lima beans

2. Fava beans have a more defined texture compared to lima beans. Lima beans have softer and creamier when cooked right.

3. When it boils down to nutrients, lima beans have more carbohydrates than fava beans, while fava beans have more protein than lima beans.

4. Lima beans have more minerals and vitamins. Fava beans have more folate.

5. Fava beans are richer in nutty flavor compared to lima beans

6. Lima beans have more rich taste than fava beans

7. Lima beans originate from South America while fava beans originate in North Africa.

8. Lima beans have a kidney-like shape while fava beans have a round-oval shape.

Which should you choose between lima beans and fava beans?

Now, with all the unique characteristics of each bean, you might wonder which would go for your recipe. For you to know the beans that would suit your needs there are a few things to put into consideration.

Let us see them….

The recipe

Our choice of beans would depend heavily on the recipe you are preparing, so we advise that you get the beans that your recipe requires.


Another thing to put into consideration is what beans are available at your disposal. If any of the beans seems a hundred miles away from where you are, you would have to settle for the one you have.

Another important thing to put into consideration is the level of nutrients each bean has. Therefore, weigh the nutrients in case you have them and have to choose one.

Read: 9 Best Substitutes For Black Beans

Frequently asked questions

Are lima beans and fava beans the same?

No, they are not; although these beans share many things, they are not at all the same thing.

Can I replace lima beans with fava beans in recipes?

Yes, you can! You do not have to go in search of one if you have the other. You can replace lima beans with fava beans and vice versa.

Read: What To Serve With Risotto? (11 Delightful Side Dishes)


In our guide today, we discuss exhaustively lima beans vs fava beans. Indeed, both lima beans and fava beans are great essentials in the kitchen.

However, if you have to make a choice, what would it be? We hope that our guide helps you decide on which beans to use for that yummy recipe.

It is okay to use any of them in recipes that call for any of them because even though they are not the same, they can replace themselves.

We hope you make the best choice!