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What to Know About Tongues of Fire Beans

What’s red and white and makes a delicious addition to any meal? It’s tongues of fire beans! This variety of bean originally came from South America, gained popularity in Italy, and now it’s a favorite all over the world.

Red and white bean pods similar to tongues of fire beans.

This flavorful, red and white bean is a home-run in your garden, in the kitchen, and on the dinner table. Keep reading to learn all about why!

All About Tongues of Fire Beans


When tongues of fire beans first start growing, bean pods are green with red stripes. However, the pods change color as they finish growing and become white with red stripes. This is why this particular bean variety has the name “tongues of fire” because the red stripes look like flames.

The beans inside the pods are also white with red stripes, but once they’re cooked, they lose their distinctive coloring.

Red and white bean pods and beans.

These beans are often compared to another variety of bean, the cranberry bean, because they look very similar to each other.

When they’re fully grown, the bean pods are six to seven inches long. In addition, each pod usually contains six to eight beans.


While they’re still growing, this variety of bean tastes similar to a green bean. However, the bean’s flavor develops into a nutty, slightly sweet taste with a smooth mouthfeel once it finishes maturing.

Cooking with Beans

Because of their unassuming yet reliable flavor profile, beans are the perfect ingredient for so many recipes! This particular type of bean also tastes delicious canned, fresh or frozen, so you can save and enjoy them any time of year.

A plate of dried red and white speckled beans.


Beans make a great addition to many different types of soup! If you’re looking for something fun and flavorful, try making this Thai Coconut Tongue of Fire Soup. As an added bonus, this soup is vegan, so it’s a great dish to make for people with all different dietary needs!


Because of their vibrant color, tongues of fire beans a beautiful component to any salad. These beans go well with different types of salad greens, but they’re also great as the main salad ingredient. If you’re looking to highlight the beans as the star of the dish, try out Olivetos Tongue of Fire Beans with Parmesan & Anchovy Vinagrette.

Baked Beans

Cooked red and white beans. The coloring is actually lost during the cooking process.

To give these mild-tasting tasting beans some spice, give this quick, simple recipe for Spicy Baked Tongues of Fire Beans a try. It’s a tasty spin on your classic baked bean recipe!

Health Benefits

There are many health benefits to adding this particular type of bean to your regular diet!

First of all, tongues of fire beans are full of protein. Only one cup of them contains 8 grams of protein, which is just under 30% of your recommended daily amount of protein

Closeup of red and white speckled beans.

They also contain 120 calories and 21 grams of carbohydrates.

Because of its high protein and carbohydrate content, this type of bean is a great veggie substitution for dishes that usually contain meat as the main ingredient.

Planting and Growing Tongues of Fire Beans

Red and white bean pods growing on a plant.

Tongues of fire beans are easy to grow at home if you have the right resources! All you’ll need is plenty of sunshine, space, and soil for the beans to grow successfully.

To make sure the bean plants have enough time to grow, you should plant your seeds after the last frost of the season, which might mean early spring depending on where you live.

When trying to figure out where your seeds will grow best, place them in an area of your garden where they’ll receive full sunlight.

As you’re digging holes to plant seeds in, be sure that each seed goes about one inch deep into the soil.

If you’re planning on planting multiple seeds in the same area, space them out four to six inches apart from one another. This will give them the room they need to grow.

By the time they’re done growing, the bean plants will usually be between 15 and 18 inches tall.


Pile of harvested red and white bean pods.

The best way to figure out if this particular type of bean is ready to harvest is by looking at the color of the bean pod. If you want the beans to be completely mature when you pick them, be sure that the pod is red and white, rather than green and white!

If you want a less mature bean, you can first pick them around 56 days after they were planted. For fully mature beans, pick them around 75 days after planting.

Where to Buy Tongues of Fire Beans Seeds

A red and white bean sprouting.

This type of bean is available for purchase online in quantities as small as one ounce and as large as 25 pounds.

For example, check out the tongues of fire beans available at Hoss Tools!


If you have any remaining questions after reading this post, hopefully, the questions and answers below will help!

Is this variety of bean spicy?

Despite its fiery name, this type of bean’s taste has almost nothing to do with its appearance! It’s a fairly mild-tasting bean, even though you can add it to recipes with other spicy ingredients.

Does this type of bean go by any other name?

Yes! Tongues of fire beans sometimes go by their scientific name, which is “phaseolus vulgaris” in Latin.

In other parts of the world, they’re also known by their Italian name, “borlotto lingua di fuoco.” Sometimes this is translated into English as the borlotti bean.

Can I plant these beans indoors?

This type of bean is best planted outdoors. Their entire growing cycle is completed outside, so you don’t even need to get them started indoors and then transfer them to your garden.

Add Some Fire to Your Garden!

Closeup of dried red and white speckled beans.

With its red and white flame pattern and delicious flavor, the tongues of fire bean is fun to look at and fun to eat! Buy some seeds or a can of them today and see for yourself what a great variety of bean it is.

If you enjoyed learning about the this variety of bean, visit our Bean Plants page to learn about other kinds of beans.