are butter beans a type of lima bean?

Shirley, IN

I love butter beans and wondered if they were a lima bean , can any one give me some info on them .

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

If you are talking about the kind that comes in a can, then yes they are lima beans. I soak the beans for a couple of hours and then cook until they are done. Limas cook easier than other beans.

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

Butter beans are a colloquial name. In the south, it is applied to baby limas. In some areas of the Mississippi valley it is applied to the large flat limas. In Europe apparently there are both common beans and runner beans also sometimes referred to as butterbeans.

Hilliard, FL(Zone 8b)

Yes--Butter beans are a type of lima. There are several different types of butter beans. In my opinion, Jackson Wonder speckled butter beans are the best tasting.

Shirley, IN

are they a bush type bean? do they grow the same way and conditions as green beans?

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

No. Limas (P. lunatus) come in both pole and bush forms. They need warmer weather than green beans (P. vulgaris). most require a longer growing season and less tolerant of acidic soils.

Shirley, IN

are they what I have heard refered to as a shell bean, and can you explain what is diffrent about a shell bean. I am assuming they like full sun . I dont know any one round here that grows lima beans so thanks for your helpful information.

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

Shell bean is simply a bean that is removed from the pod. Limas (P. lunatus) have tough fibrous pods so are always used as either green shellies or dried beans. Many common beans (P. vulgaris) have meaty tender pods so the pod itself becomes the principle vegetable ( green beans or wax beans) They are also used as green shellies and dried beans. Same is true of runner beans (P. coccineus). There are several other types also used for either pod or bean.

Shirley, IN

thank you for explainig it , when it comes to harvesting them are there any special steps to take, and do they last long at all ,or do they need to be used or canned soon after they are picked

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

Green shellies should becooked, frozen or canned within hours ( 12 or less) after shelling. Dried ones of course have an indeterminate life span.

Thumbnail by Farmerdill
Stuart, VA

I live in Stuart,Va. I was raised in Norfolk,Va. My mom used to cook butter beans & corn,cooked with salt pork.I've been trying to find somebody that has cooked this.COOKED LIKE A BIG POT OF SOUP.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

We ate them the same way.

Cook them just like a pot of soupy red beans. Soak em overnight (or not), sort out the bad ones, rinse em' off, put em' in a HEAVY pot, cover with water, add a chunk or some slices of salt pork for seasoning, chop up some onion, bell pepper, and a little garlic (not too much), salt, pepper, Season All Brand Seasoning, cover and simmer til beans are tender.

Serve over a pot of fluffy white rice. Cornbread optional, but highly recommended!

What you're describing with the corn added, sounds more like a succotash to me. With the whole kernel corn, tomato paste/sauce, even a few okra pods thrown in. Google succotash recipes, and see if it's the same thing.

I never liked butter beans. Too "meaty" a bean. But, I LOVED the juice over the rice, and just a few of the beans. Nice. I prefer the more tender lima beans.


Stuart, VA

thanks linda. my mom cooked butter beans(maybe lima), in a pot with water & salt pork. cooked til done. then put in fresh corn off the cob & cooked. thats it, nothing else was added.we ate it with a slice of butter bread & a slice of tomatoes on the side.they were so good.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

"I never liked butter beans. Too "meaty" a bean. But, I LOVED the juice over the rice, and just a few of the beans. Nice. I prefer the more tender lima beans."

Linda, you must've grown up on Fordhook or Fordhook Giants. Many "butterbeans" are of various natures and not all are so "meaty". I bet you'd love WillowLeaf, a pole butterbean and not near as thick/big as other types.

seebeO, I still eat like your mom cooked. Yummy! I often cook a huge pot of beans, seasoned to perfection, then freeze them in quart freezer bags, so many beans with just so much broth. At some point I seem to always have extra broth so freeze it separately, saving it for a great addition to soup stock. No doubt, as Linda said, the "juice" is a favorite! Yummy!


Delhi, LA

You guys are leaving out the most important part in cooking butterbeans, a few pods of okra on top just before the beans are done for flavor.

Gymgirl, you don't have to wait for the beans to get fully mature to pick them. We always try to pick them at about two thirds maturity. They will still shell good and are more tasty.

Shirley, IN

I didnt know you could freeze cooked beans , when the are reheated do the still keep there texture?

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Get yourself some ziplok freezer bags and freeze to your heart's content! And, the big plus is that, after they've been in there for awhile, and those flavors blend, what comes out is BETTER than what went in!


I cook a big pot of red kidney beans with sausage, and seasonings, and I cook a large batch of mixed "greens" and freeze in smaller portions. Pull out as needed.

Don't forget the cornbread!

Shirley, IN

really appreciate the tip , cant wait for my beans to come in .

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