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What Does Edamame Taste Like? The Ultimate Guide to Edamame!


You’ve likely seen these beans in the produce aisle. What does edamame taste like? Even though edamame is a common vegetable in America, many people have yet to taste it. Luckily, these young soybeans are just as versatile and delicious as regular beans.

But what is edamame anyway? Learn all the answers to your questions in this ultimate guide about edamame.

white bowl with green edamame sprinkled with salt.

What Is Edamame?

Edamame is a type of soybean that originated in Japan. The name translates to “stem beans.” It’s because farmers traditionally sold edamame still attached to their stems. Edamame is also known as “fur peas” in China due to the light fuzz on its pods.

These immature soybeans have a delicate harvesting process. Farmers handpick the pods to prevent damage. Then, they harvest them at least 35 days before they fully ripen. Due to the early harvest, the beans are softer and have higher sugar content.

Edamame pods have long, green hulls covered with hair-like fuzz. Due to their similar appearances, edamame beans are often mistaken for green peas. But their preparation is more similar to that of beans than peas. 

Fresh edamame beans are available in most markets. You can also find them at grocery stores; they usually come frozen. Edamame beans are best eaten when fresh off the farm. 

Edamame beans are common across Asia but are more prevalent in Japanese cuisine. These beans are often served as side dishes and appetizers and paired with beer. There are also edamame-based desserts like green soybean rice cakes.

What Does Edamame Taste Like?

If you’re on a vegan diet, you’re most likely familiar with the edamame flavor. After all, these beans are the main ingredient in vegan staples like tofu, tempeh, and soy milk. Edamame beans have more flavor than tofu.

So, what does edamame taste like? Edamame beans taste like peas. They have the same buttery flavor with a hint of sweetness and nuttiness. Edamame beans have a subtle flavor and pair splendidly with other ingredients.

There’s also a difference in texture. For example, steamed edamame is soft, firm, and slightly mushy.

What Flavors Are Similar to Edamame Beans?

Edamame beans are very flexible when it comes to flavor. For other recipes, you can even substitute edamame for other vegetables. But what does edamame taste like compared to other foods?

Fava and lima beans also share similar flavor profiles with these soybeans. Almonds also have the same nuttiness as edamame beans.

You can use regular beans to substitute the flavor if you’re out of edamame. Aside from fava and lima beans, you can also use garbanzo, sugar snap peas, or mukimames.

Mukimames are essentially edamame beans. The difference is that these beans are already hulled or shelled when sold. You can buy mukimames at most grocery stores as well.

Are Edamame Pods Edible?

Unfortunately, you cannot eat edamame beans raw. Although not poisonous, fresh edamame is tough to chew.

We recommend boiling the entire edamame pods to soften them when eating edamame. Other ways to eat edamame shells are through steaming or pan-frying.

How to cook Edamame

Since these soybeans have a subtle flavor, you can add them to many dishes. Edamame is a staple in Asian cuisine and adds new depths of texture and flavor. Before you can eat edamame, you must prepare the beans first.

There are four ways to prepare edamame beans. You can boil, steam, fry, or cook them in the microwave.

  1. When boiling edamame, use a pot of salted water and cook for up to 5 minutes. You can check the beans for desired tenderness and then drain them. You can leave the shells on if you’re boiling edamame beans.
  2. If you plan to steam edamame, only use an inch of boiling water in a pot. Place the beans on a steam tray and let them cook for up to 10 minutes. If it’s too hot, you can rinse the edamame.
  3. If you’re short on time, you can use a microwave. Edamame beans taste delicious either way. Place beans in a microwave-safe container and add a small amount of water. Cover the container and microwave for 3 minutes under high settings.
  4. Edamame beans taste amazing when pan-fried on medium heat. This extra step gives them a savory and smoky flavor.
  5. We recommend frying these soybeans until lightly charred. You can also eat edamame shells by boiling or frying them.

Recipes with Edamame

Here are a few tips on how to make edamame taste good:

Appetizer Bowls

Edamame is a great appetizer that pair well with other nuts like almonds and walnuts. You can also add them to breakfast bowls with avocado, mushrooms, and leafy vegetables.

Roasted Edamame

Roasting edamame elevates its flavor and makes for a tasty snack. The cooking process is quick and easy too. Season edamame beans with salt, pepper, soy sauce, cumin, or other spices. Place on a tray lined with parchment and roast for 20 minutes.

Pea Soup

You can also make edamame soup to give your regular pea soup a twist. Replace green peas with soybeans and use vegetable stock for a more savory flavor. We recommend mashing edamame until it’s smooth. You can also leave lumps if you want a bit of texture.

Hummus

Did you know that edamame also works as a hummus alternative? You can serve this vegan dip with chips, bread, or pretzels. To make edamame hummus, replace chickpeas with edamame beans.

Stir-fry

If you want another Friday dinner idea, you can try edamame stir-fry. Toss the beans with rice, carrots, and scallions for a healthy dish that’s better than takeout. We recommend seasoning with soy sauce, chili flakes, and fresh herbs.

Edamame Nutrition

Edamame beans are rich in vitamin K and folate. Eating edamame means you’ll get more than half of your much-needed nutrient intake.

Like soybeans, edamame also contains protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Fiber may help gut health, while protein is essential in cell building. Antioxidants in edamame beans may also aid in regulating cholesterol.

How To Store Edamame Properly

Fresh edamame begins to spoil as soon as it’s harvested. The pods begin to brown even just a few hours after picking. Due to this early shelf life, we recommend eating these soybeans within the day of purchase.

Edamame can last up to one week in the fridge. For a longer lifespan, we recommend freezing the soybeans. Frozen edamame beans can last up to one year when stored properly.

To store frozen edamame, lightly cook the beans while they’re still in their pods. Place in an airtight container or ziplock bag before putting it in the freezer. Edamame retains flavor well, so you can store it for weeks and still get that buttery taste. 

Where Can You Buy Edamame?

Many supermarkets sell edamame in frozen bags. But some wet markets sell freshly picked edamame beans.

How Long Does Edamame Last?

Edamame lasts for up to a day at room temperature. It can last up to one week when stored in the fridge. Frozen edamame can stay fresh for up to one year.

Summary

Edamame is essentially soybean harvested before it matures. It has long, narrow green pods similar to green peas. Edamame beans are a staple in Japanese cuisine, typically as appetizers.

So, what does edamame taste like? Edamame beans have a distinct buttery flavor similar to green peas. They are slightly sweet with just the right amount of nuttiness. Its versatile taste makes it a delicious addition to stir-fries, soups, and salads.

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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