The world of legumes offers a vast array of nutrient-rich foods that can be used in various dishes, adding both flavor and health benefits to our meals. Soybeans, in particular, have found their way into numerous dishes and diets around the globe.

But when it comes to soybeans, there are two types that have gained significant popularity: mukimame vs edamame. Despite their similarities, there are some notable differences between these two.

Straight to the point: Edamame are young, green soybeans still in their pods, often boiled or steamed and served as a snack in Japanese cuisine. Mukimame are the shelled version of these beans, making them ready to be added directly to dishes like salads or stir-fries. The main difference between the two is the presentation: Edamame is in the pod, while Mukimame is without the pod.

What is Edamame?

Edamame is a type of soybean that is harvested while it’s still young and green. The word edamame translates to “stem bean” in Japanese, a nod to the fact that they are typically harvested with the stem still attached.

These immature soybeans are contained within the pods and are often served as an appetizer or added to a variety of dishes for extra protein and fiber. Edamame can be found in the frozen food section at your local grocery store, often both in-shell and shelled varieties, which are sometimes labeled as “shelled edamame” or mukimame.

What is Mukimame?

Mukimame, on the other hand, refers to soybeans that have been removed from the pod, or “shelled.” This form of the soybean is often preferred by those who want to skip the step of removing the beans from the pod before consuming or cooking. Like edamame, mukimame can be found in the frozen section of most grocery stores and can be used in various dishes, from stir-fries to salads.

Mukimame vs Edamame: Main Differences

DefinitionImmature soybeans still in the pod.Shelled edamame or soybeans without pod.
TasteMild, slightly sweet and nutty.Similar to edamame but may be slightly more concentrated.
TextureBeans inside are tender; pods are fibrous.Soft and tender.
Serving MethodTypically boiled or steamed with salt.Can be boiled, steamed, or stir-fried.
Caloric ContentSlightly higher due to the weight of pods.Typically lower (no pods).
Usage in DishesEaten by hand, often as snacks.Added directly to salads, dishes, etc.
Preparation TimeLonger due to the need to de-pod.Quicker since it’s already shelled.
StorageCan be kept fresh or frozen.Can be kept fresh or frozen.
Shelf-lifeSimilar for both fresh and frozen.Similar for both fresh and frozen.
Vitamin & Mineral ContentRich in Vitamin K, Iron, and folate.Similar but may vary slightly.
Protein ContentGood protein source for a plant.Similar protein content to edamame.
Fiber ContentGood source of dietary fiber.Slightly more concentrated fiber content.
PriceGenerally cheaper.Might be slightly more expensive due to extra processing.
AvailabilityWidely available in many countries.Also widely available but might be less so than edamame in some areas.
Cooking VersatilityLimited due to pod (mainly boiling or steaming).More versatile in dishes since no pod.
Popularity in CuisinesPredominantly in East Asian cuisines.Gaining popularity in various international dishes.
GMO ConcernsSome edamame may come from GMO sources.Similar concerns as edamame.
Allergenic PotentialContains soy, potential allergen.Contains soy, potential allergen.
DigestibilityGenerally easy to digest.Similar to edamame.
Environmental ImpactRequires less processing than mukimame.More processing might lead to a slightly higher environmental footprint.


One of the main differences between mukimame and edamame is their form and the cooking time for mukimame compared to edamame. As mukimame doesn’t have the outer shell, it tends to cook a bit faster than edamame, which needs a little extra time for the heat to penetrate the pod. Additionally, some people may find mukimame a more convenient option, as it saves the extra step of shelling the beans.

Flavor & Taste

Another important aspect to consider when comparing these two types of soybeans is their taste. While both offer a slightly sweet flavor due to being harvested earlier than mature soybeans, edamame, served in its pod and often sprinkled with salt, offers a more savory, slightly salty and earthy taste. Mukimame, being just the soybean itself, has a more subtle, pure soybean flavor.

Cooking Methods

While both can be steamed or boiled, mukimame’s shelled form allows them to be more versatile in various dishes, including salads, stir-fries, and grain bowls.

Remember that both edamame and mukimame need to be cooked properly to achieve the desired taste and texture. Overcooking can lead to a mushy texture, while undercooking may leave them too hard. So, take your time and check the beans for doneness during cooking.

For mukimame, a simple sauté with a dash of salt or soy sauce can bring out their flavors. On the other hand, edamame tastes best when boiled or steamed and sprinkled with a bit of salt.

Eating Experience

With edamame, part of the appeal is the interactive eating experience, requiring you to squeeze the beans out of the pod. In contrast, mukimame can be conveniently consumed as is.

History and Cultural Significance of Mukimame and Edamame

Mukimame and edamame have a rich history and cultural significance in East Asia, particularly in China and Japan, where they’ve been cultivated and consumed for thousands of years.

Edamame: The Stem Bean

In Japan, edamame has been a traditional snack and side dish for centuries, popularized during the hot summer months for its refreshing taste and high nutritional value. The term “edamame” literally translates to “stem bean,” indicative of the plant’s typical harvesting method. The bean was often picked along with the stem, which would later be discarded after boiling.

As early as the 13th century, the term edamame appeared in plant books and other documents. During the Edo period (1603–1868), consumption of edamame as a snack became widespread, particularly among the samurai class as a suitable accompaniment to sake.

While edamame beans are enjoyed year-round today, they were traditionally associated with the end of the summer in Japan, symbolizing the changing of seasons and the coming harvest.

Mukimame: Convenience and Versatility

Mukimame, essentially shelled edamame, has gained popularity more recently due to its convenience and versatility in cooking. The name “mukimame” roughly translates to “peeled beans,” which gives a nod to its preparation method.

While mukimame doesn’t carry the same historical depth as edamame, its emergence represents a shift in modern culinary needs and consumer convenience. Mukimame provides the same nutritional benefits and flavor as edamame but is more easily incorporated into a wide array of dishes, making it a beloved ingredient in both traditional East Asian cuisines and international dishes.

Cultural Significance in China

China is the largest producer and consumer of soybeans globally, and the cultural significance of soybeans extends to both mukimame and edamame. The plant is so integral to the Chinese diet that it’s considered one of the “Five Sacred Grains” alongside rice, wheat, millet, and barley.

Chinese cuisine often uses soybeans in various stages of maturity, and edamame, known as “maodou,” is typically consumed as a snack or a side dish. Interestingly, in some regional Chinese cuisines, the whole edamame plant, including the leaves, is used to make a specialty soup.

Beyond East Asia

With globalization and an increased focus on health and plant-based diets, both mukimame and edamame have found their way into kitchens worldwide. From being integrated into Mediterranean salads to being ground into spreads for a vegan protein boost, these immature soybeans have indeed transcended their cultural origins and now enjoy global popularity.

In conclusion, the history and cultural significance of mukimame and edamame highlight their integral role in East Asian culinary traditions. With a deep historical background and rich cultural connotations, these versatile soybeans offer not just nutritional benefits but also a taste of East Asian culture and history.

Nutrition Comparison

From a nutritional standpoint, both edamame and mukimame provide a robust profile of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. Whether you opt for mukimame or edamame, you’re making a nutrient-rich choice.

Mukimame (per 100g)Edamame (per 100g)
Calories130 kcal120 kcal
Fat5 g5 g
Sodium5 mg6 mg
Protein12 g11 g
Carbohydrates9 g10 g

Please note that these nutritional values can vary slightly based on specific preparations and seasoning.

mukimame vs edamame

15 Facts about Differences and Similarities

Fact 1: Soybean Variety

Both mukimame and edamame come from the same type of soybean – the only difference lies in their stage of maturity and presentation.

Fact 2: Origin

Both mukimame and edamame have their roots in East Asia, particularly Japan and China, where soybeans have been cultivated for thousands of years.

Fact 3: Availability

Mukimame and edamame are typically available year-round in frozen form in most grocery stores, making them a versatile addition to your pantry.

Fact 4: Nutritional Benefits

Both forms of soybeans are rich in proteins, fiber, and a range of vitamins and minerals. They are particularly known for their high protein content compared to other legumes.

Fact 5: Dietary Preferences

Mukimame and edamame are suitable for various dietary preferences as they are vegan, gluten-free, and low in calories.

Fact 6: Health Benefits

Both types of soybeans are linked to several health benefits, including improved heart health, better bone health, and potential cancer-preventing properties due to their isoflavones content.

Fact 7: Cooking Time

As both are typically sold frozen, they require a brief cooking time—usually a few minutes of steaming or boiling.

Fact 8: Snack vs Ingredient

While edamame is often eaten as a snack or appetizer, mukimame’s shelled form makes it a convenient ingredient in a variety of dishes.

Fact 9: Storage

Storage is not a problem for either mukimame or edamame. Both can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer. To maintain the best quality, it’s recommended to use them within a few months. Just remember that if they’re frozen, you’ll need to thaw them before cooking.

Fact 10: Popularity in Cuisine

Edamame is more popular in traditional Japanese cuisine, while mukimame, due to its ease of use, has been incorporated into a variety of international dishes.

Fact 11: Fiber Content

Both mukimame and edamame are excellent sources of dietary fiber, promoting digestive health.

Fact 12: Color

Mukimame and edamame are both green in color, indicating their status as immature soybeans.

Fact 13: Serving Size

Typically, a serving of edamame is larger than a serving of mukimame, as the edamame serving includes the inedible pods.

Fact 14: Protein Source

Both mukimame and edamame serve as a great plant-based protein source, making them an essential part of vegetarian and vegan diets.

Fact 15: Versatility

The mild, slightly sweet flavor of both mukimame and edamame makes them incredibly versatile, pairing well with a wide range of flavors and seasonings.

What to choose?

When it comes to choosing between the two, it often comes down to personal preference and the type of dish you’re making. For a fun, interactive snack or appetizer, edamame served in the pod can be a great choice. If you’re looking for a versatile ingredient to add to a wide variety of dishes, mukimame offers that convenience with no need to shell the beans.

Comparison with Other Legumes

While edamame and mukimame offer distinct tastes and textures, it’s also insightful to compare these soybean forms to other popular legumes. This will give a broader understanding of their nutritional value, taste, and culinary uses in relation to other legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, and black beans.

Nutritional Value

Mukimame and edamame are high in protein and fiber, like most legumes. However, they particularly stand out due to their lower carbohydrate content and higher protein content. For example, per 100g serving, chickpeas have around 19g of protein and 61g of carbohydrates, lentils boast around 25g of protein and 60g of carbs, and black beans have around 21g of protein and 63g of carbs. Comparatively, edamame and mukimame contain approximately 11g-12g of protein and 9g-10g of carbohydrates, making them a good choice for those following a lower-carb or higher-protein diet.

In terms of micronutrients, mukimame and edamame are abundant in Vitamin C, a nutrient not commonly found in legumes. They also provide a significant amount of magnesium, iron, and calcium.

Taste and Texture

Edamame and mukimame have a mild, slightly sweet flavor compared to other legumes. This makes them a versatile addition to many dishes as they can adopt a wide range of flavors. In contrast, legumes such as chickpeas and black beans have a more earthy taste and dense texture, while lentils have a slightly nutty flavor and softer texture when cooked.

The texture of edamame and mukimame is also unique, being tender yet slightly crisp. This contrasts with the softer, creamier texture of many cooked legumes.

Culinary Uses

Edamame and mukimame can be used similarly to other legumes in cooking. However, their unique flavor and texture make them particularly suitable for certain types of dishes. They’re great in stir-fries, salads, and grain bowls, whereas other legumes might be better suited to soups, stews, and curries.

Edamame, served in the pod, also offers an interactive eating experience that is less common with other legumes. It’s often served as a snack or appetizer, sometimes sprinkled with salt or other seasonings.

Edamame vs Soybeans: Quick Facts

  1. Nutrition: Both edamame and mukimame are rich in proteins, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Per 100g, Mukimame has 130 kcal, 5g fat, 5mg sodium, 12g protein, and 9g carbohydrates. On the other hand, Edamame has 120 kcal, 5g fat, 6mg sodium, 11g protein, and 10g carbohydrates.
  2. Taste: Edamame has a sweet, slightly grassy flavor. Mukimame, being the same soybean but without the pod, should have a similar taste.
  3. Use: Edamame is often used as a snack or appetizer, eaten straight from the pod. Mukimame, being shelled, is conveniently used in various dishes, such as stir-fries and salads.
  4. Texture: The texture of both mukimame and edamame is similar as they are the same bean at different stages of presentation. However, edamame in its pod might present a bit more firmness due to the need to heat penetrate the pod during cooking.
  5. Edamame takes slightly longer to cook due to the presence of the outer shell, whereas mukimame, being shelled, cooks a bit faster.

Mukimame vs Lima Beans: Quick Facts

  1. Nutrition: Both lima beans and mukimame are rich in proteins, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. For lima beans, 100 grams provide roughly 115 kcal, 0.7 g of fat, 2 mg of sodium, 8 g of protein, and 20 g of carbohydrates (approximate values, as they can vary depending on the specific variety and preparation). On the other hand, 100 grams of mukimame contains about 130 kcal, 5g fat, 5mg sodium, 12g protein, and 9g carbohydrates.
  2. Taste: Lima beans have a buttery, starchy flavor, and a smooth, creamy texture when cooked. Mukimame, on the other hand, has a subtly sweet flavor that represents the taste of pure soybeans.
  3. Use: Lima beans are commonly used in soups, stews, and casseroles, and are a staple in Southern cooking. Mukimame, being shelled, can be conveniently used in various dishes like stir-fries, salads, and grain bowls.
  4. Texture: Lima beans have a buttery texture when cooked, while mukimame beans, being shelled, provide a firmer texture that holds well in various dishes.
  5. Cooking time: Like most legumes, lima beans require a longer cooking time, especially when they are dried. They typically need to be soaked overnight and then boiled for 1-2 hours until tender. On the contrary, mukimame, being typically sold frozen, requires a shorter cooking time—usually just a few minutes of steaming or boiling.
  6. Health benefits: Both lima beans and mukimame are linked to several health benefits. Lima beans are known to aid in controlling diabetes, improving digestion, boosting heart health, and contributing to growth and repair in the body due to their protein content. Mukimame is linked to improved heart health, better bone health, and potential cancer-preventing properties due to their isoflavones content.


In conclusion, edamame and mukimame are distinctive forms of soybeans that both present delightful ways to appreciate their nutritious benefits. Each offers a unique taste and rich nutrient profile, being high in protein and fiber and providing essential nutrients like vitamin C and magnesium.

Whether you relish the interactive experience of edamame served in the pod or prefer the ready-to-eat convenience of mukimame, they can both enhance a variety of dishes. Experiment with these versatile legumes to find your preferred ways of incorporating these beneficial beans into your meals. Ultimately, choosing either edamame or mukimame enriches your diet with their myriad health advantages.

Alex Bayev Photo
About me:

Hi, I'm Alex. I love to cook and bake, and I'm always looking for new recipes to try. I started this blog — to collect and share most delicious and easy recipes in one place. I remember, how many questions recipes raised to me, when I started cooking. To make sure that doesn't happen to you, I take step-by-step photos of the cooking process for every recipe so you can see how all the steps are supposed to go together, even if you're not following my recipes exactly.

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