Mukimame vs Edamame – Is There a Difference?

Last Updated on April 26, 2024 by Lindsay Delk, RDN

When it comes to mukimame vs edamame, you may be wondering what the difference is. Or maybe you’ve never even heard of mukimame or edamame. Even if you know what it is, you may think edamame or mukimame is just a fun appetizer at your favorite Japanese restaurant. But it is so much more.

This post was written by Lindsay Delk, RDN. It is for informational purposes and is not intended to replace medical advice or instructions given by your healthcare provider. 

Edamame in the pod and shelled edamame sprinkled with salt to show mukimame vs edamame

What is Mukimame/Edamame?

Mukimame and edamame beans are immature soybeans that are picked before they ripen. They are greener and sweeter than mature soybeans and have a mild, buttery flavor. Edamame and mukimame beans have been popular in Asian countries for centuries, but they are now gaining popularity in non-Asian countries.

Mukimame vs Edamame

Edamame is the name for the beans including the inedible pods. Mukimame is the name for the shelled beans. So when it comes to mukimame vs edamame, they are the same plant. You can buy edamame still in the pods, or you can buy the beans (mukimame) already shelled.

The name is confusing because much of the mukimame (shelled beans) sold in the U.S. is labeled as edamame. For this reason, I will refer to edamame (in the pod) and shelled edamame for this blog post.

Most retailers in the U.S. sell edamame in the pod and shelled edamame (mukimame) in the frozen section, but you can sometimes find them fresh in Asian or specialty markets. Trader Joe’s sells fresh refrigerated shelled edamame (mukimame).

Nutrition Facts for Shelled Edamame (Mukimame)

The following table shows the nutrition facts for 1 cup (155 g) of shelled edamame (mukimame): 

Nutrition facts for 1 cup of shelled edamame (mukimame) to show the number of carbs in edamame

Shelled edamame beans are legumes, but their nutritional profile is different from most legumes. Edamame has much fewer carbohydrates and a higher quality protein than most legumes.

Shelled edamame is a complete protein, which means it contains all the body’s essential amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). Essential means they are required for normal health and cannot be made by the body; so they must come from the diet.

Having all the essential amino acids is especially beneficial for vegetarians because most plant-based sources of protein are considered incomplete since they are low in one or more essential amino acids.

Edamame also contains the two essential fatty acids and is rich in fiber, vitamin K, folate, calcium, iron, and manganese. Soy isoflavones and other antioxidants in edamame fight free radicals and oxidative stress in your body. Edamame is also gluten free for those with celiac disease.

Edamame is also rich in prebiotics that “feed” the good bacteria in your gut. Get your free printable of other prebiotic-rich foods here.

A hand sprinkling coarse salt over a bowl of edamame in the pod

Health Benefits of Edamame/Mukimame

  • Lowering Cholesterol and Blood Pressure

Consuming soy protein, especially in place of animal protein, can reduce your total cholesterol and LDL levels (the “bad” cholesterol) and raise your HDL levels (the “good” cholesterol). One study says, “Soy protein also directly lowers circulating LDL-cholesterol levels and may also modestly lower blood pressure.”

  • Reducing Cancer Risk

The American Cancer Society says, “There is growing evidence that eating traditional soy foods such as tofu, tempeh, edamame, miso, and soymilk may lower the risk of breast cancer, especially among Asian women.” For men, research shows that eating soy foods is associated with a reduction in prostate cancer risk. Of course, eating soy foods should be a part of a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

  •  Improving Bone Health

Soy isoflavones found in edamame may improve bone strength and prevent postmenopausal osteoporosis. While more research is still needed, one study concluded, “Dietary pattern evidence suggests that regular consumption of soy foods is likely to be useful for optimal bone health as an integral part of a dietary pattern that is built largely from whole plant foods.”

A glass bowl with shelled edamame (mukimame) on a white table

How to Cook and Eat Mukimame/Edamame 

Mukimame/edamame is versatile and easy to prepare. You can cook the pods or shelled beans in a variety of ways. The following methods are based on using frozen edamame in the pod or shelled edamame (mukimame):

  • Boiling – Boil edamame in the pod or shelled mukimame for 2–4 minutes in salted water and serve hot or cold, sprinkled with coarse salt.
  • Steaming – Steam edamame in the pod or shelled mukimame for 4–6 minutes in a covered pot and serve hot or cold, sprinkled with coarse salt.
  • Microwaving – Microwave edamame in the pod or shelled mukimame on high for 2–4 minutes in a microwave-safe dish with a little water. Season as desired with salt, pepper, or other seasonings.
  • Sautéing – Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté shelled edamame (mukimame) for 4–5 minutes, stirring often. Season as desired with salt, pepper, garlic, etc.
  • Roasting – Thaw and drain shelled edamame (mukimame), and toss with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and/or Parmesan cheese. Roast at 400° for about 15–20 minutes.
  • Air frying – Try this garlic Parmesan air fryer edamame recipe.

To eat edamame in the pod, slide your teeth down the pod to pop the beans into your mouth; discard the pod. This is especially fun for kids. You can eat edamame/mukimame as a side dish, a protein alternative, a snack, or as an ingredient in soups, salads, stir-fries, and noodle or rice dishes.

Cooked air fryer edamame in a white dish with a silver spoon

Mukimame vs Edamame FAQ

How many carbs in edamame?

There are 15.8 grams of carbs in 1 cup of shelled edamame. About 33% of the calories in shelled edamame come from carbs. It is important to note that 8.1 grams of those carbs are from dietary fiber that are not absorbed by your body.

Is edamame keto?

Edamame can be a part of a keto diet. It is lower in carbs than most legumes and is high in fiber. So edamame contains about 8 grams of net carbs per cup. This makes edamame keto when eaten in moderation.

Is edamame gluten free?

Yes, edamame is naturally gluten free as it does not contain any gluten-containing ingredients. This makes edamame a great option if you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Is edamame FODMAP friendly?

Shelled edamame is FODMAP friendly when eaten in moderate amounts. The Monash app says that 1/2 cup of shelled edamame is considered low FODMAP.

Bottom Line

So is there a difference between mukimame vs edamame? Not a lot. Edamame is the term when the beans are still in the pod, and mukimame is the term for the shelled beans. You will be consuming the same food either way. We eat both shelled edamame (mukimame) and edamame in the pods in our family, just for variety. Do you prefer to eat shelled mukimame or edamame in the pods?

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