Sugar Snap Peas vs. Edamame: What’s the Difference?

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You have probably come across many a green bean browsing your local grocery store. But two varieties, in particular, appear remarkably similar.

Yes, we are talking about sugar snap peas and edamame beans. At first glance, sugar snaps peas and edamame beans look the same, with the sole difference being that the former has a smooth exterior while the latter has a fuzzy one.

With various questions floating around about the difference between these two vegetables, we decided to put together an in-depth comparison to address just that. This article will discuss everything from size and texture to nutrition and cooking uses.

So, let’s get into it, shall we?

Table of Contents

What are Sugar Snap Peas?

sugar snap peas on wooden table

Sugar snap peas are a legume vegetable from the Fabaceae family, harvested annually for their edible peas and pods. The pods are crisp and crunchy, while the seeds are tender and sweet. They are typically bright green, though it is not uncommon to find them masquerading in shades of yellow and purple.

Though native to Southeast Asia, they are now grown worldwide and harvested during the spring and summer months. During this time, they are often abundant in farmer’s markets and the fresh produce section of your grocery store.

What is Edamame?

Edamame beans are also a legume vegetable belonging to the Fabaceae family, harvested annually for their edible peas. The word “edamame” actually comes from the Japanese words for “beans” and “branches,” which is fitting because this tasty treat is typically served in its pod. Unlike sugar snap peas, only the peas are eaten, not the pods.

These emerald beauties were a staple in various Asian cultures and their diets for centuries. Today, they are grown all over and are most commonly found between bags of frozen potatoes and frozen pizzas at North American supermarkets. Still, they may also be found fresh or dried.

Differences Between Sugar Snap Peas and Edamame

Texture

Edamame peas are plump and fleshy, with a smooth texture that melts in your mouth. The pods are not consumed and are easily pierced to get at those savory peas.

On the other hand, sinking one’s teeth into those sugar snap pea pods is much more challenging due to their fibrous skin. You will also experience a satisfying snap when you bite into those pods! Upon reaching the center, you are rewarded with their soft and creamy peas.

This difference in texture is due to how each plant is harvested. Edamame are allowed to mature fully on the vine for approximately 90 to 150 days, resulting in a higher sugar content and a softer bean. Snap peas, by contrast, are harvested after around 6 to 8 weeks while they are still young and tender, giving them their signature crunch.

Appearance and Size

They may look alike in terms of color, but edamame and snap peas are two entirely different creatures.

Edamame are much larger than sugar snap peas. While an average edamame bean is about the size of a thumbnail, a sugar snap pea is only about half that size.

In addition, edamame have a more rounded shape, while sugar snap peas are more elongated. Finally, the edamame pods are covered with fine hairs, while the pods of sugar snap peas are smooth and shiny.

Taste

Edamame have a savory and slightly nutty flavor that is utterly addictive. Sugar snap peas, on the other hand, are crisp and sweet with a refreshingly grassy quality.

Nutrition

These two vegetables have pretty different nutritional profiles.

Edamame provide an excellent source of protein and fiber. They also contain a fair amount of iron and calcium.

Sugar snap peas, on the other hand, are lower in calories and fat but higher in vitamins C and A. They also contain fewer carbohydrates and more protein.

So, if you’re looking for a little extra fat and something hearty to give you a boost of energy, reach for some edamame. However, if you seek a lighter vegetable with fewer carbohydrates and a lower glycemic index, then opt for sugar snap peas.

Please see our nutrition facts comparison table for more detailed nutrition information.

Uses in cooking

Edamame and sugar snap peas may be enjoyed as a healthy snack or added to soups, salads, or stir-fries. However, sugar snap peas are also commonly incorporated into sweets.

Different Ways of Eating Edamame

  • Steamed: One of the most popular ways to enjoy edamame is to steam them. This simple cooking method brings out their natural nutty and renders them juicy and tender. To steam them, place them in a steamer basket over boiling water and cook them for about 5 minutes.
  • Boiled: Another popular way to prepare edamame is to boil them. This cooking method produces a slightly nuttier flavor and a more tender texture. To boil them, add them to a pot of boiling water and cook them for about 5 minutes.
  • Grilled: Add a smoky flavor to those edamame by throwing them in a grill pan over medium heat and cooking them for 5 minutes.
  • Seared: Searing edamame is an excellent option if you’re looking for a little crunch. To sear edamame, place them in a hot pan over medium heat and cook them for about 5 minutes.

Different Ways of Eating Sugar Snap Peas

  • Raw: One of the best ways to enjoy snap peas is to eat them raw. It gives you the full effect of their crispness and sweetness. No preparation is required; just crunch into them!
  • Blanched: Blanching them is an excellent option if you’re looking for a softer snap pea. To blanch snap peas, place them in a pot of boiling water for about 2 minutes.
  • Roasted: Roasting snap peas is a great way to bring out their natural sweetness. To roast snap peas, place them on a baking sheet and roast them in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. Make sure to season them with salt and pepper beforehand!
  • Sautéed: Sautéing snap peas is a great way to add a little bit of flavor to your dish. To sauté snap peas, toss them into a hot pan with some oil and cook them for about five minutes.
  • Steamed: Steaming snap peas is a great way to cook them without losing their nutrients. To steam snap peas, place them in a steamer basket over boiling water and cook them for about 3 minutes.
  • Boiled: Boiling snap peas is a great way to cook them if you’re looking for a softer pea. To boil snap peas, add them to a pot of boiling water and cook them for about 3 minutes.
  • Grilled: Infuse some smokiness into those snap peas by tossing them into a grill pan over medium heat and cooking them for about 3 minutes.
  • Seared: Add some crunch to ordinary snap peas by throwing them in a hot pan over medium heat for about three minutes.

Conclusion

Sugar snap peas and edamame are both delicious and nutritious. Still, they have unique qualities that set them apart. They both can both be enjoyed on their own as a healthy snack or added to soups, salads, and stir-fries. In addition, sugar snap peas are commonly used in desserts, while edamame are often integrated into savory dishes.

Ultimately, the choice between sugar snap peas and edamame is a matter of personal preference and the type of dish you want to create. Whichever you choose, you can be sure that you are getting a nutritious and delicious addition to your meal.

FAQs

If you’re looking for a substitute for sugar snap peas, you could try green beans, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts. You could also try using edamame. Ultimately, the best replacement will depend on what type of dish you are making.

Nothing is worse than biting into what you think will be a crunchy snap pea and getting that mushy displeasing texture instead!

To avoid mushy snap peas, steam them or sear them. Both of these methods will help to preserve the snap pea’s crunch. You may also boil them but be sure not to overcook them. We recommend 3 minutes tops!

There is no one “best” way to eat sugar snap peas. They can be enjoyed raw, roasted, sautéed, steamed, boiled, grilled, or seared. Ultimately, the best way to eat them is whichever way you appreciate them the most.

Sugar snap peas will typically last for about three days in the refrigerator. If you want to extend their shelf life, you can try blanching them. Blanched snap peas can last for up to six months in the freezer.

No, raw sugar snap peas are not poisonous. They are often eaten raw as a healthy snack.

The simple answer is that you can eat both edamame and peas husks.

However, the husks of edamame are significantly more rigid and less palatable than those of peas. As a result, most people choose to remove the husks before eating edamame.

On the other hand, the husks of peas are relatively thin and delicate, making them easy to eat along with the peas. In addition, peas are often cooked before being eaten, which helps soften the husk even further. So, while you can technically eat the husk of an edamame bean, it’s not quite worth the effort.

Appendix: Nutrition Facts Comparison

Nutrition (1 cup)
Sugar Snap Peas
Edamame
Calories
41 cal
189 cal
Carbohydrates
7 g
15 g
      Fiber
3 g
8 g
      Sugar
4 g
3 g
Fat
1 g
8 g
Protein
3 g
17 g
Sodium
4 mg
9 mg
Potassium
196 mg
676 mg
Vitamin A
1065 IU
0 IU
Vitamin C
59 mg
9 mg
Calcium
42 mg
98 mg
Iron
2 mg
4 mg

*Source: Spoonacular API via WPRM Nutrition Facts.

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About Savory Suitcase
Hello, I’m Kristina, Founder and Head Blogger of Savory Suitcase… the one-stop-shop for the international foodie. 

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Hello, I’m Kristina, Founder and Head Blogger of Savory Suitcase… the one-stop-shop for the international foodie.

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