Prior data on long-term association between habitual legume consumption and hypertension risk remained sparse. We aimed to evaluate whether total legume and subtype intakes were prospectively related to lower hypertension incidence among 8,758 participants (aged ≥30 years) from the China Health and Nutrition Survey 2004-2011. Dietary intakes were assessed by interviews combining 3-day 24-h food recalls and household food inventory weighing method at each survey round (median dietary assessment times during follow-up was three). Incident hypertension was identified by self-reports or blood pressure measurements. Multivariable Cox regression model was applied to estimate hazard ratio (HR) for hypertension across increasing categories of cumulatively averaged legume intake. For 35,990 person-years (median 6.0 years per person), we documented 944 hypertension cases. After adjustment for covariates, higher consumption of total legumes was significantly associated with a lower hypertension risk, with HR comparing extreme categories being 0.56 (95% CI 0.43-0.71; P for trend <0.001). Then we found that intakes of dried legumes (HR 0.53; 95% CI 0.43-0.65; P for trend <0.001) and fresh legumes (HR 0.67; 95% CI 0.55-0.81; P for trend <0.001) were both related to reduced hypertension risks. However, further classification of dried legumes revealed that the inverse association with hypertension substantially held for higher soybean (HR 0.51; 95% CI 0.41-0.62; P for trend <0.001) but not non-soybean intakes. In stratified analyses, the association of interest remained similar within strata defined by gender, body mass index, physical activity, smoking and drinking status; however, significant heterogeneity of results was detected across age strata (P for interaction = 0.02). Total legume intake related to a more pronounced decrease in hypertension risk for the elderly (≥65 years [HR 0.47; 95% CI 0.30-0.73; P for trend <0.001]), in contrast to that for the non-elderly. Our findings suggest inverse associations of all kinds of legume but may not non-soybean intakes with risk of developing hypertension.