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Upgrade Recipes: 5 BEST Substitutes for Great Northern Beans

There are many types of beans used in cooking, one of the most well-known are Great Northern beans.

These beans are a popular choice because they’re mild and creamy when cooked.

One interesting fact about Great Northern beans is that the white color results from being blanched, which means it removes its outer skin, so they stay white when cooked.

The beans are most popular in American cooking and can be found in red beans and rice or baked beans.

When shopping for Great Northern beans, you should look for plump and slightly shiny ones, avoiding wrinkled or dry-looking specimens.

Great northern beans can be bought dried or canned but must first be soaked in water before cooking to make them soft enough to eat.

Cooking instructions vary depending on if they’re soaked and what you’re cooking them with, but generally speaking, you should boil them for at least an hour.

There are many alternatives to Great Northern beans that could be used as a substitute.

Here is our list of the five best substitutes for Great Northern beans.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Great Northern Beans

It is often difficult to find the exact substitute for a certain ingredient when creating your recipes.

In this case, it might be helpful to think about some of the substitutes below that can work best in Great Northern bean recipes:

1 – Cannellini Beans

cannellini beans

Cannellini beans are a good substitute for Great Northern beans because they have a nutty flavor.

Cannellini beans can be used in salads and soups because they are also very easy to use.

The beans come from Italy, so they are available in most Italian dishes.

These white kidney-shaped beans have a smooth taste that adds subtle flavors to your recipes.

When using cannellini beans, it is important to note that the beans should be soaked overnight.

They do not have a particularly strong taste in terms of flavor, but they do absorb flavors from other ingredients ready.

2 – Navy Beans

navy beans

Navy beans are another great substitute for Great Northern beans because the two types of beans have similar textures and milder flavors.

They are most often used in baked bean recipes because they have a mild flavor.

When using navy beans, it is important to note that these beans require little preparation, so they can be used quickly in recipes even when there is little time.

In terms of nutrition, navy beans have a low sodium content and are a good source of fiber, which is why they work well in soups and salads.

3 – Pinto Beans

pinto beans

Another great substitution for Great Northern beans is pinto beans.

They are most often used in Mexican cuisine because of their popularity with the Hispanic community.

Pinto beans are white in color and round in shape, but they do have a darker beige or brown area around their edge that gives them a marbled appearance.

This type of bean is very common in Mexican cuisine.

Pinto beans are often used in chili recipes because they have a stronger flavor than other beans.

However, they can be mixed with kidney beans to create a milder chili recipe.

In addition, pinto beans are very versatile and have many uses outside of chili recipes.

It’s important to note that they can be used to make dips, and they even work well in salads and soups.

4 – Chick Peas

chick peas

Great Northern beans can also be replaced with chickpeas for a final substitution.

These beans are very nutty and have a slightly sweet flavor that makes them perfect for salads or other dishes.

Chickpea recipes date back thousands of years to the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks.

Later times, it was brought to the Iberian Peninsula by invading Moors and Arabs and has since become a staple of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian cuisine.

They may be used in salads, soups, stews, casseroles, dips, spreads, hummus recipes, and sprinkled on flatbreads with spices or nuts.

While these beans can be used as a substitute for Great Northern beans, they have a stronger flavor that may alter the taste of your recipes.

5 – Lima Beans

lima beans

Last but not least, Great Northern beans can be replaced with lima beans.

These beans are very popular in Southern cuisine because they are often used to make recipes like succotash or baked beans.

Lima beans gained their American name from the seaport of Lima, Peru.

European explorers brought them back who thought that these white beans resembled the lima bean.

These are large, flat beans that come in green color.

There are several important things to note about their flavor when using lima beans.

They have a distinct taste that is often described as earthy or nutty because of their strong flavor.

In addition, it’s very important to soak these beans overnight before using them in recipes.

They are often used in soups, salads, casseroles, dips, spreads, and even baked beans.

These beans can be blended with lima bean soup to create a perfect creamy mixture for serving over rice or pasta.

However, they are among the more expensive types of beans on the market, so they may not be the best choice for your food budget.

best substitutes for great northern beans

The 5 Best Substitutes for Great Northern Beans

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 4 Servings


  • Cannellini Beans
  • Navy Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Chick Peas
  • Lima Beans


  • Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  • Organize all of your ingredients.
  • Follow the substitution ratio to determine how much is required in your recipe.
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