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5 BEST Substitutes for White Beans: Flavor Boost

A dish with white beans can be both delicious and nutritious.

Combined with a soft and nutty flavor and smooth texture, their inclusion can level up any kind of dish.

If you love to eat them regularly, it is likely for the beans to run out quickly.

But there are several other beans that you can use too.

This short write-up will focus on the 5 best substitute for white beans.

So, you don’t have to struggle to find a variety when you want to eat your favorite beans.

What are White Beans?

what are white beans

Simply put, white beans are legumes with starchy insides and white casings.

There are several types, including navy beans, great northern beans, lima beans and cannellini beans.

Of these, the cannellini variety is quite popular and widely used.

So, this article will focus on substitutes for this type.

You can find fresh, dried or canned products on the market.

They are a nonperishable food, and so you can buy them in bulk.

White beans also have plenty of nutrients, and adding them to your diet can be beneficial.

If you are gluten intolerant, the beans can be an excellent addition to your diet.

5 Best Substitutes for White Beans

best substitutes for white beans

Though there are a variety of beans, not all can be mentioned here due to limitations.

But we will discuss at least 5 that you can use as a substitute.

1 – Red Kidney Beans

red kidney beans

If you don’t have your favorite type at home, red kidney beans can work just fine.

They look different since one is white, and the other is red.

But they taste similar and have a texture akin to each other.

You can use them to make different types of dishes, including soups, stews and baked dishes.

You can use both types interchangeably for any recipe if color is not an issue.

Dried beans can be quite hard, and it can take a very long time to cook.

So, what you can do is soak the beans for at least six hours.

It will take about one to two hours for the beans to become soft and fully cooked.

Red kidney beans are not only delicious but also healthy.

Experts maintain that adding it to a regular diet can improve overall health.

Exchange one for the other with the same amount.

Suitable ratio:

  • 1 cup white beans = 1 cup red kidney beans.

2 – Great Northern Beans

great northern beans

Though they grow on different types of plants, many people confuse great northern beans with white beans.

The former is smaller in size, though, and their textures are different.

Great northern beans are popular for their delicate, nutty flavor.

They are ideal for soups, stews, casseroles and other baked dishes.

You can also make fried dishes with this variety of beans.

But make sure to soak it for at least six hours.

When cooking, keep a watch to see that the beans don’t get too soft.

They also take less time to cook. If you overcook it, it can get soft and mushy.

It can work great as a substitute for white beans if the recipe calls for a specific color.

Suitable ratio:

  • 1 cup white beans = 1 cup great northern beans.

3 – Navy Beans

navy beans

Navy beans are another variety that you can use in place of white beans.

Both are pretty popular as they have the same hue and come from the same family of plants.

It is also likely that if a recipe simply says white beans, it can mean navy beans.

However, they differ in shape, size and texture. They also become quite soft when cooked.

Therefore, they are suitable for making dips, soups, and stews that don’t need to simmer too long.

Add the beans only towards the end when making stews and soups that need a long simmering time.

Else, the beans might become too mushy.

Navy beans offer many health benefits, and research suggests they can help reduce the risk of metabolism syndrome and cholesterol.

Suitable ratio:

  • 1 cup white beans = 1 cup navy beans.

4 – Garbanzo Beans

garbanzo beans

Garbanzo beans or chickpeas complete the list for substituting white beans.

They can work well if recipes ask for beans as a meaty component.

They have a nutty taste and are very mild flavored.

You can use chickpeas to make dips, sauces, stews, soups and spreads.

You can also make salads with a variety of herbs, spices and lemon juice.

It also tastes delicious when dry fried.

Being a staple ingredient in the Middle East, Mediterranean and Indian sub-continent, you can also find many delicious and unique recipes from these places.

Many cooking enthusiasts call garbanzo beans one of the most perfect foods because they are very dense and versatile.

They tend to remain in shape even if cooked for a long time.

Suitable ratio:

  • 1 cup white beans = 1 cup garbanzo beans.

5 – Lima Beans

lima beans

Also known as butter beans because of their buttery flavor, they can work fine in place of white beans.

The texture is obviously a bit different because white beans give a smooth feel, while lima beans are starchy and a bit grainy.

Though they are quite big in size, these beans can cook well if you soak them long enough.

Like most other beans, you can make a lot of dishes with these beans.

Dips, stews, soups, baked dishes, and fried dishes are some items to which you can add the beans.

You can also make salads with cheese, herbs and spices.

Simply soak, then cook and add the beans to the other items and mix them.

Suitable ratio:

  • 1 cup white beans = 1 cup lima beans.


Beans offer health benefits besides being absolutely delicious and versatile.

All beans are tasty, so even if you don’t have white beans, one of the above will do.

Follow recipes or create new dishes using the beans.

It will be fun, and you can enjoy different dishes every day.

best substitutes for white beans

The 5 Best Substitutes for White Beans

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


  • Red Kidney Beans
  • Great Northern Beans
  • Navy Beans
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • 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.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @EatDelights or tag #eatdelights!

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