8 Of The Best Substitutes For Cannellini Beans


Many of us will be familiar with the situation. You’re in your kitchen and you’re about to knock up a beautiful dish.

You’ve got everything you need and it’s all ready to go – and then you realize that you’re missing a key ingredient.

8 Of The Best Substitutes For Cannellini Beans

Cannellini beans are an ingredient that this situation often refers to!

However, unlike some other ingredients, cannellini beans can be substituted (see also “Best Substitutes For Navy Beans“) – but you’ll need to know which substitutes you can use .

Luckily, we’ve got you covered.

We’ve got eight of the best substitutes for cannellini beans in this handy guide, along with some other top pieces of information that you might need to know.

Ready to learn a lot more? Then read on for the answers!

What Exactly Are Cannellini Beans?

Okay, so it’s best if we start by explaining what cannellini beans are before we move on any further.

In essence, cannellini beans are simply white kidney beans. They are a member of the legume family and they hail from Argentina.

However, despite being primarily native to South America, they are very popular in the United States and in Tuscany.

Their taste has been described as nutty and earthy but mild. Their texture when cooked turns rather fluffy whereas when they are raw, they are more solid.

How Are Cannellini Beans Used?

There are many different uses for cannellini beans when it comes to cooking.

Primarily, because the taste of these beans is mild, they do not overpower the overall dish for taste.

Not only this, but their texture thickens a dish – so they can be used in lots of meals!

They can also be paired with a huge variety of different ingredients.

As a result, you often see cannellini beans being used in white bean salad, white bean soup, white bean stew, chili con carne, bean dips, refried beans and a whole host of others!

Luckily though, many dishes do not necessarily require cannellini beans despite their inclusion in the recipe.

So, if you find yourself reading a recipe that asks for white beans and you don’t have any – then maybe you can use some of the following ideas below!

What Are The Best Substitutes For Cannellini Beans?

So, as we said – let’s look now at some of the best substitutes for cannellini beans.

Of course, you’re going to need to find something that mimics the flavor and texture that these beans offer.

Therefore, it would be a great idea to use other kinds of beans! Let’s examine these more closely below.

1. Great Northern Beans

Great Northern beans are often known as the large white bean, of course due to their size.

They come from Peru and the majority of people that have ever used Great Northern beans will tell you that, if you run out of cannellini beans – these are the ideal substitute.

They have an incredibly similar taste and texture to the cannellini bean, white a nutty, mild and earth flavor – but they do differ slightly, in that they have a thicker flesh and skin so the taste can often be a little creamier than the cannellini bean.

Indeed, this is the bean you should choose as a go-to if you run out of cannellini beans and make some amazing soups, salads and stews!

2. Black Eye Peas

Not just a popular music act – black eye peas (or black-eyed peas) are a very unique looking bean that comes from Africa but it’s pretty easy to source.

Because they have a very earthy flavor, they make for a great substitute for cannellini beans (see also “The Very Best Harissa Substitutes“).

However, it’s important to note that black eye peas have a lot in common with cannellini beans, but they differ with their texture.

They are much more meaty and fuller bodied, so they certainly add a lot more to a meal.

As a result, they’re perfect for curries, chili, stew and soups.

3. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are very popular when it comes to Asian cuisine and this is because they can thicken and improve a dish, especially when the dish is primarily vegetarian, which is why a lot of Indian meals use chickpeas.

Their flavor is best described as neutral which allows them to be used in a huge variety of dishes.

However, a lot of cooks will flavor these beans with seasoning – especially roasting them with salt.

These beans are best used in daal, but you can use them in pretty much anything that you’d use cannellini beans in.

4. Pinto Beans

Pinto beans, otherwise known as the Mexican bean, are highly flavorful.

They are creamy and buttery but also have an earthy finish. While these beans differ slightly in their taste when compared with cannellini beans, the texture is very similar.

However, because of their taste which mimics dairy – they are fantastic to use in things like dips, soups and salads.

5. Kidney Beans

Kidney beans are some of the most popular types of beans to use, especially when it comes to chili. They’re very easy to find in stores and pretty much inexpensive too.

They’re a favorite among most because they have a variety of different flavors and textures depending on how you choose to cook them and use them.

Mostly, these beans are very meaty and this allows them to be used as a way to thicken vegetarian dishes.

Indeed, these are among the best beans for chili, soup, salad, stew, broth and a whole host more food ideas.

It’s wise to check how your meal requires them to be prepared though, because it will change the taste!

6. Navy Beans

Navy beans are an ideal choice of bean to use if you are running low or totally have run out of cannellini beans.

This is largely down to the fact that these beans are pretty much the same in terms of their flavor.

They have an earthy aroma and flavor, which is also a little bit nutty – but generally it is considered a mild bean for its taste.

The only difference is that many people have described the bean as being velvety when it is cooked.

Despite this though, these beans do not detract from the taste of your overall dish or even overpower it in any way.

In fact, this is why navy beans have become a favorite with families all over the world.

You can make some amazing dishes like vegetable soups, white chicken chili, shrimp salad and much more!

7. Black Beans

Despite being the polar opposite in terms of their color, black beans become fluffy when they are cooked and their taste is pretty the same as any other white beans, including that of cannellini beans.

Some people might be a little put off if they are trying to substitute a white bean because they might believe that the beans have gone bad – but if you’re cooking for yourself, these are an ideal option.

They make some excellent chilis, stews, salads, noodle dishes and much more.

8. Butter Beans

Much as their name suggests, butter beans have a very rich and buttery texture and flavor.

Of course, you may have noticed that these beans have a significant difference from cannellini beans – the shape.

Despite the fact that these beans cannot hold their shape as well as other beans can, this doesn’t mean that they are not good for some fantastic dishes.

As a substitute for cannellini beans, these are ideal for chowders, casseroles, dips and mashes.

What Are The Substitute Ratios?

You may now be asking yourself, if the beans are different – what is the ratio when you’re making your dishes? How many of these beans will be enough.

Below, we’ve got the ratio for each bean.

  • Butter beans = 1:1
  • Pinto beans = 1:1
  • Black eyed peas = 1:1
  • Black beans = 1:1
  • Kidney beans = 0.5:1
  • Navy beans = 0.5:1
  • Chickpeas = 2:1
  • Great Northern Beans = 1:1

What Are The Best Substitute Beans For Soup?

Most of the beans that we’ve included in this list are ideal for soup, but in reality it will depend on what sort of soup you are making.

Essentially, you will want to try to use a bean that doesn’t overpower the overall flavor of your soup.

As a result, a neutral bean is the best type of bean to use, but if you are looking to thicken your soup up – then a very meaty bean would be the ideal choice.

One example though is if you are going to make a minestrone soup, then the ideal bean selection for a substitute to cannellini beans would be Great Northern beans because of their neutral, yet nutty texture and flavor (see also “Great Northern Beans: 9 Best Ways To Substitute“).

What If I Am On A Keto Diet?

If you are on a keto diet, you need to look for beans that are low in carbohydrates – but unfortunately, you will find that the majority of beans are already naturally high in carbohydrates.

However, if this is the case – you can further substitute beans for something like mushrooms.

Mushrooms can thicken and reinforce a meal’s size and they make for ideal stews, soups and chilis.

What If I Am A Vegetarian?

Vegetarians can choose any of these beans for their meal choices. However, some vegetarian dishes are often lacking in overall size.

As a result, you may want to use a meaty bean like kidney beans.

In fact, one of the best dishes to make is vegetable chili which uses kidney beans.

Due to their size, you can make a lovely, thick and filling meal which does not use any real meat whatsoever.

If you want to add even more to this, consider using Quorn mince or another minced meat substitute.

Are Beans Healthy?

Most beans are healthy and contain plenty of fiber, protein and carbohydrates, and some are high in calcium.

It’s worth pointing out that when beans are cooked, these nutritional values are often reduced though.

The overall healthiness of a meal will depend on how you have cooked it and what you are including with them.

For example, if you are looking to manage your weight – you will want to avoid overseasoning the beans with salt.

Beans generally though can be an excellent staple to many meals for people looking to keep a healthy and balanced diet – you just need to find some amazing recipes online!

The Bottom Line

If you find yourself running low or running out of cannellini beans, then any of our choices on this list can be an excellent substitute.

All you need to do now is find an amazing recipe to follow and chow down!

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