14 Best Substitutes for Cannellini

Substitutes For Cannellini
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If you are unfamiliar with cannellini beans, you may be familiar with them under the name “white kidney beans.”

Cannellini beans are frequently used in soup, salad, and pasta dishes. Due to its mild, nutty flavor, it is extremely popular in tomato-based sauces.

Because it takes on the dish’s flavor, this bean is a fantastic complement to most dishes. When cooked, it becomes a soft bean with a faint crunch and a wonderfully fluffy texture.

Due to the bean’s widespread usage in Italian cuisine, particularly in southern and central Italy, the term “cannellini” became well-known. It’s interesting to note that Peru is supposedly the origin of the cannellini bean.

In the 1500s, Italian immigrants started growing beans and brought them to Europe. Then, these delectable beans discovered their legacy in Italian cooking.

However, these beans are popular among people outside of Italy. They are a mainstay of international cuisines. It is known as the labia bean in India and is a common ingredient in curries.

They may be used in a variety of dishes. They are rather simple to make. These beans may be a part of a nice lunch or supper with your friends and family and can be used for salads or cooked foods.

But what if you are unable to locate cannellini beans? The good news is that you can use a variety of substitutes for cannellini, including:

1. Great Northern Beans

A prominent bean variety in North America is great northern beans. They have a hard shell and are grown in chilly climates.

Despite their name, they are tiny and delicate beans. Excellent for soups and stews because of their delicate taste.

They can nearly perfectly be used as substitutes for cannellini since they have a similar nutty flavor to Great Northern beans. It may require additional cooking time since their meat is harder than their bigger counterparts.

As it has a smooth texture and a flavor that pairs well with both salty and sweet foods, it serves as a sort of balance. They also increase bulk without changing the flavor.

2. Navy Beans

A native American bean variation smaller than the wide other varieties of beans is the navy bean, sometimes called the pea bean. It resembles a pill since it is round and flattened. It is a component of foods, including baked beans, pies, and soups. 

Due to their strong exterior and substantial meat, Navy beans require a longer boiling time. They cook more quickly and are smaller than Cannellini beans.

They are also employed in fast soups and dips since they are softer. Navy beans lose their form more quickly than Cannellini beans. Thus, you might need to add your beans later than you normally would.

3. Butter Beans

Butter beans, which resemble cannellini beans and are often referred to as small lima beans, are substitutes for cannellini. They are less desirable than great northern beans due to their distinct flavor and texture.

The texture of this bean type is what sets it apart. This is how it gets its name since, when fully cooked, it has a smooth and creamy texture.

On the other hand, the cannellini bean’s texture is firmer, smoother, and less starchy. Use them in any recipe that calls for cannellini beans without hesitation. Just be aware that they tend to thicken broths, so you might need to add a little extra liquid.

4. Lima Beans

Butter beans are another name for lima beans. They are a good source of protein and fiber. Additionally, they are nearly fat-free and rich in minerals, including calcium, magnesium, salt, and others.

It retains the flavor and tastes buttery. When cooked, its earthy taste comes through. In soups, lima beans can be used as substitutes for cannellini beans.

Lima beans are little, though, and boiling them at a high temperature can make them disintegrate. It is essential to boil the beans to bring out their unique buttery flavor.

5. Lentils

Lentils might not initially appear as good substitutes for cannellini beans. They are considerably smaller, have a tougher, firmer feel, and come in a broad range of colors. They may lend a starchy body to soups and stews that resemble cannellini beans.

Lentils taste similar to cannellini beans in terms of flavor. They pair well with savory foods and aren’t particularly sweet. Lentils are a type of grain known as a pulse and are not at all the same as beans.

Despite this, they have a comparable nutritional profile to many beans, including a healthy amount of protein and fat.

6. Kidney Beans

Common beans come in a type called kidney beans. Its resemblance to human kidneys in form and color led to its name. This bean is loaded with vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins. It is a key ingredient in Mexican, Asian, and Caribbean cooking.

They are great substitutes for cannellini beans due to their similarities in size, dish texture, and cooking time. However, compared to the more subdued flavor of the cannellini bean, kidney beans have a more earthy flavor that is more pronounced.

Unlike white cannellini beans, kidney beans are a vibrant red color. So, if aesthetics are important to your food, this could be your best bet. They work nicely in dishes that call for heartier tastes, such as salads, soups, dips, and chili.

7. Flageolets

Flageolets are uncommon in the United States, so don’t be shocked if you’ve never tried one. Despite being uncommon, they provide a great alternative to cannellini beans because of their comparable white color and well-known form.

Feel free to use them in a 1:1 ratio, interchangeably. After giving them a try, you could even decide to prefer them to cannellini beans. They have a light consistency and a delicate flavor and are regarded as the “caviar of beans” in Europe.

The main disadvantage is that they could be hard to locate. However, don’t be reluctant to incorporate flageolets into your minestrone if you already have any on hand.

8. Black Beans

When you are short of cannellini beans, black beans work well as substitutes for cannellini beans. These beans have a similar texture but are sweeter, altering how your meal looks.

These beans can frequently be substituted because they are widely accessible in supermarkets. Regarding the additional sweetness, it won’t be an issue with sweeter recipes, but you can always make up for it by adding a little extra salt or some spices to provide warmth and lessen the sweetness.

9. Pinto

Given their characteristic spotted skin and smaller sizes, you shouldn’t have to worry about mixing them with cannellini beans.

Even though they have a somewhat different appearance, you’ll discover they make a fantastic substitute due to their flavor and texture. Consider swapping them out 1:1.

Pinto beans are unique because of their very creamy texture. Because of this, they may be easily mashed and used for dips or refried beans. However, you should avoid using them in salads or other foods where they must maintain their form.

10. Garbanzo Beans

Chickpeas are another name for garbanzo beans in popular usage. These beans are rich in nutrients and protein. They are incredibly adaptable nutrient-dense foods prominent in Middle Eastern, Indian, and Mediterranean cuisines.

Chem recipes that call for cannellini beans to be broken down can readily be used as a substitute for cannellini beans. 

Although they appear to have a distinct form and texture, garbanzo beans retain nutty qualities. Although they are the same color as cannellini beans, they must first have their skins removed before being used in their stead.

Even after soaking, it might take up to two hours to cook them. They make great substitutes for cannellini beans in soups.

11. Azuki Beans

Although not in the way you may assume, azuki beans are frequently utilized in Asian cuisine. They are commonly utilized in sweets since their sweet flavor is the star.

However, they can serve as good substitutes for cannellini beans if you can manage their sweetness.

When you substitute for cannellini beans, be careful to add vinegar and a little salt to counteract their sweetness. By doing this, the nutty qualities will be enhanced, making them unexpectedly reminiscent of cannellini.

You should use azuki beans in stews with robust, rich tastes because they also tend to be squishy. However, their softness does make cooking them without soaking them first possible.

12. Marrow Beans

Small, white marrow beans have a mild taste that strongly resembles salty bacon. This bean, like other beans, has a buttery, creamy texture similar to Cannellini beans’ texture.

13. Soy Beans

Contrary to popular belief, soybeans don’t share as many characteristics with other beans in terms of texture and flavor.

They have a comparable sharpness to garbanzo beans and are smooth and solid. They can be an excellent final choice, even if they might not be the best substitute for cannellini beans.

It has a very subtle flavor, especially after cooking. This taste, together with their firm structure, makes them a terrific option for salad. They tend to stand out in a stew since they don’t absorb flavors as well as other beans do.

14. Borlotti Beans

Stop looking if you can get these beans at your neighborhood shop or already have them at home. The most beautiful, vivid beans you will ever see are borlotti beans.

These beans’ delicate rose hue will add beauty to any cuisine. Although they have Colombian origins, they are frequently utilized in Italian cuisine.


The cannellini bean is referred to as the white kidney bean in English-speaking nations, the labia bean in India, and by different names in other countries.

They complement foods like salads, sauces, and soups. Also, they must note their unique characteristics to select the appropriate replacement for your dish.

They are crucial since they can add a unique taste to any dish you create that asks for them. This article on substitutes for cannellini beans should be useful in your search for the most appropriate substitutes for cannellini beans for your next recipe! 

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