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5 Substitutes for Navy Beans That’ll Transform Your Dishes

Ever find yourself in the middle of whipping up your favorite recipe, only to realize you’re fresh out of navy beans? It happens to the best of us!

Instead of scrapping your culinary plans, consider this an opportunity to get creative in the kitchen.

The truth is, plenty of other beans and legumes can step in as a perfect substitute, adding their unique flavors and textures to your dishes.

In this article, we’ll explore the 5 best substitutes for navy beans that are not only easy to find but might just elevate your cooking game to a whole new level. Get ready to transform your meals with these versatile alternatives.

5 Best Substitutes for Navy Beans

1 – Great Northern Beans

Alright, so first up on our swap list are Great Northern Beans. These beans are like the cool cousin of navy beans – similar but just a tad different in the best ways.

They’re a bit larger, have a slightly firmer texture and hold their shape well when cooked, making them awesome for dishes that require a bit more bite.

Taste-wise, they’re mild and subtly sweet, meaning they won’t overpower your dishes but will blend in smoothly.

Why are they a fantastic substitute, you ask? They’re incredibly versatile.

You can throw them into soups, stews, or even salads, and they’ll just get along with everything like they’ve been there all along.

When it comes to swapping ratios, it’s a straight-up 1:1. Easy peasy!

2 – Cannellini Beans

If Great Northern Beans are the cool cousins, then Cannellini Beans are the sophisticated siblings in the bean family. These white kidney beans boast a creamy texture and a delicate, slightly nutty flavor that makes them a fantastic substitute for navy beans in any dish.

Their smoothness is perfect for creating rich, thick sauces or for when you want that melt-in-your-mouth feel, like in a cozy bean stew or a hearty minestrone.

What makes Cannellini Beans a great alternative? Besides their luxurious texture, their flavor is unobtrusive yet distinctive enough to add depth to your meals without dominating other ingredients.

Swap them in at a 1:1 ratio, and watch as they elevate your dish with their elegance.

3 – Kidney Beans

Now, if the kitchen were a stage, Kidney Beans would be those versatile actors who can play any role.

These beans have a robust, slightly sweet taste and a meaty texture, making them a stellar stand-in for navy beans, especially in heartier dishes. Think chillis, salads, and even as a mix-in for your favorite rice dishes.

Why do they rock as a substitute? Their size and the way they hold up to cooking means your dishes get that satisfying chunkiness, plus a burst of flavor that’s rich without being overwhelming.

The swap ratio here is also a breeze – go with a 1:1 exchange. Kidney Beans are like the reliable friend in the bean world, ready to step in and save the day, making them an excellent choice for your culinary adventures.

4 – Pinto Beans

Next in line for the bean swap meet are Pinto Beans – the laid-back buddies of navy beans. These beans are the life of the party in many traditional Mexican dishes, bringing a beautiful, earthy flavor and a satisfyingly creamy texture once cooked.

Pinto Beans have a bit of a speckled appearance, but don’t let that fool you; they become wonderfully smooth and almost pinkish when cooked, making them a great substitute in visually appealing dishes.

What makes them such a fab choice to replace navy beans? Their versatility and the way they adapt to various cooking methods and flavors, for starters.

They’re perfect for giving your soups, casseroles, and dips a slightly different, yet equally delicious character.

When swapping, stick to a 1:1 ratio to keep things simple and straightforward. Pinto Beans are all about making your culinary experiments fun and fuss-free.

5 – Chickpeas

Last but definitely not least on our bean swap adventure are Chickpeas, aka the globetrotters of the legume world.

These versatile beans are not just for hummus! With their distinct, slightly nutty flavor and hearty texture, chickpeas make a fantastic substitute for navy beans in a multitude of dishes.

Why do they shine as an alternative? Well, chickpeas are incredibly adaptable – they blend beautifully into soups and stews, add a satisfying crunch to salads when roasted, and can even be ground into flour for a protein-packed baking boost.

Their robustness adds a new dimension to any dish, elevating it with both texture and flavor. Substitute chickpeas for navy beans at a 1:1 ratio, and watch your meals take on a whole new level of deliciousness.


And there you have it – five fantastic substitutes for navy beans that promise not only to save your dish but also to add a new flair to your cooking.

Whether you’re looking for the creamy elegance of Cannellini Beans, the hearty satisfaction of Kidney Beans, the laid-back vibe of Pinto Beans, the versatility of Great Northern Beans, or the robust character of Chickpeas, there’s an alternative out there for you.

Each of these substitutes comes with its unique taste note and a simple 1:1 swap ratio, making it easy to tweak your recipes without missing a beat.

  • Great Northern Beans: Mild and subtly sweet; perfect for a seamless blend in a variety of dishes.
  • Cannellini Beans: Creamy texture and delicate, nutty flavor; ideal for thickening and enriching your meals.
  • Kidney Beans: Meaty texture with a robust, sweet taste; adds chunkiness and a burst of flavor.
  • Pinto Beans: Earthy flavor and creamy texture upon cooking; adapts well to different dishes for a fun twist.
  • Chickpeas: Slightly nutty flavor with a hearty texture; versatile enough for soups, salads, and even baking.