Substitute for Cannellini Beans

Substitute for Cannellini Beans

As a culinary enthusiast, making the best dish is your best priority. And when it comes to bean recipes, cannellini beans are one of the most versatile. These tasty and alluring ingredients are renowned for bringing the best in many dishes. But sometimes, you feel like you have no other way when you’re out of them.

What are Cannellini Beans?

Cannellini beans are white kidney beans native to the Italian region of Tuscany, which is why the Italian term for them is Fagioli. They’re larger than the average kidney beans, but they share similar properties with these types. Cannellini beans are a very flexible ingredient in various cuisines outside the Italian recipes, and they can be used in a wide range of recipes all around the world.

Uses and Benefits of Cannellini Beans

Cannellini beans are delicious. Besides their creamy texture and smooth taste, the white color is a huge compliment on many dishes and recipes. Cannellini beans are also highly nutritious, being rich in proteins and fiber. Plus, they’re a great source of minerals and vitamins like potassium, iron, folate, copper, magnesium, manganese, sodium, and vitamin B6.

Cannellini beans are a popular addition to a wide range of recipes. Though they’re heavily used in Italian cuisine, they’re also largely sought-after in American, African, and European recipes. Because of their high nutritional value, cannellini beans are used as a staple diet in many dishes. And they complement many recipes, adding that creamy, velvety taste and attractive white appearance to many recipes.

Cannellini beans are also easy to prepare. If you already know how to make most white beans, chances are you won’t have a hard time preparing them. If you’re using the dried type, you need to soak the beans overnight to initiate the softening. This also helps you remove any unpleasant taste that may result from the fluids’ concentration due to the drying process. After that, you need to boil the beans for at least 10 minutes, after which you leave them to simmer for a maximum of 2 hours to soften. After this, you can salt the beans, as doing this beforehand will make them harden.

If you have issues preparing the dried types, you can use the canned cannellini beans for your recipes. Most dishes require this type, and you can easily find them at any grocery store around you. Take note of the brand, as some prepare a creamier type of canned cannellini beans than others. Depending on your recipe, though, you can always opt for either this or the dried types.

A lot of dishes regularly include cannellini beans to their mix, and below are a few of them;

  • Minestrone
  • Baked Beans
  • Cannellini Soup
  • Bean Ragout
  • Cannellini Beans
  • Salads
  • Cannellini Bean Tartine
  • Bean Mash
  • Chicken tray bakes
  • Pasta
  • White Beans in Tomato sauce
  • Squash Stew
  • Sausage and Bean Casserole
  • Beans and Greens recipes

Each recipe demands either dried or canned cannellini beans, though some may use any of them. You should consider what type the recipe requires before buying, as this is key to making sure you retain the promised taste in the dish.

Cannellini Beans Substitutes

Many times, you may have a recipe that calls for cannellini beans, but you’re all out of them. It’s good to have substitutes that can easily replicate the same taste and feel like these amazing beans in such situations. Luckily, we’ve listed what we consider the best and closest options for you below.

Great Northern Beans

Organic Great Northern Beans



Though great northern beans look like white Lima beans and are smaller than cannellini beans, they’re still the most suitable substitute you can use. The mild flavor is very similar to cannellini beans, and they hold the shape well after cooking. You should note, though, that great northern beans are grainier than cannellini beans, but the creamy texture works well for soups, casseroles, and tartines where cannellini beans are originally preferred. And they can be used in the same quantity.

Navy Beans

Navy beans


Navy beans are originally haricot beans, a variety popular for their creaminess and smooth taste. Haricot beans are a great substitute for cannellini beans and are also as highly nutritious as they are. Navy beans are rich in fiber, proteins, vitamins, and minerals like B6, magnesium, and sodium. Navy beans are smaller and chewier, though, and cook faster than cannellini beans, so you may want to consider reducing the cooking time for the recipe you’re substituting it in. Still, they’re a great substitute in soups and baked beans recipes.


Biona Organic - Flageolet Beans


Flageolets are also another good substitute for cannellini beans, and the main reason is their nutritional value. Flageolets are high in calcium, potassium, sodium, vitamin B6 and magnesium, and cook simultaneously as cannellini beans. Though the taste may slightly differ, they still hold well in recipes that call for cannellini beans and can be used in the same quantity required.

Kidney Beans

Organic Dark Red Kidney Beans


Kidney beans are usually considered a last resort substitute for cannellini beans in most recipes. The reason is mostly because of their color, as while cannellini beans are white, kidney beans come in a dark red color. Kidney beans are also somewhat larger than cannellini beans, and in recipes that need the attractive white color, like purées, they may not be the best substitute. Instead, they’re better for soups, stews, and salads, and they rarely affect the taste, so you won’t know the difference.

Garbanzo Beans

Garbanzo Beans


If you can’t find cannellini beans or any of the substitutes listed above, you can consider garbanzo beans as your next option. Though the taste and texture are more intense than cannellini beans, you can still use it in its place, but only lesser. And it’s the best last resort option if you’re preparing a salad.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I substitute butter beans for cannellini beans?

Yes, you can. Butter beans cook faster than cannellini beans, so you may have to cut the cooking time down by 1/2 an hour. Still, you can get the same creamy taste and texture you expect from cannellini beans, and it works great in slow-cooked casseroles that include pork and in salads.

Our cannellini beans healthy?

Yes, they are. Cannellini beans are renowned for being high in protein and fiber and are a great option for diets aimed at supporting healthy muscle mass, body weight, and digestion. They’re also a great source of essential nutrients for vegan diets.

Where can I get cannellini beans?

Cannellini beans are available in most groceries around you. You can get them either in dried or canned form, depending on what your recipe demands. And because it’s a popularly sought-after ingredient in lots of recipes, many brands of canned types are available to choose from.


Cannellini beans are a delicious addition in many recipes, but it doesn’t mean you can’t substitute them for other types if need be. Most white beans can easily replace cannellini beans in any dish, and so far, we’ve listed the closest options you should consider. Remember to experiment with more varieties of beans in your cooking, so you can find more ideal substitutes and increase your list of alternative options for this healthy legume.