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16 Top Ingredients to Substitute for Kidney Beans

These are the top ingredients to substitute for kidney beans when you’re in a pinch, plus 3 delicious recipes with kidney beans to try!

If you don’t like kidney beans or grocery stores are out of stock, you can use these easy replacements for all your favorite dishes.

I also share several delicious recipes that call for kidney beans to try out your favorite substitutes.

No matter what your needs are, you’ll find an excellent substitute on this list!

Kidney Beans 101

Dark red kidney beans in a white bowl on a white wood table.

Kidney beans are known for their long, curved oval shape that looks kind of like a kidney. And there are a few different varieties you can try.

There are regular kidney beans, dark red kidney beans, and white kidney beans.

They have a sweet and nutty flavor and are filled with soluble dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. And you can purchase them canned, dried, or fresh.

Kidney beans are popular in soups, baked beans, and chili recipes like chili con carne. And they’re also an excellent vegetarian meat replacement in tacos, salads, and burgers.

But, if you can’t get your hands on them or don’t like the taste, you can try one of the easy replacements below.

NOTE: 1 pound of dried beans = 2 to 2½ cups uncooked

The Top Ingredients to Substitute for Kidney Beans

1. Black Beans

Black beans on a large wooden spoon and wooden cutting board with burlap.

Black beans, also known as black turtle beans are available year-round. And they’re popular in Mexican and Latin cuisines.

They’re featured in recipes like coconut rice with black beans, cowboy caviar with avocado, white chicken chili, and zucchini black bean and rice skillet.

They have an earthy flavor and similar texture to kidney beans. And while they don’t look similar, they do work well as a substitute in tacos, bean dips, soups, chilis, and burgers.

Use black beans as a 1-to-1 substitute for kidney beans.

2. Pinto Beans

Close up overhead view of pinto beans in a small white bowl on wooden table.

If you like Mexican food, you’ve likely enjoyed pinto beans on a regular basis. These beans have a buttery, creamy texture and a light brown color. And they’re the preferred ingredient for making refried beans and taco soup.

Pinto beans also make a great alternative to kidney beans in chili and baked bean recipes.

You can use them as a 1-to-1 substitute.

3. Cannellini Beans

Dried cannellini beans next to a clay bowl of cooked cannellini beans.

White kidney beans, also known as Cannellini beans, are the perfect substitute for the darker red varieties.

Originally from Italy, these curved, oval white beans have the same size and shape as the red and dark red versions. And they’re packed with 11 grams of protein in 1/4 serving.

They’re a great substitute for red kidney beans in salads, soups, and pasta dishes.

Use cannellini beans as a 1-to-1 substitute.

4. Navy Beans

Small burlap bag of navy beans spills out onto a grass cloth mat.

Navy beans, also called, pea beans, were a long-time staple food in the US navy. These white beans are great for lowering cholesterol and they have a similar texture and flavor to kidney beans.

Navy beans make a great replacement for kidney beans in soups and stews.

And you can use them as a 1-to-1 substitute.

5. Great Northern Beans

Large black bowl filled with northern white beans on a grass cloth mat.

Here’s another white bean that’s similar to navy beans and cannellini beans. And you can use Great Northern beans as a substitute in the same ways.

Use Great Northern beans as a 1-to-1 substitute in soups, stews, and chilis.

6. Adzuki Beans

Large wooden bowl of adzuki red beans next to small pile on wooden table.

Adzuki beans are popular in Asia and are known for their sweet flavor. And they have a similar soaking time to kidney beans if using fresh beans.

You can adzuki beans anywhere you would kidney beans, but they’re also great for sweets like brownies or mochi cakes.

Use adzuki beans as a 1-to-1 substitute.

7. Borlotti Beans

Pink and white borlotti beans on a white wooden table with bean pods.

These beautiful white and pink striped beans, also known as cranberry beans, have a slightly sweet flavor similar to kidney beans. And they’re a great replacement for bean salads and soups.

Use Borlotti beans as a 1-to-1 substitute.

8. Butter Beans

Small brown bowl of white butter beans on pile of dried butter beans.

Butter beans, also known as lima beans, have a mild flavor and buttery texture. And while they’re not as sweet as kidney beans, they’re a great substitute for soups, salads like a bean salad, and stews.

Use butter beans as a 1-to-1 substitute for dishes like these.

9. Anasazi Beans

Close up of white and red Anasazi beans in a square white bowl.

These dark red and white heirloom beans are popular in Latin and Mexican cuisine. Anasazi beans have an earthy, sweet, and nutty flavor, similar to kidney beans. And they have a meat-like texture.

They’re a great replacement to use anywhere you would kidney beans, 1-to-1.

10. Garbanzo Beans

Large wooden bowl filled with garbanzo beans on a tan background.

Garbanzo beans or chickpeas are a protein-rich vegan staple. And they have a mild flavor and a creamy, slightly gritty texture like cooked potatoes.

And while they don’t have a similar texture or appearance to kidney beans, you can use them for similar dishes.

Use chickpeas to substitute for kidney beans 1-to-1 in soups, stews, chilis, and even baked bean recipes like these calico baked beans.

11. Chili Beans

Chili beans in a small sauce pot next to pot of chicken broth.

Here’s a kidney bean substitute that may save you some extra steps. Chili beans are cooked and canned beans with chili seasoning and sauce. And most products already have kidney beans or pinto beans inside.

Chili beans are naturally a great replacement for chili dishes, because they have similar ingredients, though you might need to adjust your seasonings a bit to compensate.

12. Small Red Beans

Small red beans spill from a white bowl on to folded burlap cloth.

Small red beans are a popular ingredient in Creole and Cajun recipes like red beans and rice. They’re grown in South and Central America and you can use them anywhere you would kidney beans.

Their similar color and texture make them a great replacement for soups, salads, stews, chilis, and baked beans.

Use small red beans as a 1-to-1 replacement.

13. Pink Beans

Large pile of pink beans on wooden cutting board next to herbs and spices.

Pink beans, also called Santa Maria pinquitos, are rich and meaty. And they have a slightly powdery texture. They’re called pink beans due to their light color, comparable to pinto beans.

They’re a great kidney bean replacement in baked beans, chili, soups, and stews.

Use pink beans as a 1-to-1 substitute.

14. Mung Beans

Glass bowl filled with light green mung beans on a blue kitchen towel.

These light to medium green-colored beans are a staple in Asian cuisines. Mung beans are a great antioxidant add-in for curries, salads, soups, and stews.

They don’t have a similar shape, color, or taste to kidney beans. So, they’re a great replacement for those who don’t like kidney beans.

You can use mung beans as a 1-to-1 substitute in the dishes listed above.

15. Pigeon Peas

Close up of a large pile of light green pigeon peas on tan background.

Pigeon peas are another great ingredient for curries, soups, and stews. And they’re native to the tropical regions of Asia.

They have a similar bright green to beige color to mung beans. And they’re a great source of folate.

If you don’t like kidney beans, you can use pigeon peas as a 1-to-1 substitute.

16. Lentils

6 different varieties of lentils in various colors in large round bowls.

Lentils are part of the legume family and come in a wide variety of colors. And while they’re not a great kidney bean replacement in terms of texture, size, or color, they are similarly nutrient-rich.

Lentils are a great source of potassium, and they may help relieve constipation and reduce blood sugar.

And they’re a popular ingredient in soups, curries, salads, and pasta dishes.

FAQs

Can I use lentils instead of kidney beans?

You can use lentils as a replacement for kidney beans in soups and curries. But, they’re not an ideal substitute to match the size, texture, color, or flavor.

They are, however, a nutrient-rich alternative for those who simply don’t like kidney beans or want to try something new.

Can I substitute chickpeas instead of kidney beans in chili?

Yes. Chickpeas are a great substitute for kidney beans in chili. Some chili recipes even feature chickpeas as one of the main ingredients.

And, while chickpeas don’t have a similar taste or appearance to kidney beans, their creamier texture holds up well in hearty soups and stews.

What is a good substitute for kidney beans in minestrone soup?

There are several great kidney bean substitutes for minestrone soup. These include cannellini beans (white kidney beans), small red beans, pink beans, adzuki beans, and Anasazi beans.

Recipes with Kidney Beans

Here are some easy and delicious recipes with kidney beans. Use these to try out your favorite ways to substitute for kidney beans above!

Delicious Calico Baked Beans with Ground Beef and Bacon

Baked beans with ground beef and bacon in clear casserole baking dish.

Easy Crock Pot Minestrone Soup

Minestrone soup in Crock Pot insert with shredded cheese, bread, and empty bowls nearby.

Easy Spaghetti with Chili (Cincinnati Chili)

Fork and spoon twirled around some spaghetti with chili all in green bowl.
Pinterest graphic with text and collage of ingredients used to substitute for kidney beans.
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