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Savory Tweaks: 5 BEST Navy Beans Substitutes

Are you feeling drained of recipes after using navy beans again and again? Don’t fret.

Here we bring you five of the best substitutes for navy beans.

We will share with you the best ingredients to add to your meals and make something extraordinary out of ordinary ingredients.

So, let us get started and surprise your tastebuds.

What’s Navy Bean?

Navy beans, sometimes referred to as white beans, are a type of small, white bean native to the Mediterranean region.

They are widely used in cooking and baking, most notably for making traditional and creamy baked beans.

Navy beans have a mild flavor with a slightly nutty taste, which makes them great for soups, stews and casseroles.

They have a firm texture and retain their shape even after being cooked.

These legumes are an excellent source of dietary fiber and they pack plenty of protein into every serving.

Navy beans are also high in iron, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc.

When cooked properly they can be very delicious.

Navy bean recipes range from savory to sweet dishes.

One of the best ways to enjoy these legumes is by boiling them and then adding seasonings such as garlic powder or onion flakes — this gives them a really flavorful kick.

Soups and stews made with navy beans also tend to be incredibly hearty; this is why they make such an excellent comfort food during cold winter months.

To prepare navy beans for cooking it is important to sort through the dry beans for any tiny pebbles that may be present before rinsing them thoroughly with cool water.

Once the navy beans are washed it’s time for soaking or simply cooking the dry beans using one of two methods: stove-top simmering or pressure-cooking (using either an electric pressure cooker or stove-top pressure cooker).

After soaking overnight (for 12 hours) or rapid soaking by boiling on the stove-top method (for 1 hour), you can cook your navy bean dish according to its recipe requirements — stove-top simmering until tender or pressure cooking according to your manual’s instructions.

5 Best Navy Beans Substitutes to Consider

They are particularly popular in dishes such as Boston baked beans and chili, but they can be used in many other types of dishes.

If you don’t have any navy beans on hand or can’t find them at your local store, here are some great substitutes to consider:

1 – Great Northern Beans

Great Northern beans are a type of white, mild-flavored bean that are widely used.

They are oval in shape and have a slightly earthy flavor.

Like navy beans, they’re also low in fat and high in dietary fiber.

The beans can be used interchangeably with navy beans, but you should use double the amount of the substitution to get the same texture.

For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of navy beans, use 2 cups of great Northern beans instead.

They lend themselves well to recipes that call for baked bean dishes or soups with a creamy texture.

2 – Cannellini Beans

Cannellini beans are a white, Italian-style bean that has a creamy texture and mild flavor.

They are similar in size and shape to navy beans, with a slightly larger diameter.

Cannellini beans have fewer calories than navy beans but contain the same amount of protein.

They can be used interchangeably with navy beans, though they may require a longer cooking time.

Handle them with care as they are easily damaged in cooking.

A great substitute for navy beans in soups, stews and salads as well as side dishes such as baked beans or succotash.

3 – Kidney Beans

Kidney beans are arguably the best substitute for navy beans.

They are similar in texture and shape, and come in varieties of both red and white.

Red kidney beans, also known as pink beans, have a robust flavor that lends itself well to many recipes that call for navy beans.

These can be used in soups, stews, chilis and other dishes that require long cooking times.

White kidney beans, or cannellini beans, have a milder flavor than the red variety but still adds a great texture and is perfect for recipes like salads or rice dishes where the color is important.

4 – Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are a popular substitute for navy beans.

These mild, earthy flavored beans are light brown with reddish-brown splotches and can be purchased in their dried form or already cooked in cans.

Pinto beans are also rich in dietary fiber and have an impressive nutrient profile.

They can be used to make chili, burritos, refried beans, falafel, veggie burgers and more.

Additionally, they can easily replace navy beans in almost any recipe and will add a slightly different flavor to the dish.

5 – Chickpeas

Chickpeas are a great substitute for navy beans and have a similar flavor and texture.

Also known as garbanzo beans, they have a nutty, earthy flavor profile and a creamy texture when cooked.

They are often used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes such as falafel, hummus or soups.

To use them as a navy bean substitute, be sure to soak them overnight before cooking them.

Because chickpeas take longer to cook than navy beans, you may need to increase the amount of liquid used in your recipe if you are substituting with chickpeas.


In conclusion, when it comes to finding a substitute for navy beans, you have options.

While most grocery stores won’t carry navy beans, with some research and forethought, you can easily find a substitute that will work in your recipe.

From cranberry and cannellini beans to black eyed peas and lima beans, any of these alternates can be swapped with navy beans to give your dish the same nutty flavor and hearty texture.

Be sure to keep in mind the differences between navy bean substitutes so that you can determine the right substitution for your dish.

5 Best Navy Beans Substitutes to Consider

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes


  • 1 – Great Northern Beans
  • 2 – Cannellini Beans
  • 3 – Kidney Beans
  • 4 – Pinto Beans
  • 5 – Chickpeas


  • Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  • Organize all of your ingredients.
  • Use the proper substitute to cook your recipes.
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