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5 Substitutes for Navy Beans – Which is the Best?

Are you searching for substitutes for navy beans? Then you are on the right platform. Here, we will discuss which bean can best replace navy beans. 

Replacing navy beans is easy because there are varieties of beans that have similarities and are easy to replace. For example, great northern beans, cannellini beans, butter beans, pinto beans, and tepary beans are good navy bean substitutes.

Not only will these beans give a mouth-watering taste to your dishes, but they also have many nutritional and health benefits.

This post will cover the five substitutes for navy beans and help you find the best suitable replacement. 

Let’s get started!

What are Navy Beans?

Navy beans, also known as pea beans or haricot beans, are cream-colored beans that contain a mild and nutty flavor. They come in both dried and canned shapes. 

These beans are easy to cook in dishes because they soak up the flavor of other elements so well. Some traditional American dishes like baked beans or bean pie also involve these beans. Many other recipes that are popular in using navy beans are:

  • Soup
  • Chili
  • Rice
  • Stews
  • Tacos
  • Pasta
  • Salads
  • Burgers

Besides that, navy beans are also beneficial for health since they contain a rich source of fiber and other nutrients like magnesium, potassium, zinc, and many more.

Best Substitutes for Navy Beans 

When you are cooking a recipe that requires navy beans but you have none available, then you don’t need to stress out. Few other beans that are similar to navy beans, provide the same texture and flavor.  

Let’s dig into the flavor profiles of each bean to help you decide the best fit for your recipe.

1. Great Northern Beans

great northern beans substitute for navy beans

Great Northern beans are considered the best and closest substitute for navy beans because of many similarities. The only difference is that these beans are larger than navy beans.

Although, great northern beans deliver the same flavor and texture as navy beans. You can add a similar quantity to a navy bean recipe.   

Great northern beans are popular in northern dishes more as they bloom in frost climates. Furthermore, they are also high in protein, minerals, and vitamins. So, using these as a substitute will also get you the same nutritional and health advantages.

2. Cannellini Beans

Cannellini Beans substitute

Cannellini beans, better known as white kidney beans, are another closest substitute for navy beans. The earthy and mild flavor makes it a good alternative, even though these beans are less delicate in texture and more fluffy when cooked in a navy beans recipe.

These beans are popular in soups, stews, chili, and salads. Add the same amount as navy beans, and there are high chances that you will get the same and best results.

Also, cannellini beans are popular in Italy, specifically for traditional Italian stews like minestrone, ribollita, fagioli e cotiche, fagioli e castagne and many more  

Note: Cannellini beans lock up their shape very well when cooked, so this might not be a good option if you want to use it in dips or fillings.  

3. Butter Beans

butter beans substitute

Butter beans are a kind of small white beans, sometimes called lima beans, too, because they are the same in variety. This bean creates a mild and creamy-colored flavor to your dish. 

When replacing butter beans with navy beans in soups, salads, caressoles, dips, or gratin, you will get the same savory and velvety texture after they are cooked. One thing to note is that butter beans may affect your dish’s final texture since they are slightly starchy.

It is necessary to keep in mind that you must use a similar quantity of butter beans for navy beans when cooking.

4. Pinto Beans

pinto beans substitute for navy beans

Pinto beans are also a great substitute for navy beans. This bean comes in a larger shape with brown color and provides a savory, mild, and nutty flavor to the dish. 

The soft and creamy texture it creates is the best for dips and fillings. You may add pinto beans to soups, stews, or salads. The way pinto beans absorb the flavor of other ingredients in any dish makes them a good substitute for navy beans. 

Note: Pinto beans are a bit stronger in flavor than navy beans, so you may have to reduce the number of pinto beans.

5. Tepary Beans

Tepary Beans substitute for navy beans

Are you looking for a substitute with a touch of sweetness? Tepary beans are the right option for you. Tepary beans deliver a mild, nutty, and slightly sweet taste. The creamier and softer texture this bean creates is amazingly delicious, especially for those who like light stuff.

You can add tepary beans to dishes like stews, creamy soups, salads, caressoles, and many more.

The change in flavor can become an issue. However, you can still substitute tepary beans for nutritional benefits since they are high in protein and contain calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and many more. It is important to maintain a rich nutritious diet.


The above list of beans is considered the great navy beans alternatives when you do not have them available because of the same mild and nutty flavor and the soft, creamy texture.

After going through all the substitutes, you can decide which is best for your dish. These beans do not only replace navy beans but are amazing to use in your recipes anyway. 

Try to make some amazing new dishes with beans and enjoy!

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