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Best Navy Bean Substitute Options

Navy beans are very versatile to use in recipes. They are delicious, easy to cook, and staples in many dishes. Are you looking for the perfect navy bean substitute?

Today’s food guide is all about this versatile bean, it’s flavor, and its best alternatives.

Wooden dish filled with uncooked navy beans.

What Are Navy Beans?

Navy beans, also known as haricot beans. They are small-sized beans with an off-white color. These beans got their name from being a staple meal in the US Navy. They offer a mild flavor with a hint of nuttiness after each bite.

These beans are a go-to ingredient thanks to their creamy texture. They add structure to soups, stews, and chili. Plus, you can add these beans to flavor pasta and bread or pair them with rice.

Navy beans are essential ingredients in baked beans. Baked beans consist of boiled navy beans in sauce. Serve it on top of toast, roasted tomatoes, and scrambled eggs.

These beans are also a popular ingredient in vegan recipes. Their texture is perfect for making bean burgers or vegan tacos.

Best Navy Beans Substitutes for Any Recipes

Navy beans are available in most supermarkets. But if you are short on stock, there are many alternatives you can use.

Here’s a complete list of every navy beans substitute that you’ll find in the grocery stores or in your pantry.

1. Great Northern Beans

Great Northern beans are the perfect navy bean substitute. Unlike navy beans, they are slightly bigger and have a distinct nutty flavor. Great Northern beans are also chewier and bolder in texture compared to navy beans.

They make an excellent substitute for navy beans in the recipe. When cooking, we recommend following a 1:1 ratio. Due to their larger size, you’ll need to cook Great Northern beans longer to soften them.

2. Cannellini Beans

Cannellini beans are also one of the best navy bean substitutes. These beans are also called Fazioli beans and have a kidney shape. Compared to other beans, cannellini beans have a fluffier texture.

When it comes to taste, cannellini beans taste similar to navy beans. They have the same mild, nutty, and creamy flavors.

Cannellini beans taste excellent in salads, soups, or dips. You can also use cannellini beans for refried beans or baked beans. As a substitute, use 1 cup of cannellini beans for 1 cup of navy beans.

2. Butter Beans

Butter beans are an excellent substitute for navy beans. They have the same off-white or creamy color, so it won’t affect the overall color of your dish. True to their name, butter beans have a rich, savory, and buttery flavor when cooked.

Butter beans have a velvety texture, making them perfect for mashed or stew recipes. When replacing navy beans, use 1 cup of butter beans for each cup of beans in the dish.

3. White Tepary Beans

White tepary beans, also called white beans, make great navy bean substitute. These white beans are a key ingredient in Mexican cuisine. They have a subtle yet sweet and meaty flavor suitable for purees and mashing.

When using these white beans as a replacement for navy beans, we recommend using a 1:1 ratio. Cooked white tepary beans have a soft and mushy texture. You can also use them as an alternative to boiled potatoes.

4. Flageolet Beans

Flageolet beans are more prevalent in France and Europe, but they can be a substitute for navy beans. These beans are tiny compared to navy beans and have a pale green color. Contrary to being a staple, flageolet beans are more like a delicacy, like caviar.

Due to their small size, these beans are easy to cook and have a mild and creamy flavor. They are typically pureed and used in sauces, stews, or dips. Use a cup of flageolet beans to replace a cup of navy beans.

5. Red Kidney Beans

Red kidney beans are another option for navy beans in recipes. These red beans are popular in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisines. Unlike navy beans, they have red coats that may affect the color of the dish. They also have a smooth, creamy texture that tastes delicious in soups.

When it comes to flavor, these kidney beans have a sweet and meaty taste that works well in chili and stews. As an alternative, use 1 cup of red kidney beans for navy beans in recipes.

6. Black Beans

Black beans are another popular substitute for navy beans. Contrary to their name, black beans are legumes. When cooked, they are soft, chewy, and have a slightly sweet flavor. Remember, though, that the color of the beans may affect the finished dish.

Black beans are perfect substitutes for navy beans in vegan recipes, dips, or salads. In recipes, you can also use 1 cup of black beans for each cup of navy beans.

7. Pinto Beans

Pinto beans also make excellent alternatives to navy beans. Also known as “painted beans,” these beans are a staple in Mexican cuisine. They have nutty, earthy, and creamy flavors.

Pinto beans taste delicious in place of navy beans in soups and stews. Due to their mild flavor, they take on the flavors of other ingredients. As a substitute, you can follow a 1:1 ratio for navy beans.

8. Mayocoba Beans

Mayocoba beans, also called Mexican yellow beans, are another option for navy beans. Their name comes from their light yellow coats. These yellow beans have a subtle flavor with hints of nutty and earthy tastes.

These yellow beans are perfect for adding structure to chili and hot soups. You can also use them in taco fillings and refried beans. To use as a substitute, you’ll need 1 cup of yellow beans instead of navy beans.

9. Tepary Beans

Tepary beans are one of the most versatile substitutes for navy beans. Compared to navy beans, tepary beans are distinctly nuttier and sweeter. But they work well as alternatives if you don’t mind the flavor. The best part about tepary beans is that they come in flour form.

You can use these beans in pastries, desserts, or other baked goods. You’ll need 1 cup of tepary beans when making puree, pates, or dips.

10. Lentils

Lentils are another common alternative for navy beans. They have similar flavors and textures as navy beans. Plus, they won’t affect the color of the dish since they come in varying colors.

Lentils taste excellent in salads, stews, or casseroles. Feel free to use a 1:1 ratio when replacing navy beans.

11. Runner Beans

Runner beans are South American beans that you can use to replace navy beans. They come in long thin green pods and are often cooked while still inside the pods. They are delicious and offer a crunchy texture compared to creamy navy beans.

Runner beans are a delicious addition to stir-fries, savory dishes, or salads. You’d find these beans sold in pods. We recommend adjusting the measurements to your preference.

12. White Kidney Bean

White kidney beans are excellent substitutes for navy beans. Although bigger than kidney beans, they have the same flavors and textures. It’s a good alternative since it’s an everyday pantry staple.

You’ll need 1 cup of white kidney beans to substitute for navy beans. They take longer to cook due to their size, so we recommend letting them boil longer.

13. Fava Beans

Fava beans are a unique replacement for navy beans. They have an aroma similar to cheese and have sweet, nutty, and bitter flavors. Fava beans are staples in Middle Eastern cuisines.

When replacing navy beans in recipes, we recommend cooking them first. You can follow a 1:1 ratio for fava beans.

14. Pigeon Peas

Pigeon peas are a quick alternative to navy beans in dishes. Although called peas, pigeon peas are beans. These beans have a distinct nutty flavor and starchy texture.

They work great in any recipe which requires navy beans. We recommend using 1 cup of pigeon peas for 1 cup of navy beans.

15. Lima Beans

Lima beans are also an easy substitute for navy beans if you’re in a pinch. Also known as butter beans, lima beans have the same buttery and sweet flavors. They also have a smooth velvety texture when cooked.

Feel free to use lima beans as you would with navy beans in any dish. Remember that overcooking these beans can lead to a bitter flavor.

16. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are common in supermarkets and quick substitutes for navy beans. They’re a favorite ingredient of many cooks because of their versatility. Chickpeas have a mild, sweet, and nutty flavor like cannellini beans.

They taste delicious in salads, meats, or seafood. You can also eat them with olive oil, lemon juice, and spices. You can also use them in place of navy beans in any recipe.

17. Green Peas

Green peas are also one of the most accessible substitutes for navy beans. Since they’re so common, you won’t have trouble finding this one for your dish. They have a starchy texture but a sweet taste.

Green beans cook quickly, so there’s no need to soak them overnight. If you’re going to use it as a substitute, use a cup of green peas for each cup of navy beans.

How To Store Navy Beans

Keep raw and uncooked navy beans in an airtight container and away from exposure. Navy beans last for two to three years in the pantry as long as stored correctly.

Opened canned navy beans last up to five days in the fridge.


Navy beans are white beans commonly used in baked and refried beans. They are delicious with sweet, nutty, and creamy undertones. They also have a smooth texture that’s perfect for purees, mash, or soups.

The best navy beans substitute either Great Northern beans or cannellini beans. Green peas and chickpeas also work if you’re short on time. To substitute, we recommend using a 1:1 ratio for navy beans in almost any recipe.

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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