Substitute for Great Northern Beans

Beans are an essential part of cooking, and Great Northern Beans are one of the best. They are typically the most popular choice because of their mild flavor and creamy texture when cooked. In this article, you can find the best great northern beans substitute for any situation.

Great northern beans tend to be harder than most beans, be it dried or canned. This means they require soaking in water for hours before cooking to be soft enough to be eaten. Even after soaking, great northern beans typically take up to an hour to boil properly and obtain their mild, nutty flavor. Once cooked they stay white and look plump and shiny. You can use the mighty great northern bean in anything from stews and chilis to soups and salads.

These protein-packed beans may not be available in more tropical regions, so what happens when a recipe calls for these beans and it’s unavailable? Are there options that are similar and can easily be substituted for them?

Check out some of the best alternatives to great northern beans in this article.

Great Northern Beans Substitutes

1. Cannellini Beans

Cannellini Beans are white kidney-shaped beans that are used in Italian cuisine. They are available in Europe and are used in soups and salads. They have a hard exterior and should be soaked through the night before cooking.

When looking for a fantastic substitute for great northern beans, Cannellini beans are perfect. Cannellini beans offer a similar nutty flavor but are slightly bigger than great northern beans and have a smooth, creamy texture. They have a subtle flavor and readily accept flavors from other ingredients in a dish. 

2. Navy Beans

Navy Beans are also called pea beans and are native to North America. They are smaller than most white beans and are primarily used in baked beans recipes. They have a mild flavor and are a huge source of fiber. Their low sodium content makes it go well in soy and salads, especially for people with high blood pressure.

They have a similar texture and mild flavor to Great northern beans, making them a great substitute. Although it has a hard exterior, navy beans cook faster than great northern beans, so it does not need much cooking time. It is a quicker replacement in recipes, especially when there is no time. 

3. Pinto Beans

Pinto Beans are a variety of common beans. They are popular in Mexico and feature heavily in Mexican cuisine due to their intense flavors. And they are nutrient-dense legume and contains many essential nutrients like protein, phosphorus, dietary fiber, and protein. They need to be soaked to reduce cooking time as it takes a lot of time to cook properly. 

The pinto bean is an excellent substitute for great northern beans with its white color and round shape. They have a more robust flavor than great northern beans and are used in chili recipes. Pinto beans are versatile and can be used to make salads and dips.

4. Black-eyed Peas

Black-eyed peas are a variety of cowpea grown for their edible bean. It is white with a black spot that looks like an eye, earning its name. It features in North African, Middle Eastern, Caribbean, and West African dishes. It has a high level of dietary fiber and minerals, making them a healthy ingredient in dishes. 

These popular beans are a good substitute for great northern beans because of their availability and ease of cooking.

Black-eyed peas also have a mild flavor and nutty taste similar to great northern beans. They are also great for everyone as it is nutrient-dense and pose no risk for people with dietary restrictions. 

5. Black Beans

Black Beans, or Black Turtle Beans, is a variety of the common bean popular in Latin cuisine. This bean is small, shiny, and black, with a hard outer “shell” earning the “turtle” in its name. It is a healthy legume with its numerous nutrients and minimal fat. This nutritional bean contains more protein per gram than beef and is a great source of antioxidants and fiber.

The protein-rich black bean acts as an ideal substitute for great northern beans. It has a smooth texture and mild flavors like great northern beans. In terms of color, there is a big difference because of the darkness of the black bean. But black beans can easily stand in for great northern beans in dishes like bean salads, burritos, chili, soups, etc.


Unlike other ingredients like spices and herbs, beans are pretty easy to replace in dishes. There are so many bean alternatives, and this article highlights that you can easily find a substitute for great northern beans. The substitutions listed above have mild flavors, similar textures, and the ability to soak up flavors of other ingredients. They also have similar cooking times, which makes them all excellent substitutes.

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