What Are Great Northern Beans?

With great northern beans frequenting the grocery store shelves, you might wonder: What are great northern beans? Great northern beans are a variety to keep stock of in your pantry. And due to their mild flavors, they can complement nearly any dish.

But how do you tell great northern beans from the assortment of beans available in stores? Well, here is a breakdown of everything you need to know.

What Are Great Northern Beans?

Great northern beans are a type of white bean native to North America. They get their name from what is now North Dakota, where they were grown for centuries. But, they’re commonly produced in Latin America and the United States.

These beans have a subtle flavor and are somewhat smaller than cannellini beans, but they’re larger than navy beans. Their even cream color is one of the distinguishing features of great northern beans. 

They have a somewhat smooth texture that’s irresistible. But when cooked, they become fluffy and soft with a mild, nutty flavor that pairs exceptionally well with various dishes. Their flattened, oval shape with thin skin also makes them incredibly versatile.

Common Uses For Great Northern Beans

Great northern beans are a good option as a side dish or paired with other ingredients as part of the main dish. Of course, it’s possible to enjoy them all on their own, topped with butter or spices. 

And if you want to make homemade cornbread, you can add great northern beans to the mix for a mild, sweet flavor. You can also puree the beans to make a flavorful dip for your snacks. 

If you enjoy a warm bean soup, you can substitute great northern beans for any bean in soups. You can also enjoy them with pork or chicken seasoned with sage, thyme, salt, and pepper. But it’s critical that you wash them before cooking. 

Nutritional Benefits Of Great Northern Beans

Great northern beans are packed with protein and fiber. Beyond the fiber, great northern beans also provide calcium, zinc, and selenium. 

In addition, if you need a boost of potassium and iron, great northern beans are a great addition. Not to mention, they are made up of complex carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are categorized as good for you because they leave you fuller for longer.

Additionally, they also contain significant amounts of Vitamin B and B-6. And you’ll benefit from the folate in them. Another upside is that they have a lower fat concentration. Great northern beans also contain traces of phosphorus. 


At first glance, great northern beans have plenty of overlapping qualities with other beans. But they’re small, cream-colored, and mild-tasting. They also have other unique nutritional benefits. Therefore, it’s essential to answer the question, “What are great northern beans?” to ensure you can tell them apart from other beans.

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