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Gourmet Hacks: 5 BEST Substitutes for Butter Beans

Swapping out ingredients in recipes can feel like a kitchen quiz you didn’t study for.

We’ve all been there, staring into the pantry, the butter beans glaring back accusingly because, well, you’re out.

No need to scrap your dinner plans! Finding a substitute doesn’t have to be a wild goose chase.

It’s all about getting the texture and flavor close enough to keep your dish on track.

Luckily, we’ve done the homework for you. Check out these five stellar swaps that might even become your new go-tos.

From the creamy to the surprisingly similar, these alternatives are about to save dinner.

And hey, you might just discover a new favorite in the mix.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Butter Beans

Butter beans, also known as lima beans, have a distinct creamy texture and rich flavor.

However, if you find yourself without butter beans or simply want to try different alternatives, there are several substitutes available.

In this guide, we will compare the top 5 substitutes for butter beans, discussing their key characteristics and suggesting proper ratios to ensure excellent results in your recipes.

SubstituteKey CharacteristicsProper Ratio
Navy BeansSmall, creamy texture with a mild flavorUse an equal amount of navy beans as a substitute for butter beans
Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)Nutty flavor and firm textureUse an equal amount of chickpeas as a substitute for butter beans
Cannellini BeansCreamy texture and mild, slightly nutty flavorUse an equal amount of cannellini beans as a substitute for butter beans
Great Northern BeansMild flavor and creamy textureUse an equal amount of great northern beans as a substitute for butter beans
Borlotti BeansCreamy texture with a nutty, earthy flavorUse an equal amount of borlotti beans as a substitute for butter beans

Now let’s dive into each substitute in more detail:

1 – Navy Beans

navy beans

One of the most common substitutes for butter beans is having navy beans.

The flesh of the bean is soft and mild, making them a good replacement for other beans in dishes like chili or soups.

Navy beans originate from Northern Italy and the Mediterranean region.

It’s important to note that these beans are smaller than butter beans but should be easy to find at any grocery store.

They are full of protein and dietary fiber, which can be helpful for your digestive system.

You can use them in any dish where you would like butter beans to be added.

  • Key Characteristics: Navy beans are small with a creamy texture and a mild flavor. They work well as a substitute when you want a similar texture and consistency in your dish.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of navy beans as a substitute for butter beans. Adjust the quantity based on your recipe requirements.

2 – Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

chickpeas garbanzo beans

Chickpeas are another great substitute for butter beans.

These can be used to make spreads, dips, and salads.

They are available at most grocery stores, but the best place to purchase them is from a health food store.

It’s critical to note that even though they are called garbanzos, these beans are more commonly known as chickpeas.

Chickpeas originated from the Middle East and India.

They can be purchased dried or canned.

If you want to try them fresh, you should buy them at a farmer’s market in the summer.

Chickpeas have a somewhat nutty flavor similar to butter beans, but the texture is slightly different.

This can be perfect for people who are not used to eating traditional butter beans.

  • Key Characteristics: Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, have a nutty flavor and a firm texture. They can be used as an alternative when you desire a different taste and texture in your recipe.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of chickpeas as a substitute for butter beans. Adjust the quantity based on your recipe requirements.

3 – Cannellini Beans

cannellini beans

Cannellini beans are another popular substitute for butter beans.

These beans originated from Italy and France, but they can now be found in the United States.

They have white flesh inside, similar to butternut squash or coconut milk.

It’s crucial to note that these beans are large and should not be substituted if you look at a smaller bean.

In addition, they have a stronger flavor than butter beans and may be more intense in your dish.

Cannellini beans can make salads, soups, dips, and casseroles because of their soft consistency.

They also go well in stews and other meals because the beans hold their shape.

  • Key Characteristics: Cannellini beans feature a creamy texture and a mild, slightly nutty flavor. They are an excellent option to consider when you want a creamy consistency in your dish.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of cannellini beans as a substitute for butter beans. Adjust the quantity based on your recipe requirements.

4 – Great Northern Beans

great northern beans

Another common substitute for butter beans is great northern beans.

These beans are small and round, with creamy white flesh inside.

They have an earthy flavor that can be substituted in many dishes.

It’s important to note that these beans originated from Northern Italy and were originally named after the city of Milan.

Great Northern beans can be found in many grocery stores and are available in canned and dried forms.

These beans are soft and hold their shape well.

There are tons of dishes where you can use great northern beans instead of butter beans.

They work best in recipes that call for a smaller, softer bean.

  • Key Characteristics: Great northern beans have a mild flavor and a creamy texture. They can be used effectively as a substitute when you desire a creamy consistency in your recipe.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of great northern beans as a substitute for butter beans. Adjust the quantity based on your recipe requirements.

5 – Borlotti Beans

borlotti beans

Borlotti beans are another great substitute for butter beans.

They look similar to kidney beans but smaller and have a different flavor.

These beans originate from Italy and Southern France but can now be purchased in the United States.

It’s crucial to note that these beans should be purchased dried because canned versions will not be as good.

If you are buying them dried, make sure to buy them in bulk because they can go bad if not used within a few months of purchasing them.

These beans should be cooked at least 12 hours before using them for recipes.

Once cooked, their skin can be peeled off to reveal the white flesh inside, which has a nutty taste.

Borlotti beans can be used in many dishes and are a great substitute for butter beans.

  • Key Characteristics: Borlotti beans have a creamy texture with a nutty and earthy flavor. They offer a unique taste profile as a substitute for butter beans, adding depth to your dishes.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of borlotti beans as a substitute for butter beans. Adjust the quantity based on your recipe requirements.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Butter Beans

Searching for the ideal substitutes for butter beans? Your quest ends here! We've compiled a list of the 5 best alternatives that seamlessly replace butter beans, ensuring a delightful twist to your recipes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 4 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • Navy Beans
  • Chickpeas Garbanzo Beans
  • Cannellini Beans
  • Great Northern Beans
  • Borlotti Beans

Instructions
 

  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword substitutes for butter beans
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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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