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Gourmet Hacks: 5 BEST Substitutes for Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are a classic and delicious staple food.

They can be cooked with onions, spices, and sometimes potatoes for a hearty meal or used as the starch in certain Mexican dishes such as tacos or enchiladas.

If you’re cooking pinto beans, you have probably noticed a distinctive flavor.

It may not be bad – in fact, some people love the taste of pinto beans and eat them with every meal.

Although many people love this distinctive taste, it is by no means for everyone.

If you’re looking for something different and perhaps more flavorful than pinto beans, then this article is for you.

Read on to discover five of my favorite alternatives to pinto beans.

What are Pinto Beans?

what are pinto beans

A pinto bean is a common type of kidney bean.

It has several other names, including papaloquelite and Peruano beans, but pinto beans are the most popular names.

Originating in the Americas, pinto beans are now grown around the world.

They are often eaten when dried, but alternatively can be eaten when green.

Since the pinto beans are not classified together, many types of pinto beans originate in different countries.

Some include large white, Brazilian red, Italian flat, Venezuelan yellow, and Spanish brown beans.

The largest producers of pinto beans are located in Brazil, Peru, and China.

Pinto beans are generally well-suited to being cooked.

They are commonly consumed in the Americas, Africa, Mexico, and China.

Usually, when preparing pinto beans, they are recommended to be soaked overnight before cooking them to reduce cooking time once boiling commences.

Pinto beans can also be fried for a crispy texture or combined with rice or pasta.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pinto Beans

If you do not like the taste of pinto beans or cannot eat them for some reason, then you can try these alternatives as a replacement:

SubstituteKey CharacteristicsSubstitute Ratio
ChickpeasNutty and creamy legume with a slightly earthy flavorUse as a 1:1 substitution for pinto beans
Navy BeansSmall white bean with a mild flavor and creamy textureUse as a 1:1 substitution for pinto beans
White BeansCreamy and tender beans with a mild flavorUse as a 1:1 substitution for pinto beans
Cannellini BeansLarge, creamy Italian beans with a delicate flavorUse as a 1:1 substitution for pinto beans
Black BeansRich and meaty beans with a slightly sweet flavor and firmer textureUse as a 1:1 substitution for pinto beans

When looking for substitutes for pinto beans to enhance your recipes, consider the following options:

1 – Chickpeas


Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a tasty and healthy alternative to pinto beans.

These legumes originated in the Middle East.

Since then, they have been traded all around the world for centuries.

It is believed that the ancient Egyptians were the first to cultivate these bright yellow peas.

In terms of taste, they are earthy and nutty in flavor.

They also contain a flesh color similar to pinto beans.

It’s crucial to note that the taste of chickpeas may be quite bland on its own, which is why it’s important to add exciting flavors to your dishes when cooking with them.

Chickpeas can be a good replacement for pinto beans in various dishes, including salads and soups.

2 – Navy Beans

navy beans

Navy beans are a type of white bean that originated on Northern Europe’s coasts.

This is likely where they got their name, as ‘nave’ means ship in French.

In addition, sailors have long used beans as an important energy source while on board.

This white bean is related to the Great Northern Bean and haricot bean, found in other parts of the world.

It’s critical to note that these beans are smaller than pinto and kidney beans.

When cooked, they also tend to break down more than other beans.

It’s crucial to note that Navy beans are often found in baked beans, soups, and stews.

You can also try using navy beans to replace pinto beans in dishes like chili con carne or refried beans.

3 – White Beans

white beans

White beans refer to any bean which is pale in color.

They are grown widely worldwide, but their popularity has waned in some regions over time.

This is because white beans contain some vital nutrients, making them very healthy.

White beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber and several key vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, iron, and zinc.

In particular, they also contain a significant amount of folate, which is vital for pregnant women as it reduces the risk of neural tube defects.

One variety of white beans is the Great Northern Bean.

This particular type is extremely popular in Central Europe and was first cultivated by the ancient Romans.

In addition, this bean has a nutty texture and taste once cooked.

4 – Cannellini Beans

cannellini beans

Cannellini beans are another type of white bean which originated in Italy.

In particular, the bean received its name from a city called Canelli in northern Piedmont.

It’s critical to note that the beans became popular across Europe and America during the sixteenth century.

In terms of taste, these white beans are rather flavorless on their own.

However, when combined with various spices, they can take on exciting flavors such as garlic.

Cannellini beans are often used to make salads and soups.

They can also be added to chili con carne or beef stew for a tasty twist at the end of cooking.

They also go well with popular Italian ingredients such as tomatoes, basil, and olive oil.

Many dishes made with cannellini beans also have a similar appearance to pinto beans.

5 – Black Beans

black beans

Black beans are native to Mexico and Central America but are now grown worldwide.

Spanish explorers brought them over in the late sixteenth century.

They are often added to Mexican dishes, such as tacos or burritos, but they can also be used in various other cuisines.

Black beans have a dark color and a rich, creamy texture which can be addictive.

These beans also go well with hot spices such as chili and cayenne pepper.

They can take on exciting flavors when combined with these spices, resulting in spicy and flavorful dishes.

You can often find black beans in Mexican soups like tortilla soup or pozole, as well as casseroles and salads.

Black beans can also make a range of interesting side dishes or dips.


Pinto beans are an important ingredient in many cuisines around the world.

However, finding substitutes with the same texture and taste can be difficult.

Fortunately, there are a variety of beans that can be used as pinto bean replacements instead.

These include navy beans, white beans, cannellini beans, and black beans.

Try experimenting with these ingredients to create a tasty dish with a new taste.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pinto Beans

Searching for the perfect substitutes for pinto beans? Your quest ends here! We've compiled a list of the 5 best alternatives that seamlessly replace pinto beans, ensuring your recipes maintain their rich flavor and texture.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 4 Servings


  • Chickpeas
  • Navy Beans
  • White Beans
  • Cannellini Beans
  • Black Beans


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword substitutes for pinto beans
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