Substitute For Pinto Beans

Substitute For Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are so popular that you would have tasted them at some point in your life. While their origins lie in America, they have loved the world over. These are kidney beans that are often the staple food in a few regions and countries. They have a massive fan following due to their looks, their earthy sweet taste, the richness they provide to any recipe, and their high nutrition content. Pinto beans are like a meal in themselves and thus complement the nutrition content of any recipe they are used in. They taste exquisite when cooked in any manner, especially when combined with onions, tomatoes, and spices in Mexican preparations like enchiladas, tacos, etc. They are available in green, dried, cooked, and canned forms. The varieties grown all over the globe differ in color and taste. Pinto beans can be found in red, yellow, or brown colors.

Usually, the recipe that includes pinto beans can also accommodate other varieties of beans. Therefore, if you are looking to replace pinto beans to alter the taste, experiment a bit or give your own, or give your twist to the recipe, you will need a substitute that closely resembles pinto beans’ soft mushy texture. You can also use substitutes if you are suddenly out of pinto beans but want to prepare a recipe. Let us look at some of the best substitutes for pinto beans.

pinto beans
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Fresh or Canned Pinto Beans

The best choice would be to settle for some other form of pinto beans as an exact substitute. Get canned ones if fresh ones are not available and vice versa. This will ensure the same taste and flavor.

Black Beans

If you are ok with a different color for the preparation, you can consider using black beans. These beans originate from Central and South America and find great use in Mexican and Latin cuisines like pozole, tacos, casseroles, tortilla soups, enchiladas, burritos, etc. Apart from the rich color and texture, they also have a rich flavor that special exceptionally spices and chilies, giving you exciting flavors. They are an excellent fit for salads, soups, and stews. They give an altogether different look to the preparation.

Of all the beans we discuss here, black beans are the best replacefores to texture, taste, and size.


If the nutrition content and the rich flavor are essential, you must substitute pinto beans with chickpeas. Chickpeas are also called garbanzo beans and are an extremely healthy source of protein and all other nutrition. Nutritionists swear by chickpeas and their rich flavor and texture. While they were initially cultivated in the Middle East countries, they are now grown and easily available all over the world. They exhibit the same slightly sweet, earthy, and nutty flavors as pinto beans. However, chickpeas have a subtler flavor, and you will need to compensate by adding more spices.

Navy Beans

Navy beans are another excellent choice considering taste, texture, and nutrients. Popular among sailors, that’s how they got their name. Though smaller in size, they can be easily substituted in the same measure of weight; however, they tend to break down and become soupy quickly on cooking. This is also the reason why they are popularly used in soups, stews, and other gravy-based preparations, where they mix very well with the ingredients.

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Kidney Beans

While kidney beans are much larger and with a red color, they are similar in texture and taste. If kidney beans are well cooked, you will not notice the difference apart from the color change. Kidney beans have a thick and tough exterior and require longer cooking over a simmering heat for a few hours. These beans are a great fit as a substitute in Mexican preparations. When well cooked, they go well with soups, stews, and other semi-liquid preparations. Kidney beans are also available in white and pink colors and are usually softer and less tough than the red-colored ones.

Cannellini Beans

Cannelli beans are often termed white kidney beans as they closely resemble kidney beans in shape and size. These are extremely popular in Italian cuisines, and so you can easily replace them in preparations like soups, stews, salads, pasta, and more. They are larger and tougher than pinto beans and need longer soaking before cooking; you will not get the right texture and taste.

Final Words

Pinto beans are quite popular in many cuisines. A close substitute will be from the beans or legumes family to ensure a similar texture and flavor. You can try working with various options we suggested ensuring a tasty dish with a new flavor. They will blend well with any recipe and cuisine, giving the perfect flavor with a slightly different texture and taste.

Jillian Noon

Hi, I am Jillian Noon, the owner of this beautiful cooking blog. I create this blog to share my passion for cooking and other kitchen & food tips. I hope you will enjoy it!

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