Best Substitutes for Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are medium-sized legumes that are dark in color while raw but lighten when cooked. They have a creamy, smooth flavor that goes well with a variety of tastes.

While pintos are popular, they are not the only bean available. If you want to create a dish that asks for pinto beans but don’t have any, you may substitute a variety of different beans.

Black beans, navy beans, kidney beans, great northern beans, and black turtle beans are the top five pinto bean alternatives.

1. Black Beans: The Most Faithful Pinto Beans Replacement

In terms of flavor, texture, and size, black beans are extremely similar to pinto beans. If you like pinto beans but don’t have any on hand, these are the finest option.

Each bean is black with a white patch on top known as a keel. They are oval in form and range in size from medium to tiny, making the typical black bean somewhat smaller than the average pinto bean.

If you’re going from pinto to black beans, you don’t need to change the recipe much. Dry black beans should be cooked for a bit longer than dry pinto beans since they are susceptible to undercook.

Black beans offer a few nutritional advantages over pinto beans. They contain higher levels of antioxidants, fiber, and protein. They also have reduced cholesterol levels.

Potential drawbacks: If you’re making a meal that demands a certain appearance, the deeper hue may be a concern.

In a blind tasting test, black beans are the most likely to prevail over pinto bean replacements.

2. Navy Beans: Smaller, but Packed with Similar Flavor

Navy beans are coming next. You may have had them and not even realized it. They are the ingredient in Boston Baked Beans.

Navy beans have a comparable texture to pinto beans despite being smaller (they are the smallest beans on our list). The two beans have a similar flavor. Both have a creamy, mild taste, with the navy bean being somewhat milder than the pinto.

Navy beans may be used in place of pinto beans if they aren’t the main taste of the recipe. They’re ideal for casseroles, Mexican meals, and other dishes with a lot of components.

Would you want to create refried beans? Navy beans are the most mashable pinto bean replacement. Remember that refried navy beans are white, so they won’t be the hue you’re accustomed to seeing in pinto bean meals.

Navy bean cooking is pretty similar to pinto bean cooking. They soften similarly to heat, so you typically don’t need to change the time of any dish.

Verdict: Navy beans are the finest option for refried beans and in dishes where pinto beans provide mild to moderate flavor touches.

3. Kidney Beans: A Pinto Beans Alternative for Many Specific Dishes

Kidney beans may seem to be a poor substitute for pinto beans at first look due to their greater size and dark red hue.

They are, nonetheless, comparable in flavor and texture. Kidney beans have thicker skin than pinto beans, although the distinction is frequently subtle, particularly if the meal has been cooked or simmered for many hours.

In many Mexican cuisines, kidney beans and pinto beans are used interchangeably. You may substitute them in tacos, casseroles, and refried beans with no discernible change.

They’re also great in semi-liquid meals like chili, soup, and stew. In thicker chilis, many people prefer the bigger kidney since the smaller pinto may get lost amid the meats and cheeses.

However, their great size is a possible disadvantage, as they may overpower a dish when used as a main element.

Kidney beans and pinto beans are nutritionally comparable in that they contain about equal quantities of protein, magnesium, potassium, and iron.

Kidney beans are an excellent substitute for liquid-based dishes such as gumbo, soup, masala, stew, and chili. They’re also one of the most popular Mexican food subs.

4. Great Northern Beans: A Nutritious Substitute Used for Cooking

Great Northern Beans have a similar form and feel to pinto beans, but the Great Northern’s distinctive white hue distinguishes it. (However, don’t be fooled by the name; these beans are considerably smaller than pintos.)

Because of their thin skin and mild tastes, they perform particularly well in soup. They’re also a wonderful option for any slow-cooker recipes.

Great Northern beans may be found in a variety of ham-centric meals. When a dish calls for ham and beans, the Great Northern bean is frequently in consideration.

If you’re in a rush, Great Northern beans are the way to go since they cook in roughly half the time that pinto beans do. They get tougher more quickly than pintos, so you may need to salt them after cooking.

Finally, Great Northern beans outperform pinto beans in terms of nutrients. They include more protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.

While not a straight replacement for pinto beans as a side dish, Great Northern beans pair nicely with vegetables, meats, and savory components.

5. Black Turtle Beans: A Sweeter, Earthier Taste Option

Although not as well-known as the other options, black turtle beans are a good replacement for pinto beans.

They taste sweet and flavorful, with a trace of earthiness. Their texture is delicate, allowing for simple mashing.

They’re popular in Mexican and Caribbean cuisine. They may be used in burritos, enchiladas, quinoa chili, black bean soup, and other dishes.

You should allow yourself some more time in the kitchen. Black turtle beans cook more slowly than pintos.

A bean’s hue influences its antioxidant capability. Black turtle beans contain the greatest amount of antioxidant chemicals since they are the darkest form of bean.

While they have a similar texture and size, black turtle beans do not have an identical flavor, thus utilizing them as a recipe substitute is a matter of personal opinion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some brief answers to frequently asked questions concerning pinto bean substitutes:

What are the Best Substitutes for Pinto Beans?

If you want the most direct comparison, use black beans (not black turtle beans, which are a distinct species). Black beans are similar to pinto beans in size, shape, texture, and flavor.The primary distinction between the two categories is color.

Are Pinto Beans and Kidney Beans the Same Thing?

They’re not. Kidney beans have a thicker skin and a greater size. They are also red, while pinto beans are brown or tan in color.

Despite their differences, kidney beans are a popular and efficient replacement for pinto beans. Both are often used in Mexican dishes such as chilis and casseroles.

Are Cannellini Beans the Same as Pinto Beans?

They aren’t. Cannellini beans are sometimes known as white kidney beans. They’re often seen in Italian cuisine like minestrone soup and Mexican foods like burritos.

Interestingly, while cannellini beans are more difficult to get in supermarkets, pinto beans are a popular replacement.

Can I Substitute Pinto Beans for Black Beans?

You certainly can. Bean replacements work both ways. If your recipe asks for black beans and you don’t have any on hand, pinto beans are the next best thing.

It is worth noting that black beans have less cholesterol than pinto beans. If you have high cholesterol, you may not want to make a permanent move from black beans to pinto beans in your diet.

What Do Pinto Beans Taste Like?

Many people believe that pinto beans have the right amount of flavor—not too much, but just enough to detect. Their flavor is earthy, creamy, and rich, but not overpowering.

Pinto beans go well with a variety of meals, including meats, spicy sauces, vegetables, and cheeses.


While no other bean tastes exactly like a pinto bean, many others come close in many respects. If you want the most direct alternative to pinto beans, black beans are your best choice.

Navy and kidney beans have comparable qualities and may be used in meals or as a side. Finally, Great Northern beans and Black Turtle beans have subtle flavor differences that complement Mexican cuisines, Italian cuisine, and many other recipes that call for pinto beans.

Whether you need a fast swap to finish a dinner or are seeking for new ways to spice up your favorite meals, these pinto bean alternatives are guaranteed to delight.


What are the best beans to substitute?

Are you unable to consume beans or lentils? 8 alternatives (with bean-free refried beans and hummus recipe)
#1 Sourgum… #2 Tofu (and soybeans).
#4 Tempeh… #3 Cauliflower Florets (or cauliflower rice)…
#5 Cashews, walnuts, and sunflower seeds… #6 Quinoa (and other grains)…
#6 Peas (or edamame)… #7 Mushrooms or Eggplant.

Are cannellini beans like pinto beans?

Are Cannellini and Pinto Beans the Same? They aren’t. Cannellini beans are sometimes known as white kidney beans. They’re often seen in Italian cuisine like minestrone soup and Mexican foods like burritos.

Which beans taste most like Pinto?

Because of their identical taste and texture, black beans are the finest alternatives for pinto beans. Despite their appearance, black beans may be used in the same recipes as pinto beans in the same proportions. Black beans are another popular bean that is used in many Mexican cuisines.

Which kind of beans are healthiest?

5 Heart-Healthy Beans and How to Eat Them
Black Beans: An Antioxidant-Rich Household Staple.
Chickpeas: A Delicious Legume That Can Help You Maintain a Healthy Blood Sugar Level.
Navy beans are a high-fiber food that lowers the risk of heart disease.
Pinto Beans are inexpensive and simple to prepare.
‘Meat Without Bones’: Soybeans

What beans are closest to pinto beans?

Alternatives to pinto beans include black beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans, lentils, and chickpeas. However, black beans may be the greatest option for pinto beans. Each of these alternatives has a texture and taste profile comparable to pinto beans.

What are the 9 healthiest beans?

9 Beneficial Beans & Legumes You Should Give It a Shot
Kidney beans are legumes.
Beans in black.
Beans, pinto.
Navy beans are legumes.

Do red beans and pinto beans taste the same?

Both of these bean varieties have distinct flavors and are used in a range of cuisines. Pinto beans have a creamy texture and a more earthy flavor than kidney beans, which have a meaty, thick structure with a somewhat sweet flavor. Despite their distinct flavors, you may swap one for the other.

What are the most neutral tasting beans?

Chickpea aquafaba is also the most taste and color neutral. Cannellini, Lima (Butter Beans), Great Northern, and Navy Beans all produce a comparable neutral aquafaba.

What is the best tasting bean?

Top 5 Delicious Beans
Garbanzo beans are legumes. What exactly is this? Advert. Pinto beans. What exactly is this? Kidney beans, please report. Kidney beans have the color and form of a human kidney, thus the name “kidney beans.” It’s a popular cultivar that goes well with rice.
Navy beans are legumes. What exactly is this?

What bean tastes most like meat?

Chickpeas may be substituted for chicken or turkey.

Chickpeas have the color and chewiness of chicken and turkey flesh. Chickpeas, coarsely mashed, may stand in for fowl in your favorite sandwich salads.

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