9 Borlotti Beans Substitutes To Fill You Up

Borlotti Beans Substitute

Borlotti beans, also called cranberry beans, are a delicious addition to a variety of recipes. It has unique-looking pods with a white or brown base color and a sprinkle of red flecks all over. For countries like Italy, Portugal, and Mexico, these beans are a staple ingredient for making comforting and hearty meals. 

Since borlotti are a type of heirloom beans, they can cost quite a bit and may also be hard to acquire in certain areas. If you want to make recipes needing this, you can check out the following borlotti beans substitutes that taste just as great.

Borlotti Beans Substitutes for Your Recipes

1. Kidney beans

Kidney beans are a variety of common beans that can add a rich taste and texture to your dishes. It’s rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber which loads you up in nutrients while satisfying your taste buds.

This alternative to borlotti is a tad bigger in size and has a sweeter flavor. It shares the same dense structure that adds good meatiness to a dish. When cooked longer, it softens and produces some creaminess that gets packed with flavor reminiscent of the Italian heirloom bean.

Popular and easy to find, you can use kidney beans to cook various meals. To use in place of borlotti, you can use the same amount. Its creamy yet firm texture and full-bodied taste makes it great for chili, rice dishes, soups, and some salads.

2.  Pinto beans

While kidney beans are bigger, pinto beans are smaller than borlotti. It shares the same texture and a very similar taste. You can say it’s the commercial version bean replacement for the heritage beans.

Pinto beans have a more earthy flavor and creamy texture that works great for many kinds of meals. You can prepare and cook it the same way with borlotti beans and also use the same amount.

An excellent source of nutrients that help against chronic diseases, feel free to cook up pinto beans for your next meal. It’s easy to cook and tastes great on its own or as an ingredient in soups, stews, burritos, chili, tortillas, dips, and savory rice dishes.

3 Anasazi beans 

Anasazi beans look like a cross between borlotti and kidney beans. It’s widely used in Latin American and Southwestern cuisines.

Though smaller in size, this legume does not lack in flavor, mouthfeel, and nutrient profile compared to other bean options. In fact, it has a much lower gas-producing content compared to pinto beans.

This versatile bean works well in replacing not just borlotti, but also kidney and pinto beans. With its nutty, slightly sweet, and overall mild flavor, these beans are ideal for baking, refrying, and cooking with rice. To be specific, you can use Anasazi beans to pair, top or mix in the following foods: tortillas, nachos, tacos, burritos, ham, and rice.

4. Navy Beans

These small white beans are also effective alternatives for borlotti. Like other legumes, it’s a good source of fiber plus this option contains manganese, folate, and copper.

Also called as pea bean or Boston bean, it shares the same flavor profile and size as cranberry beans. This is among the top choices to use for hearty soup recipes. You can use a 1:1 ratio for the same recipes.

Just as tasty and as nutritious, navy beans are perfect to add in food like minestrone soup, hearty bean dishes, chilis, and ham hock recipes. You can also simply simmer navy beans and add to veggies, salads, rice, and meat.

5. Cannellini beans 

These beans are a type of kidney bean that are larger than borlotti. Its pods have a simple white color with taste that are close to both kidney beans and cranberry beans. Famous for its nutty taste, it’s also a flavorful replacement for borlotti.

Cannellini beans are commonly used in Italy which easily makes it a great ingredient for Italian cuisine. It also has numerous nutrients like vitamin C, magnesium, and fiber among others. While it shares a lot of similarities to other legumes, this bean is a lot meatier with a nutty, earthy flavor packed in its tender flesh.

With its more compact texture, you may need more time to make it softer. However, if size and a firmer consistency isn’t a problem, feel free to use these to sub for cranberry beans. This works perfectly in salads, soups, stews, and chili.

6. Black turtle beans

Not all black beans are turtle beans but all black turtle beans are black beans. This variety of bean has a black shell-like look that is popular in a variety of cuisines including Mexican, Caribbean, and Latin American cooking.

Black turtle beans are a great source of vitamin A, B6, iron, and fiber, which is beneficial to everyone, especially girls with low folate levels. With its high protein and fiber content, you can make your meals healthy without sacrificing tastiness.

Similar to the nutty and hearty taste of borlotti beans, you can use black turtle beans in the same recipes. Due to its tough, crusty exterior, you may need to adjust your cooking time or heat, but overall, you can use it in the same way. This legume is a flavorful ingredient to add in enchiladas, burritos, bean soups, and refried beans. You can also boil or steam the beans to top on or eat with a variety of dishes.

7. Chickpeas

Although chickpeas differ in color and texture to borlotti beans, they can still be used for the same recipes. Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, also have a nutty taste with earthy notes much like cranberry beans.

In texture and consistency for cooking, chickpeas are a little harder and quite crunchy. You would need to cook them longer to soften these legumes. Also, chickpeas come in various colors including beige, green, red, or black. The beige ones are more common and also come closer to cranberry beans.

Since chickpeas don’t really crumble or turn mushy, it can give a satisfying bite when added in soups, stews, and chilis. Its pleasant nuttiness works deliciously for falafel and hummus.

8 Lupini beans

Lupini beans are small, beige-colored beans that can also work as an alternative for cranberry beans in a pinch. This legume is a staple in Mediterranean cuisine 

Also full of vitamins and minerals, lupini beans can help aid against cardiovascular and gut issues. These tiny legumes that somehow look like corn kernels can also work for your recipes needing borlotti.

Lupini beans have a slightly bitter taste due to its alkaloid content. Alkaloids can be dangerous but there are many plants that contain this like tomatoes, coffee seeds, potatoes, and other legumes. Lupinis also taste buttery, slightly salty and have a little crunchy texture.

You can eat lupini beans as an appetizer or side or add it to cook some stews and soups.

9. Lentils

Unlike lupini beans that aren’t as known, lentils are quite familiar and make for a great substitute for borlotti beans. The two share a similar flavor profile but are different in size and texture. If you’re adding it for hearty cooked dishes, the differences will not be as obvious.

Like chickpeas, the taste of lentils vary depending on which variety or color it is. For reference, green lentils taste peppery, red lentils are kind of sweet, and brown lentils taste more earthy. On this note, choosing brown lentils would be best to replace cranberry beans.

Lentils are popular because they’re nutritious, cheap, and versatile. You can cook lentils into stews, soups, savory meat dishes, and salads. It’s also very possible and pleasant to eat it as a side or appetizer.


Borlotti beans are actually quite easy to replace with a variety of legumes. These heirloom beans are delicious food that would be great to have for special dinners like when you have guests over. If you don’t have this legume available in your kitchen or you can’t be bothered to buy these, using other beans listed above will work just as well for many recipes.

When choosing among the borlotti beans substitutes make sure that you know the differences so you can adjust your cooking accordingly. You wouldn’t want to mess up the consistency or taste of your dish by overcooking or undercooking your preferred alternate beans.

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