Best Substitutes for Kidney Beans to Use in Hot and Cold Dishes

Substitutes for Kidney Beans

Kidney beans are commonly used in soups, side dishes, and they can also be used in sweet dishes like brownies and cookies. You can even add them to hot and cold salad!

But can you add other beans to your diet when you are out of them? Well, yes, there are plenty of substitutes for kidney beans that you can use in your favorite recipes. 

In this article, we’ll go over some of the best choices and give you a few recipe ideas to get started. So, whether you’re out of kidney beans or just looking for some new recipe inspiration, keep reading! 

The best substitutes are canned kidney beans, red beans, anasazi beans, adzuki beans, black beans, pinto beans, borlotti beans and butter beans.

Top Kidney Bean Substitutes To Try

1. Canned Kidney Beans

Many people prefer canned beans over dry beans because they are easier to cook and more convenient to use. So, in case you don’t have dry kidney beans you can use canned ones. They are easy substitutes and available almost in all stores. 

Canned kidney beans are suitable for all recipes calling for dry kidney beans. They are slightly cooked and ready for eating, but you may boil them a little bit and flavor with your favorite seasonings for a better taste. They are used interchangeably as they share the same taste, texture and color. 

2. Red Beans

Red Beans

Besides having the same color, red beans also offer similar features to kidney beans. Although they are much smaller they offer a more “beanier” flavor. These beans may have a slightly darker shade with purple undertones but it won’t change the color of the dish. 

Compared to kidney beans, red beans take less cooking time. You can use them in salads, stews, soups as well as combine with pasta dishes. 

3. Anasazi Beans

Anasazi beans are white and burgundy colored beans with kidney shape and come from the same family as pinto beans. They taste earthy, nutty and slightly sweet. These beans are perfect for many bean recipes and you can use them to replace kidney beans in savory dishes. 

They are meaty and very nutritious, that’s why anasazi beans are widely used in stews, soups, bean chilies, burgers and baked bean dishes. 

4. Adzuki Beans

Another red-colored type of beans is adzuki beans. Compared to kidney beans these are rather small and round-shaped beans. They come from China and are popular in Asian cuisine. 

Adzuki beans are sweeter than kidney beans and are mostly used in sweet and light recipes. If you need such a substitute for kidney beans, then give it a try. 

5. Black Beans

Small and kidney-shaped black beans are soft, creamy and taste mild. They mostly absorb the flavors of other ingredients mixed or cooked with them and have a multipurpose usage in different dishes. 

Black beans are popular in Latin American cuisines. You can choose them to replace kidney beans in casseroles and soups. They are also used with baked vegetables, tacos, burritos and the like. 

6. Pinto Beans

Since pinto beans are one of the most popular types of beans you may easily find them in many stores.

While kidney beans have a meaty texture and slightly sweet taste, pinto beans come with an earthy flavor which makes them a good alternative in savory dishes, bean chilies, and a perfect choice for those who don’t like the sweetness of beans. 

7. Borlotti Beans

Borlotti Beans

Although they look different, borlotti beans and kidney beans are relative varieties of beans. They are also called cranberry beans and seem to be a mixture of  kidney beans and pinto beans. 

Borlotti beans offer rich creaminess and have a nutty sweetness. You can use them both in hot and cold dishes. 

8. Butter Beans

Butter Beans

Butter beans also known as lima beans are the creamiest and softest varieties of beans that come in white color. They are perfect in mashed dishes and tend to provide them with a subtle touch. 

If you use kidney beans in mashed or creamy dishes, then you can safely replace them with butter beans. Of course, the color won’t be the same but the tender texture and mild buttery flavor of these beans will provide a tasty meal. You can use them in soups and hotspots too. 


Can I substitute black beans for kidney beans in chili?

Whether you’re short on time or just looking for a way to tweak your favorite chili recipe, substituting black beans for kidney beans is an easy way to change things up.

If you are not a fan of kidney beans’ mealy texture, then black beans seem to be a better option in chili.

Can I substitute chickpeas for kidney beans in chili?

Kidney beans is the best option to get authentic chili taste, but you can use chickpeas in chili when you are out of them.

Chickpeas have a different color, texture and flavor to kidney beans. Plus, chickpeas are a great source of protein and fiber, so you’ll be getting some wonderful nutrients with your chili recipe. Give it a try!

Can you substitute pinto beans for kidney beans?

Pinto beans have a smaller size and softer skin than kidney beans, but you can still use pinto beans instead in most recipes. You might need to adjust the amount, but other than that they cook in the same way and have a similar flavor.


Kidney beans are a great source of protein, but they’re not the only one. These substitutes for kidney beans that can provide you with similar flavor and health benefits. 

If you’re looking for an alternative to kidney beans, any of the options above would be a good choice, although my favorite choice is white beans because of their rich texture and flavor.

Which of these alternatives do you plan to try? Share your thoughts in the comment below.

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