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What’s the Best Substitute for Pinto Beans? 17 Options Here!

Pinto beans are among the most common associations with the famous Mexican cuisine.

They are widely known for their unique flavor and their versatility in cooking. These beans can be fried, cooked, served as a side dish, or mashed. However, they are used mainly as a filling.

But what can you substitute for pinto beans? Can you substitute pinto beans for great northern beans?

If you are looking for the best pinto beans substitute, you have come to the right place. Keep reading to discover some of the best alternatives for these peans.

Are Pinto Beans Healthy?

Like other varieties of beans, pinto beans are rich in protein and will add color, flavor, and texture to an array of dishes. They are arguably the most popular variety of beans consumed by Americans.

Although these beans are small, they contain impressive doses of certain minerals and vitamins. Here are some of the health benefits of pinto beans.

pinto beans nutritions
Image from Verywell Fit

High in Protein

Pinto beans are rich in protein. A cup of canned pinto beans contains 15 grams of protein, while a cup of boiled pinto beans has about 13 grams.

Protein will help in the general growth of your body as well as repair and regenerate the body cells. It will also help in managing the body.

Rich in Fiber

Fiber promotes regular bowel movements and healthy digestion.

Plenty of fiber in your diet will also reduce the chances of developing diverticular diseases and hemorrhoids. In addition, it regulates blood sugar and lowers cholesterol levels.

A cup of canned or boiled pinto beans contains about 14 grams of fiber.

Rich in Antioxidants

Pinto beans have several healthy antioxidants, such as flavonoids and polyphenols.

Antioxidants protect body cells against damage from free radicals, leading to various diseases with time.

The Best Substitutes for Pinto Beans

There are several types of pinto beans, such as Othello, Hidatsa, Burke, and Alavese pinto beans.

No matter the recipe you are following or the type of pinto beans you are trying to replace, our list of the best pinto beans substitutes will offer at least one adequate replacement.

1. Black Beans

black beans

This is one of the best replacements for pinto beans.

Black beans are versatile legumes that can be used in various products, such as salads, sloppy joes, and burgers. They are also suitable for soup and have tons of potassium and calcium.

Black beans taste similar to pinto beans, and you can hardly tell the difference. They will keep the energy up when hungry and even help with weight problems.

These delicious beans are a staple food of any diet and can be found at your nearest grocery store.

2. Garbanzo Beans


Garbanzo bean is a good option if you are looking for a rotation bean that will add protein to your diet, is low on the glycemic index, and is tasty. These beans are usually packed with dietary fiber to help regulate your system after eating.

You can pop them into salads or soups or even use them as an alternative to various recipes such as falafel and hummus without any change in taste.

These tasty beans will also deliver nutrients that your body needs to function properly. They can be a perfect pinto bean substitute for refried beans.

3. Kidney Beans

kidney beans

Can you substitute pinto beans for kidney beans? Yes!

Kidney beans are a nutty source of fiber and protein. They are full of potassium, magnesium, folate, and vitamins like vitamins A.

Unlike most eating options, kidney beans do not have trans-fat or cholesterol. If you want to bulk up on your healthy foods, they are a great option.

4. Lima Beans

lima beans

Lima beans are a low-calorie and protein-packed food option that will offer nutritional benefits to your heart and is one of the best foods for those following a Meditererrian diet.

They have many different minerals and vitamins, such as vitamin B6, which helps with sugar metabolism. They also have fiber which will help you feel full longer.

What’s more, Lima beans are an excellent source of vitamin K and are a popular part of any diet regime. You can eat the beans blanched or in soup with lunch.

5. Black Eyed Peas (Cowpeas)


Can I substitute pinto beans for black eyed peas? Yes! 

Black eyed peas can be an excellent pinto beans substitute. They are incredibly nutrient-dense with a lot of protein and fiber, making them an excellent source of energy.

Black eyed peas are also a good source of essential micronutrients such as copper, iron, folate, and thiamine. Because of their soluble fiber and content of protein, they can help boost your weight loss. Eating them will also help to enhance heart health.

6. Cannellini Beans

coocked cannellini beans

These versatile beans can be a staple in any kitchen pantry. Cannellini beans are suitable for an easy salad and soup recipe.

Like most other bean varieties, cannellini beans are rich in fiber and protein. They are also full of thiamine, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and folate.

If you are looking for a good pinto beans replacement, then cannellini beans are an excellent option. They have carbohydrates to keep your body fueled throughout.

7. Navy Beans

navy beans

Navy beans are an excellent canned item that you can use for breakfast burritos, soups, and casseroles.

They are high in fiber and protein. Therefore, you will be full even after taking just a small portion of them. Navy beans are also good for keeping in the house as an emergency food kit.

These tasty beans are inexpensive and can be easily found in your nearest food store. Navy beans are also rich in vitamins A and C, potassium, magnesium, and riboflavin. This makes them a great addition to any meal.

8. Borlotti Beans (Cranberry Beans)

borlotti beans

Borlotti beans (also known as Cranberry Beans) are both nutritious and healthy. Therefore, you will not have to sacrifice health for taste.

Borlotti beans have a high fiber content which will keep you full. Their high amounts of iron and fiber will also make you feel better.

In addition, borlotti beans are fresh Italian red kidney beans and are also related to cannellini, cranberry, and navy beans. They are small-sized beans with a perfect texture.

9. Anasazi Beans

anasazi beans

Last on our list of the best substitute for pinto beans is the “Anasazi Beans.”

These nutritious beans are perfect for a healthy balanced diet. Anasazi beans are natural, so they are cholesterol-free and low in fats. You can use them as the main cause or side dish.

Moreover, anasazi beans are rich in protein, fiber, magnesium, and oil. They are tasty beans that can be a perfect substitute for pinto beans in chili.

10. Adzuki beans

adzuki beans

Adzuki beans have high amounts of iron, protein, and fiber, which will keep that blood flowing and even fill you up.

They also have B vitamins such as niacin and folate, and manganese, all of which aid in the formation of strong bones. You can add them to your soup or sauce to bulk it up with extra protein.

Adzuki beans are a good source of nutritious plant-based proteins that will aid in the general well-being of your body. In addition, they are tasty and will make you even want to have more.

Rurther reading: Adzuki Beans: Substitutes, Health Benefits, and Recipes

Other Beans

The following beans can also be a great substitution if they’re available in your kitchen:

11. Urad Beans (Vigna Mungo): a popular ingredient in dal, dosa batter, and idil.

12. White Beans: for soups, salads, stews, mashed dishes, casseroles, and meat plates.

13. Soybeans: an important ingredient in making tofu, Natto, soybean milk.

14. Black Turtle Beans: commonly used in stews, soups, burritos, enchiladas, and savory side dishes.

15. Lentils: different colors of lentil have a different taste.

16. Pigeon Peas: an excellent option for people with blood pressure and heart disease.

17. Red Beans: pair with sausages, meat, vegetables, and adding to stews and salads.

FAQ About Pinto Beans Substitute

Can I substitute pinto beans for cannellini beans?

Pinto beans are a popular substitute for cannellini beans. They are mostly used in Mexican dishes and Italian dishes like minestrone soup.

Can I substitute pinto beans for chickpeas?

Yes, you can. Pinto beans can be a good alternative with a noticeable and strong flavor.

Can I substitute pinto beans for great northern beans?

Great Northern beans have a mild flavor and are popular in baked bean recipes. You can substitute pinto beans for them to give your recipe the same pleasant taste.

Can I substitute pinto beans for navy beans?

Although pinto beans are not cream or white, they are among the best types of beans that can substitute for navy beans. The two have almost the same flavor.


Although Pinto beans are a staple in several Mexican dishes, they can be expensive and difficult to find. Fortunately, there are other options that you can use.

If you are looking for the best substitute for pinto beans, you can consider one from our list. All of the options are great and have a high nutritional value.

I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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