Pinto beans are fairly easy to find but even so, you might run out of them right when you need to use them in one of your tasty recipes.
If that is the case, you came to the right place. We put together a complex guide with pinto beans substitutes that you can use in all types of dishes.
The best substitutes for pinto beans are navy beans, Great Northern beans, Borlotti beans, Kidney beans, Black turtle beans, Black-eyed peas, Anasazi beans, Adzuki, Cannellini beans and Lima beans.
Keep reading to identify the best substitute for pinto beans that you can count on for all your recipes.
Substitutes for Pinto Beans
You can use essentially any type of beans if you don’t have pinto beans. However, keep in mind that not all of them will taste similar.
1. Navy beans
The first type of beans you can use instead of pinto beans is navy beans. These navy beans are used in cooked dishes of all kinds. They go great with pork meat in all types of recipes.
You can use them instead of pinto beans as you see fit and they even get cooked in similar ways. They taste great in chili but you can use them in a multitude of spicy Mexican dishes.
2. Great Northern beans
If you want to enjoy a dish with a distinguished flavor, you can try using Great Northern beans instead of pinto beans. These beans are rich in flavor and they will go great in recipes that call for pinto beans.
The most common way these beans are used is in stews but you can also use them in bean soup as well as bean dips of all kinds.
3. Borlotti beans
Borlotti beans are also known as cranberry beans. They are appreciated for their unique chestnut flavor have a slightly different taste compared to pinto beans but they will be a great substitute nevertheless.
Their nutty flavor will give your food a particular taste that you might enjoy even more than the taste of pinto beans. Use the same seasonings as you would use with pinto beans and your food will impress everyone.
4. Kidney beans
Kidney beans can replace pinto beans better than you might expect. Their taste is very close to the flavor of pinto beans and they even have a very similar texture.
However, dark kidney beans have thicker skin than light-colored kidney beans which could make a difference in terms of texture. However, they are easy to find in most supermarkets so you might be able to get them without any hassle.
5. Black turtle beans
An interesting replacement for pinto beans is the black turtle beans. They are dark in color and they will make your food look different than if you would use pinto beans.
However, the taste will be similar as well as the texture. Black turtle beans might require a little more cooking time than pinto beans though, so keep that in mind as you are using them in your recipes.
These beans are very common in Latin American and Caribbean cuisine. You can use them as side dishes, soups, or stews as you please.
6. Black-eyed peas
Black eyes peas have an interesting aspect, being white with a black stain on them that looks like an eye.
You will encounter them in the cuisine of southern countries and they can successfully replace your pinto beans in soups, stews, or bean dips. Enjoy your black eyes peas with some bacon and you might discover a new favorite dish.
7. Anasazi beans
Anasazi beans might not be so easy to find on the market but if you do get your hands on them know that they can taste as good if not even better than pinto beans.
They will taste great in soups, stews, and other dishes you might want to make. And they are sweeter than pinto beans and easier to digest. Thus, they might become one of your favorite beans as well.
Adzuki beans are an Asian type of beans very popular in Japan. You will love their sweet taste and the fact that you can use them instead of pinto beans even in the most complicated dishes. They go great with meat and rice and you will discover that they cook fairly fast as well.
9. Cannellini beans
If you are looking for a substitute for pinto beans, Cannellini beans might be just what you need. These beans are common in Italian recipes. They will deliver a similar taste to pinto beans.
However, they are fully white so the aspect of your food will be a little different. You will prepare them in the same way you would prepare pinto beans and your recipes will turn out great.
10. Lima beans
Last but not the least, Lima beans make a great substitute for pinto beans. They are known as butter beans thanks to their smooth texture and distinct taste. You can use them in all types of bean recipes but they will taste the best as side dishes or bean dips.
What beans taste like pinto beans?
In terms of taste, you will notice that most beans taste similar but there are slight differences that will matter in your dishes. When it comes to pinto beans, these tend to be very similar in taste to kidney beans.
Kidney beans have an earthly flavor close to the flavor that pinto beans have. And also a comparable texture. The skins of kidney beans make them even more similar to pinto beans so you can use them instead of those in a wide variety of dishes.
Light-colored and dark-colored kidney beans can replace pinto beans in terms of flavor. They will not taste identical however so be ready for a slightly different result if you replace your pinto beans with any type of kidney beans.
Are pinto beans and kidney beans the same thing?
There are many resemblances between pinto beans and kidney beans, especially in terms of taste but they are not the same. Pinto beans come in only one strain. Kidney beans come in different varieties.
The skin of pinto beans is rather thin similar to the light-colored kidney beans but not so close to the dark-colored kidney beans that have thicker skin. Even in terms of texture, you will notice that pinto beans tend to be more creamy than kidney beans.
In spite of these differences, you can still use kidney beans instead of pinto beans. As a matter of fact, if you care a lot about the flavor similarity, kidney beans get close enough to the taste that pinto beans would offer you.
Can you substitute pinto beans for red beans?
We didn’t list red beans as a substitute for pinto beans because there are more differences than similarities between them.
Red beans are smaller than pinto beans so they cook a lot faster as well. Also, red beans have a different flavor and a richer one. So, you will definitely be able to tell the difference as you taste them in your food.
If you don’t care so much about these differences, you can still try to use red beans instead of pinto beans. Just expect your dish to taste different than the original recipe.
As you can see pinto beans can be replaced with a lot of other beans and even with chickpeas or lentils.
However, if you want to respect your recipe as much as possible, you might need to stick to using navy beans, Great Northern beans, or kidney beans.
These 3 types of beans tend to be the most successful in replacing pinto beans in a wide range of recipes.