9 Best Substitutes For Borlotti Beans (Cranberry Beans)

Started making a recipe and realized you’re out of the main ingredient, which is Borlotti beans; it’s not like you can rush to the market at the last minute! And you don’t even have to if you know some of the best substitutes for Borlotti beans.

Borlotti beans, also known as cranberry beans, are a type of Italian beans that have a very creamy texture and a nutty flavor, perfect for soups, stews, and even salads. You cannot just pick any bean off the shelf and expect it to replicate the same taste and texture as Borlotti beans.

So, to make sure you know which substitute has what potential, we’ve compiled a list of the best Borlotti bean alternatives to choose from.

So what are the best Borlotti bean substitutes?

The best substitutes for Borlotti beans are pinto beans, Lupini beans, cannellini beans, chickpeas, and navy beans.


9 Best Substitutes For Borlotti Beans

1. Pinto Beans

A nutritious and delicious option, pinto beans make for a great substitute in any dish where you plan to use Borlotti beans. They have a similar appearance, with their reddish-brown skin and a creamier texture when cooked. The flavor is also quite similar as both of these beans have a nutty taste.

Pinto beans are commonly used in Mexican dishes, so they’ll fit right in if you’re making chili or any other Tex-Mex food. Pinto beans are lower in calories than other beans and therefore more nutritious.

When substituting pinto beans for Borlotti beans, be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly. Pinto beans generally take longer to cook than Borlotti beans, so plan accordingly.

How to substitute: One cup of pinto beans will sufficiently replace one cup of Borlotti beans in any dish.

2. Lupini Beans

Famous in Mediterranean cuisine, lupini beans are large, pale yellow beans that come from the same plant family as Borlotti beans. Lupini beans have a starchy texture and a nutty flavor, so they’re often pickled before being eaten.

These beans are also quite high in protein and fiber but low in carbs, making them another nutritious alternative to Borlotti beans. Because it promotes good health and is rich in vitamins and minerals, lupini beans are an excellent food choice to add to any diet.

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They can also be used in place of Borlotti beans in dishes like pasta e Fagioli and minestrone soup. So if you can’t find Borlotti beans, don’t hesitate to reach for lupini beans instead.

How to substitute: To substitute lupini beans for Borlotti beans, simply use an equal amount of lupini beans in any recipe.

3. Chickpeas

Also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas are often used in Middle Eastern dishes. Chickpeas have a beige color and a round shape, making them quite similar in appearance to Borlotti beans. When it comes to taste and texture, chickpeas are also a good substitute as they also have a nutty flavor and a creamy consistency.

Chickpeas are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and vitamins, and they’re also low in calories. People like to use chickpeas in soups, stews, and curries, but they can also be roasted and used as a snack.

How to substitute: For every cup of Borlotti beans, use one cup of chickpeas instead.

4. Black Turtle Beans

Black turtle beans are not called nutritional powerhouses for nothing! These beans are rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them a great addition to any diet. When it comes to taste and texture, black turtle beans also make for a good replacement for Borlotti beans as they have the same nutty flavor with a hint of sweetness.

The robust, tough exterior conceals a tender inner bean that combines the hearty taste of Borlotti beans with a mild nutritional punch. These beans are often used in Latin American dishes, such as chili and black bean soup. They are readily available in almost every local market and will more than likely be in your kitchen.

When substituting black turtle beans for Borlotti beans, it’s important to keep the cooking time in mind. Black turtle beans cook faster than Borlotti beans, so they may not need as much time to cook through.

How to substitute: For every gram of Borlotti beans, use a gram of black turtle beans instead.

5. Cannellini Beans

One reason we absolutely love using cannellini beans as a substitute for Borlotti beans is that they have a very similar appearance. Both beans have a smooth, creamy texture and light-colored skin. In terms of taste, cannellini beans are quite versatile as they take on the flavor of the dish they’re used in.

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So, if you’re looking for a Borlotti bean alternative that won’t change the taste of your dish, then cannellini beans are your best bet. These beans are also packed with nutrients, including protein, fiber, and vitamins. Cannellini beans are commonly used in Italian cuisine, such as in minestrone soup and Pasta e Fagioli.

How to substitute: You can use cannellini beans as a one-to-one replacement for Borlotti beans.

6. Kidney Beans

Widely used in Indian and Chinese cuisine, kidney beans are another type of bean that makes for a good alternative to the Borlotti bean. Kidney beans have a reddish-brown color and a shape that’s similar to a kidney, which is the primary reason behind their name.

These beans are often used in soups and stews as they have a hearty flavor and a creamy texture. Kidney beans are high in protein, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and vitamin B.

When substituting kidney beans for Borlotti beans, it is important to keep in mind that the cooking time may be slightly longer for the kidney beans. This is because they are a bit denser than Borlotti beans. So, if you are substituting in a recipe that requires a longer cook time, be sure to adjust accordingly.

How to substitute: You can use kidney beans in a 1:1 ratio for Borlotti beans.

7. Lentils

If you’re a health enthusiast, you are probably already aware of the many benefits of lentils. Lentils are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and vitamins, making them a nutrient-rich food that’s perfect for vegetarians and vegans.

In terms of taste and texture, lentils make for a good Borlotti bean replacement as they have a nutty flavor and a creamy consistency. Lentils work effortlessly in maintaining a lower cholesterol level and a healthy heart.

Lentils are often used in soups, stews, and curries, but their filling texture makes them a good substitute for meat in lasagna too!

How to substitute: When substituting lentils for Borlotti beans, use a 1:1 ratio. You can use any type of lentil or even mix different types to substitute for Borlotti beans.

8. Navy Beans

Navy beans, also known as haricot beans, are white beans that have a slightly nutty flavor. They’re a perfect substitute for Borlotti beans for dishes like stews and soups because they tend to hold their shape quite well when cooked.

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Navy beans are also more widely available than Borlotti beans, making them a good choice if you can’t find Borlotti beans at your local grocery store. When substituting navy beans for Borlotti beans, you may need to adjust the cooking time.

Navy beans cook slightly faster than Borlotti beans, so if you’re using them in a recipe that calls for Borlotti beans to be cooked for a specific amount of time, check the beans periodically and remove them from the heat when they’re tender.

How to substitute: You can use navy beans as a one-to-one replacement for Borlotti beans.

9. Fava Beans

Fava beans are a type of legume that’s been used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine for years. These beans have a creamy texture and a nutty flavor, making them a good substitution for Borlotti beans. Just make sure to cook them longer since they are a bit tougher than Borlotti beans.

Fava beans are also packed with nutrients, including protein, fiber, iron, and potassium. In fact, scientists have recommended these beans as an alternative to soy when making animal feed because of their high nutritional value.

How to substitute: You can use fava beans as a one-to-one replacement for Borlotti beans.


In the United States, Borlotti beans are sometimes called cranberry beans or Roman beans. They are a popular ingredient in soups and stews, and also make a great addition to salads.

Can butter beans be substituted for Borlotti beans?

Yes, you can use butter beans as a close alternative to Borlotti beans. Borlotti beans have a creamier texture and a nuttier flavor, while butter beans are a bit softer and have a more mellow taste. So, you may need to adjust the other ingredients in your recipe to account for the different flavors of the beans.

Many, if not all, of these beans will be available in the dry beans section of the grocery store near you. So, what are you waiting for? Give these Borlotti bean substitutes a try and let us know which one you find best!

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