Whether you call them Borlotti beans or cranberry beans, these vibrant colored legumes are incredibly popular in Italian and Mexican recipes.
They come in a wonderful, dapple red and white color and are quite similar to pinto and kidney beans.
They are often used in soups, pasta, and even chili. Unfortunately they are not always stocked in grocery stores in the US so I have found it necessary to use a substitute more than a few times.
If you are looking for a great alternative to borlotti beans then read on for the full list of cranberry bean replacements.
So what are the best borlotti bean substitutes?
The top subs for borlotti beans are pinto beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans, navy beans, and Great Northern beans.
Note: Borlotti beans are called Frijol Cachuate in Mexico which means peanut beans.
Borlotti Bean Alternatives
Cranberry beans have a thin skin and mild flavor, so the best substitutions offer similar characteristics. There are a number of legumes that work well in Borlotti bean recipes, read on for the entire list below.
Pinto beans are a kitchen staple and easy to find in almost all grocery stores. They offer a mild flavor and work well in any recipe that calls for cranberry beans making it my go to substitution.
Pinto beans can be used at a 1:1 ratio when subbing for borlotti beans. Because of their versatility, it is a great idea to keep pinto beans stocked in your pantry,
Kidney beans are found in red, light speckled, and red speckled varieties and they all work well as a borlotti bean alternative. They offer a generally mild flavor with a thin skin.
Kidney beans are easy to find and are likely in your pantry already making them a great substitution option. Use a 1:1 ratio in place of your cranberry beans,
Cannellini beans are a less common type of kidney bean. They are larger than cranberry beans and are white in color.
Because they are larger than borlotti beans, they may not work in all recipes but as long as size isn’t an issue they make a solid alternative.
Use a 1:1 ratio when subbing for cranberry beans.
These small white beans are most commonly used in baked bean and soup recipes. They are also a common side to ham hock recipes.
Their size and mild flavor make them the perfect substitute for borlotti beans. They work particularly well in soup recipes.
Simply use a 1:1 recipe in place of cranberry beans. Canned or dry can be used.
Great Northern Beans
These white beans are medium size and are most commonly used in baked beans and pork and bean recipes. They are readily available canned and dry and are an adequate substitution for cranberry beans in soup recipes.
Use a 1:1 ratio when subbing for borlotti beans.
Borlotti Bean Replacement FAQ
Can You Use Chickpeas Instead of Borlotti Beans?
Both chickpeas and borlotti beans offer a mild flavor. Chickpeas are a tougher bean than borlotti beans, so they will require a longer cooking time to achieve the same tenderness.
This is particularly important if making a dish that requires blended beans. Allow for more cooking time when using chickpeas in place of borlotti beans.
What is the Difference Between Pinto and Borlotti Beans?
While they do look similar, pinto beans and borlotti beans are not identical. They both offer a mild flavor and can be used interchangeable in most recipes, but pinto beans are white and beige while borlotti beans are white and red.
Where Can You Buy Cranberry Beans?
In some regions, borlotti beans are stocked in specialty grocery stores but many will find them hard to locate locally.
If you are unable to find them in your local supermarket, you can order them online from Amazon.