9 Delicious Substitutes for Butter Beans

9 Best Butter Bean Substitutes

Butter beans, also known as lima beans, are a healthy, versatile, and flavorful legume. However, if you don’t have them on hand or prefer an alternative, there are several substitutes that can provide similar texture and nutritional benefits. In this article, we will explore the 9 best butter bean substitutes.

1. Fava Beans

Fava beans are an excellent butter bean substitute. They offer a subtle bitterness along with a mild and nutty flavor similar to lima beans. Although fava beans are slightly firmer, they can be cooked in the same way and provide a comparable texture. Use fava beans as a side dish or add them to salads or casseroles for a unique flavor and mouthfeel.

2. Soy Beans

Soybeans are a popular legume and a fantastic vegan option. They can easily replace butter beans in any recipe. Soybeans have a nutty, earthy flavor and a creamy texture when cooked. Roast them in oil with spices and herbs to enhance their flavor and enjoy their creamy texture.

3. Chick Peas

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are an excellent substitute for butter beans. They offer a mild and nutty flavor, similar to lima beans, but with a hint of sweetness. When cooked properly, chickpeas have a creamy texture and hold their shape. Use them in stews, salads, casseroles, sauces, and more.

4. Red Kidney Beans

Red kidney beans are a favorite in chili recipes and hearty dishes. They have a nutty flavor and a firmer texture than butter beans. Red kidney beans pair well with meat or a combination of cooked vegetables and add bulk to your recipes.

5. Edamame

Edamame is a popular legume similar in flavor and texture to soybeans. Technically, edamame are immature soybeans that are harvested before they mature into the familiar legume. They offer a mild and nutty flavor and can be used as a substitute for butter beans in various recipes.

6. Cannellini Beans

Cannellini beans are a great substitute for butter beans in Italian cooking. They have a creamy texture and mild flavor that blends well with other ingredients. Use cannellini beans in soups, stews, pasta dishes, or as a side dish.

7. Navy Beans

Navy beans can be used as a substitute for both butter beans and lima beans. They have a similar flavor profile and can be used in any recipe that calls for lima beans. Navy beans are versatile and can be added to soups, stews, salads or used in casseroles.

8. Black Eyed Peas

Black-eyed peas can be a good substitute for butter beans, especially in soups and salads. They have a slightly different flavor and texture, but can add a unique twist to your recipes. Often used in Southern cooking, black-eyed peas add a hearty and satisfying element to dishes.

9. Quinoa

For those with legume allergies or simply looking for a non-legume option, quinoa can be an excellent substitute for butter beans. Quinoa is a versatile grain with a nutty flavor and light, fluffy texture. It can be used as a base for salads, added to soups, or used as a side dish.
Finally, if you don’t have butter beans or prefer an alternative, there are several substitutes available. Fava beans, soybeans, chickpeas, red kidney beans, edamame, cannellini beans, navy beans, black-eyed peas, and quinoa are all viable options. These substitutes offer similar flavors, textures, and nutritional benefits, so you can enjoy a variety of recipes without compromising on flavor. Experiment with these substitutes and discover new and delicious dishes.


Can I use any of these substitutes in the same way as butter beans?

Yes, most of these substitutes can be used and cooked the same way as butter beans. You can add them to various recipes such as soups, stews, salads, casseroles, or even enjoy them as a side dish.

Are these substitutes as nutritious as butter beans?

While each substitute has its own nutritional profile, many offer similar benefits to butter beans. They are high in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Incorporating these substitutes into your diet can contribute to a well-rounded and nutritious meal.

Can I replace butter beans with non-legume options such as quinoa?

Absolutely! Quinoa is a versatile grain that can be used as a butter bean substitute. It offers a unique texture and nutty flavor, making it a great alternative for those with legume allergies or looking for a non-legume option.

Where can I find these substitutes?

Most of these substitutes, such as fava beans, soybeans, chickpeas, and kidney beans, can be found in grocery stores, health food stores, or online markets. They are widely available and often come in canned or dried form. Quinoa can be found in the grain section of most supermarkets.

Are there any specific recipes that work well with these butter bean substitutes?

These substitutes can be used in a variety of recipes. Fava beans, for example, are delicious in salads or as a side dish. Chickpeas can be used to make hummus or added to curries and stews. Red kidney beans are perfect for chili recipes. Feel free to experiment and explore different recipes to find your favorite way to use these substitutes.

Can I freeze these substitutes for later use?

Yes, most of these substitutes can be frozen for later use. Cooked beans and legumes can be portioned and stored in airtight containers or freezer bags in the freezer. Just be sure to label and date them for easy identification. Thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before using them in your recipes.