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White beans

What are white beans?

About the ingredient white beans. Including 109 recipes with white beans, nutrition data, and where to find it.




Also check out our in depth articles on Dried Beans - A low-cost and healthy addition to your diet and Hill of Beans.


The small, white navy bean, also called pea bean or haricot, is particularly popular in Britain and the US, featured in such dishes as baked beans and even pies, as well as in various soups such as Senate Bean Soup.

Navy bean varieties include:

  • Great Northern beans
  • Rainy River
  • Robust
  • Michelite
  • Sanilac

Other white beans include Cannellini, a fairly popular variety in Central and Southern Italy which is related to the kidney bean and like the kidney bean has higher levels of the toxin lectin (Phytohaemagglutinin).

A notable Greek type of giant white beans exists, called yiyantes or gigantes. They are produced in a specific part of northern Greece (protected label) but can be found throughout the country.


Also check out our in depth articles on Dried Beans - A low-cost and healthy addition to your diet and Hill of Beans.


There are four main varieties of white beans.

  1. Marrow beans, the largest and roundest of the white beans, are grown chiefly in the East but are popular throughout the United States in many types of bean dishes.

  2. Great Northern Beans are very large and have a distinctive delicate flavor. They are grown in the Midwest US and are a favorite for baked bean dishes.

  3. Navy beans, mainly grown in Michiga, are somewhat smaller than the Great Northern beans. They are used extensively by canners of pork and beans. Some producers do not differentiate between navy and pea beans.

  4. Pea beans are the smallest of the white beans. They are in great demand in New England and along the Altantic coast of the US for use in Boston Baked Beans recipes.

Dried Bean Purchasing Guide

Dried beans should be clean, uniform in size and quality. Today dried beans are usually sold pre-packaged and a reliable brand will guarentee clean, uniformly sized beans.

1 pound, raw = approximately 2 1/3 cups

1 pound, cooked = approximately 6 cups


After opening the package place the unused beans in a clean, tightly covered container and store on the pantry shelf.

Kitchen shelf: 1 year

Refrigerator shelf, cooked, covered: 3 to 4 days

Refrigerator freezer, cooked beans and cooked bean dishes, prepare for freezing: 1 month

Deep Freezer, cooked beans and cooked bean dishes, prepared for freezing: 4 to 6 months

Basic Preparation

Packaged beans are usually sorted and washed before packaging, so need only be rinsed.

Bean bought in bulk should be sorted carefully, discarding broken and defective beans, and washed until the water runs clear.

It's a good idea to soak the beans to replace some of the water lost during the drying process.

In general, if directions are not given on the package, use the amount of water called for in the recipe; save the nutritious soaking water to use in cooking the beans.

There are two ways of soaking dried beans:

  1. Quick method: Measure the soaking water into a large, heavy pot. Add the washed beans and bring to the boil. Cover the pot and cook for 2 minutes; remove from heat and let stand for one hour, then cook according to recipe directions.

  2. Overnight method: Measure the soaking water into a large pot; add washed beans; cover pot, and let stand for 6 to 8 hours. To prevent souring and hard skins the two minute boil above is recommended even when the beans are soaked overnight.

Add one teaspoon of salt per cup of soaked beans. If ham, bacon or salt pork is to be added use a smaller amount of salt.

Always try to cook in the soaking water. Cover the pot and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer according to the recipe.

Stir carefully but not too often to avoid breaking apart the beans. When done they should hold their shape as well as be tender. Cooking time can range from 20 minutes to 1 ½ hours depending on the type of bean and how long they have been stored.




Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 cup (262g)
Amount per Serving
Calories 298Calories from Fat 6
 % Daily Value *
Total Fat 0.8g 1%
Saturated Fat 0.2g 1%
Trans Fat ~
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 13mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 55.5g 19%
Dietary Fiber 13g 50%
Sugars 0.8
Protein 19.0g
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 19% Iron 44%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your caloric needs.

Where found

White beans are usually found in the produce section or aisle of the grocery store or supermarket.

Food group

White beans are a member of the Legumes and Legume Products US Department of Agriculture nutritional food group.

How much do white beans weigh?

Measure Grams
1 cup 262

In Chinese:白扁豆
British (UK) term: White beans
en français:haricots blancs
en español:judias blancas

Recipes using white beans

There are 109 recipes that contain this ingredient.

All 109 recipes


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