Skip to Content

Cannellini Beans

Cannellini beans are a hearty addition to many a meal, and this recipe will yield a great foundation for whatever dish you need them for.


a pot of cannellini beans made with olive oil, onion, bay leaves, thyme, garlic, salt & pepper being stirred with a spoon
Photography by Gayle McLeod

We Love Making Dried Cannellini Beans From Scratch, Here’s Why

Cooking dried beans requires a little extra planning, but the payoff is totally worth it! What we love most about cooking beans from scratch is that you can control the flavor with the addition of fresh herbs, onion, and garlic. Cannellini beans are naturally earthy and nutty in flavor, making them the perfect complement to other dishes or on their own. Are cannellini beans good for you? Yes! Cooking cannellini beans from scratch is a great way to avoid the extra sodium from canned beans, and to reap the full range of cannellini beans benefits–they are super nutritious and full of protein. In addition to being a nutritional powerhouse, they maintain their texture when added to soups and other dishes, and are also great puréed.

dried cannellini beans spread out on the counter

💌 Let's Stay Together

There are so many great ways to receive all of our latest recipes, meal tips, and inspiration.

Are Great Northern Beans The Same As Cannellini Beans?

If you need a substitution for cannellini beans, you can use great Northern beans instead. Both are delicious white beans, but the cannellinis tend to have a slightly creamier interior, and sturdier exterior which means they keep their shape better when cooked. Cannellini beans are popular in Italian dishes like minestrone and pasta e fagioli, or any other hearty dish eaten on a chilly night. We recommend making either or both!

dried cannellini beans, water onion sautéed in olive oil, bay leaves, thyme, garlic, salt & pepper cooking in a pot
homemade cannellini beans made with onion, bay leaves, thyme, garlic, salt & pepper in a bowl with a spoon

Looking To Make Some Delicious Cannellini Bean Recipes?

You’ve lovingly tended a pot of cannellini beans, and now you’re curious about finding the perfect cannellini beans recipe. Luckily, the cannellini bean is extremely versatile, and does well in so many different settings–from soup and salads to dips and spreads, the cannellini bean can do it all. We love the way this bean’s hearty texture plays with Mediterranean flavors in our White Bean Salad with Anchovy Vinaigrette. If you’re looking for a one-pot wonder of a meal, cannellinis are great for this One-Pot Braised Chicken with Kale and White Beans recipe. And if you’re in the mood for chili (always!), you can try using cannellini beans in our Instant Pot White Bean Chicken Chili. Let the beauty of the bean sing in the recipe for Garlicky Beans with Lemon, Dill and Trout. A classic stand-by of a soup that you can always count on is this White Bean Soup with Bacon. Now you can put those cannellini beans to work!!

Tools You’ll Need

A Few Fabulous Cannellini Beans Recipes

Cannellini beans are a standout in many recipes, and here are a few of our favorites:

homemade cannellini beans made with onion, bay leaves, thyme, garlic, salt & pepper in a bowl

Simple, Delicious Cannellini Beans

Did you make a big ol’ pot of beans? We want to know what you do with your cannellini beans! Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Bean appétit!

Cannellini Beans

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  8 hrs
  • Cook Time:  40 min
  • Calories: 107


  • 1 pound dried cannellini beans, rinsed and picked through
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper


  1. Add the beans to a large bowl, cover with water 3-inches above the beans. Soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse well.

  2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is glistening, add the onions and cook, stirring often, until softened about 3-4 minutes.

  3. Add the beans to the pot, cover with water 3-inches above the beans. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the beans begin to foam, about 30 minutes. Skim the foam off the top of the beans.

  4. Add the bay leaves, thyme, garlic cloves, salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, about 2 hours.

Instant Pot Method

  1. Add the beans to a large bowl, cover with water 3-inches above the beans. Soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse well.

  2. Turn an Instant Pot on ‘Sauté’ mode, add the oil and heat until glistening, about 2 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3-4 minutes.

  3. Add the beans to the pot and cover with 1-inch of water, add the bay leaves, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper.

  4. Cover with the lid and lock it place, with the valve in the closed position. Set the Instant Pot on ‘HIGH pressure’, cook the beans for 12 minutes.

  5. Let the steam naturally release for 5-10 minutes (no longer or the beans will overcook). Press the steam release and open the lid.

Note: Cook time may vary depending on the age of the beans, check on beans often, adding more time and liquid as needed to avoid beans drying out.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories107
  • Protein5 g
  • Carbohydrates14 g
  • Total Fat3 g
  • Dietary Fiber3 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium583 mg
  • Total Sugars1 g

Cannellini Beans

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Amy

    How much is a serving?

    About 3/4 of a cup. Hope you enjoY!

  • Jenn

    These were delicious and easier than I expected.

    Thanks Jenn! Glad you tried them out and liked them!