Three Bean Salad


Easy three bean salad, perfect for summer picnics and potlucks! With cannellini beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, celery, red onion, parsley, and a sweet and sour dressing.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

3-bean salad is one of those quintessential American summer picnic foods. It’s comforting, protein-rich, and easy to put together quickly with pantry ingredients.

3-bean salad is usually made with canned green beans instead of the cannellini white beans I’m using here. But I’ve yet to meet a canned green bean I like, so cannellini it is.

This bean salad is traditionally dressed with a sweet and sour dressing made with vinegar, oil, and sugar. You can cut back the sugar if you want, but I wouldn’t cut it out completely, or the dressing will be too acidic.

Three Bean Salad Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 8

We are using cannellini beans, kidney beans, and garbanzo beans in this salad. You can easily swap out any of them for cooked green beans, wax beans, or black beans.

Prep the onion first and soak the chopped onion in a  small bowl of water to take the edge off the onion while you prep the other ingredients.


  • 1 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped fine (about 3/4 cup), soaked in water to take the edge off the onion
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup loosely packed, fresh, finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh finely chopped rosemary
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


1 In a large bowl, mix the 3 different types of beans, the celery, onion (drained of soaking water), parsley, and rosemary.

2 In a separate small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the dressing to the beans. Toss to coat.

3 Chill beans in the refrigerator for several hours, to allow the beans to soak up the flavor of the dressing.

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Three Bean Salad

Showing 4 of 85 Comments / Reviews

  • Diane Snyder

    My favorite 3 bean salad recipe! I add whatever fresh chopped veg I have lying around. Red bell pepper, cucumber, green pepper. If I don’t have one type of bean I will substitute another. Green beans instead of garbanzos, for example. For a main dish I will put down a bed of lettuce, followed by a heaping pile of the three bean salad, topped with canned tuna. Yum!


  • Angela

    Does anybody know how many calories are in a serving

  • maryann

    I made this yesterday and it looked wonderful. i refrigerated it overnight to get what most people say would be the best flavor. This morning it it coagulated and mushy

  • Darlene

    I made this 4 months ago & don’t remember if I left a review or not. Made it again today, delish. Only thing I changed this time was I used a little less sugar & used black beans instead of cannellini beans. Love these beans. Thanks for the recipe.


  • Jean

    Nummy! I love all the other posters suggestion about ways to doctor it up as well. I think I could eat the entire bowl. A big surprise to me is that I think I’ll cut back on the sugar next time. Thanks for sharing!


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