Three Bean Salad

The Classic Three Bean Salad with green beans, garbanzo beans and kidney beans tossed with a sweet and sour dressing made with sugar, vinegar and celery seed is the perfect summer side dish.

This salad is the perfect make ahead summer side, we also love serving it along side KFC ColeslawHoney Bacon Baked Beans and Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad.

Three Bean Salad
Classic Three Bean Salad Recipe

Three bean salad was one of the first side dishes I made with my kids in the kitchen. I steamed the green beans and they drained and rinsed (and smushed some) of the kidney beans and the garbanzo beans. The dressing was made and whisked with almost only half of it spilling out of the bowl.

The great thing about the dressing is that it is more or less a marinade. The beans need time to soak up the sweet and sour dressing before serving, so this isn’t a dish I would toss together and serve right away, it won’t have the old fashioned three bean salad flavors you’re looking for.

I make this three bean salad with fresh green beans even though canned are easier. It’s the crunch and freshness of the green beans that makes it so popular when served. I just trim and cut them before microwaving them for a few minutes. My favorite way to steam quickly is just to add the vegetables to a glass bowl and cover with a wet paper towel. The paper towel creates steam inside the bowl and prevents the vegetables from drying out.

What kind of beans go into bean salad?

Three Bean Salad: Garbanzo, Kidney and Green Beans
Four Bean Salad: Garbanzo, Kidney, Wax and Green Beans
Five Bean Salad: Garbanzo, Kidney, Lima, Wax and Green Beans
Six Bean Salad: Garbanzo, Kidney, Black Eyed Peas, Cranberry, Lima, Wax and Green Beans

classic three bean salad recipe

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Classic Three Bean Salad Recipe

The Classic Three Bean Salad with green beans, garbanzo beans and kidney beans tossed with a sweet and sour dressing made with sugar, vinegar and celery seed is the perfect summer side dish.
Yield 6 Servings
Prep Time 12 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 pound green beans trimmed and cut
  • 1/2 red onion sliced thinly
  • 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • parsley for garnish (optional)


  • Add the green beans to a large glass bowl with a tablespoon of water and cover with a wet paper towel.
  • Microwave for 3 minutes then let cool while cutting the onions.
  • Add everything else but the parsley to the bowl and stir together.
  • Refrigerate for at least 8-12 hours before serving.


Calories: 148kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 200mg | Potassium: 173mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 522IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword: Three Bean Salad

Old Fashioned Three Bean Salad Recipe

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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