Three Bean Salad

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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 SaladClassic 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

5 from 2 votes
  • Yield: 6 Servings
  • Prep Time: 12 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Course: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder
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.


  • 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)


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Add the green beans to a large glass bowl with a tablespoon of water and cover with a wet paper towel.
  2. Microwave for 3 minutes then let cool while cutting the onions.

  3. Add everything else but the parsley to the bowl and stir together.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 8-12 hours before serving.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 6 Servings, Amount per serving: 148 calories, Calories: 148g, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 200mg, Potassium: 173mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 522g, Vitamin C: 10g, Calcium: 35g, Iron: 1g

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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.

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Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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