Three Bean Salad

6 Servings
Prep Time 12 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Classic Three Bean Salad with green beans, garbanzo beans and kidney beans tossed with a sweet and sour dressing is the perfect summer side.

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

Three Bean Salad in serving bowl

Three Bean Salad is an easy side dish to make with the kids in the kitchen. You steam the green beans and let them drain and rinse (and smush some of) the kidney beans and the garbanzo beans. Kids love using a whisk to mix the dressing together, and it’s a great way to get them excited to eat some nutritious veggies!

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 you want to toss together and serve right away, it won’t have the old fashioned three bean salad flavors you’re looking for.

More Great Summer Side Dishes

This Three Bean Salad recipe is made 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. Just trim and cut them before microwaving them for a few minutes. The easiest 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.

Since this Three Bean Salad recipe contains no dairy, it is perfect for a summer potluck or picnic to feed a crowd. The tangy crunch tastes great alongside classic cookout favorites like Cornbread, Coleslaw, and Easy Pasta Salad.

Frequently Asked Questions

What other combinations of beans can I used for 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

Can I make Three Bean Salad ahead?

Yes! In fact, you’ll want to give this salad plenty of time in the refrigerator after combining ingredients, so it is best made the night before.

Can I substitute the dressing ingredients?

Try using olive oil in place of canola, or red wine vinegar instead of white. Keep in mind there will be a slightly stronger flavor from those ingredients, but the rest of the seasonings will balance it out.

Other Classic Side Salads

How to Store Three Bean Salad

  • Serve: Keep Three Bean Salad at room temperature for up to 2 hours before refrigerating.
  • Store: Three Bean Salad will keep keep well in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to 4 days.
  • Freeze: It is not recommended to freeze this recipe as it will have a mushy texture when it thaws.
three bean salad in serving bowl

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Classic Three Bean Salad Recipe

Classic Three Bean Salad with green beans, garbanzo beans and kidney beans tossed with a sweet and sour dressing is the perfect summer side.
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 sugar
  • 2/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable 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 garnishing with parsley and 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
Three Bean Salad Collage

Photo used in a previous version of this post.

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 cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, 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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  1. Made to go with loaded baked potato on a rainy day. Added other vinegars to give it a stronger flavor. Was good and full of fiber.