Three Bean Salad

You can make tasty three bean salad anytime. This is perfect to make ahead and serve later.

three bean salad, fork, plates, and wooden spoon

This side dish is the perfect salad to make up to pair with any meal. It is super simple and takes just a few minutes to make!        

Entree Ideas for Old Fashioned Three Bean Salad

This classic three bean salad recipe is great with a lot of different meals. 

I love to make this salad during the spring and summer times when the grill comes out. It is an easy side dish to make up and enjoy with little preparation. You can make it to go with grilled chicken or grilled steak. Serve it along with a pot roast. It is a great dish to go with a hearty entree.  

Three bean salad is a less traditional take on salad, so it is a great way to mix up adding a salad to your meal. 

I’ve also used it as a snack or to bring to a potluck because it goes great with meatballs and all of the fantastic casseroles people bring to get-togethers. Essentially, you cannot go wrong with this three bean salad.  

How to Make Three Bean Salad From Scratch

Have you wondered how to make three bean salad? Most of the time it is seen in a restaurant or at a buffet, but it is very easy to make your own version from scratch. 

Begin by getting the beans, draining, and rinsing them. Once they are all mixed together, put them aside. Then you’ll mix up the ingredients for the dressing, pour it over top of the beans, and then pop the bowl in the fridge to let the salad chill. Then once it’s chilled it is good to go!

Do You Need to Rinse Canned Beans Before

The wax and green beans do not need to be rinsed. You should rinse the kidney beans before using them to make the salad.

Make It Your Own!

If you aren’t a huge fan of everything in the classic three bean salad recipe, then make some changes! That is the beauty of this recipe, change and substituting for things you like is okay. 

So, if you do not like wax beans or are not able to find them, swap them with something else. Chickpeas or great northern beans would also work great. 

For kidney beans, you can choose whether you want them to light or dark, or you can even swap them for black beans if you like those better. 

You can choose the type of green beans you want. If you like the french style, feel free to use those!

Also, if you aren’t sure what salad oil is, it is a type of light tasting vegetable oil. However, if you want to use olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil, or corn oil those are great options to use too. 

Three Bean Salad Recipe Ingredients

  • Canned wax beans
  • Canned green beans
  • Canned kidney beans
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Salad oil
  • White vinegar
  • White granulated sugar
  • Salt
three bean salad ingredients

How to Make Three Bean Salad

  1. Drain the beans and place them in a large bowl.
    green, red, and wax beans in a bowl
  2. Add chopped celery and onion to the bowl with the beans.
  3. Stir to mix the beans and vegetables.
  4. Place the oil, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl.
    three bean salad dressing
  5. Whisk until the dressing is thoroughly combined and the sugar is dissolved.
  6. Pour the dressing over the beans and toss to combine.
  7. Refrigerate the salad overnight.
a bowl of three bean salad

How Long Does Three Bean Salad Last?

While I do suggest eating this salad within 24 hours of making this salad, it can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for later.

However, this salad will only last about 3-5 days in the fridge, after that the beans will be too soggy.  

three bean salad in a bowl, forks, and plates

Want more vegetable salad recipes? Try these!

Favorite Vegetable Side Dish Recipes

Check out more of my easy salad recipes and the best vegetable side dish recipes here on CopyKat!

This recipe is by Judy McDowell. Jefferson City, Mo. 1967.

three bean salad, fork, plates, and wooden spoon

Three Bean Salad

This quick and easy three bean salad is a great side dish to make for a potluck or picnic.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Three Bean Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 229kcal


  • 16 ounces canned wax beans
  • 16 ounces canned green beans
  • 16 ounces canned kidney beans
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion


  • ½ cup salad oil
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Drain the beans and place them in a large bowl.
  • Add chopped celery and onion to the bowl with the beans.
  • Stir to mix the beans and vegetables.
  • Place the oil, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl.
  • Whisk until the dressing is thoroughly combined and the sugar is dissolved.
  • Pour the dressing over the beans and toss to combine.
  • Refrigerate the salad overnight.


Calories: 229kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 243mg | Potassium: 386mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 335IU | Vitamin C: 15.8mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2.3mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


    • Stephanie Manley

      I haven’t worked the Popeyes coleslaw, it looks very white, so I would say they don’t use it. I don’t think I add sugar to red beans, so I don’t know why it would be necessary to add brown sugar to the red beans recipe that I have. I don’t think popeyes has a 3 bean recipe.

  1. Linda C Clark

    How did you know I had this or something near like it on my menu list for next week? Right on time. I normally add some red bell pepper to mine for color and more crunch.

  2. cindy bartolotta

    I add a can of corn to mine. You can also use cannolini beans. I add some finely diced sweet pepper and splenda instead of sugar. And some dill.

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