Old Fashioned Bean Salad

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

This Old Fashioned Bean Salad has been a family staple for years. 4 kinds of beans and a hint of white onion all dressed in a sweet tangy vinaigrette dressing.

This is the perfect make ahead side salad for any get together or BBQ!

Old Fashioned Bean Salad in a white bowl with a title

A Sweet Return

I truly have the most amazing Mother-In-Law, I don’t think I could’ve hand-picked a better one myself. Sometimes when my mother-in-law comes for a big turkey dinner, I send her home with leftovers in containers.  Last week I was so excited to see that she had brought back my containers because when she returned them they sometimes come back full of food too!  Bran muffins (and my kids totally love them too), sometimes her amazing baked beans and one day, this amazing bean salad.

I’d been sneaking spoonfuls out of the fridge all day long when I finally phoned her and asked for the recipe! She originally found this recipe in an old cookbook called “Women in Uniform” and it’s a great version of a classic bean salad.

Spooning out a serving of Old Fashioned Bean Salad with a wooden spoon

How to Make Bean Salad

Bean salad couldn’t be easier. This version starts with canned beans for an easy make ahead salad. You want the beans to marinate in the dressing for at least 12 hours, but up to 48 hours is even better!

  1. Drain beans and place in a bowl with green pepper and onion.
  2. Boil dressing ingredients.
  3. Pour dressing over the beans and refrigerate overnight mixing occasionally.

Overhead shot of Old Fashioned Bean Salad in a white bowl

Pick Your Favorite Beans

  • BEANS: This uses a mixture of canned green and yellow beans along with lima beans and red kidney beans.  Really, any kind of beans would be great in this recipe so feel free to change them up based on what you have on hand (or whatever kind of beans you like).
    • Great bean options include navy beans, chickpeas/garbanzo beans, cannellini among others.
  • ONIONS: When purchasing onion for this recipe, you’ll want to use the white onions with the white papery skin (not the yellow skin) as they’re milder and add great flavor to this recipe!
  • DRESSING: If you don’t have celery seed (I use them in  my favorite coleslaw dressing too), it’s worth getting some, it makes a big difference in this recipe (I also use celery seed in my favorite cole slaw recipe).  You can usually buy it in the bulk spices area so you can just buy a little bit at a time.  Note that celery seed is not the same as celery salt.

More Classic Summer Salads

bean salad in white bowl
5 from 9 votes
Review Recipe

Bean Salad

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
This Old Fashioned Bean Salad has been a family staple for years. 4 kinds of beans and a hint of white onion all dressed in a sweet tangy vinaigrette dressing.


  • 14 oz can green beans
  • 14 oz can yellow beans
  • 14 oz can red kidney beans
  • 14 oz can lima beans
  • 1/2 cup green pepper thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup white onion thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup celery chopped
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds

Follow Spend with Pennies on Pinterest


  • Drain all of the beans well. Combine beans, green pepper, celery and onion in a bowl.
  • Heat all dressing ingredients in a small saucepan until sugar is dissolved and mixture is hot.
  • Pour the hot dressing mixture over the beans and toss to coat. Refrigerate overnight.

Recipe Notes

Mix or stir the beans occasionally as they are setting in the fridge to distribute flavors.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 203, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Sodium: 399mg, Potassium: 340mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 510IU, Vitamin C: 14.3mg, Calcium: 49mg, Iron: 1.8mg
Keyword bean salad

REPIN this Easy Salad Recipe

Old fashioned bean salad in a white bowl with writing

bean salad in white bowl
Old fashioned bean salad in a white bowl with a wooden spoon and a title
Old fashioned bean salad in a bowl with a title

More Recipes You'll Love

About the author


pinterest facebook twitter instagram

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

More Posts by Holly

Latest & Greatest Dishes