Home Canned Three Bean Salad
January 22, 2021


My first memories of three bean salad were at a park called Lake Dixon, where my family rented little boats and picnicked on the shore. There were always potucks and parties there too, and one dish I specifically remember eating a a potluck there was three bean salad. It’s probably strange I remember my first taste of this classic salad, but maybe it’s because I really wanted to like it, but didn’t. The beans were drenched in an unbalanced vinegar dressing, with an overly sharp bite. I liked the idea of the different textures of beans together, but the dressing ruined it for me. Recently, I saw someone post a picture of their home canned three bean salad, so I drilled the poster regarding taste. Their recipe came from the Amish Canning Cookbook, a dish I had been eyeing every time I thumbed through that book. This person assured me this side dish was not overpowering with vinegar. Inspecting the ingredient list, I could see this version had promise, and because the ingredients were inexpensive, I thought, “why not?”

Because I buy my dry beans in bulk, I cooked my own kidney beans and chickpeas. I just cooked an entire pound of each, and used the extras for other recipes. I amended the recipe a bit from the Amish Canning Cookbook, and used apple cider vinegar. As long as the vinegar is 5 percent acidity for safe canning, you can use another type of vinegar.  I love celery in this recipe, which I haven’t seen in traditional versions.

After I made this recipe, I gave my husband a bite. He widened his eyes, and said, ‘This tastes like the 1970’s.” He’s right, but it’s much better. I adore this three bean salad so much, I will pop open a jar for a snack. This has the perfect tang, amount of oil and sugar, and more vegetables than ever with my amendments. I reclaimed a retro recipe from our childhoods, and brought it back to our table, and to our picnic blankets.

Home Canned Three Bean Salad

Amended from The Amish Canning Cookbook
Yield 7 pints

4 1/2 cups of fresh green beans, snapped in half
4 1/2 cups cooked red kidney beans (if using canned, rinse thoroughly first)
3 cups cooked chickpeas (if using canned, rinse thoroughly first)
2 cups of sliced onion
2 cups of sliced green bell peppers
1 1/2 cup sliced celery
1 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup bottled lemon juice
2 1/4 cups of sugar
3/4 cups of oil
3 3/4 cups water
1 1/2 tsp canning salt

Snap beans in half, and boil for 30 seconds, and plunge in cold water. Boil vinegar, lemon juice, sugar and water, then remove from heat. Add salt. oil, green beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, onions, celery, and green pepper. Bring to a simmer, and turn off immediately.

Put bean mixture and liquid in pint jars, filling to 1 inch headspace. Water bath pints for 20 minutes for altitudes up to 1,000 feet, 20 minutes for altitudes from 1,001-6,000 feet, and 25 minutes for 6,000 feet and above.



  1. Auntie Doni

    Aloha Laura,
    I have a question for you.
    Could I use this recipe for the brine to make Dilly Beans?
    We love Dilly Beans we use to be able to get them commercially canned in the supermarkets, not any more.
    When I’ve attempted to make my own, they are far too sour for us.
    Now, your Three Bean Salad is a huge hit and from what I’ve read it’s the amount of Sugar you use to off set the Sourness, plus using Apple Cider Vinegar for added sweetness.
    I’m thinkin’ this will work fine, but I thought I’d better ask the expert.
    MIA (Mahalo In Advance)

    • Laura

      Aloha!! Sure, that would work just fine. There are green beans in the bean salad and they are delicious in the brine!

  2. Sue DeLelys

    Just made this recipe and it’s amazing! Thank you so very much for sharing it.

    • Laura

      I am so glad you liked it! I love it so much I’m going to start canning it in quarts.

    • Laura

      So glad you liked it!

  3. Jackie

    Your recipe is a hit! I made 10 jars, Tuesday morning. My husband found a jar in the fridge today. He cracked it open, the smile on his face. He wouldn’t let me taste it. Really good!

    • Laura

      That’s wonderful Jackie! I love it so much too! Thank you for sharing!!

  4. Auntie Doni

    My Mother LOVES Three Bean Salad and has a heck of a time finding it in the Mega-Marts any more.
    So I did a WWW search and found your recipe.
    We all sat down to a lovely Fried Chicken meal last night, along with a coupla jars of your salad that I had “put up” back in May of 2021.

    • Laura

      Yay! This makes me so happy! Now I’m craving fried chicken. :)

      • Auntie Doni

        Just finished making another batch of your recipe Laura.
        I made the full recipe and got 7 pints, so two of them will be going to our neighbors to either side of us.

        • Laura

          That is so kind of you to bless your neighbors!

      • Leslie Haggstrom

        WE love it stop a green salad in the winter

        • Laura

          I like it that way too – reminds me of salad bars, but better!

  5. Delores

    How much water do you afd

    • Pete

      How much water to add?

      • LauraM

        3 3/4 cups of water. I’m so sorry I forgot to put that in!

    • LauraM

      Ahh! I’m sorry I left that out. It’s 3 3/4 cups water. I updated the recipe. Thank you!

  6. Jenny

    Funny about Doug’s comment about the 1970’s!



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