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Grandma’s Easy Three Bean Salad recipe is a mix of canned green beans, wax beans and kidney beans in a tangy dressing.  The perfect side dish for a BBQ, potluck or any summer gathering!

grandma's three bean salad in a serving bowl.

Classic 3 Bean Salad

Old fashioned three bean salad is another one of my grandma’s recipes, and it’s been in the family for ages and ages. It’s her recipe for three bean salad from canned beans, and it’s the absolute best three bean salad recipe in the universe. Well, to me it is, anyway. My whole family loves this summer salad as much as I do!

Growing up, 3 bean salad was on the table at Easter and at just about every special spring or summer holiday. We also had this easy salad almost every summer weekend for Sunday supper. It’s a great summer side dish because it’s so easy to make, and you can throw it together in a few minutes. It goes with just about any kind of main dish, and the recipe is perfect for potlucks and summer picnics.

Even though the original recipe is delicious, I use less sugar so it’s not as sweet. I also use different color bell peppers and usually extra-virgin olive oil instead of salad oil, or vegetable oil.

canned green beans, wax beans, kidney beans, onion, bell pepper, celery and dressing ingredients.


You only need a few simple ingredients from your grocery store for this easy bean salad recipe. Full amounts are in the printable recipe card below.

  • Canned green beans — You can sub fresh green beans, but you will need to blanch them first.
  • Canned kidney beans
  • Canned wax beans
  • Celery — adds texture and crunch
  • Onion — white onion, red onion, yellow onion or green onion
  • Bell pepper — I like red peppers or yellow bell peppers, but green bell peppers are fine
  • Oil — for the dressing.
  • Vinegar — Grandma used white vinegar, but I have also used rice vinegar and red wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar instead.
  • White sugar — adds sweetness
  • Sea salt

How to Make Three Bean Salad

Just drain and rinse the beans, then toss them into a large bowl. Add a few chopped ingredients, then prepare the simple dressing.

mix easy salad dressing in bowl with whisk

Whisk, whisk, whisk the dressing ingredients together until it’s all nice and blended. Then, pour the dressing into the bean mixture.

pour dressing into beans

Stir it all together, and stick the bowl in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve the salad. I let it sit for an hour, but I’ve heard other people say to let it sit for several hours. Personally, I think an hour is fine, but do whatever works for you! The flavor is even better the next day!

mix 3 bean salad ingredients in mixing bowl


Store this easy three bean salad in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it. Then, you can let your guests dig in and enjoy! Store leftovers in an airtight container or cover the bowl with plastic wrap. It keeps for 4-5 days.

Recipe Tip

There is a lot of liquid in the salad, but you can drain the beans into a separate serving bowl when serving.

You can sub or add different types of beans if you want. Try garbanzo beans (chickpeas) or cannellini beans or black beans.

3 bean salad in bowl with handwritten recipe.

More Summer Salad Recipes

Try my cucumber tomato salad or Grandma’s potato salad or easy tortellini pasta salad , and be sure to browse even more salad recipes your family will love.

5 from 6 votes

Easy Three Bean Salad

By: Dee
A classic recipe for old fashioned Three Bean Salad that combines canned green beans, wax beans and kidney beans with a tangy homemade dressing.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
refrigeration time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 10


  • 1 15-oz can green beans
  • 1 15-oz can kidney beans
  • 1 15-oz can wax beans
  • ½ small yellow onion sliced
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 2 celery ribs finely chopped
  • cup white vinegar
  • cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
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  • Empty the beans into a colander, rinse well, and pour into large mixing bowl
  • Add the chopped peppers, onions and celery
  • In a small mixing bowl, add the vinegar, olive oil, sugar and sea salt, and whisk together until well blended
  • Pour the dressing over the bean mixture, stir well, and refrigerate until ready to serve



Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving for maximum flavor. You may want to drain some of the dressing before serving.


Calories: 109kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 0.1g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Sodium: 234mg, Potassium: 24mg, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 19IU, Vitamin C: 14mg, Calcium: 3mg, Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
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Recipe published in 2017 and updated in 2024.

easy three bean salad classic recipe
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Recipe Rating


  1. James says:

    An old family favorite is coming back again. Love this stuff!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      It’s a favorite around here every spring and summer! 🙂

  2. Larry Gaines says:

    Three bean salad very popular in the Midwest where I grew up and I loved it. People I California are crazy cause they say it is horrible.5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      I don’t get it either! My grandma made this salad all the time, and I’ve always loved it. 🙂

  3. Miz Helen says:

    We just love a Three Bean Salad! Thanks so much for sharing your awesome recipe with us at Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great day and come back to see us real soon!
    Miz Helen5 stars

  4. Sandi G says:

    This looks so fresh and delicious.

  5. Melanie | Melanie Makes says:

    I remember having this salad at so many family functions when I was younger – what a blast from the past!

  6. katerina @ says:

    Oh wow, I really love this bean salad!! So colorful and delicious!!

  7. Sabrina says:

    I love creative salad dishes! Thank you for sharing!

  8. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet says:

    Love how easy and delicious this salad is! A winner for sure!

    1. Dee says:

      It’s super easy! I think we’ll be having this a lot this summer! 🙂

  9. Stephanie says:

    I love family recipes!! Your version looks really tasty!

    1. Dee says:

      Thanks, Stephanie! I love going through our family recipes.

  10. Erren says:

    Looks so colourful and packed with flavour! Yummy!

    1. Dee says:

      Thanks, Erren. I like to make things as colorful as possible! 🙂