Three Bean Salad is ultimate classic potluck food! With it’s simple ingredients and great flavor, this easy side dish recipe is perfect to bring to a party or just for a weeknight dinner.
In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, I love to cook.
And that love of cooking was one of the best family treasures that was passed down to me. It was passed down in many different ways, but one of my favorites was when I graduated from college. My great aunt came to my house and gave me two things: a hand mixer and a church cookbook.
The hand mixer broke years ago (cough, just a couple years since I graduated college . . . ) but the church cookbook is still going strong. My aunt knew I would treasure it since she and my grandmother had contributed many recipes to the book.
It has some additional treasures, like this delicious simple Three Bean Salad recipe.
I love how very little you need to make this recipe. Or maybe how very little you need to measure for this recipe. (As always, please see the printable recipe card at the bottom so you don’t miss anything.)
- 15 ounces Kidney Beans
- 15 ounces Green Beans
- 15 ounces Wax Beans (could these have been named worse?)
- 1 small Red Onion diced fine
For the Dressing
- Granulated Sugar
- Olive Oil
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Salt & Pepper
How to Make Classic Three Bean Salad
As I’m sure you have guessed, this is just a matter of mixing things together. But! Aside from rinsing your beans and mixing your dressing well, there is one major key to this recipe.
Allow Salad to Sit Out for Four Hours Minimum
Allowing the salad to sit overnight lets the dressing really sink into the beans. It also softens the red onion. Those are two things that take this salad over the top.
When you take out your salad just before serving, let it come to room temperature for about 20 minutes. Then give it a good stir and set it out.
Note the Lack of Mayonnaise
Did you guys notice there is no mayonnaise or sour cream or yogurt in this great picnic recipe?! That’s right friends! That makes this recipe perfect for bringing to a backyard BBQ.
This recipe will last in your refrigerator for up to four days. Make sure you store it in an airtight container.
I would not recommend freezing this three bean salad. While you can do it, I think you will be happier if you make it fresh.
Other Great Side Dishes
If you are looking for even more great recipes to bring to a picnic, check out some of these:
- STRAWBERRY SPINACH SALAD: This is a hit every single place you take it.
- HEALTHY POTATO SALAD: I have a small obsession with this recipe. It is even better the second day.
- SPINACH BACON SALAD: This is from the other side of my family, but is another great treasure.
If you love this three bean salad recipe or any of my other recipes, please be sure to come back and let me know!
Three Bean Salad Recipe
- 15 ounces kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 15 ounces green beans drained and rinsed
- 15 ounces wax beans drained and rinsed
- 1 small red onion sliced thin
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- In a small bowl or mason jar, whisk together the sugar, olive oil, vinegars, salt, and pepper until the sugar completely dissolves.
- Combine the beans in a medium bowl with the red onion. Pour the dressing over it and toss to combine. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.