Baked Beans – Ahead of Thyme


Homemade Baked Beans are the perfect side dish with their sweet and savory flavor, tender beans, and glossy sauce. They’re right at home with hot dogs and burgers and are a must-have at any potluck or barbecue. These old fashioned baked beans are an incredibly easy to make one pot recipe and have so much more flavor than the canned baked beans from the store!

Although store-bought baked beans are good, they’re incredibly sweet and have so many preservatives and additives! It’s surprisingly easy to make homemade baked beans from scratch, and this is a great way to control the quality of your ingredients. You just need a few simple ingredients and a little patience, and you’ll be rewarded with incredible flavor. Try this recipe once, and you’ll be in charge of baked beans for every family reunion or barbecue going forward!

Why You’ll Love These Homemade Baked Beans

  • Quick and easy. This one pot baked bean recipe is seriously fast! The trick is to start with canned beans, and the entire batch will come together in about 20 minutes. Plus, you probably already have many of these ingredients on hand already!
  • Rich, savory flavor. Baked beans have a classic mix of sweet and savory, which is why they pair so well with barbecue sauce and smoked meats. There are some flavor powerhouses in this recipe, including tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. You’ll be shocked by how quickly you can get a really bold flavor!
  • Easy to adapt. This a great, classic recipe. You can easily tweak it to your flavor preferences by adding meat or liquid smoke, or you can use vegan Worcestershire sauce for a completely vegan side dish. Make it your own!
Homemade Baked Beans are the perfect side dish with their sweet and savory flavor, tender beans, and glossy sauce. So much better than canned baked beans! | aheadofthyme.com

Ingredient Notes

To make these delicious Baked Beans, you will need the following ingredients (full measurements in recipe card below):

  • navy beans – rinse and drain canned navy or cannellini beans. You can also make dried beans by soaking 1 cup dried beans overnight and then cooking them before preparing this recipe. See How to Cook Dried Beans for instructions and tips.
  • vegetable stock – this is the body of the sauce. You can also use water in a pinch.
  • ketchup – ketchup adds a little sweetness and a rich tomato flavor.
  • tomato paste – tomato paste has a very concentrated flavor that makes these beans taste like they’ve been simmering all day.
  • Worcestershire sauce – this is a great way to add a bold, savory taste quickly. 
  • sugar – the best homemade baked beans are a little sweet. Feel free to use brown sugar or even honey or maple syrup instead.
  • seasonings – use a mixture of garlic powder, salt, and black pepper and adjust to your personal preference.
  • cornstarch slurry – whisk together water and cornstarch to thicken the beans quickly.

You will also need measuring cups and spoons, a large pot, and a small mixing bowl.

Homemade Baked Beans are the perfect side dish with their sweet and savory flavor, tender beans, and glossy sauce. So much better than canned baked beans! | aheadofthyme.com

How to Make the Best Baked Beans

  1. Add the ingredients. In a large pot, add canned beans, vegetable stock (or water), ketchup, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  1. Make cornstarch slurry. In a small mixing bowl, combine water and cornstarch. Stir in the cornstarch slurry.
  1. Thicken. Cook until thickened to a desired consistency, about 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Recipe Variations

  • Add meat. Many people love to include bacon, ground beef, or even a leftover ham bone in their baked beans to add extra flavor. You can always crisp up a few slices of bacon in the pan, then cook the other ingredients in the bacon grease.
  • Make it smoky. For a BBQ flavor, add some liquid smoke or replace some of the tomato sauce with a spicy BBQ sauce.
  • Add mustard. The sharpness of mustard pairs really well with the savory sauce in this easy baked beans recipe. Add dry mustard or squeeze some of your favorite yellow mustard to taste.
  • Try different beans. Baked beans are traditionally made with navy or great northern beans, but they’re great with any creamy, tender beans. Cannellini, pinto, or pink beans are a great alternative.
  • Use the slow cooker: Not in a rush? Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker and let them simmer on low for hours.

How to Serve

These baked beans can be served in many different ways. In the UK, they are traditionally served as a breakfast items on a plate with a side of toast and eggs. They are also delicious served on their own for dinner or lunch with some crusty bread for dipping or over a plate of rice. Some of our favorites to pair with this are:

Baked beans are also delicious served with some classic BBQ side dishes including:

For more recipe ideas, see our 25+ Best BBQ Side Dishes.

Homemade Baked Beans are the perfect side dish with their sweet and savory flavor, tender beans, and glossy sauce. So much better than canned baked beans! | aheadofthyme.com

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Build flavor. This is a quick and easy recipe, so you’re using super flavorful ingredients to build flavor quickly. If you’re not in a rush, slow down the process. Griddle up some strips of bacon and cook minced onion in the bacon grease. Let the beans slowly cook before you add the slurry. Take your time!
  • Adjust to taste. There are so many baked bean recipes out there! Everyone has their own spin on this classic side dish. Feel free to adjust the seasonings to your preference. You can easily make them sweeter, add more veggies, drizzle in some molasses, or even replace the vegetable stock with beer! 
  • Don’t burn. Since the sauce is so sweet and we’re cooking on medium-high heat, it’d be easy to burn the beans. That scorched flavor doesn’t taste too great! Stir often and lower the heat if needed.

Storing and Freezing Instructions

How to Store

Store leftover baked beans in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.

How to Reheat

You can easily microwave leftover beans for 30 seconds to a minute, but they may explode or burst. It’s easier to warm the leftovers in a small saucepan on the stove, but only heat as much as you plan to eat in that sitting. It’s not good to rewarm leftovers more than once.

How to Freeze

Allow the beans to cool completely, then portion them up in freezer-safe containers. Freeze for up to 3 months and thaw in the fridge before reheating.

FAQ

What’s the difference between American and British baked beans?

There are so many different types of baked beans out there, and each one is a little different depending on where you live. This particular recipe is more like British-style baked beans, as the beans are served in a slightly sweet, tomato-y sauce. American-style baked beans usually contain some sort of meat, like bacon, and they have a rich, sweet flavor, often using brown sugar, molasses, honey, or other add-ins. There is no one “right” way to make beans, so feel free to adapt the flavors to your own preferences.

How do you make baked beans taste smoky?

If you love BBQ-style baked beans with a rich, smoky flavor, look for some Liquid Smoke at the grocery store. This will add a clear smoky flavor that pairs perfectly with the tomato sauce and bold flavors. You can also consider adding smoky mix-ins, like roasted green chile or smoked paprika. These will both add a little bit of smokiness and allow that BBQ flavor to build over time.

Should you use dry or canned beans for baked beans?

Since it can take so long to make baked beans with dry beans, we really prefer to start with cans of beans. The beans are already perfectly tender, so you can focus on making that flavorful, syrupy sauce instead of waiting forever for the beans to cook. If you are averse to the canned stuff, you can definitely soak and cook dry navy beans or great northern beans, but be careful not to overcook the beans, or they’ll become mushy.

More Bean Recipes

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Homemade Baked Beans are the perfect side dish with their sweet and savory flavor, tender beans, and glossy sauce. So much better than canned baked beans! | aheadofthyme.com

Baked Beans


  • Author: Sam Hu | Ahead of Thyme
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Homemade Baked Beans are the perfect side dish with their sweet and savory flavor, tender beans, and glossy sauce. They’re right at home with hot dogs and burgers and are a must-have at any potluck or barbecue. These old fashioned baked beans are an incredibly easy to make one pot recipe and have so much more flavor than the canned baked beans from the store!


Ingredients


Instructions

  1. In a large pot, add canned beans, vegetable stock (or water), ketchup, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well and bring it to a boil over medium high heat.
  2. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, make a cornstarch slurry by combining water and cornstarch.
  4. Stir in the cornstarch slurry and cook until thickened to a desired consistency, about 5 minutes.
  5. Serve warm.

Notes

How to store: Store leftover baked beans in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.

How to reheat: You can easily microwave leftover beans for 30 seconds to a minute, but they may explode or burst. It’s easier to warm the leftovers in a small saucepan on the stove, but only heat as much as you plan to eat in that sitting. It’s not good to rewarm leftovers more than once.

How to freeze: Allow the beans to cool completely, then portion them up in freezer-safe containers. Freeze for up to 3 months and thaw in the fridge before reheating.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Beans
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: British

Keywords: baked beans, homemade baked beans,

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