British baked beans are a traditional dish you can make from scratch in 20 minutes. They taste way better than canned baked beans!
This British baked Beans recipe is such a classic dish and really easy to make from scratch. It's one of those recipes I make all the time for my family.
They are the perfect addition to a classic full English Breakfast, great with toasted bread (beans on toast anyone?) or with baked potatoes.
Most of all, they simply make a great side dish for almost anything, and they're conveniently vegan.
British baked beans are traditionally made with navy beans (called haricot beans in the UK), which are small white beans.
You can use dried beans or canned beans to make baked beans from scratch. I'll leave both options below!
BRITISH BAKED BEANS VS AMERICAN BAKED BEANS
The main difference between American baked beans and British baked beans is that US beans are sweeter and tend to be more barbecue-ey.
American baked beans (also called Boston baked beans) are made with molasses and pork salt (or bacon), and they're slow-cooked in the oven.
English-style baked beans (Heinz baked beans being the most famous) are more savory and made with a tomato sauce base.
They're cooked on the stove-top and they're naturally vegan.
You don't need any special ingredients to make English-style baked beans from scratch.
In fact, you probably have most ingredients in your pantry already!
- Olive oil: go for good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
- Onion & garlic: they add lots of flavour, but you can omit one of the two if you like.
- Tomato paste: I use double-concentrate tomato paste, it gives such a nice extra tomatoey flavor.
- Pureed tomatoes: I use Italian passata, it's usually sold in bottles and available in most grocery stores.
- Maple syrup: most recipes call for sugar, I prefer maple syrup, but you can swap it with sugar if needed.
- Spices & herbs: I add sweet smoked paprika and optional dried thyme.
- Worcestershire sauce: My secret ingredient! I use vegan Worcherstershire to keep the recipe vegan, but you can use the regular one if you like.
- Beans: You can use haricot beans (navy beans) or cannellini beans. If you have time, cook your own dry beans, otherwise you can opt for canned beans or even better, use cooked beans sold in jars.
DRIED BEANS OR CANNED BEANS
Canned beans are softer and can easily turn into mushy beans, so opt for canned beans as a last resort.
For quick baked beans, I tend to use cooked navy beans sold in jars, they hold their shape much better and have no extra ingredients added (no added sodium).
Dried haricot beans cooked from scratch tend to hold their shape better when cooked.
They're super cheap to make at home and the process is pretty straightforward.
Here's how to cook dried navy beans at home:
- Rinse the beans.
- Soak the beans overnight.
- Drain the beans and put them in a large pot.
- Cover the beans with about 3-inches of water. Bring the water to a boil then reduce the heat.
- Simmer the beans for about 45-60 minutes or until just tender, checking them every 15 minutes, until they reach the desired tenderness.
- Store the beans that you won't use for this recipe in their cooking liquid. They keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
HOW TO MAKE BRITISH BAKED BEANS
Making baked beans from scratch is easier than you possibly think! They're made all in one pot and take about 15 minutes to cook.
STEP 1. Cook the onion and garlic in a saucepan over low heat.
STEP 2. Add the tomato paste, maple syrup, spices, passata, and Worcestershire sauce.
STEP 3. Add the cooked navy beans (or cannellini beans), and simmer all the ingredients for about 10 minutes.
STEP 4. Season to taste, remove from the heat and serve your British baked beans for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Store leftover baked beans in an airtight container. They will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Yes, you can! Cook them ahead of time and store them in the fridge until needed, then simply reheat them for 5 minutes.
Baked beans freeze great!
Divide leftovers into portions and store in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat for 5 minutes or until hot.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?
Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thepetitecook!
British Baked Beans
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ onion, finely minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- A pinch of dried thyme, optional
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce, optional
- 100 g pureed tomatoes or tomato passata
- 400 g cooked cannellini beans
- sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
- Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat, add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until they’re soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste followed by the maple syrup, thyme, smoked paprika, vegan Worcestershire sauce (if using), and tomato passata, stir well and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Add the beans into the saucepan and simmer all the ingredients for 8 minutes over low heat, stirring every now and then, until the sauce has slightly thickened.
- Season to taste with sea salt and freshly-cracked black-pepper to taste, stir gently, remove the pan from the heat and serve.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.