How to make baked beans

Single serving of baked beans with bamboo forkI was never a huge fan of canned baked beans, so it never occurred to me to make them from scratch. This reinterpretation of the classic BBQ dish has totally changed my mind. I would make these any time of the year, and eat them over brown rice. They’re that yummy! This recipe makes enough for a BBQ crowd, so if it’s just one or two of you in the house and you don’t want to be eating beans forever, halve the recipe.

Working on this post I realized that I knew nothing about baked beans—that most homely and simple of dishes—so I boned up on them. I had no idea that navy beans are native to North America, made their way over to Europe, and then returned. Some regions make them with maple syrup, some with molasses. The Brits and the Irish eat them over toast, and Heinz is the most popular brand across the pond.

What I like about my version is that it was easy to make, low in sugar, not too sweet, and the depth of flavor from cooking the beans from scratch (via the OMG Beany-Brothy Deliciousness method) creates an end product that’s nothing like canned beans.

Baked beans with extra sauce Aren’t these individual servers cute? I got them in France last year. I had a bit of extra sauce left over, which was great on BBQ sandwiches.

Traditional recipes call for bacon, sugar, ketchup, and mustard, producing a side dish that’s high in fat, sodium, and includes high-fructose corn syrup. Since this is why I avoid HFCS, making them from scratch is the way to go. I used canned organic tomato paste (no salt added) in place of the ketchup (an iconic “American” food that originated in Indonesia), and used low-glycemic Organic Coconut Sugar instead of brown sugar. Liquid smoke and smoked paprika stand in for the bacon. Husband Tested and Approved!

Suitable for:

vegan, gluten-free, low-sodium, reduced-sugar diets

Not for:

migraine diets

All of our recipes are gluten-free, sugar-free, and made with plant-based ingredients to help you build a healthy life. We support Meatless Monday. Look for midweek posts on meditation, service, and life lessons, helping you create inner balance.

How to make baked beans
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Easy, oven-baked classic, now with low-sugar. Can easily be low-sodium.
Servings Prep Time
16servings 30minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1-2hours 8-12hours
Servings Prep Time
16servings 30minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1-2hours 8-12hours
How to make baked beans
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 1
Rating: 4
You:
Rate this recipe!
Easy, oven-baked classic, now with low-sugar. Can easily be low-sodium.
Servings Prep Time
16servings 30minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1-2hours 8-12hours
Servings Prep Time
16servings 30minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1-2hours 8-12hours
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Units:
Instructions
Method #1: From scratch
  1. Cook the beans using the OMG Beany Brothy Deliciousness method. Omit the salt if on low-sodium diet.
  2. Remove bay leaves, celery, carrots, herb bundle, and 6 cups of the broth from the oven-safe pot.
  3. Preheat the oven to 300F/150C/gas mark 2.
  4. Stir in everything except the vinegar. Bring to a boil on the stove, then put in the oven and bake, uncovered. Check after 30 minutes. You might be happy with it at this point, or wish to cook it for another hour or two. The sauce will continue to thicken and sweeten. Stir in the vinegar when you remove the beans from the oven.
Method #2: Canned beans
  1. If using canned beans, rinse and drain them, then add them to an oven-safe pot with 2 C. (500 ml) filtered water.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300F/150C/gas mark 2.
  3. Stir in everything except the vinegar. Bring to a boil on the stove, then put in the oven and bake, uncovered. Check after 30 minutes. You might be happy with it at this point, or wish to cook it for another hour or two. The sauce will continue to thicken and sweeten. Stir in the vinegar when you remove the beans from the oven.
Recipe Notes

Per serving:

  • 149 calories
  • 0 g fat
  • 0 g cholesterol
  • 20 mg sodium
  • 778 mg potassium
  • 30 g carbohydrate
  • 5 g fiber
  • 11 g sugars
  • 7 g protein
  • 3 Weight Watchers Points Plus

If you make the beans from scratch, here is how I used the leftover items. I composted the bay leaves and the herb bundle. I blended some of the broth with the cooked veggies to make a smooth pureed soup, and finally I replaced water with the last of the broth when cooking a pot of brown rice.)

Required FTC disclosure: I received a bag of organic coconut sugar from Wholesome Sweeteners at BlogHer Food, which I used in this recipe. I was not paid to write this post. I do really like this sugar, it didn't seem to cause any "sugar" symptoms in me, and I will definitely be making cookies with it in the future. I was amazed and fascinated to see how it's made. Truly hand-made, fair trade. A product I can feel good about using. And, I will never take it for granted, now that I see how much time, effort, and care goes into making it. Having been to some pretty remote regions of Java in 1990, I can see how much difference this kind of work would make to a local economy.

You might also like these recipes:
Secretly simple baked beans from Real Simple magazine
Ginger Molasses Baked Beans from A Food Centric Life
Dorothy's Best Ever Quick Baked Beans from Shockingly Delicious
Chile baked beans from What Would Cathy Eat?
Mango BBQ beans from What Would Cathy Eat?

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Comments

  1. says

    I love that you remade this traditional fat & sugar-filled recipe! It sounds super tasty. I’m going to add this to my to-make list.

  2. says

    Stephanie,
    You can’t know how timely these bean recipes are for me. :) I’m not a huge fan of cooking but insulin issues for both me and my daughter are forcing my hand.
    One of the few things I truely love to make is soup. I’ve also been trying to add a couple of vegetarian meals a week for the whole fam.
    Thanks again, I know I will be trying these bean recipes.
    Kel

    • says

      Kel, so happy to share them at a good time for you. Sorry to hear about insulin issues but if you address it early you can avoid a lifetime of trouble for both of you. Enjoy and I always love seeing pix of people’s dishes!

  3. says

    It sounds like a lot of work and I’m confused. I cook the beans, then add the sauce and cook longer? And if I used canned beans and boil them, do I drain the water before baking? Do I bake them in that case, then add the sauce and cook more?

    Also, and more importantly, do you have information on the nutritional content? Like calories, fat and protein content? I know beans are supposed to be high in protein. I’m wondering if this might be a good way to increase by protein intake if it’s reasonable in calorie content.

    • says

      Hi Nate, sorry for any confusion. Thanks for letting me know that the instructions needed some work! I’m going to edit the instructions and hopefully that will answer all your questions. (I also forgot to put some links in, so that didn’t help.)

      Yes, beans are high in protein and low in fat, and this recipe adds very little fat. I don’t do nutrition analyses on my recipes, as the programs that do it are not terribly dependable, especially for harder-to-source ingredients. Plus I also do all my recipes in metric for my overseas readers and that’s as much time as I can devote to it. Let me know if my edits still don’t explain it well enough.

      As to the “a lot of work”… well, I am home a lot, and cooking like this is something I do when I’m doing a bunch of other things. So the hands-on time really is fairly minimal, it’s not like making risotto where you have to stand over it for 45 minutes stirring. You sort the beans, rinse, drain, and soak overnight. Then you rinse and add a few things to the pot (maybe 10 minutes?). Then turn it on, bring to a boil, then simmer for a long time. And so on. If you’re around on a weekend, you can easily make these on a Saturday or a Sunday morning, so long as you remember to put the beans in to soak the night before. It’s also way cheaper and much tastier!

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