Sunday, 9 May 2010

British Classics - A Recipe for English Baked Beans (Just Like Heinz Makes)

Baked Beans 3

Baked Beans

I've called these English baked beans, as the Canadian version is very different. I really really wanted baked beans on toast, but the first time I tried the Canadian version, I was just like... no, I need the Heinz Beanz. They are fairly difficult to get here, so I decided to try and make my own, as a bit of a challenge.

So I looked all over for a recipe, but to no avail as there didn't seem to be any around with the taste I was looking for. I tried Heston's version (all of it, followed faithfully) but did not like the finished version, and it didn't taste anything liked the tinned version [I know, I know, it tasted awesome, actually, but just not what I wanted :)] So I took some elements from him and cobbled together my own, which to my surprise, did actually taste like a version of the famous Heinz ones. Of course it doesn't taste identical [husband says they taste like Heinz, but with some complexity of flavour, don't know if he's being sarcastic or complimentary :)]. So its up to you to make it taste like you want it to by varying the different seasonings, but as a first attempt, this wasn't a bad one at all. 

I used plain Italian strained tomatoes in this version, but will try it with fresh tomatoes too, as I think it could really change the taste and colour of the finished beans. The measurements are fairly approximate, as I threw in things rather than measured them out. So you do need to use your discretion and not take this recipe word for word. When mixing the beans with the sauce, you have to make sure that the beans are just covered with the sauce, as there may be a bit too much sauce for the beans. You don't want them too saucy. Any left overs freeze very well, just take out, defrost and reheat to serve again.

Baked Beans 1

(Printable Recipe)

1250 ml crushed tomatoes ( *around 15 large , ripe plum or roma tomatoes, blanched, peeled and coarsely chopped [I used 5 cups Italian strained tomatoes (plain, without any herbs)]
2 tablespoons unscented oil
Large handful of mixed herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage)
2 - 3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large onion, diced

2 cloves
4 tablespoons Worcester sauce
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce

1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
Salt to taste
750g white beans (haricot or navy, I used small white beans)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda (bicarb of soda)

Soak the beans in cold water overnight. The next day wash and drain them, then cover with cold water, add the baking soda, and cook them for about 1 hour on a medium heat till they are tender, and just beginning to split. Drain and keep aside.

Note: Here's an alternate method, if you aren't organized enough to soak overnight - Pick over and wash the beans, cover with cold water. Then bring to the boil over high heat, let boil for 4 minutes, then turn off the heat. Cover and soak for 1 hour, then cook as normal.

In a big, heavy pot heat the oil and toss the onion in it. Sauté for about 5 - 10 minutes on a medium heat and then add the chopped herbs and the garlic. Stir and cook for another minute or two, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the tomatoes, breaking them up a bit. 

Add the Worcester and Tabasco sauces, cloves, sugar and salt. Stir and simmer for about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

When cool, puree well in a blender till it turns to a smooth sauce. Return to the pan, taste and readjust seasoning.

Add the beans to the sauce mixture and cook on a low heat for at least 30 - 45 minutes, or more, until the beans are very soft. The beans taste better the next day when they have had a chance to absorb the flavours better, but they're not bad on the day either.

Alternatively, mix the sauce and beans in a heavy pan, cover tightly with a lid or foil and bake in a low oven (around 125 degrees C) for about 2 to 3 hours or until the beans are soft. If making the oven, keep checking to see that the beans haven't dried out. It may be a good idea to reserve some sauce to add to them if they are drying out.

Serve with a full English breakfast or on toast.


Baked Beans 2


  1. Ye Ghods - are you certain you didn't open a tin? They do look real! (and tasty.)

    Any other foods you're missing from England?

  2. Ha ha, Chumbles, no I did make these myself. And they do taste better today :-)

    Well, I miss proper fish and chips, and all the Indian takeaways, and kebab and chips and I really miss being able to get fresh fish and groceries everyday.

    Pluses here are real Chinese and Japanese and good old American diner style food and good local beef, as this is proper beef country (not that I use it much, mind).

    Oh and I know this is not food, but I miss Ceebeebies :-))

    1. Im Scottish in NJ...been here for 4 yrs...make my own shortbread, salad cream, bridies etc.

  3. Thanks for the idea! Looks good. I may even skip the cooking of th ebeans because all the markets here make fresh beans daily. So I can buy small white beans and jist add to the sauce and heat through....i will see how it works.

    I can get baked beans easy in Barcelona but want to invite some Catalan friends for a traditional English breakfast but opening a can of baked beans just
    doesn´t seem right. And most recipes look too US ranchero type beans.

    I too miss good Indian takeaways and real ale...not much else though...

    Love your blog!

    1. Hey Richard....try the curry guy for indian recipes... I have been making them for about a year and have perfected a lot of them.....

  4. Just made these in Bogotá, scaled it all down to make for 200g of dried white beans. Used a bit less worcester sauce.

    Trying the sauce after sieving it, it was missing something so I added a tsp of dijon mustard. It did the trick just dandy.

    I used fresh tomatoes because tinned tomatoes here in Colombia have 80% tax. Colombian chonto tomatoes cook orange coloured so they are useless for Italian dishes unless you add tomato puree, but perfect for making orange baked beans. They turned out great, thanks for the recipe

    1. Hey! I live in Bogota. Could you please tell me where to find the ingredients and how do i cook the chonto tomatoes? Cheers!

  5. Richard, thank you :) This recipe is still the most popular on the blog, guess there are a lot of baked bean loving British expats all over the world :)

    Anon, how wonderful to hear from a reader in Bogotá! I am really pleased that you liked the recipe. Its my go-to recipe when people ask for a typical British dish :)

  6. Nice I can't wait to try this bean recipe! I miss and love so much jacket potatoes with cheesy beans. I can cook some good food but everyone always loves my cheesy beany JP's the most and so do I!!

    Its funny to me baked beans are something that kids always have on their dinner and just an easy, tasty and quick meal. But now they've become a special and rare delicacy which I can impress food lovers from all over the world with. I didn't believe my misses when she went home and said baked beans don't exist in Chile. She was right, it's hard enough to find any type of bean here....Madness!! I see a business opportunity here!

  7. Can't wait to try this. My husband misses baked beans like crazy - and I'm not willing to spend $3+ on a little can of imported Heinz Beanz! Almost 4x as much as a regular Canadian can of Heniz Beans! I'll have to see if this does the trick for him :-)

    1. Oh, I so agree Jody!!! Its the miser in me that came up with this recipe in the first place. Do let me know if you liked it. We love it here, and make it often, esepcially sicne it freezes so well.

  8. I made this recipe, and one other from a different blog and had them next to the original (found a can at World Market) for a taste-off!! Your recipe won hands down! SO good!! This will be my go-to recipe from now on! Thank you so much for sharing it! Now I can stop searching for a British baked beans recipe. :)

  9. Great blog. The times I have homemade baked beans they all turned out wrong. Of course, that was because Americans have a different version of backed beans and I had been following American recipes (I am a New Zealander and in beans as in many other things we follow the British way of doing things). Maple syrup should have been a red herring. Silly me, didn't think. Thanks for the great recipe. I plan to do a cook off between you and the Pauper Chef ( and adjust to my taste accordingly.

  10. Ah just noticed that he didn't even post a recipe, just assumed it would be good as it is such a great blog/because the recipes are always good. Your beans it is, then!

  11. I just found your blog in search of a baked bean recipe, here in the US they are $1.99 a tin so not as expensive as they are in canada, but we eat a lot of them. Its something you grow up with "baked beans on toast" for a quick meal! So I will be trying this recipe and will let you know the results, thanks for sharing.

  12. Has anyone tried this recipe out for the slow cooker/crockpot? It sounds really good...

  13. Hi all....glad I found this site. Im a Scotsman living in NJ for 4 yrs...miss lots of things from home. Fot authentic indian food recipes try the curry gut at ... I have been making them for about a year andthey really do come out like the real thing! The chicken Jalfrezi is one of the simplest to make but tastes so good.......good luck and have bookmarked this site. Next move.... to try the baked bean recipe.

  14. Can you tell me how much salt you put in there

    1. Hi Anon, its mainly to taste. But I do use a lot of salt, around 2 teaspoons, if not more.

  15. This is so funny to me.

    I am Canadian living in England and when my mum came to visit me, she brought me the Canadian beans!! It's so what you are used to. I'm still trying to find a place to buy the kind I miss over here... expensive is one thing, but non-existent is another. I'll have to follow your lead and make my own. I wonder where I can get a recipe for beans that are just like our tinned ones...

  16. Gorgeous recipe! Like the tip to let it cool first, substituted honey for the sugar. Delicious can't wait for my first bowl of real homemade beans on toast. I could can this recipe here in Lima! Bring back home made canning......

  17. I am so glad I found this recipe!! I grew up eating a lot of English food since my dad and his whole family were displaced Brits living in the US...and lets just say I am sick to death of paying the crazy price for imported beans! I need my beans and toast for breakfast and the American style is just not the same at all.

  18. could one used canned beans for this? I already have some.

    1. Yeah, I don't see why not. You don't have to cook them for as long, and make sure you rinse them well before using.

  19. Will use your recipe because for some reason the genuine thing is becoming too expensive locally (California). Seems like a lot of ingredients but if they taste good it will be worth it. I made a batch of chunky marmalade for the same reason and it turned out far superior to any British import. My neighbours are from Sri Lanka and they agree. Good luck in your future endeavours.

  20. I thought these were meant to be English baked beans? English ones do not contain Tobasco or Worcester sauce. Or olive oil, thyme rosemary and sage!


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