British Baked Beans

From by Janette Fuschi
British Baked Beans

British Baked Beans Photo

A staple in any pantry in Britain, these British-style baked beans are just like store bought, but better, because they are homemade. 

What makes these beans British-style?

Baked beans originated in the U.S. American-style baked beans are cooked with pork (bacon) molasses and brown sugar and the sauce is sweet and thick. These British-style beans are without meat, with a thinner tomato sauce along with a few flavor enhancers.

They are probably one of the most common (if not the) canned items to buy in England. They are an easy, saucy side for any dish from fish and chips, sausage rolls, beans on toast (the perfect budget meal) to even breakfast.

Yes, Brits eat beans for breakfast because the country is known for its full English breakfast, consisting of sunny-side up eggs, bacon, cooked tomato slices, black pudding and fried bread. 

British Baked Beans Picture

Everyone loves good baked beans, they really go with just about anything and good homemade baked beans start with dried beans, not canned. Dried beans just have better texture.

If you used canned for this recipe they would be mush by the end of cooking. It takes longer using dried beans, but no extra work because they are soaked overnight so they cook faster. Once they are soaked, they are then simmered in boiling water for 45 minutes to 1 hour until tender.

While they cook, onions, celery, carrot and garlic are sautéed, then crushed tomatoes, ketchup and seasonings are added and the sauce is simmered to develop the flavors. To get a nice smooth sauce, blend, and then add the beans. The entire dish is baked in the oven for 20 minutes.

British Baked Beans Image

That's all there is to easy, tasty homemade baked beans, British style.

These beans will keep refrigerated in a sealed container for 3-4 days or frozen for 1-2 months.

Looking for more British recipes on Food Fanatic? Checkout bangers and mash and Scotch eggs.


British Baked Beans Recipe



  • 2 cups dried navy beans, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon worcestershire sauce


  1. To a large bowl add 4 cups of cool water to a bowl and add beans, soak for 8 hours.
  2. After 8 hours drain and rinse the beans.
  3. To a large saucepan, add 4 cups water and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add beans and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring often so they don't stick to the bottom.
  5. Add salt and continue to cook until tender, about another 15 minutes.
  6. While the beans cook, add the oil to a large, oven-proof skillet and heat over medium heat.
  7. Add the onion, carrot and celery, cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  8. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  9. Add the tomatoes, ketchup, salt, sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine.
  10. Simmer for 15 minutes and taste for seasoning.
  11. Add 1/4 cup water and stir.
  12. Using an immersion blender blend the sauce in the pan until smooth, or transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.
  13. Add the cooked beans and stir well.
  14. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes uncovered.