• Bean cassoulet with nut crumb (Damon Gameau)Source: Damon Gameau
From classic baked beans to cornbread pie and a cheesy bean jaffle (and even options for those without ovens!) here's how to make it great.
23 Jun 2020 - 10:01 PM  UPDATED 23 Jun 2020 - 11:12 PM

--- Love beans? Don't miss Secrets of The Factories, a four-part documentary series, Saturdays at 6.30pm on SBS Food and then SBS On Demand from 27 June. Episode two on 4 July goes behind the scenes of the Heinz factory at Wigan in the UK, which produces around 450 million cans of baked beans a year - more than anywhere else in the world ---

Love to make baked beans? Or have you 'bean' meaning to give it a go? (Sorry, irresistible - a bit like a bowl of warm, rich tomato-y beans!). Then this list is for you. Here are our best-baked beans recipes (plus a couple of stove-top versions).

Slow-cooked classic

Say goodbye to boring brekkie with these slow-cooked baked beans. They're full of flavour (and vegan), so great just as they are, but you can also serve with sourdough toast, an egg or a salad. 

Slow-cooked baked beans

Matthew Evans' farm beans with bacon 

This hearty recipe for vine-cutters' baked beans comes from our Gourmet Farmer, Matthew Evans. There's a tip for shortening the cooking time, and for making the bacon in the beans extra delicious!

Vine-cutters baked beans

Greek baked beans

Gigantes plaki, or "giant beans", are traditionally served as part of Greek mezze, although this easy recipe from Maria Benardis also makes a satisfying stand-alone main. Maria's recipe uses speck and chorizo for a hearty result. 

Traditionally cooked in an earthenware pot, gigantes (bean soup) was a favourite dish in the Mittas family.

And a vegetarian version

"As well as a hearty vegetarian dinner side, these Greek baked beans are a great idea for weekend brunch; a poached or fried egg wouldn't go astray!" says Joanna Chery of her feta-topped giant beans. 

Giant baked beans

Feeling corny?

This cheesy bean and cornbread pie is a combination of all the best things about baked beans, cornbread and shepherd's pie. "This is a little like a shepherd’s pie, but instead of mashed potato, it has cornbread on top and it's absolutely delicious. It's great for camping or at home," says Justine Schofield.

It's worth making beans so you can make this jaffle

We know we're stating the obvious when we say that a jaffle is a great way to use up leftover homemade baked beans or even your fave tinned beans. But that's what makes this Boston baked bean and cheddar jaffle recipe a double winner. You can enjoy the smoky Boston-style baked beans for breakfast, and then jaffle the leftovers.  The smoked ham hock makes for very tasty baked beans - or use up the last of a ham bone.

Two-step flavour = double rewards

The beans in this jaffle recipe are very different from the Boston beans above. There's no ham in the beans; instead, the flavour comes from treacle, thyme and smoked paprika, and also from the use of garlic and onion when initially cooking the beans. You can jaffle as is, or add cheese and bacon. 

Gabriel Gate's beans with bacon 

Inspired by the passage of Le Tour de France through the Pyrenees, this dish of baked haricot beans, herbs, bacon and sausage is simple but full of flavour.  

Add a savoury nut sprinkle 

Damien Garneau calls this bean cassoulet with nut crumb an emission-friendly meal. We call it delicious and nutritious! With zucchini, tomato and beans cooked into a rich base (vegan, too, if you use a vegan stock), it gets a walnut, almond, macadamia and parsley sprinkle to finish things off. Technically it's not baked beans - it's made in a frying pan on the stovetop - but it's too good to leave out. 

Bean cassoulet with nut crumb

Baked beans with black pudding

Black pudding isn't for everyone... but for fans, here's another recipe from Matthew Evans. "I make baked beans all kinds of ways, but this one is a really rich, indulgent version. It's well worth trying to source the best quality black pudding you can," he says. 

Baked beans with black pudding

More beans!
Chorizo chicken bean stew

Chorizo adds a wonderful warmth and subtle heat to this great chicken stew. I use plum tomatoes here as they have a much better flavour than chopped tomatoes.

Double choc bean brownies

Adzuki beans add richness and body as well as a good dose of dietary fibre and protein to these brownies. Adding beans means you don’t need to use as much oil or butter, and the brownies are naturally gluten-free.

Garlicky kale and white bean stew

This stew is a perfect example of the humble food I often eat. If you are someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to mess about in the kitchen, this is the stew for you!

Beans with fried bacon and scrambled eggs (feijão tropeiro)

During the colonial period, troops of cattlemen known as tropeiros were engaged to explore the inland territories of Brazil. On their journeys, they had to carry most of their food with them. The essentials – beans, dried and salted meat, and cassava flour – were typically combined to create the iconic feijão tropeiro, a dish that carries the nickname of the explorers.