British-Style Beans on Toast Recipe

Perfect for a late night snack or a light supper.

British-style baked beans on a piece of white bread which is placed on a blue ceramic plate on a stone background

Serious Eats / Diana Chistruga

Why This Recipe Works

  • Dried beans retain their shape after a long simmer.
  • This large volume recipe leaves plenty of leftovers for a British breakfast.

As a late-night snack, a light supper or even a quick snack, beans on toast makes an ideal comforting meal when what you need is something warm in your stomach. Another excellent reason to love this simple, hearty dish is that it is very gentle on the wallet. Even after making this filling dish, you should have enough money left to afford a pint or two at the pub.

One of the big money savers comes from using a bag of dried beans; this also ensures that the beans have the right texture after several hours of simmering away. Soaking the beans does mean you need to plan ahead, but between the room in your wallet and the final result, you'll be glad you made the extra effort.

Overhead shot of British-style baked beans on a piece of white bread on a blue ceramic plate, on a stone background

Serious Eats / Diana Chistruga

This yields a good amount of food, even if you, like myself, need a nice big serving when eating beans for dinner. Even with a few big helpings for dinner you should still be able to have enough leftover to have a good fry up in the morning.

Although pork has not been a part of British baked beans since rationing was in place during World War II, you can include a few slices of bacon to add some smokiness to the final product. But if you're used to the classic British bean, this version won't disappoint.

October 2012

This recipe originally appeared as a part of Sydney Oland’s recipe series "British Bites".

Recipe Details

British-Style Beans on Toast Recipe

Prep 5 mins
Cook 5 hrs 20 mins
Active 30 mins
Soaking Time 12 hrs
Total 17 hrs 25 mins
Serves 4 servings

Perfect for a late night snack or a light supper.


  • 1 pound (454g) dry navy beans

  • 1 gallon (3.8L) water

  • 1/4 cup (34g) kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup / 160g)

  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon / 9g)

  • 6 cups (1.4L) homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth

  • 2 1/2 cups (590ml) tomato purée

  • 3 tablespoons (42g) brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) molasses

  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) Worcestershire sauce

  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons (33g) tomato paste

  • 3 bay leaves

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 8 slices sourdough bread

  • Chopped fresh parsley to garnish, optional


  1. In a large bowl, cover beans with 1 gallon of cold water. Add 1/4 cup kosher salt and stir to dissolve. Let soak overnight at room temperature. The next day, drain in a colander.

    Soaked and drained white beans in a metal colander on a white stone background

    Serious Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. In a large Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until soft but not brown, about 4 minutes. Add soaked navy beans, 4 cups chicken broth, tomato purée, brown sugar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar, tomato paste, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are cooked, about 5 hours, adding additional broth if beans begin to look dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    A collage of the British-style beans being prepared. From top left, moving clockwise: a dutch oven containing finely chopped onions and garlic; the onions and garlic being sauted in the dutch oven with a wooden spoon; the dutch oven holding all of the ingredients; the cooked ingredients being stirred with a wooden spoon, demonstrating the consistency of the beans

    Serious Eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. Toast bread, then top with a generous portion of beans. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

    British-style beans on white bread on a blue ceramic plate, on a stone background. On the periphery are another plate, a glass cup, and the dutch oven containing the beans.

    Serious Eats / Diana Chistruga

Special Equipment

Large Dutch oven

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
840 Calories
13g Fat
148g Carbs
42g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 840
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 16%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1127mg 49%
Total Carbohydrate 148g 54%
Dietary Fiber 23g 81%
Total Sugars 41g
Protein 42g
Vitamin C 23mg 114%
Calcium 317mg 24%
Iron 14mg 78%
Potassium 2930mg 62%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)