Here are some quick and easy ways to thicken your baked beans. Find out 6 tips for creating thick, savory, flavorful baked beans. Even if they started out a bit runny!
Baked beans are hearty, nutritious, and versatile, and that’s why they’re a staple in my household.
They’re not the best-tasting dish on their own, though. Without other ingredients and seasonings to enhance their flavor, beans are bland and lifeless. The secret to drool-worthy baked beans is to pack them with as much flavor as you can.
Apart from the flavor, consistency matters as well. There’s nothing worse than watery baked beans that taste like soupy rice. And that’s why you need to make sure those beans are nice and thick.
Don’t worry, you do not need to be a chemist to achieve that beautiful thick consistency. You just need to learn these simple hacks and you’re all set.
Add Less Liquid
Here’s the first tip: start with minimal water or stock. You don’t want to use more liquid than you need because that’s a guaranteed way to end up with runny beans.
It’s much easier to remedy a thick sauce than a watery one. So just add a little bit of liquid and then add more as you go.
Let The Beans Simmer
If you’re baking the beans, and it comes out thin, put it back in the oven and let it simmer for 7 more minutes at 430 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help reduce more liquid, which will not only thicken the sauce, but make it even more flavorful.
If you’re using the stove, let the beans simmer on very low heat with the pot uncovered. Stir it occasionally and patiently just let it stew until it gets that rich and creamy consistency.
Do not add the spices and seasonings until after the sauce has reduced.
Mash The Beans
Beans have a naturally waxy core, so the mash will act as a starch and thicken your sauce nicely.
If your soup is still too thin, scoop up a cup of beans and transfer it to another container. Using a vegetable masher or a ladle, mash it up while it’s piping hot.
The secret to this technique is heat. Without it, the mashed beans will not thicken as needed.
Once mashed, return the beans to the pot and stir continuously until thick. Allow the dish to rest for 30 minutes to let the beans absorb more of the liquid.
Make A Cornstarch Slurry
While the best beans are naturally thick, sometimes you’ve gotta cheat a little. If you do not have the time to simmer and reduce the sauce, a cornstarch slurry is your best friend.
To make, just mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and a cup of cold water. You can also use the liquid from the beans, but set it aside for a while to cool first.
Whisk the cornstarch thoroughly to avoid any lumps. Once it’s completely dissolved, add the slurry into the beans. Continue to cook the beans for 10 more minutes or until you achieve the desired thickness.
Use Thick Seasonings
Seasonings will not only add flavor to the beans, but can also aid in thickening them. Use condiments such as honey, barbecue sauce, tomato paste or puree, and golden syrup to help thicken your sauce. Adding these ingredients will make it easier to reduce the soup as it cooks.
Add Flour And Butter
If you can’t use cornstarch, there are a ton of other thickening agents you can add to your beans instead.
Any starchy ingredient plus soft butter will do the trick. Instant flour will produce a nice thick texture similar to that of bean starches.
However, it will also turn the sauce opaque. If you don’t want that, you can use regular flour instead. Just be sure to cook the beans longer than you would with instant flour.
Other starches such as potato or arrowroot starch will do the job as well. Don’t worry, they won’t affect the flavor of the beans at all.
Tapioca flour and xanthan gum will also bind that liquid and make your sauce thicker.
So there you have it! Six different ways to create thick and flavorful baked beans. No one will ever know your secret.