Vegan Baked Beans

These vegan baked beans are a welcome addition to your next backyard barbecue. Made with molasses and BBQ sauce, these Midwestern-inspired baked beans are full of delicious flavor and a rich, thick sweet, and savory sauce. Serve them alongside some Vegan Potato Salad and some Black Bean Burgers for the best outdoor potlucks!

A spoon holds a serving of vegan baked beans hovering over over the rest of the dish full of it.

You’d be surprised to see some of the ingredients included in regular baked beans, everything from bacon to hamburger. I’m here to tell you, making plant-based baked beans is easy and creates a dish that is just as tasty as the other kind. Let’s get into how to make it.

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Adding green bell peppers creates pops of color and flavor to this bean dish
  • Molasses adds a rich flavor that enhances the smoky-sweet sauce
  • Veggie bacon is an optional ingredient, but it adds delicious flavor and a meaty mouthfeel throughout this dish
Ingredients are laid out on a table. The labels next to them read, onion, apple cider vinegar, bbq sauce, olive oil, molasses, navy beans, veggie bacon, dijon mustard, brown sugar, bell pepper, garlic, and soy sauce.

What You Need

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Olive oil — Any neutral oil will work, I just mostly use olive oil.
  • Onion — You can use yellow, white, or even red onion.
  • Bell pepper — I like green for the pops of color, but you can use red or orange.
  • Garlic — You’ll need two cloves of garlic.
  • Molasses — Be sure to use light molasses, not blackstrap.
  • Brown sugar — Use light, dark, or homemade brown sugar.
  • BBQ sauce — I prefer using homemade Vegan BBQ Sauce, but if you use storebought check the label and avoid sauces with Worcestershire sauce as it is not vegan.
  • Vinegar — I prefer apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar.
  • Soy sauce — The best sauces have a combination of sweet and salty, which is why adding a bit of soy sauce is great. Substitute tamari or coconut aminos to keep this gluten-free.
  • Dijon mustard — You can use dijon mustard, yellow mustard, or even dried mustard.
  • Beans — I prefer plain navy beans for this recipe but you could also use canned vegetarian baked beans. Just be sure to drain the sauce.
  • Veggie bacon — This is an optional ingredient but I love the flavor and texture that comes from adding veggie bacon.

Ingredient Spotlight

A closeup image of navy beans in a wooden bowl.

What Beans are Best for Baked Beans?

Navy beans, otherwise known as Boston beans or Haricot Beans in the UK, are the beans of choice when it comes to making baked beans. They’re called navy beans because they’ve been used as a staple bean by the U.S. Navy for over a hundred years. They’re in the white bean family and are smaller than the others, which is one reason they do so well in this dish.

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Cook onions in an oiled pot over medium heat until tender.
  2. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Stir in the remaining sauce ingredients.
  4. Stir in the drained beans and veggie bacon.
  5. Pour the beans into a baking dish.
  6. Bake for 1 hour.
  7. Remove the dish from the oven and set it aside to cool slightly.

Here are more detailed instructions with step-by-step photos:

Step One: Make The Baked Bean Sauce

  1. Add olive oil to a large pot over medium heat and cook until the oil is shimmering.
  2. Stir in chopped onions and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender.
  3. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds to a minute.
  4. Stir in the molasses, brown sugar, bbq sauce, vinegar, and soy sauce.
Looking down into a saucepan full of BBQ sauce mixture with chopped onions and green bell peppers.

Step Two: Add the Beans

  1. Add the drained beans
  2. Add the veggie bacon (if using)
  3. Stir until combined.

Quick Fix Tip

You can substitute an equal amount of Bush’s Vegetarian Baked Beans or any other brand of vegetarian baked beans. Simply drain the sauce then proceed with the steps of this recipe.

Step Three: Bake and Serve

  1. Transfer the bean mixture into a casserole dish.
  2. Bake for 1 hour, until the sauce thickens.
  3. To serve, remove the beans from the oven and set them aside to cool slightly.

Frequently-Asked Questions

Are vegetarian baked beans vegan?

Vegetarian baked beans are typically vegan. That’s because vegetarian baked beans are made without pork which is an ingredient vegans and vegetarians alike avoid.

Can you cook baked beans on the stove?

To cook baked beans on the stove, simply simmer in a pot until the beans thicken, roughly 30 to 45 minutes.

Are baked beans vegan?

Most baked beans, whether from a can or from a restaurant, are not vegan (or vegetarian) because they’re cooked with some sort of animal fat. Most standard baked beans are made with pork or bacon. However, it is completely unnecessary and you can enjoy delicious vegetarian baked beans!

Serving Suggestions

Serve vegan baked beans with your favorite veggie burgers such as:

Storage Tips

Cover with a lid or wrap the entire dish tightly with plastic wrap or foil and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can freeze this recipe in appropriate freezer containers or bags for up to 2 or 3 months. To thaw, transfer it to the fridge overnight. Then sit out at room temperature and either heat it in the microwave or saucepan. You may need to add some extra BBQ sauce.

Looking down into a white baking dish full of baked beans with fresh chopped parsley on top.

Vegan Grilling Recipes

Ready for your next outdoor party? These vegan baked beans are a great side dish to serve along with any of the following:

A spoon holds a serving of vegan baked beans hovering over over the rest of the dish full of it.

Vegan Baked Beans

Any outdoor grilling feast or party is made even better with these smoky-sweet vegan baked beans. Based on a timeless family recipe, these baked beans have deep Midwestern roots and will be the star of the dinner table!
5 from 2 votes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 156kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper, Green, Red, or Orange
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup bbq sauce
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 60 ounces canned navy beans, drained
  • 6 strips veggie bacon

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C.
  • Add olive oil to a large pot over medium heat and cook until the oil is shimmering. Stir in chopped onions and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds to a minute.
  • Stir in the molasses, brown sugar, bbq sauce, vinegar, and soy sauce. Add the drained beans and stir until combined.
  • Pour this mixture into a 9×13 casserole dish, lay veggie bacon strips on top, and bake for 1 hour.
  • To serve, remove the beans from the oven and set them aside to cool slightly.
  • To store, allow the beans to come to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days. They can be frozen in freezer-safe containers for up to 2 months.

Recommended Equipment

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Notes

Cooking Method:
To cook these beans on the stovetop, reduce heat to simmer (low boil), cover, and cook for 40 to 45 minutes. Then cook uncovered for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Substitutions:
  • BBQ Sauce — You can substitute ketchup or tomato paste. If you want the same smoky flavor as BBQ sauce, add a teaspoon or two smoked paprika or up to a tablespoon of liquid smoke.
  • Soy Sauce — For gluten-free, tamari (a gluten-free soy sauce) or coconut aminos are great.
  • Molasses — You can substitute maple syrup.
Flavors:
  • Reduced Sweetness — Reduce the molasses and brown sugar to 1/4 cup to reduce the sweetness.
  • Heat — Increase the heat in these beans by adding up to a tablespoon of Sriracha or hot sauce. You can also add chopped jalapenos with the onions.
  • Tanginess — You can increase the vinegar up to 3 tablespoons to create a more tangy dish.
Calories: 156kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 357mg | Potassium: 372mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 422IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

2 Responses to Vegan Baked Beans

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAshley Reply

    5 stars
    I made these baked beans and it was so easy and so good!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      So glad you liked them, Ashley!

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