Baked beans are so tasty and many people like to eat them as often as they can. If you’re someone who loves them, then you might be looking for an excuse to make some again soon.
Having baked beans at a cookout is very traditional and it just wouldn’t be right to eat some type of barbecued food without enjoying them on the side. If you’re currently making baked beans, then you’re likely trying to get them to turn out just right.
The best baked beans should be incredibly flavorful and they should also be thick. If your baked beans appear to be a bit on the thin side, then that simply isn’t going to do.
You might be worried that you messed something up and that you won’t be able to fix them in time. Don’t fret because it is possible to thicken baked beans when you know what you’re doing.
Keep reading to learn how so that they will taste good and have the right consistency. Once you’ve read through the information below, it’ll always be easy to get them to turn out perfectly.
Slow Cookers Sometimes Cause Beans to Turn Out Thin
Slow cookers are commonly used by people to make baked beans. Baked beans can turn out very nicely in slow cookers, and many people enjoy using them because they make it easier to make them.
You can easily just put baked beans and some spices inside of a slow cooker and let the beans cook over the course of many hours. By the time you’re ready to eat later in the day, they should be ready.
The problem is that slow cookers are known for causing baked beans to turn out a bit too thin. This doesn’t always occur, but it can happen because the baked beans are being cooked in a way that doesn’t allow liquid to be lost during cooking.
This doesn’t have to be a huge deal because you can just use some methods to try to thicken the beans up. If you want to use a slow cooker to make baked beans, then you don’t have to avoid it because there’s a chance that they will turn out slightly thin.
Once you know how to handle situations like this, it’ll be easier to get things back to normal. You can still save time by using a slow cooker, but it’ll be good to be prepared in the event that the baked beans are too thin.
1 – Try Using Less Liquid
One of the first things to know is that your beans might seem a bit thin because you went overboard with liquid ingredients. When you’re making baked beans, it’s actually going to be best to avoid using too much water or stock ingredients that will make the beans sort of soupy.
Runny beans will be the last thing that you’ll want to eat at a family cookout. You can avoid encountering problems like this by simply using only the amount of stock ingredients and water that you need.
If the beans are incredibly watery, then you might be out of luck. It can be hard to thicken beans if you go way overboard by adding too much water to them.
This doesn’t help you much if your baked beans are a bit too thin right now, though. Luckily, there are some ways to try to thicken them up when you make a mistake or two.
2 – Try Simmering the Beans
It’s going to be prudent to try the simplest solution first to see if it does the trick. You might be able to get the beans to thicken up a bit simply by allowing them to simmer.
You can put the beans back in the oven and allow them to simmer for a little bit. Set the oven to 430 degrees Fahrenheit and then allow them to simmer for around seven or eight minutes.
Simmering the beans should reduce the amount of liquid and make them appear much thicker. This can also have a positive impact on the flavor, and they might become even tastier than they would have otherwise been.
Those who are cooking baked beans on the stove can simmer them as well. You’ll just want to place them back on the burner over low heat.
Leave the pot uncovered during this process and stir the beans every once in a while. Just try to check back occasionally to see if the consistency has improved at all.
Eventually, you should notice that the baked beans have thickened quite a bit. This should solve your issues if everything goes well.
3 – You Could Try Creating a Cornstarch Slurry
Cornstarch is an ingredient that comes in handy when you’re trying to thicken things up. You can use cornstarch to thicken many types of sauces, and it’s certainly going to be useful here.
What you want to do is take the time to create a cornstarch slurry. All you have to do is mix two tablespoons of cornstarch and one cup of cold water.
Some people prefer to avoid using water. You could grab some of the liquid from the baked beans instead if you’d like to go that route.
If you do this, then you’ll have to allow the liquid from the baked beans to cool before creating the slurry. Once you’ve made your choice, it’ll be time to whisk the cornstarch.
Whisking the cornstarch needs to be done thoroughly or you’ll have a lumpy mess on your hands. Don’t stop whisking the cornstarch until it has completely dissolved into the slurry.
Once finished, you’ll be able to add your slurry to the baked beans. Keep cooking the beans until they thicken up and you’re satisfied with the results.
It’s likely going to take at least 10 minutes for the cornstarch slurry to thicken the beans. Guessing the exact time it will take isn’t usually possible, but you can keep an eye on them while you’re letting them cook.
4 – Flour and Butter Will Also Be an Option
If you don’t have cornstarch in your kitchen right now, then you might at least have some flour. Flour and butter will be able to help you to thicken up baked beans rather nicely.
Honestly, most thickening agents that people use for situations like this will be starch-based ingredients. Flour fits the bill and it’s going to work just as well as cornstarch in most ways.
There are a few options when you’re using flour to thicken baked beans. You could use instant flour or you could try to use normal all-purpose flour.
Instant flour actually works amazingly well to thicken baked beans, but it has the side effect of causing the sauce to become opaque. Some people won’t like this at all, but the good news is that you can avoid this by just using standard all-purpose flour instead.
Using normal flour will work just fine, but you will need to cook it for a longer period of time. It won’t work as fast as instant flour, but you’ll be able to get the same results without having to worry about turning the sauce opaque.
5 – Other Starch-Based Thickeners
As mentioned above, the thickening agents that are used to thicken baked beans are usually starch-based. This means that you can use lots of different starch-based ingredients to solve this issue.
If you don’t want to use cornstarch or flour, then you might be interested in trying to use a bit of potato mash or some arrowroot starch. This shouldn’t have a significant impact on the flavor of the beans, but it’ll allow the sauce to get thicker.
People have even used xanthan gum to thicken baked beans before. You really just need something that is capable of thickening all of the liquid that you’re dealing with.
It’s definitely best to try to find starch-based thickeners that aren’t too off the wall, though. Cornstarch and flour will be your best options, but potatoes will work just fine if you need to use them.
6 – Mashed Beans Might Help
Another idea that can help you to solve a problem with thin beans is to take a cup of the beans out of the pot. Once you have a cup of beans, you’re going to want to mash them up using some type of vegetable masher.
This shouldn’t take long to do and the process will be easy. If you mash the beans, then they’re going to be able to thicken the sauce up due to how much starch they contain.
To get this to work as it should, it’s going to be necessary to use sufficient heat. You need to return the mashed beans to the pot of baked beans and then stir them over heat.
Continuously stir the beans and keep going until they have thickened up sufficiently. Once you’ve stopped, you should let them stand for 30 minutes so that they can absorb more of the liquid.
This is a reliable method for thickening baked beans, but you will sacrifice some of your beans to make the sauce thicker. It’s usually going to be a worthy trade to make when the alternative is having runny beans at your cookout.
7 – Thick Seasonings Can Make a Difference
Have you thought about how different seasonings might make a difference? There are all sorts of ingredients that you can add that can make the beans taste that much better.
Various ingredients can act as seasonings and they will have multiple effects on the baked beans. For example, you could add something like honey to make the beans a bit sweeter.
Not only will the honey sweeten the beans, but it will also thicken them up. The same thing can be said for seasoning options such as barbecue sauce, golden syrup, and tomato paste.
If you’re worried about your beans being a bit too thin, then perhaps you should add some seasonings to help thicken things up. You might not have originally intended to use barbecue sauce or honey in your baked beans, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be good to do so now.
Learning how to take care of your baked beans will make your life easier. If you know how to fix them when they turn out a bit too thin, then you’ll never feel as if you need to start from scratch when things don’t go perfect the first time.
There are a large number of reasons why baked beans might turn out to be a bit thin. One of the most common reasons that people encounter today involves using a slow cooker.
Slow cookers are great and the convenience of using a slow cooker can be hard to beat. However, it also cooks the beans in a way that doesn’t allow liquid to escape.
Baked beans might become thin due to you using too much liquid as well. Sometimes you might make a mistake and you’ll use too much water in the beginning or you’ll add too many stock ingredients.
You can fix these things up by using starch-based ingredients to thicken the beans or by simmering them. Most of the common ingredients will work well to get your baked beans to become thick once more.
Some people like to use cornstarch to make a simple cornstarch slurry. Others might prefer using flour and butter to fix thin baked beans.
You can even use different starch-based ingredients such as potatoes if you’d like to. Sometimes it’s even a good idea to use some of the beans from the baked bean pot to make a mash that will thicken the sauce up substantially.
It’s up to you to decide which method is the best to use. All of these tricks work well, and you might just need to choose based on what ingredients you have available to you.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.