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Can You Freeze Baked Beans?

Diane Westphal
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by Diane Westphal

Personal chefs, stay-at-home moms, and legume lovers all want to know if baked beans can be frozen.

This beloved, savory recipe can be commonly found at barbeques, parties, and they are an essential part of a traditional English breakfast. It can be hard to determine how many baked beans to make for large groups, which oftentimes leads to leftovers that can be reheated and enjoyed at a later date.

Additionally, more and more people are concerned with throwing away food due to increasing concerns about climate change and food security. Thus, freezing leftovers is a great option to save your food and be more environmentally conscious.

Can You Freeze Baked Beans?

Baked beans

Can baked beans be frozen? The answer is yes!. All the components that make up baked beans can be frozen, including the beans, the meat, and the sauce that binds all of that deliciousness together.

It might seem a bit odd to freeze something out of a can, and easy to find yourself wondering if baked beans can be frozen, but freezing baked beans is a healthier alternative to storing baked beans in metal containers that they come in.

How To Freeze Baked Beans

Several important steps are involved in freezing baked beans, but it’s an easy, stress-free process that even a culinary novice can accomplish.

  • Prepare the baked beans for freezing.  Whether you’re purposefully making a pan of baked beans to freeze or simply just taking care of some leftovers, it’s important to take care that your delicious side dish will be safe for eating later.

After cooking, quickly cool the beans off. To speed up the cooling process, spread them out on a plate at room temperature instead of leaving them in the saucepan. To prevent harmful pathogens from contaminating the baked beans, do not leave the baked beans out to cool longer than one hour, and to follow the USDA food safety guidelines, make sure that the beans don’t sit between 40*F and 140*F for too long.

For those intentionally freezing baked beans for later enjoyment, many culinary professionals recommend slightly under-soaking or slightly under-cooking the beans at first and leaving the beans just a bit tougher than you’d normally prefer. Utilizing this trade secret helps make sure that when it comes to reheating your baked beans, they won’t be soggy or mushy.

  • Package the baked beans. Portion out the beans into airtight freezer-safe plastic containers or plastic freezer bags. Alternatively, you can employ reusable glass jars when freezing baked beans. If you plan to defrost them for a large family-style gathering, later on, you can either put them into one large storage container or one large freezer bag.

If you plan to use them for single-serve lunches or dinners, you can portion them out for single-use in smaller containers. To ensure that your frozen baked beans are safe for consumption later, be sure that the containers and bags are clean and dry before you use them for storage and when it comes time to seal the containers or bags.

It’s also important to remove as much air as reasonably possible from the package so that the beans are compact, easy to store, and free from oxidation. Additionally, labeling the packaged beans with the date their “best by” date can help keep things safe for later eating. If stored properly, frozen baked beans can be consumed months after their original cook date and will still be just as yummy!

  • Place the baked beans in the freezer. Before you place the containers or freezer bags into the freezer, make sure there is approximately an inch of extra room. Like many things, beans expand when they freeze, so if there is not ample room for them to expand in the freezer, they will explode and make a mess. Additionally, make sure to lay the baked beans as flat as possible in the freezer to decrease defrost time and to help maintain an even thaw when it’s time to take them out later.

Defrosting and thawing baked beans is nearly as simple as freezing baked beans. You can put them defrost them using a saucepan on the stove, which will take anywhere from five to twenty minutes. You can also put them in the fridge overnight or microwave them on a defrost setting at thirty-second increments.

The benefits of the saucepan and the microwave methods are relatively quick, but the fridge method is entirely hands-off. Once thawed, the best way to reheat the baked beans is to cook them the same way you did when you first made them.

How Long Will Baked Beans Last in the Fridge or Freezer

Frozen baked beans

You can eat frozen baked beans safely within six months of the original cook date. However, it should be noted that the frozen life of baked beans prepared from scratch is likely lower.

Regardless of whether the frozen baked beans came from a can or made from scratch, it’s important to note that their quality and flavor will decrease over time. It is recommended that you consume the frozen beans within three months of them going into the freezer for optimal taste and safety.

How To Tell if Frozen Baked Beans are Bad

Determining whether frozen baked beans have gone bad is easily done by reading the label you placed on the package when you stored them. But if you’re found label-less, you can judge their quality by their smell or appearance. Upon taking them out of the freezer, conduct a quick visual inspection of the frozen baked beans.

If there is any sign of mold or freezer burn, toss them immediately. If not, give the beans a quick sniff. If they have an odd aroma, it might be past their safe consumption date. As a last resort, you can reheat the beans and do a quick taste test. If there is an off-putting taste or strange flavor, it’s best to play it safe and find another side dish.

To alleviate the need for these tests, try to remember to label the beans with the date they were frozen so that you can quickly know their “best by” date at a glance and reduce your exposure to any food-induced sickness.

What To Do with Frozen Baked Beans

There are so many protein-packed recipe options for frozen baked beans. Baked beans are a versatile food option that leverages both a low cost and a high nutritional value. Whether you bought extra baked beans at a bargain price or have leftovers from a barbecue, frozen baked beans can be easily repurposed and bring hearty substance to a newly served dish.

  • You could consider making baked bean chili for an easy to execute recipe on a cold winter day. Unlike more traditional chili recipes, baked bean chili doesn’t have to simmer all day. Plus, the sweetness from the baked beans gives the chili a complex flavor profile.

All you have to do is cook your favorite meat on the stove, combine it with your frozen baked beans, some tomato juice, chili seasoning, and sour cream. Leave it for ten minutes, and boom! You have a freshly made meal that is both nutritious and delicious.

  • For a quick game day snack or school night meal, nachos are another creative way to repurpose your frozen baked beans. This recipe is a quick and tasty dish that can hit the spot after a long day.

To make this classic, combine your favorite meat, baked beans, corn, barbecue sauce, and ketchup, and mustard and heat all of the ingredients together on the stovetop. Once warmed, sprinkle the mixture with cheese and wait until it melts. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips and sour cream, or add jalapenos for an extra kick.

  • If you’re looking for a light way to incorporate your frozen baked beans into a summer dish, use your frozen legumes to make pineapple baked beans. This dish is uniquely sweet and tangy, making it the perfect addition to any summertime barbecue or birthday party.

To make this dish, simply add three-fourths of a cup of pineapple to the baked beans while you are reheating them after they have defrosted. Let that simmer so that the pineapple flavor can really meld with the flavor of your baked beans, and enjoy this quirky twist on a classic favorite!

Many people claim that baked beans are the best beans, and it’s hard to argue! Baked beans are the perfect comfort food: sweet, hearty, and warm. Unlike other comfort foods like cakes or cookies, baked beans are a healthy, accessible, and affordable protein option that can be included in even the strictest diets.

As an easy cook ahead dish, it’s no wonder why folks are wondering if freezing baked beans is possible. To answer the age-old question, “can you freeze baked beans?” yes! And we encourage it.

About Diane Westphal
Diane Westphal
Diane lives with her husband and 2 children on a small ranch in Southern California, where she's able to grow a good portion of the food that she prepares for her family in a variety of kitchen creations.Diane has been formally trained and has spent stints in multiple noted restaurants in her region and currently consults with commercial catering businesses. She enjoys writing about food as much as she engages in making her creations.
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