Ultimate British Beans on Toast Recipe

Easy and Quick British-Style Beans on Toast Recipe

British Beans on Toast: a hearty, budget-friendly British classic that’s ideal for late-night cravings or a quick, satisfying meal.

Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with our British-style beans on toast recipe. This beloved dish is not just a late-night savior or a quick supper option – it’s a warm hug for your stomach that won’t break the bank. After enjoying this filling meal, you’ll still have enough coins jingling in your pocket for a pint at the local pub!

Our recipe unlocks the secret to achieving the perfect texture: using dried beans. While it requires a bit of forethought for soaking, the extra effort pays off in both flavor and savings. The result? A generous batch that’ll satisfy your hunger pangs and leave you with leftovers for a scrumptious morning fry-up.

Although this recipe sticks to the classic British bean profile without pork (a change dating back to World War II rationing), bacon lovers can add a few slices for a smoky twist. Rest assured, our version stays true to the traditional taste that has made this dish a UK staple.

Authentic British-Style Beans on Toast


For the Beans:

  • 1 pound (454g) dry navy beans, picked over and rinsed
  • 5 tablespoons (50g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt, divided
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons (10g) baking soda
  • 1 medium yellow onion (8 ounces; 225g), halved
  • 1 large head garlic (1 3/4 ounce; 50g), halved crosswise
  • Five 5-inch thyme sprigs
  • 3 bay leaves

For the Sauce:

  • 6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion (6 ounces; 170g), finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar (2 1/2 ounces; 70g)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups (475ml) water
  • Six 3/4-inch-thick sourdough bread slices, toasted
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for serving


  1. Start by soaking the beans. In a spacious bowl, submerge the beans in 8 1/2 cups (2L) of water. Mix in 3 tablespoons of salt and the baking soda. Cover loosely and let the beans soak for 8 to 12 hours at room temperature. Once soaked, drain and rinse the beans thoroughly under running water.
  2. Create an aromatic bundle by wrapping the onion and garlic halves, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves in cheesecloth, securing with kitchen twine. Place this flavorful package in a large Dutch oven along with the drained beans and the remaining 2 tablespoons of salt. Add enough water to cover the beans by 3 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium and simmer gently for about 2 hours. Stir occasionally, skim off any foam, and adjust the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer. The beans are ready when they’re tender and creamy throughout. Drain the cooked beans and set aside.
  3. For the Sauce: In a deep 12-inch stainless steel skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Introduce the sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture reduces to a thin, syrupy consistency (3-4 minutes). Add the diced tomatoes and water, bringing the mixture to a vigorous simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and continue simmering for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should develop a perfect balance of sweetness and tanginess while thickening slightly.
  4. Transfer the sauce and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to a blender. Secure the lid, removing the center piece to allow steam to escape, and cover the opening with a clean towel. Blend on high speed for about 45 seconds until very smooth. Return the sauce to the skillet and gently fold in the cooked beans. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans are coated in a thick, glossy glaze. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
  5. To serve, generously spoon the bean mixture over the toasted sourdough slices. Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh parsley for a pop of color and added freshness.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
463 Calories
11g Fat
75g Carbs
19g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 463
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 6g 29%
Cholesterol 23mg 8%
Sodium 655mg 28%
Total Carbohydrate 75g 27%
Dietary Fiber 11g 40%
Total Sugars 16g
Protein 19g
Vitamin C 11mg 56%
Calcium 161mg 12%
Iron 6mg 33%
Potassium 943mg 20%
*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.

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