Vegetarian Baked Beans

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Love baked beans but want to avoid meat? This recipe for vegetarian baked beans is full of smoky flavor without beef or pork. Perfect for any potluck or cookout!

I love a good cookout or backyard party, so as soon as the weather warms up I start planning the menus for all the summer parties to come.

Planning ahead means we’ll have plenty of food on hand for the whole crowd, no matter if they love a bison burger or prefer cucumber tomato salad.

Spoonful of vegetarian baked beans being held up out of baking dish.

One side dish that makes a regular appearance is baked beans. But because I have friends who don’t eat meat, I serve up these vegetarian baked beans instead of a meaty version.

Filled with the same smoky-sweet flavors you love from traditional baked beans, the vegetarian version is just as saucy and delicious. 

In fact, I might even like them better than the kinds with meat!

Using canned beans, this easy to make recipe is ready with just a few minutes of hands-on time.

Ingredients for vegetarian baked beans

You’ll need:

Ingredients for vegetarian baked beans on a tile surface with labels.

Beans – For this recipe I used pinto beans, but you can also use navy beans. To save time, use canned beans that have been rinsed and drained.

You can also cook the beans from dried. You’ll need 3 cups of cooked beans, which is about equal to 2 15-ounce cans.

Water or vegetable stock – Add a little extra liquid to thin out the sauce. If you are using beans cooked from dried, you can also use some reserved bean water instead of plain water or stock.

Olive oil – For cooking the onion and garlic

Onion – Use a white or yellow onion for this recipe. If you like the sharp flavor of red onion, use that! 

Garlic – Use 1-2 cloves, depending on their size. I like garlic, so I always go for more.

Molasses – Part of the signature flavor for baked beans comes from molasses. Molasses comes in varying levels of strength. Blackstrap molasses is very strong in flavor, so I don’t recommend it for this recipe. Try a mid-range or mild molasses.

Brown sugar – For a touch of sweetness, I use brown sugar. You can also use maple syrup instead.

Tomato paste – Look for tomato paste in tubes. The initial cost is more, but you’ll waste far less when you only need a few tablespoons per recipe.

Cider vinegar – Also labeled as apple cider vinegar, this adds a tang to the dish that balances the sweetness.

Soy sauce – For a salty umami flavor, we use soy sauce. Unlike Worchestershire sauce, soy sauce is vegetarian, so it’s appropriate for those avoiding animal products.

Mustards – I use two mustards in this recipe: stone ground and classic yellow. They both add distinctive flavor, but if you prefer one over the other, feel free to double one and leave the other out.

Smoked paprika – The classic smoky flavor in baked beans usually comes from bacon or ham, but for this version we’re using smoked paprika. I absolutely love using this spice, so give it a try!

Hot sauce – The addition of hot sauce is for balancing any sweetness. Use your favorite variety. If you want a spicy baked bean, simply add more to taste.

Salt and pepper – Use to taste.

Overhead of vegetarian baked beans in a baking dish.

How to make this recipe

Lightly coat a 1-quart baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Add olive oil to a saucepan and heat over medium. 

Once the pan is hot, add the chopped onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds, until fragrant.

Mix in the water or broth, molasses, brown sugar, tomato paste, cider vinegar, soy sauce, mustards, smoked paprika, hot sauce, salt, and pepper.

Simmer sauce for about 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve and blend ingredients. 

Mix in drained beans, then pour everything into the prepared baking dish. 

Cover the beans with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake another 10-15 minutes, until thickened.

Let the beans cool slightly before serving. They will thicken more as they cool.

Overhead of vegetarian baked beans on a plate with salad and a fork.


Can I make vegetarian baked beans in the slow cooker?

Absolutely! For hands-off beans, sauté the onion and garlic, then combine them with the rest of the ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 4 hours.

Can I use dried beans instead of canned?

Dried beans are a great option, especially if you’re making baked beans for a crowd.

Cook the beans according to package directions, then drain and follow the recipe as written. 

You can also save some of the bean cooking water to thin the sauce.

Is this recipe vegan?

Yes! This recipe contains no animal products, so it’s suitable for vegetarians and vegans alike.

Vegetarian baked beans are also gluten-free, provided you use a gluten-free tamari or soy sauce.

Can I freeze baked beans?

Baked beans are a great recipe for making ahead of time and freezing.

Let the beans cool completely, then transfer to a freezer bag or freezer-safe container.

If using a bag, be sure to remove as much air as possible before sealing. Then, lay the bag down in the freezer so the beans freeze in a flat layer.

Don’t forget to label the contents! Frozen baked beans will keep for up to 6 months.

Thaw frozen baked beans in the refrigerator and warm gently on the stove, in the oven, or in a slow cooker.

Close up of vegetarian baked beans on a black plate.

Serving suggestions

These vegetarian baked beans are great with any picnic fare, like tortellini pasta salad, grilled potato salad, or an array of your favorite grilled vegetables.

You can also serve them with meat-based dishes, like turkey burgers or sausages.

Try baked beans on top of buttermilk biscuits or toasty bread.

Enjoy these homemade vegetarian baked beans at your next cookout!

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star review below!
It means so much when you enjoy my recipes, so let me know how it goes and leave a comment if you have any questions.

Spoonful of vegetarian baked beans being held up out of baking dish.

Vegetarian Baked Beans

Make these easy vegetarian baked beans for your next cookout! They're delicious alongside all of your grilling favorites.
Author : Megan Myers
5 from 44 votes
Print Pin Recipe Review
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 171 kcal


  • 3 cups cooked pinto beans, (2 15-ounce cans)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock, or water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste


  • Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly coat a 1-quart baking dish with nonstick spray. Drain beans and set aside. If using canned beans, make sure to rinse them.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and sauté 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve brown sugar and blend ingredients together.
  • Stir in beans, coating with sauce, then pour everything into the prepared pan. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake another 10-15 minutes, until thickened. Let cool slightly before serving.


Calories: 171 kcalCarbohydrates: 32 gProtein: 5 gFat: 3 gSaturated Fat: 0.5 gSodium: 799 mgPotassium: 570 mgFiber: 5 gSugar: 17 gIron: 2 mg

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate based on online calculators. Any nutritional information found on Stetted should be used as a general guideline only.

Tried this recipe?Leave a comment below!

About Megan

I focus on fresh ingredients and easy methods, with spins that keep meals interesting. Dinnertime shouldn’t be stressful or complicated, and I’m here to help you enjoy the time spent in the kitchen. Read more…

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