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Smoky baked beans with bacon crumbs

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for smoky baked beans with bacon crumbs.

By Emma Knowles
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 2 hrs 30 mins cooking plus soaking
  • Serves 4 - 6
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Smoky baked beans with bacon crumbs
This version of comforting homemade baked beans is topped with smoky bacon breadcrumbs for added flavour and texture. A poached egg or two would complete things nicely. You can bake this in one big dish or in individual ovenproof bowls. Begin this recipe a day ahead to soak the beans.


  • 350 gm dried borlotti beans, soaked overnight in cold water, drained
  • 500 ml (2 cups) chicken or beef stock
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 250 gm rindless smoky-bacon rashers, cut into strips
  • 1 tsp each smoked paprika and hot paprika
  • 400 gm canned cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) apple cider vinegar, or to taste
Bacon crumbs
  • 100 gm rindless smoky-bacon rashers, diced
  • 70 ml olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 180 gm coarse sourdough breadcrumbs
  • 1½ tbsp each finely chopped sage and thyme


  • 1
    Combine beans, stock, bay leaf and 750ml cold water in a saucepan, bring to the simmer over medium-high heat and cook for 10 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid (discard bay leaf).
  • 2
    Meanwhile, preheat oven to 140C. Heat oil in a large casserole over medium-high heat, add onion and garlic, and sauté until tender (4-5 minutes). Add bacon, sauté until fat begins to render (2-3 minutes) then add paprikas, stir until fragrant (1 minute), then add tomatoes, maple syrup, sugar and mustard. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper, then add beans and enough reserved cooking liquid to just cover (about 375ml). Cover with a tight-fitting lid and bake, stirring occasionally, until beans are just tender (1-1¼ hours).
  • 3
    Meanwhile, for bacon crumbs, stir bacon in a frying pan over medium-high heat until fat begins to render (2-3 minutes), add oil and garlic and stir until fragrant (30 seconds). Add breadcrumbs, stir occasionally until lightly toasted (4-5 minutes), remove from heat then add herbs, season to taste and set aside.
  • 4
    Remove lid from beans, add vinegar, stir to combine and bake until beans are very tender (30-40 minutes), season to taste. Increase oven to 220C. Divide smoky baked beans among individual ovenproof ramekins or bowls, scatter bacon crumbs over, then bake until crisp and golden (15-20 minutes). Serve hot.


Drink Suggestion: Strong rye ale. Drink suggestion by Max Allen