Baked beans are a satisfying and comforting meal any time of the day, and regardless of whether you make them yourself or you buy them in cans, there’s usually leftovers.
While you can put baked beans into the fridge for a few days for later, they will start to change texture and the flavor will become blander.
Luckily, you can freeze them to save them for a later date, allowing you to make baked beans in batches, or to buy them in bulk and save some money.
Should You Freeze Baked Beans?
Baked beans freeze pretty well (see also Can You Freeze Kidney Beans), as long as you freeze them pretty much straight away when they are cold.
Don’t let them sit in the fridge for a few days before you freeze them, freeze them straight away to keep them fresh.
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t freeze them to prolong the shelf life, as the texture and consistency will survive fairly well in the freezer.
If you’re freezing the leftovers of canned baked beans, make sure to transfer the beans into a freezer safe container first.
Don’t be tempted to try and freeze them in the can, as this will lead to food poisoning, and you’ll introduce bacteria into your freezer.
How Do You Freeze Baked Beans?
If you’ve made baked beans from scratch, freeze them on the day you make them.
Because they contain no preservatives, you’ll need to freeze them quickly in order to keep them at their best, and ensure there are no changes in flavor or texture.
When you want to freeze your leftover canned baked beans, the sooner you can get them into the freezer, the fresher they will be when you thaw them.
There’s no need to freeze canned baked beans if you haven’t opened the tin, as they’ll keep for several years in a cool cupboard without any problems.
If you have opened a can, and you need to do something with the leftover canned beans, freezing them is the best way to preserve them.
Make sure the beans are completely cold before you try to freeze them (see also Freezing Black Beans).
As a general rule, you shouldn’t leave food out on the counter for longer than 2 hours, as this will promote bacterial growth and will lead to food poisoning.
Depending on how much baked beans you have to freeze, you can either use airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags to store the beans in the freezer.
Freezer bags will take up less room, and do allow you to portion the beans, which helps the beans to defrost quicker, and stops any risk of food waste.
You can always pack less into the freezer bags, making sure to squeeze as much excess air out as possible.
If you prefer using an airtight container, make sure to pack the container tightly, leaving only an inch of space at the top of the container for the juice to expand.
You’ll also want to label the container once you’ve sealed it. This is helpful if your container isn’t transparent, and saves you opening it to remind yourself what was in there.
It also saves you time rifling through your freezer in order to find the baked beans again later.
When you freeze baked beans (see also How To Freeze Pinto Beans), they almost have an indefinite shelf life, as long as the temperature is kept consistently low.
Generally, the recommended time for keeping baked beans in the freezer is about 6 months.
Having said that, anything that’s left in the freezer for a long period of time will develop freezer burn, and the flavor and texture will degrade over time.
As a general rule, try not to let anything sit in the freezer for longer than 3 months at a time. The sooner you defrost and eat the food in the freezer, the better it will be.
The fresher the baked beans were before you freeze them, the better the results will be once you thaw them. Don’t try to freeze food to make it fresher, as this won’t work.
The Best Way To Defrost Baked Beans
When you want to defrost baked beans, transferring them straight into the fridge will do the trick.
Leave them overnight to thaw, and you’ll notice that the slower the method you choose, the better the beans will be.
If you’re in a hurry, you can put the container or freezer bag into a bowl of tap water to speed up the thawing process. This method should take around 4 to 8 hours, depending on how much you have to defrost.
Only try to thaw them in the microwave or on the hob as a last resort, as the results won’t be as good compared to the fridge method.
Don’t forget to add some water to the beans to start with to help rehydrate them, but both of these thawing methods can lead to disappointing, dry beans.
Reheating Thawed Baked Beans
When the baked beans are fully thawed, the best way of reheating them is to put them on the hob on a very low heat to begin with.
If the beans start to dry out too much as they warm up, add a little cold water to the pan to help them along.
Gradually increase the heat to medium, and once the beans are piping hot, they’re ready to serve how you like them.
If the baked beans don’t turn out exactly how you wanted them to, it is worth experimenting. If you bought ready-made baked beans, it’s worth trying a different brand.
If you made your own baked beans, you could try using a different kind of bean, more or less juice, and see how each factor affects the freezing and thawing process.
One thing you should always avoid, however, is thawing and reheating food more than once.
Once you’ve thawed something from the freezer, either use it, or throw it. Don’t refreeze it. In some cases, this will mean a loss in quality, or a ruined dish. In others, this can lead to food poisoning.
Storing baked beans in the freezer is a great way to save them for a later date, as long as you freeze them as soon as possible.