Baked beans evoke nostalgic memories of childhood family dinners and backyard barbecues. Growing up, my mother made them every Sunday for breakfast after church. I particularly enjoyed them with a few slices of butter-slathered bread. The sweet, tomato flavor and tender texture were always welcome on cold winter mornings.
Nowadays, with the advent of modern-day conveniences like microwaves, cooking baked beans has never been easier.
Here’s how to cook baked beans in microwave.
Scoop the desired amount of baked beans into a microwave-safe bowl. Place the uncovered bowl in the microwave and heat for 4-5 minutes. Once the timer goes off, remove the bowl from the microwave and stir. Return to the microwave for another 3-4 minutes, or until thoroughly heated. Stir again before serving.
For more insights on microwaved baked beans, whether they’re nutritious, how long they take to microwave, helpful cooking tips, instructions for making them, and much more, please continue reading!
Are Baked Beans Good for You?
Unfortunately, the answer is not so cut and dry. There are a few aspects to consider, as not all baked beans are nutritionally equivalent.
Before I dive into this, let’s define baked beans. Traditionally, they are sweetened dishes of white or navy beans cooked with tomato sauce or tomato paste, some pork (bacon), and other seasonings.
The navy bean, also known as the haricot bean, is an excellent source of dietary fiber, plant protein, B vitamins, minerals, and other healthy plant compounds. They also have a low glycaemic index, which means they have a minimal effect on your blood sugar levels.
But how does this compare to canned baked beans?
You see, over the years, food manufacturers have introduced salt and sugar substitutes to their recipes. Unfortunately, these alterations negate the benefits of eating navy beans. Instead, you’re left with a high-calorie dish that is high in sodium and deficient in many nutrients, such as vitamin C and calcium.
So, should you eat baked beans?
The good news is that there are a wide variety of baked beans tin available for consumption. My professional advice is to examine the ingredients list carefully before making any purchase. Ideally, look for ‘no added salt/sodium’ and ‘low sugar’ options.
Also, moderation is key. This is especially true if you’re a fan of the ham or curry-flavored versions. Ham and bacon contain saturated fat and cholesterol, leading to cardiovascular disease when consumed excessively.
Can You Microwave Baked Beans?
Microwaving is a quick and easy way to turn a can of baked beans into a delightful entrée without compromising their nutritional benefit.
However, you should tread carefully. Microwaves have a bad reputation for inconsistent cooking, resulting in charred edges and undercooked centers. Worse, the high temperatures might cause the beans to dry up, rendering them bland and unappealing.
But don’t fret! There are a few simple steps you can take to ensure perfect microwaveable baked beans every time.
And, if this offers you any consolation, it was never easier for me either. I grappled with microwaved baked beans in my early days. It took some experimenting with different power levels and cooking times before I found an approach that worked for me. Here is what I recommend.
Do not leave the beans unattended while microwaving or they will burn or overcook. A good rule of thumb is to err on the side of caution and start with less cooking time and power levels. Once you find a working combination, gradually increase the time in short increments until you find the sweet spot.
How Long Do You Microwave Baked Beans?
Typically, it will take 6-8 minutes to microwave a single serving of baked beans.
Once done, baked beans should be creamy and not watery or dry. Overcooking results in unappealing consistency, while too little cooking time makes for undercooked beans that are crunchy and hard. I recommend starting with less time and gradually increasing until you get the desired consistency.
However, time may vary depending on the following variables:
- Variations in Microwaves: Some microwaves have a higher wattage than others, resulting in faster heating periods. Check your microwave’s owner’s manual for recommended power levels, or consult the general instruction manual.
- Size of the Can: This is self-evident; larger cans of baked beans translate to longer cooking times. This is because more product means more surface area to heat. To avoid babysitting your dish, divide the beans into small portions before microwaving.
- The Brand: Different brands of baked beans require different preparation times. Read the can or box instructions before popping it in the microwave.
- Whether Frozen or Thawed: If you microwave your baked beans straight from the frozen state, it will take longer than if you thaw them first. I advise defrosting your beans overnight in the fridge so they’re ready to go in the morning.
Tips For Microwaving Baked Beans
Here are a few tricks for making perfect baked beans in the microwave:
- Avoid microwaving the baked beans in their original tin container: Microwaving metals is unsafe and can cause an explosion or fire by igniting the container’s paper sticker. Instead, I suggest transferring your cold baked beans into a ceramic or glass bowl before microwaving.
- There’s no need to cover the baked beans when cooking them in the microwave. The sauce provides enough moisture to steam the beans while they cook, eliminating the need for water.
- Microwave the beans in short bursts rather than one continuous cooking session. This gives you more control over the texture of the beans and prevents them from overcooking.
- Stir the baked beans periodically while cooking to ensure even heating. Nothing is more unpalatable and bland-tasting than the sight of charred, undercooked, or mushy beans.
- Serve your cooked, baked beans immediately to get the best results. It doesn’t take long for them to turn dry, hard, and unpalatable once they start to cool off.
- If frozen, do not thaw the baked beans over the counter, as this will introduce bacteria into the dish. Thaw them overnight in the refrigerator instead.
How To Cook Beans in The Microwave?
Now that we’ve established that you can cook beans in the microwave, here are a few simple steps to get started.
- Transfer the desired amount of baked beans and their sauces (about two cups for one person) into a microwavable bowl. I prefer deep, round bowls as they provide more room for stirring and are easier to clean.
- Set the timer for about 4-5 minutes and pop the baked beans in the microwave.
- Microwave for 5 minutes, then remove from microwave. Stir well with a spoon until all beans are evenly distributed throughout the sauce. Return to the microwave and heat for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until the desired temperature is attained.
- Once done, carefully remove the baked beans from the microwave to avoid burning from the hot steam. Stir and serve while still hot.
What Goes with Baked Beans?
Baked beans are a versatile food typically served as part of an all-British breakfast or as a hearty lunch or dinner entrée.
But, to be honest, this classic dish complements about anything and can even serve as a stand-alone main course. If you’re looking for some kitchen inspiration, I have a few suggestions to jazz up your baked beans recipe.
Start with bacon, ham hocks, or diced ham for a heartier meal that’s perfect for cold winter days. A little ketchup also adds sweetness to balance the smoky flavors of cooked meat and spices. It also helps make my baked beans extra delicious.
If you’re looking for something lighter, try fresh green beans or grated carrots to make your meal healthier. Add them in the last few minutes of cooking to avoid overcooking. The vegetables add a refreshing crunch while maintaining traditional baked beans’ sweet, comforting flavor.
However, if you want something sweet, add a pinch of brown sugar or maple syrup to get things rolling. For those who enjoy spicy foods, season with chili powder or cayenne pepper to taste. These two ingredients will give your beans a little kick without overpowering the other flavors.
How Long Do Baked Beans Last in Fridge?
Opened canned or leftover baked beans will stay fresh for 3-4 days in the fridge.
However, to avoid bacteria growth, allow them to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container. Furthermore, do not leave your baked beans at room temperature for more than two hours. Remember, bacteria causing food poisoning thrive between 40°F (4.5°C) and 140°F (60°C).
It is worth noting that the flavor and texture will deteriorate the longer you store them. My advice, consume your baked beans as soon as possible after cooking to reap all of their flavor and nutritional benefits. The less time you store baked beans, the better.
Microwaving offers a quick and easy way to prepare baked beans without using the stove or oven. It also retains the flavor and nutrients of the dish better than other cooking methods, such as boiling. Just don’t overcook the beans, or they will burn. Remember to stir them occasionally while microwaving to ensure even heating.
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