What You Can Do To Thicken Baked Beans

Few other side dishes out there compare to the warmth and hearty comfort that baked beans provide. They are incredibly easy to make and come in a variety of flavors like BBQ and brown sugar. But coming face-to-face with a runny sauce is bound to happen, even for seasoned home cooks. That being said, there are several ways to transform a lackluster sauce into a thick and rich baked beans dish, but first, it's important to understand why such a mishap happens in the first place.

Lacademie states that adding too much water drowns out the starch within the beans, which helps to make the sauce thick and creamy. If the starch is diluted, you'll end up with a thin sauce, which also means weak and watery flavors. Another reason lies in the cooking process itself. The longer you simmer and reduce the beans, the more the sauce will thicken. If you don't cook the beans long enough, the sauce will stay loose and runny, according to Home Cook World.

But sometimes, a busy schedule doesn't allow for home cooks to stand in the kitchen and wait for the sauce to thicken via simmering. Sometimes, you'll need a helping hand from your pantry.

Use starches to thicken beans

A cornstarch slurry is used to thicken almost any kind of sauce and it only takes a few seconds to make, per Baking Kneads. Simply add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to 1 cup of water or to the liquid from the baked beans (scoop it out into a separate bowl and let it cool first) and mix. Once the starch is thoroughly incorporated, pour the slurry into the baked beans dish and stir. Let this simmer for a minimum of 10 minutes so the starch has time to work its magic.

Our Everyday Life suggests that if you don't have cornstarch on hand, you can also use arrowroot or potato starch, as well as flour. But when using flour, be sure to simmer the beans for a little longer so the flour can break down and dissolve properly.

You can also scoop out some of the beans and mash them, per Our Everyday Life. Be sure to use a potato masher to mash about 2 to 3 cups worth; You'll want to get the beans into a thick, paste-like consistency. Add the mashed beans back into the baked beans dish, stir and let this simmer together for another 15 minutes or so.

Next time you come face-to-face with a runny baked beans sauce, you can smile back at it and know there is more than one way to fix it.