Baked beans are a delicious, filling side dish for barbequed meats as well as burgers and dogs. Unfortunately, many of us don’t serve baked beans as often as we’d like because making baked beans is time-consuming. Right? For me, the solution is to make a double batch and freeze some for another meal.
So yes, it is ok to freeze leftover baked beans. It doesn’t matter if they were from a straight from a can or homemade. Any type of baked bean can be successfully frozen.
With that said, you cannot let me repeat you cannot freeze uncooked beans because the beans will not cook them properly once thawed.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to safely freeze and thaw your baked beans as well as how to reheat and reuse your beans.
How Long Can You Keep Baked Beans In The Freezer?
Frozen baked beans will retain their best quality if used within 3 to 6 months unless they are vacuum-sealed. Baked beans that are frozen in vacuum-sealed bags will retain their quality 1 to 2 years.
How To Freeze Baked Beans
- Allow beans to cool to room temperature or cool down in the refrigerator before freezing.
- Place beans in a freezer-safe container (see details below) allowing space for expansion and removing as much air as possible.
- Label and place into the freezer.
Why You Must Cool Down Your Baked Beans Before Freezing
You never want to put hot beans in the freezer. Always let the beans cool down in the refrigerator or at least cool down to room temperature before freezing.
First of all, if you put hot beans directly in the freezer, they may not cool down and freeze quickly enough causing bacteria to grow.
Secondly, the rapid change in temperature of the freezer could cause your beans to burst open, creating a mushy mess when thawed and reheated.
Prior to freezing your baked beans, you must decide what type of container your beans will be frozen in.
Freezer Storage Options
When freezing items, it is always a good idea to use freezer-safe storage containers. These types of containers are designed to handle rapid changes in temperature and are less prone to cracking than non-freezer safe containers.
BPA-Free Plastic Containers
Many people, myself included use plastic containers for storage. When doing so, it’s best to look for BPA free containers.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used to make some plastics since the 1960s. It’s found in polycarbonate plastics that are often used for food and beverage storage.
Various research has shown BPA can sometimes seep into food and beverages from the containers, which leads to health concerns.
If you are concerned about BPA, use BPA free, freezer-safe storage containers.
Freezer Safe Plastic Storage Bags
Over the years, I’ve tried all types of plastic storage bags but I always come back to Ziploc “double zipper” freezer bags when it comes to freezing.
One of the advantages of using Ziploc type freezer bags is that you can freeze them flat and it takes up a lot less room in the freezer. Yes, you can freeze baked beans in a freezer bag.
Just be sure the bags are completely closed and freeze them flat. You want to also be sure your beans are frozen solid before stacking anything else on top of them. You don’t want to damage the beans.
Freezer Safe Glass Storage Containers
You can also choose to freeze your beans in a glass container so that you can freeze, thaw, and reheat in one container. If you go this route, be sure your glass container is freezer and oven safe.
***Note: Even though your glass container says it is freezer and oven safe, never put the container straight from the freezer into a hot oven.***
The rapid change in temperature from the freezer to a hot oven could cause the glass to shatter, even if it says it is freezer and oven safe. It’s not worth the risk!
Pro Tips For Preparing Baked Beans For The Freezer
- Freeze baked beans the same day they were prepared to ensure the highest quality.
- Make them extra saucy. The extra liquid will help prevent freezer burn and will allow you to reheat them thoroughly without becoming dry.
- If you are planning to bake your beans again once thawed, consider slightly undercooking them. Once thawed, you can “rebake” them without the beans becoming mushy.
- Remember, previously frozen and reheated baked beans will taste as good as fresh. However, reheating beans multiple times once thawed or refreezing and thawing multiple times can cause your beans to become mushy. Therefore, try to freeze in quantities you will eat in one sitting.
How to Defrost Baked Beans
The safest way to defrost baked beans is overnight in the refrigerator.
If you choose to defrost beans the day you will be eating them, do so in cold water.
Just toss the bag in cold water, making sure the beans are fully submerged. Check on the beans every so often and replace the water if it doesn’t feel cool. Continue to replace the water until the beans are thawed.
This could take up to 8 hours depending on the size and depth of your freezer container or bag.
Can You Defrost Baked Beans In The Microwave?
Maybe but with mixed results. If you are able to remove your frozen baked beans from their freezer bag or container, you could put them in a microwave-safe container and defrost.
If you choose this method, defrost in short bursts carefully stirring your beans as they defrost.
When reheating foods, you need to reheat them to an internal temperature of 165°F.
This can be difficult to do consistently in the microwave. If you choose to use your microwave, I would highly suggest you just use your it to defrost your beans before moving on to another reheating method.
How To Defrost Baked Beans In a Pot
You can defrost and reheat your baked beans in a pot on the stovetop.
To do this, remove your beans from their freezer containers or bags, add water to the pan (maybe ¼ to 1 cup depending on the amount of beans you are reheating), and then add your beans.
Slowly reheat the beans on the stove-top on low, gently stirring as the beans begin to defrost.
If your beans begin to look “dry”, add a little more water.
How To Reheat Frozen Baked Beans On The Stovetop
As you previously read, the easiest and simplest way to reheat your baked beans in on the stovetop.
If your beans are fully defrosted, you can reheat the beans on the stovetop over medium to medium-low heat.
Bring the beans to a gentle boil, stirring often. Add a little water if needed. Be sure your beans are thoroughly reheated before consuming.
How To Reheat Frozen Baked Beans In The Microwave
I do not like to reheat large quantities of baked beans in the microwave. Beans can take a while to reheat thoroughly in the microwave and while doing so, the sauce can make a mess in your microwave.
If you reheat your beans in the microwave, here are the steps you need to follow:
- Place beans in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Cover with a microwave-safe plate or paper towel.
- Reheat one minute at a time. You can use full power or 50% power. Full power is quicker but could result in beans splitting and becoming mushy.
- Carefully remove the plate or paper towel and stir from the outside to the middle. **USE CAUTION: THE PLATE AND BOWL WILL LIKELY GET VERY HOT***
- Repeat until beans are thoroughly reheated.
*** Remember, plates and bowls can get very hot in the microwave especially when you have reheated for 3 or more minutes, so use extreme caution when removing the beans from the oven****
How To Reheat Baked Beans In The Oven
How long and at what temperature you reheat your baked beans in the oven depends on whether they were completely cooked prior to freezing or slightly undercooked before freezing.
If your beans were thoroughly cooked prior to freezing, you can reheat them in the oven anywhere from 200°F – 350°F, depending on how quickly you want them reheated.
Place your beans in an oven-safe dish and cover with aluminum foil. Reheat until the beans are bubbly and heated through. This will probably take anywhere from 10 minutes if reheating close to 350°F or up to 20 to 25 minutes if reheating closer to 200°F.
Not sure your beans are reheated? Dig into the middle of your dish and carefully taste a bean. If they are still cool and hard in the middle, stir from the outside to the middle and place back into the oven until all beans are reheated.
Related Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Freeze Unopened Canned Baked Beans?
No, you never want to freeze unopened canned beans but yes, you can freeze canned baked beans once opened. Freeze leftover canned beans just like you’d freeze homemade baked beans.
Can You Refreeze Baked Beans?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, you can safely refreeze food thawed in the refrigerator (even if it wasn’t reheated). But, you should not refreeze any foods, “left outside the refrigerator” longer than 2 hours; 1 hour if the temperature is above 90°F.
You should note that beans will likely lose quality if thawed and refrozen.
Can you Vacuum Seal Baked Beans?
Yes, you can vacuum seal baked beans for freezing.
First, make sure you follow your vacuum sealer’s directions for freezing “wet foods” and that you don’t overstuff your freezer bag.
Then, before you seal your vacuum bags, stand the filled bags upright in the freezer for 30 minutes or so. This will help solidify the juices and make sealing the bag easier.
Finally, vacuum-seal accordingly.
If your family loves baked beans and you are looking for shortcuts in the kitchen, you should embrace the “cook once, eat twice (or three times)” mindset.
When making baked beans, it doesn’t take much effort to make an extra batch or two for freezing.
To save time down the road, I always cook double or triple batches of foods that will freeze or reheat well. It saves me a ton of time in the kitchen!
When making baked beans, I will make two or three batches along with extra sauce and bake them off.
Then, I will freeze the extra beans ensuring there is lots of “extra sauce” in each container. Trust me, this makes reheating so much easier!
My beans are then thawed in the fridge overnight and usually reheated on the stovetop.
Because my beans have plenty of sauce, I rarely have to add additional water when reheating.
Got any questions? Let me know. I’ll be happy to help!