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 or triple batch and freeze some for another meal. So, yes you can freeze baked beans. Keep reading to find out my best tips for freezing baked beans.
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Can You Freeze Baked Beans?
So yes, it is okay to freeze leftover baked beans for up to six months. It doesn’t matter if they were 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 properly once thawed. Only freeze cooked 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 for 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, air-tight container (see details below), allowing headspace (empty 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
Putting hot beans in the freezer is a bad idea!
First of all, if you put hot beans directly in the freezer, they may not cool down and freeze quickly enough to prevent bacteria growth.
Secondly, the rapid change in temperature of the freezer could cause your beans to burst open, creating a mushy mess when thawed and reheated.
Only put completely cooled beans in the freezer!
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, store items in plastic containers. 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 studies have shown that BPA can sometimes seep into food and beverages from the containers, leading to health concerns.
If you are concerned about BPA, use BPA-free, freezer-safe storage containers.
I use these BPA containers ALL THE TIME in various sizes.
Freezer Safe Plastic Storage Bags
Over the years, I’ve tried all types of plastic storage bags, but I always come back to this “double zipper” plastic bag when it comes to freezing.
One advantage of using plastic freezer bags is that they can be frozen flat and take 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 also want to 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 them 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 sauce will help prevent freezer burn and will allow you to reheat them thoroughly without becoming dry.
- Always leave empty space (head room) in your container so it won’t crack when it expands.
- 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 crack and become mushy. Therefore, try to freeze in quantities you will eat in one sitting.
How to Defrost Baked Beans
The safest way to thaw baked beans is overnight in the refrigerator.
If you choose to thaw your baked beans the day before you eat them, do so in cold water.
Just toss the bag in cold water, making sure the beans are fully submerged. Keep the water cool by changing it every so often until your beans are defrosted completely.
This could take up to 8 hours, depending on the size and depth of your freezer container or bag.
Can You Defrost Frozen Baked Beans In The Microwave?
Yes, but the quality of your baked beans will likely be affected. Your beans will retain the best quality if you slowly thaw them. 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 them.
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 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 number 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 is 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, and the sauce can make a mess in the 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 them 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 before freezing or slightly undercooked.
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 10 minutes if reheating close to 350° F or 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Freeze Unopened Cans of 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 Freeze Cooked Canned Baked Beans?
Yes, you can freeze cooked canned baked beans. The best way to freeze leftover canned beans is by following the methods outlined above. When freezing, it doesn’t matter if your leftover beans were made from scratch or started out in a can.
Can You Refreeze Baked Beans?
According to the government’s Food Safety website, you can safely refreeze food that has been thawed in the refrigerator (even if it wasn’t reheated). But, you should not refreeze any foods, left outside the refrigerator for longer than 2 hours or 1 hour if the temperature is above 90°F.
You should note that beans will likely lose quality if thawed and refrozen.
Can I Freeze Bush’s Baked Beans?
Yes, you can freeze Bush’s baked beans. Bush’s website states that they “can be frozen in an airtight container for a short period of time.”
Do Cooked Baked Beans Need To Be Refrigerated?
Bacteria grow most rapidly between the temperatures of 40°F and 140°F. Per the USDA, food should not be left out for more than 1 hour if the temperature is above 90°F and 2 hours in temperatures below 90°F. Be sure to refrigerate your beans within 1 to 2 hours, depending on the temperature.
Final Thoughts From Cost-Effective Kitchen
If your family loves beans as much as mine, freezing baked beans can save you time, money, and effort in the kitchen.
Just do as I do. Whenever you need to make a batch of baked beans, ALWAYS double or triple the amount you are making. Be sure that there is a lot of “extra sauce” in each container. Then, freeze the extra batch or two for a later date.
Thaw the beans overnight in the fridge and reheat them on the stove or in the oven.
Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for lots of great tips and recipes for your cost-effective kitchen!
Until next time…