Bonfire Party ‘Boston Baked Beans’ – vegan


Now Autumn is well underway thoughts of forthcoming Hallowe’en and Guy Fawkes Night celebrations are with us. Before Winter’s chill really sets in, an Autumn bonfire party is the last proper opportunity for us in the UK to enjoy outdoor eating.

These US style baked beans are full of rich flavours, and quite unlike our UK tinned baked beans. Just perfect served over a big fluffy baked potato with a healthy serving of red cabbage slaw on the side; and don’t forget the mulled cider if you’re having a party. Of course you don’t actually have to have a bonfire party in order to make US campfire style baked beans but they are a great warming way to feed a crowd, especially if you do the traditional thing and bake your jacket potatoes on the bonfire!

Once soaked and boiled, the preparation for these beans is really quick and easy, however they do take several hours to cook properly so make sure you get your preparation underway earlier in the day! I actually cook mine in a traditional glazed terracotta ‘Olla’ or Spanish bean pot that I picked up for a fiver in a charity shop and it’s absolutely perfect for the job, however any casserole dish with a well fitting lid will do.

Boston Baked Beans – vegan


  • 450g / 1 lb dried haricot beans (great northern), soaked overnight in cold water
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 4tbsp molasses or black treacle
  • 450ml / 16 floz lager or bitter
  • 1 x 400g / 14oz tin chopped tomatoes
  • 4tbsp tomato puree
  • 4tbsp vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
  • 1tbsp chilli powder (optional, or use less if you prefer your beans less piquant)


  1. Preheat oven to 150C / 300F / Gas 2
  2. Drain the beans. Place them in a large saucepan and cover with fresh water. Boil for 10 minutes, scoop any foam off at this point. Put lid on saucepan, reduce heat and simmer for a further 45 minutes.
  3. Drain cooked beans and place in a casserole dish. Stir in the chopped onions, mustard and lager or bitter.
  4. Add all the other ingredients to a food processor or blender and process until well blended.
  5. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish and stir through the beans well.
  6. Put lid on casserole and bake for around 4 hours. Check a couple of times during cooking to ensure the beans don’t dry out too much – add a little extra water if needed.

Serves 6

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  1. Gonna have to try these for my hubby (he’s from Boston and loves Boston baked beans). :)

    • Hope he likes them :) Though I’ve no idea how truly authentic they are to be honest, the original recipe came from a cutting out of a UK newspaper that was given to me yonks ago!

  2. LOVE this synchronicity! Not only did i find a bean pot/ wee casserole pot at the charity shop but i made similar beans this weekend. Mine were “black pudding” beans (to satiate my omnivore) but so close to yours, sadly minus the beer. I’m thinking combine both our recipes, whack in some coffee and cacao and who know what will come out the end but its sure to be dang tasty. Heres to autumn xxx

    • Yay for clay bean pots! I need to use mine more. Your coffee / chocolate mole concoction sounds *good*, maybe with pinto beans or black turtle?

  3. These look great, we just had a sudden heat spike in Australia going from fairly mild spring mid twenties to 40 degree bushfire disaster territory so I’ll have to put off trying these until the cooler weather hits.

    • Oh my, phew! It’s all cool, damp and blustery over here. Boston Beans also make a good side dish for a BBQ by the way, though the oven being on a long time does warm up the kitchen which isn’t what you want right now :D A crock pot / slow cooker is probably the way to go.

  4. Sophie33 said:

    Mmmmmm,…I love the. I love the added molasses in here,.’.Another must make.

    • Yeah the molasses really adds a deep flavour! Very traditional too.

  5. Love your recipe! I can’t think of a better Bonfire night dinner than Boston baked beans served on a crispy skinned jacket potato. Yum! I’ve never cooked haricot beans from scratch but I’ll give it a try. I’ve just bought a slow cooker so I’ll throw them in there for the day and see how they turn out x

    • Good plan, I think I need to turn to the slow cooker more now too. Much more frugal energy wise!

  6. Bonfire Night is one of my favourite times of the year and this recipe has just made it onto my “to-cook” list. Looks yummy :)

    • Mee too, love the scent of bonfire smoke in the air and the twinkling of fireworks across the night sky! Hope you enjoy the beans and thanks for commenting; nice to see another UK veg blog too btw!

  7. Donna said:

    I’m going to try this for my dad, I know how much he loves to eat beans but thinks he doesn’t like vegetarian food ;)

    • Haha, so many people are like that, they forget how many foods available to us are non-meat! Hope your dad likes them and thanks for commenting :)

    • My partner loves these too, they’re great for the winter months in particular.

    • Thank you, that’s very thoughtful. I do hope you’ve found a way to preserve your lovely vegetable illustrations btw.

      • Thank you! I am going to wait and see what happens to them, and do some research to see what I could add to them next time.

    • I only use 1 tbsp chilli powder :) Are you having a BBQ later? Perfect weather here in the UK right now.

  8. Nic Dafis said:

    Not so perfect in west Wales, unfortunately. An American friend is visiting tomorrow, so I’ve made these to have with vegan hotdogs. She’s from Boston.

    Would you mind if I translate the recipe into Welsh and share it on my blog (with a link back here of course) ?

    • Please do :) Enjoy your friend’s visit. Fingers crossed that the beans are properly Bostonian enough for her! Mm veggie dogs.. I like mine with American mustard and sauerkraut, numnumnum.

      • Nic Dafis said:

        Great, thanks! Here it is, with my results in the picture. Really tasty, and if I rmember correctly (it’s a long time since I’ve made them, and the first since I stopped eating meat) they’re better the second day.

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