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A close up of a pot of smoky baked beans

Smoky Baked Beans (That Are Better Than Your Local Cafes)

  • Author: Nina Mills
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Basics


This easy recipe for smoky baked beans is one you can make at home that will rival those you pay big bucks for at your local cafe.



1 medium sized smoked ham hock with skin removed (mine was originally 700g before the skin was removed)

2 x 400g cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (use navy beans if you can find them!)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 cup reserved cooking liquid from ham hock

2 400g cans diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon maple syrup

½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Smoked paprika (optional)


Poached eggs, crusty toast and freshly ground black pepper to serve


  1. Place ham hock in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours or until the meat pulls away from the bone without too much resistance/doesn’t have too much sinew. (You may need to top the water up to keep the ham hock submerged)
  2. Remove the ham hock and reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Drain the beans.
  3. Heat olive oil in the same saucepan and cook the onion and garlic until softened and translucent – you don’t want golden onion and garlic here. If your pan is too dry, add a little of the reserved cooking liquid.
  4. While the onion and garlic are cooking, shred the meat from the ham hock.
  5. Add drained beans, shredded meat, tomatoes, remaining reserved liquid, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar and mustard and smoked paprika if using (I suggest starting with half a teaspoon of smoked paprika and see how you like it) to the onions and garlic in the saucepan.
  6. Bring to the boil and then simmer for an hour until the sauce has thickened and the onions are fully cooked and have made friends with the tomatoes (you don’t want that undercooked tomato and onion flavour)
  7. Season to taste with salt before serving. Serve with freshly ground black pepper.
  8. For a true cafe experience, serve with crusty toast and a poached egg (see notes).


For out of this world crusty toast, cut your loaf of bread into thick slices and brush each slice with a little olive oil and some rubbed garlic and grill on both sides using a griddle pan.

You will still have heaps of cooking liquid leftover after cooking the ham. Strain and store in an airtight container to use as stock for a soup.

You can split the prep and cooking of this dish over two days by cooking and shredding the ham hock meat one day and making the beans the next.

Keywords: homemade baked beans, stovetop beans, ham and beans

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