Sides · vegetarian

Sweet Skillet Unbaked Beans

Baked beans may seem like a benign summer side dish, but the recipe’s roots go back a long way.

Baked beans are known to have been prepared as part of Native American cuisine. Once English colonists settled in America, they adopted and adapted the recipe.

The version you eat out of a can of beans or at your neighbor’s barbecue may be vastly different, but it all comes from the first people to inhabit America– that’s how old the dish is!

Native Americans would sweeten baked beans with maple syrup. Now, most people sweeten it with brown sugar.

My version of “unbaked” beans sweetens it with both.

Instead of, obviously, baking these beans, this recipe is made entirely on the stovetop.

I use three different types of beans for this dish: butter, cannellini, and garbanzo. White beans are typically better for “baked” bean recipes.

This recipe is a cinch to make and you end up with a wonderful way to jazz up a can of beans. The flavor is immaculate, even though you aren’t baking it low and slow.


Sweet Skillet Unbaked Beans

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

A sweet and flavorful stovetop bean recipe that takes less than 30 minutes to cook.


  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 TBS. butter
  • 2 (15 oz) cans butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (15 oz) cans Garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 TBS. tomato paste
  • 2 TBS. brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. dried sage
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh parsley and cherry tomatoes, for serving
  • Directions

    1. In a large cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium high heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
    2. Stir in tomato paste, thyme and sage. Let mixture cook until fragrant, about 1 minutes.
    3. Stir in beans, maple syrup, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Let mixture simmer, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently.
    4. Before serving, top with chopped parsley and halved cherry tomatoes.

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