British Style Beans on Toast
two slices of beans on toast on a plate

British Style Beans on Toast

Total time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2

Last Updated on 13/07/2022 by richard

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Celebrating British Food & Cooking

Beans on toast have been a British staple for years. Eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner, it’s simple, delicious and very comforting.

We Brits love our beans on toast, but if you are outside the UK you are probably wondering what on earth are we on about?

Surprisingly, (affiliate link)Heinz baked beans have been around since they were launched in Pittsburg, the USA in 1895. It wasn’t until 1904 that they made it across the pond to the UK, first going on sale in Fortnum & Masons as a premium brand.

💡Did you know?

When Fortnum & Masons started selling Heinz beans, the can opener had not yet been invented so their advice to consumers was to stab it with a knife!

Heinz early baked beans advert
Original Heinz advert

Until 1928 beans were imported from the US but they were so popular that Heinz opened a factory in London and beans on toast were marketed in the UK as a wholesome economical meal. During WWII Heinz beans had become such an essential part of the British diet that they were declared exempt from rationing.

1.5 Million Cans a Day

More tins of beans are consumed in the UK than anywhere else in the world. We get through a staggering 1.5 million cans a day!

rows of heinz beans cans
The UK consumes 1.5 million cans a day

With Cheese

Beans on toast is a very versatile meal and you can jazz it up in any number of ways. A popular addition is to grate some cheese on top, my wife’s favourite.

I like spicy food so personally, I add a splash of Nando’s medium sauce while warming the beans to give them a bit of chilli warmth.

two slices of cheesy beans on toast on a plate
Cheesy beans on toast

With Onions

During WWII American GI’s liked their beans served with some caramelised red onions. That sounds like a really good idea and I’m going to try that.

baked beans with caramelised onions
Beans with caramelised onions

With Jalapenos

My nephew likes his food really spicy and makes up his beans with garlic, ketchup, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika and diced jalapenos. He uses the same mix for a spicy bean bake or for some “very lively” beans on toast.

baked beans with diced jalapenos
Beans with diced jalapenos

(affiliate link)Heinz beans are sold in 69 countries around the world so it’s not just us Brits that love them!

Heinz’s factory in Wigan, Lancashire is the largest food factory in Europe and produces a whopping one billion cans a year from single portion cans up to a (affiliate link)catering size can of 2.62kg.

Heinz beans tins with beans on toast

The Other Brands

Many other versions of baked beans are available from supermarkets’ own brands to competitors like (affiliate link)Branston, but in my opinion, none of them compares to Heinz.

baked beans brands
Baked beans brands

You can even make your own from (affiliate link)raw haricot beans, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The results never seem to have that smooth richness of the Heinz ones.

raw haricot beans in a scoop
Uncooked haricot beans

So now you know the when, why and how of this classic British delight, try making some for yourself. Toast the bread, warm the beans, make a cup of tea and enjoy.

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Here’s the Recipe …

Beans on Toast Recipe

Heinz beans on toast
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Lunch
Cuisine British
Servings 2
Calories 306 kcal
How Difficult Very Easy
Suitable for Vegetarian Diet


  • 4 slices Bread
  • 1 can Heinz beans
  • 20 g Butter optional


  • Empty the can of beans into a small pan and warm gently. Do NOT let them boil, it spoils the flavour.
  • While the beans are warming, make the toast.
  • Butter the toast if you like it.
  • Pour ¼ of the beans onto each slice of toast and serve immediately.



Calories: 306kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 6gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gFiber: 2gSugar: 8gSalt: 1g
Keyword beans, British
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Frequently Asked Questions

Heinz claims they invented beans on toast in 1927 for an ad campaign. They have remained popular in the UK since World War II. They are a cheap meal and really good for you!

Yes. I can personally vouch for it as my family will testify.

Baked beans are made from a type of haricot bean called navy beans, native to South America.

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