Beans on Toast

At risk of being laughed at for posting a recipe for beans on toast, here is a recipe for beans on toast! It’s a straightforward comfort food popular amongst Irish people. It can be eaten anytime; morning, noon or night and it is indeed comforting. When you say beans to an Irish person, you’ll be interpreted as meaning haricot beans (also known as navy beans). Any other type of bean would need to be specified; kidney beans, black beans etc. For us, ‘beans’ means baked beans. They’re an important component in an Irish breakfast and while they’re not going to blow you away with any special flavour, they certainly taste comforting and, paired with toast, they’re definitely satisfying.

The general consensus amongst Irish people is that only Bachelor or Heinz baked beans will do. In this instance, given that I’m in Belgium, I had to use ‘bio’ (organic) baked beans in a jar (not even a tin!) but they tasted good all the same. I’m not sure whether other people use soda bread for beans on toast, Brennan’s sliced pan is probably more common.

Beans on Toast

Print Recipe
Serves: 1 Cooking Time: 10 minutes


  • 1/2 tin or jar of baked beans in tomato sauce
  • 1/2 small onion, sliced into thin rings
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • fresh thyme
  • sprig of rosemary
  • bread to toast (I used homemade soda bread)
  • butter (or vegan alternative)
  • a little olive oil for frying
  • black pepper



Heat oil in a small saucepan, meanwhile heat the beans (with thyme added) in another pot.


Add onion & rosemary to the oil and cook until the onion starts to turn translucent. Then add the garlic, and keep a close eye on it so the garlic doesn’t burn.


Toast the bread and butter it. Pile beans on top of the toast, then the onion and season with pepper. Or alternatively you could mix the onion in with the beans. (Or alternatively you could leave out all the ingredients apart from the beans and the toast!)

I think that the vast majority of ‘beans on toast’ fans would not approve of me adding thyme and garlic to the classic two-ingredients. However, I find the original recipe is too simple. I really enjoyed this, with its contrast of crunchy toast and soft saucy beans. For me, the addition of onion rings and herbs made it a more interesting meal in terms of flavour.

I love learning about delicacies from different cultures. It seems that every country has dishes that it’s famous for, but also lesser-known comfort foods that are widely eaten (in homes, rather than restaurants) but are unknown to foreigners. Beans on toast falls into the latter category. Everyone knows of the Irish breakfast (yes Irish–not English!) yet far fewer people know of it’s humbler cousin, beans on toast!

Try it if you like the sound of it. I can’t guarantee you’ll love it. It is what it is; beans on toast!

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