The Low-Sugar Baked Bean Winner Is…

Baked beans aren’t considered dessert, but in many instances might as well be. Some versions have as much sugar as a serving of ice cream or cookies.  I used to skip baked beans at cookouts, but this summer I was determined to find good, low-sugar baked beans.

It’s possible!

I purchased two brands of canned baked beans. I also made low-sugar baked beans from a recipe that I found online.

Out of the three versions, I found one that is a keeper

Third Place: Bush’s Best Zero Sugar Baked Beans

 The beans had a very strong sweet, artificial aftertaste. Actually, the “aftertaste” was there from the start. I ate a spoonful, then managed a second. I couldn’t eat more. My husband tried one bite, then put his fork down.

Second Place: Heinz Beans With Tomato Sauce

This British import used to be found at specialty food stores but is now carried at my neighborhood Giant Eagle. The sugar content, at four grams per 1/2 cup serving, is considerably lower than most canned beans. I really wanted to love these beans.

The beans, a bit mushy, were in what seemed like a faintly sweet tomato juice. There was no aftertaste, but to my American tastebuds the beans lacked deep flavor.


First Place: Fadil’s Baked Beans

I wish I could fully credit the cook, known only as “Fadil,” who submitted the recipe to an online forum.
Fadil’s tasty baked beans are not sweet, they are savory. Rather than heaps of sugar or maple syrup, they contain tomato sauce, garlic, onion, smoked paprika and mustard.

I added just a teaspoon of brown sugar to the recipe,  to balance the tart taste of the mustard. Even with the sugar, a 1/2 cup serving of Fadil’s beans has only  1 gram of added sugar.

Both my husband and I finished our bowls, and ate leftovers a couple of days later. These beans would be great with hot dogs, burgers or chicken on a cool evening. I always like to serve bean side dishes, and this will go on my regular rotation.




– When first preparing the beans, I cut the mustard down to two teaspoons; when we ate the beans the first night, they were seasoned just right. Two days later, however, the beans would have benefited from a bit more mustard; adjust seasoning before serving,

– Sometimes salt can be omitted from a recipe; these baked beans are not one of those times.

– Meat eaters: Top the bean casserole with slices of turkey bacon.

Fadil’s Baked Beans

Almost No-Sugar Baked Beans
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 5


  • 2 Cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Onion minced or grated Can use less onion
  • 2 Cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 Cup plain tomato sauce
  • 2-3 Tsp yellow mustard
  • 1 Tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil
  • Salt, Pepper
  • 2-3 Tsp Worcestershire


  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Heat oil on “low,” saute onion until golden, then add garlic and sauté until garlic is lightly browned.
  • In a small bowl mix tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, brown sugar and smoked paprika.
  • Put Navy beans in casserole dish. Add onion mixture, then seasoned tomato sauce and stir gently until mixed.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and adjust other seasonings to taste.
  • Serve, or refrigerate until serving.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


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