Ode to the Baked Bean Sandwich

Wondering what to do with leftover baked beans? In many New England households, leftover baked beans were (and sometimes still are) the perfect filling for a thick baked bean sandwich.

By Aimee Tucker

Aug 16 2022


A large pot of baked beans may be a well-known New England Saturday night tradition, but what about the leftovers? In many families, leftover Saturday night baked beans became a Sunday baked bean sandwich. Yes, that’s right. A baked bean sandwich.

New England Baked Bean Sandwich.
The New England Baked Bean Sandwich.
Photo Credit : Aimee Seavey

Of course, it’s always an option to heat up leftover baked beans and serve them in more “traditional” ways – with brown bread, franks-and-beans style, or even alongside eggs and toast. But where’s the fun in that?

Inexpensive, filling, and the hallmark of packed lunches for an entire generation of New Englanders, baked bean sandwiches are perhaps the lunchbox definition of Yankee frugality. This sandwich isn’t pretty, but it’s ours, and we love it with the same loyalty we extend to Moxie and Necco Wafers.

So, just how do you make a baked bean sandwich? I confess I’d never eaten one before, so making it was a bit of an adventure. According to my sources (meaning all of you on Facebook), it’s as easy as plopping a delicious pile of cold baked beans onto a thick slice of white sandwich bread (Anadama bread works great, too) and topping it with another. Some baked bean sandwiches are made with brown bread, but they tend to be more “open-faced,” and that’s just not the same thing as picking up a sandwich and biting into it!

new england baked bean sandwich
Goes great with potato chips and root beer!
Photo Credit : Aimee Seavey

I like my baked beans with a little sauce, so even though these were cold (these had been in the fridge for a day or two), the sandwich was on the messy side, but (amazingly) still held. It actually sat on the plate like you see in the photo for a good 15 minutes without losing more than a little sauce and a few rogue beans. I’ve had a Boston Cream Pie fall apart faster than that!

And the flavor? Well, it tasted like you’d think – like baked beans and thick sandwich bread – but I happen to be a fan of both, so the experience wasn’t unpleasant. It did, however, leave my mouth feeling a little dry, so it was a good thing I had a bottle of Polar root beer in the fridge. And, since all sandwiches benefit from a little crunch and salt, I added a handful (or two) of Cape Cod potato chips. Now there’s a lunch!

baked bean sandwich cape cod chips
Are you a fan?
Photo Credit : Aimee Seavey

While many New Englanders have fond memories of baked bean sandwiches, it does seem to be especially popular with Yankees of a certain generation, so we’re wondering… Do you love a good baked bean sandwich? Do you know someone who does? Let us know!

Ready to make your own baked bean sandwich? First you’ll need the beans! Below you’ll find some favorite baked beans recipes from the Yankee archives.

This post was first published in 2015 and has been updated. 

Baked Bean Recipes:
Classic Baked Beans
Boston-Style Baked Beans
Maple Baked Beans
Vegetarian Slow-Cooker Baked Beans

See More:
6 Classic New England Sandwiches
75 Classic New England Foods