Give Baked Beans A Spicy Upgrade With One Staple Ingredient

Pot of baked beans
Pot of baked beans - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Homemade baked beans are the perfect side dish for a hearty plate of barbecue or a savory fried breakfast. Baked beans can be made with a variety of beans including kidney, navy, and pinto beans. Onions and garlic are usually added and a sweet and savory sauce is made from ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, and dry mustard. If you're looking to upgrade your favorite side dish with a touch of heat, grab some jalapeños.

For a spicy upgrade that won't set your mouth on fire, jalapeños are a reasonable choice. Based on the Scoville heat scale, which measures the hotness in pepper varieties, jalapeños fall between 2,000 and 8,000 units. For comparison, serrano peppers can reach 25,000 units and cayenne peppers, 50,000. A great thing about using jalapeños in your next batch of baked beans is that depending on how you use this staple ingredient, you can control the spice level of your resulting dish.

Read more: The 15 Best Store-Bought Barbecue Sauces, Ranked

Jalapeños Can Be Mild Or Hot

Raw jalapeño on cutting board
Raw jalapeño on cutting board - Candice Bell/Shutterstock

Based on how spicy you want your signature baked beans to be there are a few different ways to add diced jalapeños. Keep in mind that baked beans recipes that call for dried beans take considerable time to cook which can affect the spice level. Extensive exposure to steam lessens the heat of jalapeños. So if you want baked beans with only a mild amount of heat, add jalapeños toward the beginning of the cooking process. The longer your pot of beans cooks the milder the peppers will become.

To maximize jalapeños' inherent spice, add peppers toward the end of the suggested cooking time as well as at the start. Adding more diced jalapeños roughly 10 minutes before serving will ensure a kick. For spicy baked beans made from canned varieties, you'll notice a fiery upgrade due to the shortened cooking time. Beyond adding jalapeños directly to your beans while cooking, garnish the dish with raw diced jalapeños for additional spice, and crunch.

How To Ensure Your Next Batch Of Baked Beans Has A Spicy Kick

Baked beans in bowl with herbs
Baked beans in bowl with herbs - Oksana Mizina/Shutterstock

When upgrading baked beans with jalapeños, choose wisely. Most peppers in the produce department of your neighborhood grocery store have been picked before ripening, which means they'll have less heat. Aim to choose peppers with white lines or wrinkled cracks along the exterior. This is a sign of maturation. Fully ripe jalapeños are sure to impart more heat to your dish. If your baked beans don't turn out as spicy as you'd hoped, add a few dashes of your favorite storebought or homemade hot sauce to jalapeño-loaded beans for a surefire dose of heat. You can also add dried cayenne pepper or crushed red chili flakes.

Using pepper varieties with higher scores on the Scoville scale will add a great deal of spice to any classic baked bean recipe. Serrano peppers have a similar taste profile to jalapeños, yet they're significantly hotter. For peppers with more complex flavor notes and slightly less heat than serrano peppers, try Fresno chili peppers. But if you're set on using jalapeños, be mindful of when and how you add these versatile peppers to your next pot of sweet and savory baked beans.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.