These Delicious Smoky Great Northern Beans are So Easy to Make!

These Delicious Smoky Great Northern Beans are So Easy to Make
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You will not believe how incredibly delicious, not to mention fast and easy, these smoky beans are! While you can use any white beans (butter beans would be amazing), we chose to use Great Northern beans. The recipe uses canned beans, some olive oil and garlic, and a few spices. That’s it! Easy as can be!

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The secret of the smoky deliciousness is in smoked paprika. Let us take a moment now to sing the praises of smoked paprika, which we use on just about every savory dish here at Chez Casa.

Generally speaking, there are three different kinds of paprika: sweet (i.e. regular), hot, and smoky. It is critical to understand that smoky paprika is not hot, it is just smoky (we say “just” like it relegates smoky paprika to pedestrian status – trust us, it does not).

According to CookingLight, “Smoked paprika, often called pimenton or smoked Spanish paprika, is made from peppers that are smoked and dried over oak fires. This process gives the red powder a rich, smoky flavor.”

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This is the smoked paprika that we like, but really any good brand will do:

smoked paprika

Delicious Smoky Great Northern Beans


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced, or equivalent of pre-minced jarred garlic
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (flakes, not powder)
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 15-ounce can Great Northern or other white beans
Salt for once beans are cooked, to taste (optional)


Drain your can of beans making sure to reserve the liquid!

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once the olive oil is heated, add the garlic and turn down to medium-low heat. Saute the garlic for one minute, and then add the smoked paprika, the crushed red pepper flakes, and the pepper to the pan, and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until you can really smell the lovely aroma of all of those spices (this should only take another minute or so).

Once the spices are smelling wonderful, dump in the drained beans, and heat them, stirring frequently. As you stir, mash some of the beans, to help make the dish creamy. Then add the liquid that you reserved from draining the beans and, if necessary, a little water; you want to make the beans have a bit of sauce, which you will then cook down to make them even creamier.

The beans are done when any liquid has been cooked down to a thick, creamy (and not liquidy or watery) consistency.

Remove from heat, taste, and stir in a pinch or so of salt if you like (this is optional).

These beans make a great side dish for just about any meal; you can dress them down as a side for hot dogs or a barbecue, or dress them up, as we did with our incredible “I can’t believe it’s not chicken” tofu fried chicken (stay tuned for that amazing recipe!) And yes, that’s a Hasselback potato, although we like to call them Hasselhoff potatoes. :~)

smoky great northern beans with fried chicken and hasselback potatoes annotated

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