The Beginner’s Guide to Sweet Bean Pie

by Dorothy Reinhold on February 28, 2015

Print This Post Print This Post Sweet Bean Pie | Bean Pie Dessert Recipe |

We know beans, and we know pie, right? I’m confident you’re with me so far.

But beans IN your pie, and for dessert? If that’s the question, the answer is YES!

My daughter and I first tasted Bean Pie at the Malibu Farmers Market. We bought it from a nice young man vendor who insisted we try all his varieties. “Yes, please,” we said, as we stood there munching. We fell in love with the simple spiced flavor, the custard-like interior, and the cute individual pies. She talked me into buying a few of them so she could take them in her lunch.

History of bean pie: Bean pies have been standard items at black Muslim bakeries and sold by followers of the Nation of Islam on street corners and farmers markets since the early 1970s. In his treatise “How to Eat to Live,” religious leader Elijah Muhammad wrote that beans were a blessed food, but sweet potatoes weren’t fit for man to eat. So his daughter channeled sweet potato pie flavors and created a recipe using navy beans. It was so delicious it became a popular way to raise money for the Nation of Islam.

What beans to use: Although navy beans are the most commonly called for in recipes, you could use Great Northern beans or pinto beans.

Equipment: If you use canned beans, rinse and drain them. You can mash them with a fork (they are so soft they will mash smooth very easily). Or you can use a blender or food processor to mix up the filling if you like. In this recipe, I used a fork to mash the beans, and an electric mixer to mix the filling.

Sweet Bean Pie | Bean Pie Dessert Recipe | ShockinglyDelicious.comSweet Bean Pie…it’s what’s for dessert at my house!

Sweet Bean Pie

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: Serves 8.

Serving Size: 1 piece

With spicing reminiscent of a pumpkin or sweet potato pie, a Sweet Bean Pie will satisfy traditional taste buds. It's wonderful with a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!


  • Pastry for a 9-inch single-crust pie {I used Pillsbury}
  • 2/3 cup vanilla sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2/3 cup half-and-half
  • 3 tablespoons light-flavored extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed, cooked navy beans {I used a 16-ounce can of Bush's White Beans, rinsed, drained and mashed with a fork; this was exactly 1 cup}


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch pie pan with crust, then crimp the edges decoratively and place it in the freezer while you work on the filling.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, half-and-half, olive oil, eggs and vanilla. Mix on low until well combined. Add the mashed beans and beat all the ingredients together well. Filling will be smooth and slightly thick.
  3. Remove pie crust from the freezer and pour the filling into the piecrust. Place the pie on the bottom shelf of the oven and bake 40-50 minutes, until the edges puff up and the center is fairly firm, wiggling only a little when you gently nudge the pan.
  4. Remove pie from oven and place on a cooling rack; let cool for 20-30 minutes. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. (Leftovers are great even straight from the fridge!)
  5. Serve 8.


Source: Adapted from "Southern Pies: A Gracious Plenty of Pie Recipes, from Lemon Chess to Chocolate Pecan," by Nancie McDermott.

Sunday Supper: Here's my collection of Sunday Supper recipes It's a wonderful resource for browsing!

Today’s recipes for Sunday Supper

Sunday Supper badgeToday our Sunday Supper group offers you 43 recipes for a Beantastic Sunday Supper, hosted by Tammi of Momma’s Meals. Try my Sweet Bean Pie, which might be the most unusual way you’ve eaten beans, or something else from the list below that floats your boat!

Beantastic Beginners:

Bean-a-rific Soups and Stews:

Bean-a-licious Sides:

Incredi-bean Main Meals:

Amaze-beans Sweet Endings:


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