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Serbian Baked Beans (Prebranac)

  • Author: Maša Ofei
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6


Serbian baked beans (prebranac) is a traditional dish that can be made with or without meat, ours being the latter. It’s full of flavour using simple ingredients.


  • 5 large / around 800g brown onions, diced*
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 4 cans (400g / 14.10 ounces each) lima beans, drained and washed* (aka butter beans)
  • 2 whole heads (around 80g / 2.82 ounces) of garlic, minced*
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika*
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika*
  • 1½ teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • ¼½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)

Serving suggestions:

  • Bread of choice
  • Sauerkraut salad – sauerkraut, olive oil and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius (390 degrees Fahrenheit). 
  2. Add the onions to a saucepan on high heat with the lid closed. Saute the onions until they become translucent, leaving the lid on between each stir. This will take about 10 minutes.
  3. Add in the olive oil and put the lid back on. Saute until the onions begin to brown, then remove from heat. 
  4. Once the onions are done, add in the rest of the ingredients (besides the bay leaf). Give it a good stir.
  5. Add the bean mixture to a ceramic baking dish, and flatten it out with the back of a spatula.
  6. Once finished, pour boiled water (around 1½ cups / 330ml) to cover the beans completely. Making sure you are adding just enough to cover them.
  7. Place the bay leaf in the middle of the dish.
  8. Put the dish carefully in the oven and bake for around 60 minutes or until it starts to brown a little on the top.
  9. At this point, change the oven setting to grill and grill the top for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t burn.
  10. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.


Onions: You can speed up the process and save yourself some tears by pulsing them in a food processor.

Beans: This would bearound 1 kilo cooked beans. See notes above for cooking instructions if beans are dried.

Garlic: See tips above to speed up garlic peeling.

Sweet paprika: If you have Hungarian style sweet paprika powder, use 2 tablespoons instead of the sweet and smoked paprika.

  • Diet: Vegan