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Prebranac: Serbian Baked Beans Recipe

Author of many recipes published in healthy living magazines. Ovo-lacto vegetarian. Cooking is my passion.

Serbian baked beans

Serbian baked beans

Vegetarian Baked Beans

Serbian baked beans, known locally as prebranac, is one of the best vegetarian dishes you will ever taste. It is also one of the easiest to prepare. Even people who are not vegetarian or who complain that vegetarian meals leave them feeling hungry love this dish. It's delicious and filling.

This dish is popular not only in Serbia but also all over the Balkans. In Serbia, this is a traditional meal for fasting days, right before Christmas and Easter.

The traditional bean used for this dish is a large white bean, like a butter bean, but any variety of beans will do. The dish is typically accompanied by a salad; e.g., a roasted red pepper salad with garlic or a simple cabbage salad.

Preparing this dish does take a bit of time, but not much of that time is active. It's easy to take care of other tasks while the beans are cooking.


  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 cups beans, dry or fresh
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika powder
  • 1/6 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 red peppers, roasted and peeled (optional)
  • 9 cups water

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

1 hour

2 hours

3 hours

6 servings


  1. Thoroughly check and wash the beans.
  2. Cook the beans with 3 cups of water for around 20 minutes. Drain the beans and rinse. (This step helps reduce the bloating that beans can sometimes cause.)
  3. Pour 6 cups of water into a pressure cooker. Add the beans, paprika powder and black pepper.
  4. Put the lid on and cook slowly for about 1 hour (for dry beans) or 40 minutes (for fresh beans). The beans are done when they are soft.
  5. Take off the lid, add salt and let it boil for 2-3 more minutes.
  6. Drain the cooked beans but keep the water for later.
  7. Fry the chopped onion until transparent and golden.
  8. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
  9. Spread half of the cooked onions in the bottom of a baking pan. Then take half of the beans and layer them on top. For the third layer, use the remaining onions, and for the final layer, use the remaining beans.
  10. Top with the optional roasted red peppers.
  11. Pour the reserved water on top until it covers the beans.
  12. Put the baking pan into the oven and let it bake until the top layer becomes golden.
  13. Serve warm. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator and then warmed up in the oven.

© 2022 Suzana Trifkovic