How to Make Bean Bark

How to Make Bean Bark and use it in delicious backpacking meals.

Photo above: Making bean bark. Vegetarian baked beans  were run through a blender, spread thinly on dehydrator tray, dried to a crumbly texture, and used in a delicious backpacking meal. Recipe below.

Bean bark rehydrates well with hot water and lets you create flavorful and saucy backpacking meals using any kinds of beans plus extra flavors such as BBQ sauce, salsa and enchilada sauce.

Here is a simple way to turn baked beans into a delicious meal:

Dehydrating Bean Bark

Run a 28 ounce can of vegetarian baked beans or an equivalent quantity of homemade beans through a blender until creamy. Use all the liquids from the can. Avoid using baked bean products containing bacon or pork because fatty meats will not dehydrate well and may spoil.

Pour puddles of blended beans on dehydrator trays covered with nonstick sheets, such as Excalibur Paraflexx® sheets. Spread thinly with a spatula. Twenty-eight ounces of blended beans takes up three 15 x 15 Excalibur Dehydrator trays.

Dry at 135°F (57°C) for eight hours. Unlike Potato Bark, which dries into a sheet, Bean Bark dries like mud… full of cracks.

After about six hours or when the bark is dry enough to pull off the trays, flip it over to expose the moister bottom side to the hot air.

Yield: 28 ounces of beans will bark down to three cups weighing seven ounces.

Bean Bark Stew

Servings: 1


  • ½ cup instant or precooked and dried rice
  • ¼ cup dried mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, peas, and green beans)
  • ¼ cup dried ground beef*
  • ¼ cup bean bark
  • 1¼ cups water to rehydrate

* Ground turkey or chicken, or ham, may be substituted for ground beef to add variety to meals.

Large Portion:

The recipe above provides 432 calories. To make a larger serving with 602 calories, use ¾ cup rice, cup vegetables, cup ground beef, cup bean bark, and 1¾ cups water to rehydrate.

At Home:

Pack all dry ingredients in a plastic zip style bag.

On the Trail:

Combine all ingredients with water in pot and soak for five minutes.

Light stove, bring to a boil and cook for one more minute.

Remove from stove and transfer pot to insulating cozy for ten minutes.

Stir briskly before eating and the bark will dissolve into tasty gravy.

Serving Variation:

Roll all this tasty goodness up in a couple of tortillas. Messy, but very good.

Bean Bark Stew Served in Tortillas

You'll find more bean bark recipes in Recipes for Adventure: Healthy, Hearty & Homemade Backpacking Recipes, such as Black Bean & Salsa Bark and Enchilada Bean Bark. All list regular and large serving sizes to match your appetite.

Black Bean & Salsa Bark Stew
Enchilada Bean Bark Stew

Above: (L) Black Bean & Salsa Bark Stew, (R) Enchilada Bean Bark Stew (It tastes a lot better than it looks in the photo).

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Return to: How to Make Bark Table of Contents

Potato Bark, Sweet Potato Bark, Bean Bark, Corn Bark, Pumpkin Pie Bark, and more.

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