Baked Beans

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Baked beans, with their rich, smoky, and slightly sweet flavor, have been a beloved staple in American cuisine for centuries. These humble legumes have found their way into countless kitchens and cookouts, making them a timeless comfort food. 

The origins of baked beans can be traced back to Native American cooking methods, where beans were slowly simmered in earthenware pots or buried in the ground with hot stones. The Native Americans introduced European settlers to this nutritious and delicious dish, which eventually became a staple in Colonial American cuisine.

Today, baked beans are enjoyed not only in the United States but also in various forms around the world, from British baked beans to Boston baked beans. This dish can be served as a side dish or a full meal

Baked Beans


  • Navy Beans: Navy beans, also known as Boston beans, are the traditional choice for baked beans due to their small size and ability to hold their shape during slow cooking.
  • Sweetener: A sweetener is crucial to achieving the signature sweetness of baked beans. Molasses is the most common choice, but brown sugar, maple syrup, or a combination of these can be used.
  • Seasonings: Seasonings include salt, pepper, dry mustard, and sometimes Worcestershire sauce for added depth of flavor.
  • Aromatics: Onions and occasionally bell peppers are sautéed with bacon or salt pork to provide savory richness.
  • Tomato Sauce or Ketchup: Tomato-based sauces or ketchup contribute acidity and a hint of tanginess to balance the sweetness.

How to Make Baked Beans Recipe?

  1. Prepare the Beans: Start by soaking dried navy beans overnight in cold water to soften them. Drain and rinse the beans before using.
  2. Sauté Aromatics: In a large, ovenproof pot or Dutch oven, sauté diced onions and bacon or salt pork over medium heat until the onions become translucent and the bacon starts to render its fat.
  3. Combine Ingredients: Add the soaked and drained navy beans, molasses, brown sugar, dry mustard, salt, pepper, and tomato sauce or ketchup to the pot. Mix well to combine all the ingredients.
  4. Bake Slowly: Cover the pot and transfer it to a preheated oven set at a low temperature, typically around 325°F (163°C). Allow the beans to bake slowly for several hours, usually 4-6 hours, or until the beans are tender and the sauce has thickened to your liking. Stir occasionally and add water if needed to prevent drying out.
  5. Serve: Once the baked beans are cooked to perfection, remove them from the oven. Let them cool slightly before serving.

Variations and Accompaniments:

Baked beans can be adapted in numerous ways to suit different tastes and occasions. Here are some variations and accompaniments:

  • Vegetarian Baked Beans: To make vegetarian baked beans, simply omit the bacon or salt pork and use vegetable broth instead of water.
  • Baked Bean Casserole: Some recipes add ground beef or sausage to create a heartier dish.
  • Regional Variations: Different regions have their own unique takes on baked beans. For example, New England baked beans may include pieces of salt pork, while Southern baked beans often feature a touch of barbecue sauce or mustard.
  • Baked Bean Sandwich: A classic New England favorite, the baked bean sandwich consists of a roll or bread topped with baked beans and sometimes coleslaw.
  • Side Dish: Baked beans are a versatile side dish that pairs well with grilled meats, hot dogs, hamburgers, or as part of a traditional New England boiled dinner.

Are Baked Beans a Healthy Choice?

Baked beans are a good source of plant-based protein and fiber. They can be part of a healthy diet when prepared with minimal added sugar and salt. However, some canned varieties may contain high levels of added sugar and sodium, so it’s important to check the nutrition label.

Can I Use Different Types of Beans for Baked Beans?

While navy beans are the traditional choice, you can use other beans like pinto beans, kidney beans, or black beans to make baked beans. The cooking time may vary depending on the bean type.

How Long Do I Need to Soak Dried Beans Before Making Baked Beans?

Dried beans should be soaked for at least 8 hours or overnight in cold water before using them in baked bean recipes. This soaking process helps to soften the beans and reduce cooking time.

Can I Make Baked Beans in a Slow Cooker or Crock-Pot?

Yes, baked beans can be prepared in a slow cooker or Crock-Pot. After sautéing the aromatics and combining all the ingredients, transfer them to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the beans are tender and the sauce has thickened.

What to Serve With Baked Beans?

I love serving it with a Classic Meatloaf. They are the perfect combination and complement each other ideally!

Additionally, it goes well with grilled hot dogs or sausage, cornbread, mashed potatoes, or coleslaw. 

Can I Freeze Leftover Baked Beans?

Yes, you can freeze leftover baked beans. Allow them to cool, then transfer to a freezer-safe container or bag. They can be frozen for up to 3-6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

Ingredients Measures:

– 1 pound (450 grams) dried navy beans

– 6 cups (1.4 liters) water, for soaking

– 1/2 pound (225 grams) bacon or salt pork, diced

– 1 medium onion, finely chopped

– 1/2 cup (120 ml) molasses

– 1/4 cup (60 ml) brown sugar

– 2 teaspoons dry mustard

– 1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)

– 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

– 1/4 cup (60 ml) ketchup or tomato sauce

– Optional: 1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup for extra sweetness (adjust to taste)

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