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The Best Boston Baked Beans

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These homemade Boston baked beans are so easy to make using simple pantry staples you already have on hand. With a rich molasses and brown sugar base, this recipe is perfect served on its own or as a hearty side dish.

Growing up our family ate a lot of baked beans. It was one of my grandmother’s favorite meals but honestly, it wasn’t my favorite as a child.

It wasn’t until I was older that I figured out why.

We mostly made baked beans from canned beans. To me, these have a funny pasty texture that I just can’t stand.

The Best Boston Baked Beans From Scratch text overlaid on a photo of baked beans in a cast iron dutch oven.

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I first had Boston baked beans made from dry beans and I love them. I’m so glad that I discovered this early on because cooking with dried beans makes this a very frugal recipe.

If you want to make the best baked beans ever then you need to start from scratch! But don’t worry while baked beans take a long cooking time the hands-on work is very minimal.

With just a few minutes of prep, you can have a big batch of easy baked beans ready.

Old fashioned Boston baked beans in a dutch oven.

What Type Of Beans Are Used To Make Baked Beans?

While you really could use any type of dried beans you like, Boston baked beans are traditionally made with navy beans also called pea beans or haricot beans.

These are small oval-shaped white beans commonly found in grocery stores. They get very soft when cooked and are perfect for using to make baked beans or mashed beans.

If you don’t have navy beans on hand Great Northern Beans also work well. They are a little larger than navy beans and a little firmer when cooked.

How To Make Boston Baked Beans

Prepare The Beans

Before starting sort through your dried beans and remove any debris like bean husks or little stones. Then rinse the beans under water to remove any dust.

Place the beans into a bowl or pot and cover with cold water, cover and let them soak overnight.

If you forget to do this step you can also use the quick soak method it works very well and has saved me from messing up my dinner plans when I forgot to get started the night before.

Cook Your Beans

After letting the beans soak it’s time to start cooking them up.

Place the pot on the stove and make sure you have enough water to cover the beans and bring them to a boil. Then turn down to medium heat and boil gently for about 1 hour or until the beans are tender.

I normally use the water that the beans were soaked in overnight to cook the beans in however if you are trying to cut down on the gassiness of the beans then you can drain them and use freshwater.

Prepare The Meat And Onion Filling

When your beans are almost done cooking, take a few minutes and get the onions and your choice of meat cut up.

Traditionally salt pork is used in Boston baked beans, but bacon is my favorite meat to use. In a pinch even hot dogs or sausage work!

Layer The Beans And Filling

Cast ion dutch oven with beans, meat, and onions layered inside.
Layer the beans, meat and onions mixture ending with beans on top.

Once the beans have been fully cooked drain them but reserve the liquid for later.

In your dutch oven or casserole dish alternatively, layer the beans and the onions and bacon. Then pour in enough of the reserved liquid to cover the beans and set aside.

Make The Sauce And Bake

Molasses and brown sugar mixture in a pot to cook to make the sauce.
Molasses and brown sugar mixture for baked bean sauce.

In a medium saucepan combine the ketchup, molasses, brown sugar, salt, pepper, dry mustard, soy sauce, and lemon juice and bring this mixture to a boil over medium heat.

Sauce poured over top of the navy beans in a cast iron dutch oven.

This will quickly turn into a thick sauce, once it’s been combined well then pour it over top of the beans.

Cover the beans and bake for 3 to 4 hours or until done. Remember to remove the lid halfway through cooking and add more liquid as needed.

Full pot of baked beans in a dutch oven. With a spoon full being held up on a wooden spoon.

What To Serve With Baked Beans

Baked beans are great served on their own but so easy to pair with other foods. If you are wondering what goes with homemade baked beans these are some great choices!

Grilled meats like hamburgers, sausage, and hot dogs taste wonderful with beans. Pork chops and chicken breasts are other good pairings.

Growing up we often served baked beans over mashed potatoes with a side garden salad too.

Boston baked beans are defiantly what I think of as a year-round dish. They are the perfect meal when you come inside after working in the cold all day.

But who doesn’t love eating baked beans around a summer campfire or BBQ too?

The Best Boston Baked Beans

The Best Boston Baked Beans

You’ll love these homemade Boston baked beans that are so easy to make using simple pantry staples you already have on hand. With a rich molasses and brown sugar base, this recipe is perfect served on its own or as a hearty side dish.

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 cups navy beans
  • 1/2 pound bacon, diced
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 6 Tbs. molasses
  • 4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Sort your dried beans and remove any damaged beans, rocks or other debris then rinse them to remove any dust.
  2. Place the beans into a large pot and cover with water, add the lid and place in the fridge to soak overnight.
  3. The next day, bring the beans to a boil, turn down and boil gently over medium heat for 1 hour or until tender.
  4. Drain the beans remembering to reserve the liquid.
  5. Preheat your oven to 325F.
  6. In a dutch oven or casserole dish, layer the beans, bacon, and onions finishing with a layer of beans.
  7. Pour in enough of the reserved liquid to cover the beans and set aside.
  8. In a medium saucepan combine the ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, salt, pepper, dry mustard, soy sauce, and lemon juice. Bring this mixture to a boil stirring well until the sugar has dissolved.
  9. Pour over top of the beans, cover and bake for 3 to 4 hours. After the first 90 minutes remove the lid and add more liquid if needed. Continue baking without the lid until finished.

Notes

  • Traditionally salt pork is used to make Boston baked beans but I prefer to use bacon. If you don't have it on hand you can also use ham, sausage, or hot dogs.
  • If you don’t have soy sauce then you can substitute Worcestershire sauce. It’s traditionally used in baked bean recipes but we always seem to have more soy sauce on hand.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 331Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 1378mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 12gSugar: 21gProtein: 16g

Nutrition information isn't always accurate, this information is for informational purposes only please consult a nutritionist for more information and guidance.

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