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Homemade Baked Beans From Scratch

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Make THE BEST Homemade Baked Beans from Scratch! This New England style recipe is hands down the best! Trust me when I say I’m bringing these old-fashioned baked beans to all the BBQs, bean suppers, and potlucks this summer. They’re a classic for a reason.

Beans in a pot with a wooden spoon.

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Here in New England, everyone knows about baked beans. Old Fashioned Baked Beans are a classic side dish up here and a staple at summer BBQs, family reunions, and traditional New England bean suppers throughout the year. This recipe is a part of our history. 

I have tested and refined this recipe to keep the authenticity of Boston-style baked beans, but with some modifications that make the ingredients easier to find, and the cooking time shorter!

The result is a simple recipe for creamy beans using easy-to-find ingredients and deep flavor. They taste better than any grocery store, canned version.

Don’t be surprised when these saucy little beauties start making a weekly appearance on your menu this summer, and all year long. 

Why You’ll Love This Recipe For Baked Beans

  • It’s an easy and delicious recipe that comes together effortlessly.
  • Minimal and simple ingredients, and shorter baking time than other baked bean recipes.
  • Baked Beans–especially, Boston baked beans are a New England staple. Bean suppers can still be found all over Maine on Saturday nights.

Ingredients for Homemade Baked Beans From Scratch

This simple recipe requires only basic ingredients.

Overhead image of ingredients for baked beans.

Dried navy beans – Soaked with Kosher salt overnight. See the preparation instructions below.

Bacon – Chopped

Molasses – I use regular or “true” molasses, not blackstrap. Blackstrap molasses tends to have a more bitter flavor to it.

Brown sugar – Light or dark can be used

Yellow Mustard– Any good old fashioned table mustard will do!

Onion – I use a yellow or a sweet onion. Peeled and cut in half.

Fresh garlic – One clove left whole

Kosher Salt – You’ll need this for soaking the beans and for seasoning at the end of baking.

How To Prepare Dry Beans 

  • Rinse the dry beans well and pick out any “duds”. 
  • Next, you’ll need to soak the beans by either soaking overnight in a large bowl, covered by an extra 2 inches of cold water with 1 tablespoon of salt 

OR, if you’re not a planner, 

  • You can use the “quick soak” method by adding dry beans to a large pot and adding enough water to cover by 2 inches and 1 tablespoon of salt. Boil for 2 minutes and then leave the pot covered and off the heat for 1 hour.

Step by Step Instructions

Follow these simple instructions to make the perfect homemade baked beans from scratch.

Step 1

Drain and rinse the soaked beans and set aside.

Step 2

Bacon in a green pot.

Dice or chop your bacon. Heat the chopped bacon in a large Dutch oven, over medium high heat until the fat has been released and the slices of bacon have separated from each other.

Step 3

Ingredients for baked beans in a pot.

Add the beans, molasses, brown sugar, and mustard to the pot.

Beans coated in sauce in a pot with a black spatula.

Stir to coat the beans.

Step 4

Water, onion, and garlic in a pot with a black spatula.

Add in the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add the onion halves and the whole garlic clove to the rest of the ingredients and cover the pot with a lid.

Step 5

Transfer the beans to a 300 degrees F oven and cook for 3 ½ to 4 hours until the beans are tender.

Step 6

Remove the garlic clove and onion pieces and discard.

Step 7

Beans in a pot with a wooden spoon. Bread in the background.

Give the mixture a stir and let the beans sit for 30 minutes to cool. This will also let the beans thicken. Taste and add salt and black pepper to taste.

Tip: The longer the beans cool, the thicker the sauce will become.

Substitutions

  • Swap the yellow mustard for some apple cider vinegar, I do this for my slow cooker baked beans.
  • If you can’t find navy beans, you can use different beans like pea beans or great Northern beans
  • Maple syrup can be used in place of brown sugar, but it will give a slight maple flavor to the beans. Not a bad thing.
  • Make this homemade baked beans recipe vegetarian and vegan friendly by omitting the bacon entirely or you can use chopped vegan bacon, imitation bacon bits like Bacos, or add a little smoked paprika, smoked salt, or a dash of liquid smoke for that smoky flavor.

Slow Cooker Baked Beans

I’ve also adapted this recipe for the slow cooker as well. See my recipe for Easy Crock Pot Baked Beans.

Tips & Tricks

I’ve made this recipe hundreds of times. These are a few of my top tips to share with you for the best baked beans recipe.

  • Soak the dried beans ahead of time for best results and shorter cooking time.
  • Adding some salt to the soaking liquid helps make the outer layer of the beans more elastic and keeps them from blowing out during cooking.
  • Use fresh dry beans. Beans that are very old or have been stored improperly will not soften properly.
  • Wait to add the salt at the end of cooking to prevent making the beans too salty.
Overhead image of saucy baked beans in the pot with a wooden spoon.

Boston Baked Beans vs Southern Baked Beans

Southern beans typically have a tomato sauce or tomato-based ingredient and bacon. New England baked beans are sweet, with molasses as the key ingredient. Traditional Boston Baked Beans use salt pork. I’ve adapted this recipe to use bacon, since that’s what I usually have in the house. But if you want to keep it “Old Fashioned” and authentic, use salt pork (rinsed first).

How to Serve

They’re actually one of those easy recipes to make that go with just about everything from a simple breakfast to a family dinner.

Sure, these homemade baked beans are the perfect side dish with burgers, lobster rolls, and hot dogs, but there are so many different ways to enjoy them. Try this easy baked beans recipe with some of these great options as well.

These baked beans also go surprisingly well at breakfast time with some simple air fryer breakfast potatoes and this amazing (and freezer-friendly!) breakfast bagel sandwich. Baked beans are a great way to start your day with extra fiber and protein!

A white pot with beans and a wooden spoon.

Storing Leftover Beans

Allow the beans to cool completely at room temperature before storing.

Place cooled beans in an airtight container. Leftover baked beans will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator. 

Leftover beans can also be frozen for up to 3 months when stored properly. Place the beans in a freezer-safe container. Remove as much air as possible and lay the bag on its side when storing to conserve freezer space.

How to Reheat

I recommend heating homemade baked beans in a large saucepan over low or medium-low heat until heated through completely.

You can also reheat these beans in the microwave. Place in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high in 30-second “blasts” until heated through.

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A white pot with beans and a wooden spoon.

Homemade Baked Beans From Scratch

Yield: 7 Cups
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Soaking Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 16 hours 20 minutes

Make delicious New England style Homemade Baked Beans. This recipe for baked beans is the perfect side dish for all your potlucks, BBQs, and get-togethers!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb dried navy beans, soaked with 1 tablespoon Kosher salt overnight
  • 8 oz bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, dark or light
  • 3 tablespoons of yellow mustard
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1 large onion, cut in half
  • 1 clove of garlic, whole
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Drain and rinse the soaked beans and set aside. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Add the chopped bacon to a large Dutch oven, and heat over medium high heat. Cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until the fat has been released and the pieces of bacon have separated from each other, about 5 minutes. It will not be crisp.
  3. Add the drained beans, molasses, brown sugar, and mustard to the pot. Stir to coat the beans.
  4. Pour in the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add the onion and garlic and cover with a lid.
  5. Transfer the beans to a 300 degree F oven and cook for 3 ½ to 4 hours until the beans are tender.
  6. Remove the garlic clove and onion from the pot and discard.
  7. Stir the mixture and let the beans sit for 30 minutes to cool and to allow the sauce to thicken.
  8. Give the beans a taste and season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Notes

  • Soak beans overnight by placing them in a large bowl covered by two inches of water. If you forgot to soak overnight, use the "quick soak" instructions listed on the bag of beans
  • The beans will thicken as they cool

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 245Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 886mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 5gSugar: 18gProtein: 12g

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