Baked beans have become relegated to the action of opening a can and pouring the contents into a serving dish. Maybe there’s a little bit of heating them up first. Some recipes may show how to “doctor up” canned beans in the hopes of fooling guests that they’re homemade. But that’s not what happens in this recipe.
Instead, I opt for truly homemade baked beans, which was one of my grandma’s terrific recipes. These aren’t hard to make and the recipe is not complicated. All that’s needed is a bit of extra time and it’s completely worth it for these beans. Their creamy interior texture is unparalleled. The flavoring is simple, made from molasses and bacon.
Don’t be fooled by the simple ingredients. These beans deliver.
The ingredients in this recipe
- Navy beans are the traditional bean for baked beans. This small white bean needs to be soaked for eight hours. The soaking quickens the cooking time but also ensures that they cook evenly.
- Onion is essential to create a delicious baked bean flavor. The onion slowly bakes in the oven alongside the beans and takes on all the flavors.
- Yellow mustard adds a little tanginess to balance out the sweetness of the molasses. While mustard may seem surprising, without it the beans would taste flat and boring. Trust me on this one.
- Molasses is iconic as an ingredient in baked beans. And why is that? It’s both sweet and savory with a depth of flavor.
- Bacon imparts a smoky flavor and is a nod to those store-bought pork and beans recipes. But instead of limp and tasteless pork, the bacon is pre-cooked until crispy. While these beans cook, the bacon maintains its texture.
Make these beans once and the store-bought version will be forgotten forever. These beans have texture and flavor, all with simple ingredients. I find that these beans are never forgotten about or pushed to the back of the table. They get eaten right away.
Watch how to make this recipe
- 1 lb dried navy beans
- 1 medium onion diced
- 3 tbsp yellow mustard
- 3 tbsp ketchup
- 6 tbsp molasses
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 ½ cups reserved cooking liquid
- 12 oz bacon cooked and chopped
- Soak beans for 8 hours in 1 quart of water and 2 tsp salt. Once soaked, drain and cook the beans in a large stockpot with 2 quarts of water and 1 tsp salt until creamy on the inside, about 1 hour.1 lb dried navy beans
- Once the beans are fully cooked, preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Remove the beans from the heat. Drain and reserve the cooking liquid. Return the beans to the stockpot. To the beans, add the chopped onion, yellow mustard, ketchup, molasses, salt, pepper, reserved cooking liquid (if the cooking liquid is less than 1 ½ cups, add water to make the 1 ½ cups needed), and bacon. Stir to combine and pour into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish.1 medium onion, 3 tbsp yellow mustard, 3 tbsp ketchup, 6 tbsp molasses, ½ tsp pepper, ½ tsp salt, 12 oz bacon, 1 ½ cups reserved cooking liquid
- Cover the beans with tin foil and place them in the preheated oven. Cook for 45 minutes with the cover on and then remove the cover and cook for an additional 15 minutes. At this point, the sauce will be mostly reduced. Remove the beans from the oven and serve.