Old Fashioned Baked Beans: Slow cooked pinto or navy beans with a homemade sweet and smokey sauce. A family heirloom recipe for the best baked beans that you have ever tasted–no cans here!
Don’t you just love that bean crock?
I have had my eye on my Papa’s bean crock for my ENTIRE LIFE!
My mom still claims ownership of it but I lucked out with this beauty from an antique store. I like to pretend it is one that was passed from generation to generation, just like the one in my family.
Regardless, it gets it use in my household for my Papa’s Baked Beans.
This is one my family’s favorite recipes of all time. Along with Italian Pasta Salad, Blueberry Pie Bars and Cucumber Salad, it is at every family BBQ and summer get together–we just don’t settle for ANY other baked beans out there.
And once you have these beans, you will NEVER settle for any beans ever again!
Old Fashioned Baked Beans
Let me start by telling you that my Papa was a man of simplicity. He took a short cut and started with 3 cans of condensed pork and beans and then gave it his magic, which you can certainly do.
HOWEVER, I am a woman that prefers real food and the cans of pork and beans can be loaded with unrecognizable things and corn by-products (which we avoid for my nephew who has a sensitivity).
How to Make Homemade Baked Beans
So I start with dried beans, and work MY magic (plus it is still pretty darn easy and saves money!)
The day before I want to serve my beans, I soak the beans in cold water and let them sit overnight. In the morning, I drain any liquid that remains and cover them again with water and 1 tablespoon kosher salt and bring to a boil and then simmer for 1 hour. (This step is NOT necessary, but certainly makes the beans more tender than if I chose not to boil them and just soaked them.) Once the beans are cooked, into my bean crock they go and I add in all the magic ingredients. Note: You can also cook dried beans in 30 minutes using the Instant Pot–directions here.
I use bacon in my recipe. Why? Papa did and it is good. You can omit the bacon for delicious vegetarian baked beans. I have done it many times. But because I am not a vegetarian, I let the bacon remain 🙂
So get out your bean crock (or oven proof dish) and be ready to WOW everyone with the best maple baked beans they ever had.
Oh, one more thing…one more VERY important thing: You must not serve maple baked beans with utensils, they are to be eaten with plain potato chips (preferably from a yellow bag). I know that sounds horrible, but trust me when you eat THESE beans with potato chips, you may skip the burgers, the sides, and ALL the desserts (at least at times I do).
Old Fashioned Baked Beans
- 3 cups dried navy beans or pinto beans soaked overnight (or cooked in Instant Pot)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 3 slices thick nitrate free bacon chopped
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Cover beans with water and kosher salt. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Place beans, remaining ingredients, and and additional 1 cup water, into bean crock or oven safe dish and stir well. Bake covered for 2 hours. Uncover and bake for another 30-40 minutes, until thickened.
*Alternatively, you can make these in the slow cooker. Cook all ingredients on low for 10-12 hours (after simmering the beans).