Best Boston Baked Beans

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5 from 11 votes
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The best Boston Baked Beans recipe! The slow-cooked baked beans with bacon and molasses strike the perfect combination of sweet and savory for pure comfort food perfection. A great side dish for potlucks or served up alongside hot dogs at your cookout.

For more bean recipes try cowboy caviar, slow cooker cowboy beans, or the best-ever slow cooker chili with beans.

Boston baked beans with onions and bacon in a red rectangular casserole dish.

Sure you can buy a can of baked beans at the grocery store but trust me when I tell you that those mushy beans have nothing on this Boston baked beans recipe.

These homemade bacon baked beans are made from scratch and cooked for hours for that slow-simmered sweet and savory flavor that you crave. Truly the best baked beans!

Serving spoon scooping out beans and bacon.

Give this recipe a try and I bet that your family will be requesting them again and again (like mine does!).

Boston Baked Beans Ingredients

This section includes ingredient notes and substitution options. Get all measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.

Ketchup, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, dry navy beans, onion, bacon, mustard powder, brown sugar, salt, and pepper.
  • Navy Beans – To make our baked beans truly from scratch we will use dry navy beans (small white beans). However, if you want a shortcut you can use canned beans and skip the overnight soak.
  • Bacon – Thick-cut bacon is best. Salt pork can be used instead.
  • Molasses – I recommend unsulphured molasses, not blackstrap molasses which has a more bitter flavor.
  • Brown Sugar – Adds the perfect amount of sweetness. Either light or dark brown sugar can be used.
  • Onion – Diced yellow onion adds more savory flavor.
  • Ketchup, Mustard Powder, & Worcestershire Sauce – round out the sweet and savory bean sauce.

How to make Boston Baked Beans

This section shows you how to make the recipe with step-by-step photos and instructions. For the full printable recipe, see the recipe card below. 

Step 1: Soak the dry beans in cold water overnight. Drain the soaking water and rinse the beans.

Dry white navy beans in stainless steel pot.

Step 2: Place beans in a heavy-bottom pot. Add enough fresh water so that it comes up 2 inches above the beans. Bring the water to a boil over high heat and then lower the heat and simmer for about 45-60 minutes, until tender throughout but not mushy. Drain the pot of beans, reserving the cooking water (we will use it later).

Step 3: When the beans are done, preheat the oven to 325℉. Spray a casserole with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Step 4: In a large bowl, stir to combine the ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, Worcestershire, and dry mustard. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Thick, dark brown sauce in a glass bowl with a wooden spoon.

Step 5: Add the beans to the sauce and stir to coat.

Step 6: In the casserole dish, layer the ingredients as follows: half the onions, half the bacon strips, and half of the beans. Then repeat with the remaining onions, bacon, and beans.

Three image collage of casserole dish with chopped onions on the bottom, then with sauce-covered navy beans added, then topped with bacon.

Step 7: Pour in just enough of the reserved bean cooking liquid to cover the beans.

Bowl of water being poured in to bean dish.

Step 8: Cover with foil and bake for 3-4 hours, or until the water is absorbed, the onions are tender, and the bacon is cooked through. Stir and serve hot.

Overhead image of rectangular red dish with boston baked beans.

What Goes With Boston Baked Beans

This bean dish can be a main course or a side dish. If you are serving this up as a main dish here are some ideas to pair with your bean casserole.

Recipe Tips

  • Double The Recipe – Need to make a larger batch of baked beans? Go right ahead and double up the recipe and cook in multiple pans or find a large enough dish to hold it all.
  • An alternative to Bacon – You can leave the bacon out for meatless baked beans or swap it with salt pork or diced-up ham for a nice alternative. I have done this with leftover holiday ham and it is delicious.
  • Substitute for Navy Beans – Reach for a Great Northern bean to replace your navy beans if you don’t want to use classic white navy beans. Or try pinto beans. Just remember changing the beans will change the flavor, too.

How to Store

In the refrigerator: Store your leftover beans in the fridge covered properly or in an airtight container. Your beans will store for up to 3-4 days in the fridge. You can reheat them straight from the fridge to the microwave or warm them up on the stove. Just make sure to stir occasionally or they will burn.

In the freezer: Boston beans do freeze well. Simply allow your beans to cool down a bit then transfer to a freezer-safe container. Then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight. Then reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding a bit of water if necessary.

Baked beans with chunks of bacon in red dish.

Boston Beans FAQ

What are Boston baked beans?

Don’t confuse this Boston baked beans recipe with the candy-coated peanuts. Boston baked beans are white beans slow simmered in the oven with ssweet molasses and bacon or salt pork for rich, deep flavor.

What makes Boston baked beans different than regular baked beans?

The short answer is molasses. Regular baked beans are typically sweetened with brown sugar while Boston baked beans use molasses as well.

Can I use canned beans instead?

Sure. For an easy Boston baked beans shortcut you can use canned white navy beans instead of dried beans. In this case, you will want to reserve the liquid from the cans so that you can use it to cover your beans before baking.

More easy side salads

Recipe
Boston baked beans with bacon in a red dish.
Recipe
5 from 11 votes

Boston Baked Beans

Author: Jaclyn
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 4 hours
Total: 4 hours 30 minutes
Sweet, smoky, and savory Boston baked beans with molassess and bacon.

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups dry white navy beans
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons molasses
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 6 strips thick-cut bacon
  • 1 yellow onion diced

Instructions

  • Soak the dry beans in cold water overnight. Drain the soaking water and rinse the beans.
  • Place beans in a heavy-bottom pot. Add enough fresh water so that it comes up 2 inches above the beans. Bring the water to a boil over high heat and then lower the heat and simmer for about 45-60 minutes, until tender throughout but not mushy. Drain the pot of beans, reserving the cooking water (we will use it later).
  • When the beans are done, preheat the oven to 325℉. Spray a casserole with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, stir to combine the ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, Worcestershire, and dry mustard. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Add the beans to the sauce and stir to coat.
  • In the casserole dish, layer the ingredients as follows: half the onions, half the bacon strips, and half of the beans. Then repeat with the remaining onions, bacon, and beans.
  • Pour in just enough of the reserved bean cooking liquid to cover the beans.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 3-4 hours, or until the water is absorbed, the onions are tender, and the bacon is cooked through. Stir and serve hot.

Notes

Looking for a way for the cooking process to take less time? You can use three 15-ounce cans of navy beans instead of dry beans. Drain the beans, reserving the liquid, and skip to step 3.
Store leftovers covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop, stirring often.
To freeze: Allow the beans to cool to room temperature then transfer to an air-tight container. Freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight then reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop, stirring often.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 481kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.05g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 467mg | Potassium: 1162mg | Fiber: 17g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 119IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 144mg | Iron: 5mg
Boston baked beans with bacon in a red dish.

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5 from 11 votes (11 ratings without comment)

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5 Comments

  1. These are going to be my new go to for summer parties. They look so rich and flavorful. Thank you.

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