This Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans recipe is everything baked beans should be: thick, saucy, savory with a touch of sweet. Come see how I made the classic Boston Baked Beans recipe easier by making it in the slow cooker!
I wanted to post this baked beans recipe earlier in the summer for you folks, but I ended up needing to test it a few times to make sure I had it just right. I adapted this recipe from Cook’s Country, and the first time I made the recipe it came out too sticky and definitely not saucy enough for my taste. I love my Boston Bakes Beans thick but still saucy so I tinkered with the boiling water amount added to the slow cooker. The original recipe called for 2 cups, but that wasn’t enough in my opinion. I then tested batches with 3 and 4 cups of boiling water, and 3 cups was the clear winner-the beans were thick, saucy, and tender.
Next I played with the sweetness. My family and I prefer slightly sweeter baked beans so I increased the molasses and sugar slightly, and added a touch of maple syrup. After all of the testing and adaptations, I can now say with confidence that this is the best baked beans recipe out there!
This homemade baked beans recipe is SO much better than canned baked beans from the grocery store. Plus their incredible aroma will waft through your house something fierce!
Cook’s Note – Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans Recipe
- You can double this baked beans recipe, just make sure you use a large slow cooker with a capacity of at least 6.5 quarts.
- The maple syrup is completely optional in this recipe. I know it’s not authentic, but I love my baked beans with a little shot of maple syrup. Try it, I think you’ll like it, too!
- Traditional Boston Baked Beans recipes use salt pork. I opted for bacon because that is what’s readily available in stores near me. If you use salt pork, use a 4-ounce chunk and remove the rind. Follow these directions instead in step 2:
- While beans are boiling in Dutch oven, score fatty side of salt pork and cut into 2 pieces. Place scored side down in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat and cook until fat is rendered, 8-10 minutes. Turn salt pork over, add onion, and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker. At the end of cooking remove rind, shred (removing any fat), and return to slow cooker.
- Using the aluminum foil on top of the beans ensures that the heat stays at the bottom of the slow cooker and in the beans themselves instead of the heat rising to the lid. DO NOT SKIP THE FOIL! If you do you run the risk of your beans not softening.
- I like to cook these beans on low as the directions indicate below, but you can cook them on high for 5-6 hours.
Cook’s Tools & Ingredients – Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans Recipe
- Slow cooker
- Large Dutch oven
- Slotted spoon
- Large nonstick skillet
- Large colander
- Navy beans
- Bay leaves
- Maple syrup
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- 1 pound navy beans, picked over and soaked in cold water for 8 to 12 hours
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 ounces thick sliced bacon
- 1 medium onion, minced
- ⅓ cup mild molasses + 2 additional tablespoons
- ⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 3 cups boiling water
- 3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- Turn slow cooker on high to preheat. Drain beans and pour them into large Dutch oven along with 8 cups water, baking soda, and bay leaves. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, and use slotted spoon to skim foam off of top. Boil 15 minutes.
- While beans cook, chop bacon into 2-inch pieces, and in large non-stick skillet sauté bacon and onion over medium-high heat until fat is rendered from bacon and edges of onion begin to brown slightly, about 7-8 minutes. Place bacon and onion in slow cooker. Stir in ⅓ cup molasses, brown sugar, and boiling water.
- Once beans are done boiling, drain beans and transfer to slow cooker, discarding bay leaves. Give everything a good stir and place aluminum foil directly on surface of beans, then cover slow cooker with lid. Set slow cooker to LOW and cook until beans are creamy and tender, 10-12 hours.
- Turn off slow cooker and remove lid and discard aluminum foil. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons molasses, maple syrup (optional), mustard, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover slow cooker lid and let beans sit until sauce has slightly thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Serve.
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