This Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans recipe is everything baked beans should be: thick, saucy, and savory with a touch of sweetness. This recipe serves 12 and costs just $5.67 to make.
I wanted to post this baked beans recipe earlier for you folks, but I needed to test it a few times to ensure I had it just right.
We love Boston Baked Beans
This recipe has been adapted from Cook’s Country, and the first time I made the recipe, it came out too sticky and not saucy enough for my taste.
I love my Boston Baked 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 were the clear winner-the beans were thick, saucy, and tender.
Next, I played with 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 confidently say this is the best slow cooker baked beans recipe out there!
This homemade baked beans recipe is made in a slow cooker and is much better than canned baked beans from the grocery store. Plus, their incredible aroma will waft through your house something fierce!
My easy step-by-step directions will walk you through how to make these baked beans in your slow cooker so they come out perfectly sweet, thick, savory, and saucy every time.
What readers are saying about this recipe:
“I would consider my family a bean expert and this is by far the best beans we’ve had.”
“These beans were such a hit the first time I made them! I plan on making them again for our memorial day BBQ! Thanks for a great recipe.”
What are Boston Baked Beans?
The answer to this question is a bit of a history lesson. According to Wikipedia, in the 18th century, during slave trading, Boston became an exporter of rum. The rum was sent to West Africa to buy more enslaved people. Rum is made by the distillation of fermented molasses. So with all that molasses, Bostonians began adding it to their baked bean recipes, giving it a sweeter flavor and thus creating Boston baked beans!
Crockpot Baked Beans ingredients and Cost
Per Serving Cost: $0.47
Recipe Cost: $5.67
NOTE: I calculate the recipe prices using name-brand grocery prices on grocery store websites.
- 1 pound navy beans $1.25
- ½ teaspoon baking soda $0.01
- 2 bay leaves $0.06
- 4 ounces thick-sliced bacon $1.12
- 1 medium onion $0.62
- ⅓ cup mild molasses + 2 additional tablespoons $2.21
- ⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar $0.16
- 3 cups boiling water $0.00
- 3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup $0.18
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard $0.04
- 2 teaspoons cider vinegar $0.01
- Salt and pepper $0.01
Table of Contents
How to cook Baked Beans in Crock Pot
- To cook beans in a Crock Pot, start by rinsing and sorting the beans to remove any debris.
- Then, add the beans to the Crock Pot and cover them with enough water or broth to submerge them fully.
- For added flavor, you can also add seasonings, such as garlic, onions, or herbs.
- Set the Crock Pot to low heat and cook the beans for 6 to 8 hours or on high heat for 3 to 4 hours, depending on your desired texture.
- Check the water level periodically and add more if needed to keep the beans submerged.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste once the beans are tender and fully cooked.
How long do you cook beans in the crock pot?
To cook beans in a crock pot, set it to low heat for 6 to 8 hours or on high heat for 3 to 4 hours, depending on your preferred texture.
How to thicken Baked Beans
To thicken baked beans, you can use a few different methods.
- One way is to simmer the beans uncovered for a bit longer, allowing some liquid to evaporate and naturally thicken the sauce.
- Alternatively, you can create a slurry by mixing equal parts cold water, cornstarch, or flour. Stir the slurry into the baked beans and cook for a few more minutes until the sauce thickens.
- Another option is to mash a small portion of the beans against the pot’s side, releasing their natural starches to help thicken the sauce.
What to serve with Boston Baked Beans
These are the perfect side to any summer bar-b-que without heating your kitchen! I love to serve these with my Slow Cooker Root beer Pulled Pork. They would also go well with Grilled Chicken Breasts or other grilled meat.
Whenever I make this recipe, I also want some salad to go along with it. A few ideas that come to mind are my Macaroni Salad, Spinach Salad, and Creamy Cucumber Salad. Any of these recipes will be the perfect complement to this recipe! I can’t wait to hear what you pick!
Notes for making Baked Beans from Scratch
- You can double this baked beans recipe. But first, make sure you use a large slow cooker with 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. So try it, and I think you’ll like it, too!
- Traditional Boston Baked Beans recipes use salt pork. I opted for bacon because that is readily available in stores near me. If you use salt pork, use a 4-ounce chunk and remove the rind. Follow these directions instead of in step 2:
- While the beans are boiling in the Dutch oven, score the fatty side of salt pork and cut it into 2 pieces. Place scored side down in a 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 a slow cooker. At the end of cooking, remove the rind, shred (removing any fat), and return to the 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.
- As the directions indicate below, I like to cook these beans on low, but you can cook them on high for 5-6 hours.
- For cookouts, another great side dish is my baked mac and cheese recipe!
Baked Beans Crock Pot FAQs
The short answer is chemistry! If there is a high level of calcium within the water the beans are cooking in, they may take an extremely long time to cook and may remain hard. There are pectins between cells in the beans, which then combine with the calcium, resulting in a tightened bond which means firmer beans. Acidic ingredients typically added to the recipe, such as ketchup and vinegar, can also impede the process of the beans getting soft.
Sugar can act in the same manner as calcium, so molasses is very tricky to cook with because it contains sugar, is acidic, and contains calcium. Yikes! So the trick is soaking the beans before cooking. Beans should be covered in three times as much water as there are beans. You can slowly soak or quickly soak them on the stove. Either way, the soaking water should be drained off the beans before beginning the Baked Beans recipe.
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. So try it. I think you’ll like it, too!
More slow cooker bean recipes:
More side dish recipes:
- Baked mac and cheese recipe
- Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
- Cheesy Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole
- Cowboy Caviar Dip
- Panera’s Mac and Cheese
More slow cooker bean recipes:
- Crock-Pot Tuscan White Bean Soup
- Restaurant Style Refried Beans Recipe
- Crock Pot Green Chile Pinto Beans
How to make Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans:
Boston Baked Beans (Crock Pot Recipe)
- slow cooker
- Large Dutch oven
- Slotted spoon
- Large nonstick skillet
- Large colander
- 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 a slotted spoon to skim the foam off of the top. Boil 15 minutes.
- While beans cook, chop bacon into 2-inch pieces, and in a 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 the slow cooker. Stir in ⅓ cup molasses, brown sugar, and 3 cups of boiling water.
- Once beans are done boiling, drain beans and transfer to the slow cooker, discarding bay leaves. Give everything a good stir and place aluminum foil directly on the 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 the lid and discard aluminum foil. Stir in the 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 the sauce has slightly thickened about 15-20 minutes. Serve.