We set out to recreate the Boston-baked beans of our youth with a homemade touch. If you’re not about to sit over the stove stirring a pot for hours until your elbows start to flare up (yay, adulthood), then utilize your trusty slow cooker to make the time-honored dish. Once you get a taste of these creamy slow-cooked beans, flavored with dark molasses and plenty of brown sugar, you’ll never go back to the canned stuff.
Ready to get all mixed up and cooked to perfection in the slow cooker? Yasss, beans!
Slow-Cooker Baked Beans
- 1 (16-ounce) bag great northern beans
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1/2 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cups ketchup
- 1 1/2 cups reserved bean-soaking liquid
- 1/2 cup dijon mustard
- 1 onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- Add your beans and the salt to a large bowl. Cover the beans with two inches of water, and let them soak overnight. To quick soak, add the beans and salt to a large pot and fill it with water. Bring the pot to a boil, cover, and let the beans soak for an hour.
- Strain the beans, discarding the liquid. Add the beans and all remaining ingredients to your slow cooker, along with 1 1/2 cups of water.
- Set your slow cooker to high, and cook the beans for 8-10 hours, until they’re tender. You may need to add the remaining water during the cooking process; you want to keep the beans almost completely covered with liquid as they cook. Stir the beans occasionally, so that any beans that are on top get a chance to really get into the sauce you’ve made.
There you have it: homemade baked beans that you’ll want to eat right out of your slow cooker. If you want to jazz them up a little, here are some suggestions.
- Add a ham hock, smoked pork, corned beef brisket, a hunk of bacon, or a smoked turkey leg to the slow cooker along with all of the other ingredients to infuse your beans with smokey, meaty flavor.
- Sauté some tempeh bacon until crisp and crumble it into the beans before serving.
- Add a teaspoon of Chinese 5-spice powder and replace half of the molasses with hoisin sauce, then drizzle in a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil just before serving.
- Serve with some pungent Dijon mustard, which helps balance the sweetness of the beans.
Learn how to make more of your favorite foods from scratch using the recipes on our Pinterest page.
(Photos and recipe via Justina Huddleston / Brit + Co)