If soaking dried beans can change your life, then these are the best baked bean recipes, ever. I’ve often been (bean) critical of canned beans, and baked beans living in cans are no different since they’re loaded with processed sugar and many contain lots of sodium. I think we can make a better baked bean recipe by skipping those canned in captivity.

Long time readers of Squawkfox (the keener beaners) know of my insatiable ability to wax lyrical about the lowly legume. Hey, you’ve gotta get lyrical about something in life, why not beans?

So lyrical I be when it comes to frugal sources of protein — and baked beans are on my soul-warming, comfort-fooding, and fantastically frugalicious yummy list.

boston baked beans

To make this dish super easy and super cheap I turned off my oven and fired up my Crock Pot (or slow cooker for those with unbranded cooking dish devices). If you’re still living without one, here are 6 Reasons to use a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot and How to Buy a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot for less. Hint: this is the best time of year to buy a slow cooker on sale.

Now back to brown beans. I’ve put together three recipes for all tastes: I’ve got a healthy homemade baked beans recipe, a Boston baked beans recipe and a vegetarian baked beans recipe. Here’s how to make homemade baked beans:

Homemade Baked Beans Recipe

This is my favorite since I love the sweetness of the honey and molasses mixed with a punch of mustard.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs (3 cups) dried small white beans, or navy beans
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons dried mustard
  • Optional: 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Optional: sautéed chopped onion

Boston Baked Bean Recipe

Here’s a frugal take on Boston baked beans.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs (3 cups) dried small white beans, or navy beans
  • 1/4 pound bacon
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons dried mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 sautéed chopped onion

Vegetarian Baked Beans Recipe

This one is similar to the homemade baked beans recipe, but it’s less sweet since it contains no honey. I’ve also cut the salt. Feel free to add more molasses.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs (3 cups) dried small white beans, or navy beans
  • 2.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons dried mustard
  • Optional: 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Optional: sautéed chopped onion

How to Make Baked Beans in Your Crock Pot

The instructions are the same for all three recipes. The photos illustrate the homemade baked beans recipe though — so don’t worry if the pictures don’t match your imagination.

Directions:

1. Soak navy beans overnight. I’ve soaked longer — up to 12 hours — for even softer baked beans. See How to Soak and Cook Dried Beans for lots of background info on why you’ve gotta soak your beans.

2. Drain beans and rinse off. Put beans into Crock Pot or slow cooker.

crockpot baked beans

3. Add all the ingredients from your preferred baked beans recipe.

baked beans recipe

4. Stir all ingredients together.

homemade baked beans

5. Cover Crock Pot and cook 6-7 hours on high, or 10-12 hours on low. These slow cooking times are approximate, so cook until the beans are soft and the sauce is rich. Add water to the Crock Pot, if needed.

Eyeball Warning: If you like your eyeballs, then do yourself a solid and refrain from opening the lid during the early hours of cooking. Dried mustard is volatile stuff, and the fumes will burn your pupils if you dare peep into the pot.

baked beans

6. Serve on toast for breakfast, with scrambled eggs for lunch, or as a side dish with dinner. Enjoy!

best baked bean recipes

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