Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans

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closeup of slow cooker boston baked beans

Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans, an easy and historic crockpot dish rich with molasses, a hint of maple, and smokey with crumbled bacon. A favorite side all year long.

Whether it be a summer picnic, potluck, or tailgating, baked beans are a perfect addition. In fact, I’m not sure it would be the same without them. These tasty, sweet and savory, smokey, perfectly seasoned beans. 

While I love, love, love our quick and easy skillet baked beans, these Boston Baked Beans are something special. Especially when made easily in the slow cooker.

History of Boston Baked Beans

Boston Baked Beans have been around a while. In fact, early documents show that baked beans and cornbread were staples in Plymouth. Native Americans taught the Pilgrims these recipes as early as the 1620s. In the 18th century, imports of molasses found their way into baked beans recipes, creating what we know today as Boston Baked Beans.

When to Eat Boston Baked Beans

Well, any time in my book. But in Colonial New England, baked beans were cooked on Saturdays in brick ovens overnight. Thus preserving Sunday sabbath observances. Today, Boston Baked Beans continue to be popular on Saturdays. 

Slow Cooker Method

Traditionally, these baked beans would cook in a bean crock for several hours. The slow cooker almost mimics this method. However, you don’t have to heat the oven for hours, it’s portable, and almost cooks itself.

boston baked beans with spoon

The Beans

There are two ways to slow cook these beans. It’s all determined by which beans you use; canned beans or dry beans. The difference is the cooking time. My preference? If you’re making Boston Baked Beans, allocate extra time and make it with dry beans.

But first, a note on the type of beans. I prefer dried navy beans, but Great Northern or any white bean works fine.

1. Dry Beans

This method is budget friendly and really, very easy. But it requires more time. When using dry beans, you will soak 1 pound — or about 2 cups of dried beans overnight. Or, in a pinch, quick soak the beans by bringing them to a boil for 2 minutes, removing them from the heat, and letting the pot sit for an hour. At which point you will drain and rinse the beans and proceed with the recipe.

To slow cook these beans, it will take about 8 hours on the low setting to cook and soften the beans.

2. Canned Beans

It’s possible to make Boston Baked Beans using canned beans. It will require three, 28-ounce cans of white beans, drained and rinsed. Omit the water in the recipe, mix together the molasses sauce, and cook on low setting 4 to 5 hours or high setting for about 2 hours and 30 minutes.  

overhead photo of Boston Baked Beans

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Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans

thumbnail photo of slow cooker boston baked beans

Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans, an easy and historic crockpot dish rich with molasses, a hint of maple, and smokey with crumbled bacon. A favorite side all year long.

  • Author: Stephanie Wilson
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours
  • Yield: 10 to 12 side dish servings 1x
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American
Scale

Ingredients

2 cups dried navy beans or 3 (28-ounce) cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
1 onion, diced
3 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 cups hot water
8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Instructions

Using Dried Beans:

Soak beans overnight or follow package instructions for a quick soak method. This should be similar to boiling the beans in water for 2 minutes. Remove the beans from the heat, cover, and let sit an hour. Drain and rinse the beans.

Meanwhile, cook and crumble the bacon and chop the onion. Set aside. Whisk together, in a medium bowl, the molasses, salt, pepper, mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire, brown sugar, maple syrup, and hot water.

To the slow cooker add the beans, onions, and crumbled bacon. Pour the molasses sauce mixture over the top of the beans. Stir, cover, and cook on the low setting for 8 hours (or in a 250°F oven), until the beans are tender. In a few hours, check the water level and add more if needed. Also, add additional salt to taste if needed.

Using Canned Beans

To the slow cooker add the drained and rinsed canned beans, onions and crumbled bacon. In a separate bowl, whisk the molasses, salt, pepper, mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire, brown sugar and maple syrup. Pour the molasses sauce over the beans and stir to combine.

Cover and cook on low heat setting 4 to 5 hours (or high heat setting 2 hours to 2 hours 30 minutes) or until desired consistency.

Keywords: Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans, Boston Baked Beans, Slow Cooker Baked Beans

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Stephanie Wilson is an author, blogger, publisher, and former television news writer and producer. She lives in the Puget Sound area with her family.

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