These are the real deal. And so easy to prepare. What could be better than that?
Similar in taste and texture to our Southern Baked Beans, but done with the convenience of your slow cooker. They can also be made well in advance. All you need to do is reheat and then keep on WARM in your slow cooker! Perfect any time of the year!
How To Make Slow Cooker Baked Beans
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The Ingredients You Will Need
You’ll need just a handful of ingredients to make this classic side. Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand:
White beans – Preferably dried. Navy, Cannellini, or Great Northern are all excellent options. See NOTES on soaking the beans.
Ketchup – Go with a quality brand for the best flavor.
Molasses – Dark is best. Don’t skip this ingredient!
Brown sugar – Dark or light, both work well.
Mustard – We recommend Dijon, but yellow can be substituted, no problem.
Apple cider vinegar – This is a key ingredient, and apple cider is best.
Maple syrup – 100% pure, not pancake syrup.
Seasonings – Salt and pepper.
Bacon – Smoked is best.
EXPERT TIP: Be sure to check the ‘best used by’ date on the beans. Old beans may never fully soften during the cooking process. If you don’t have overnight to soak the beans, then place the beans in a large pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, and then turn off the heat and allow the bests to soak for 1 hour. Rinse and follow the recipe.
Tips for Making Perfect Slow Cooker Baked Beans
Soaking the Beans is Best – Allowing the dried beans to soak overnight ensures they cook evenly and become tender in the slow cooker.
Heat the Sauce in a Skillet – Combining the sauce ingredients in a skillet and then simmering it for a few minutes helps to deepen the flavors. It’s not 100% necessary, but it melds together the sweet and savory flavor components.
Smoked Bacon or Salt Pork Deepens the Flavor – As the pork slow cooks, it infuses a smokey flavor to the beans and sauce that is classic. No need to cook the bacon first. If using a salt pork, be sure to remove it once the beans are ready.
Cook on LOW and then on HIGH – We get the best results when we start the beans low and slow, and then crank the slow cooker to HIGH for the final few hours of cooking. You will probably need to add more stock to achieve the perfect sauce consistency.
How To Serve
You can transfer the cooked beans to a nice serving dish, or just add a large serving spoon near the slow cooker and let folks serve themselves.
EXPERT TIP: After pouring the sauce over the beans and bacon, give it all a good stir to fully coat the beans. If you have the time, stir the beans every hour or so. The beans can also be cooked on LOW for 7 to 8 hours. Add more stock, as needed.
Other Amazing Slow Cooker Recipes to Try
There is just something extra special about preparing the main dish, or even a side dish, in your slow cooker. Here are some of our all-time favorites:
Chopped BBQ Beef Sandwiches
Mississippi Pot Roast
Baby Back Ribs
Ham and Potatoes Gratin
Provencal Chicken Stew
Coconut Chicken Curry
Chicken Chow Mein
Corn on the Cob
These are always a huge hit when we serve any of them to family or guests. But, in the meantime, aren’t the beans calling your name?
If you’re tasked with bringing a side dish to any function, you’ll want to seriously consider these beans.
They are very similar to Boston Baked Beans, and are universally loved.
And because your slow cooker does all the heavy lifting, but is a snap to prepare! And the taste and texture of the beans in the sauce is truly spectacular. Every bite is a taste sensation.
Ready to make the best beans this side of, well, Boston? Go for it!
And when you do, be sure to take a photo of them, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!
Slow Cooker Baked Beans
- Slow-cooker 3, 4, or 6 quart
- 1 lb dried white beans Navy, cannelloni, or Great Northern
- 1 cup ketchup
- ¼ cup molasses
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup maple syrup 100% pure
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 8 oz smoked bacon
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup beef stock
- Place the beans in a large pot and cover with cool water by about 1 inch. Let them soak overnight. See NOTES for a quick soak method. Pick out any floaters the next morning.1 lb dried white beans
- In a medium skillet or saucepan, stir together the ketchup, molasses, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, maple syrup, and black pepper over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer and let it continue to gently simmer for about 5 minutes.1 cup ketchup, ¼ cup molasses, ¼ cup dark brown sugar, ¼ cup Dijon mustard, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, ¼ cup maple syrup, ½ tsp black pepper
- Drain the beans and place them in your slow cooker with the chopped bacon. Pour the sauce over the beans. Cover the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 3 hours.8 oz smoked bacon
- After 3 hours, stir the beans and stir in 1 tsp salt and half a cup of the beef stock. Turn the setting to HIGH and cook for another 3 hours, or until the beans are tender and the sauce has become thickened. You may need to add the remaining half cup of broth to maintain the correct consistency for the sauce. Taste and add more salt, if desired, usually another ½ to 1 tsp.Kosher salt, 1 cup beef stock
- Serve at once, or turn to the WARM setting until ready to serve.