Baked beans are the quintessential American side dish, often popping up at picnics, barbecues, and potlucks. Bean recipes are also great for a casual supper at home, pairing well with grilled meats or sandwiches. Learn how to make baked beans from scratch using dried beans, or opt for quicker canned beans. Bake them in the oven, or try a slow cooker baked bean recipe.
Traditionally made from navy beans or pea beans and flavored with pork, molasses, and brown sugar, most baked bean recipes are descendants of Boston Baked Beans. Although starting with dried beans is a little more time-consuming than using canned beans, you'll love the authentic taste of your homemade baked beans. Follow these easy steps to make old-fashioned baked beans.
Dried beans are very hard, so soaking allows them to rehydrate and soften.
Baked Beans Tip: If you have a little extra time, rather than boiling the beans, you can simply place them in the 8 cups water in the Dutch oven. Cover and let them soak in a cool place overnight. Drain and rinse the beans; discard the soaking liquid.
Even though the beans are soaked, they still need to be cooked until tender before adding the other ingredients and baking.
Want to learn how to make baked beans with bacon? It's as simple as adding it in after cooking the beans! Add as much or as little bacon as you want (but you can never have too much bacon), along with other flavorings:
Baked Beans Tip: Some cooks like their beans saucy, while some prefer them more dry. If you like them saucy, add additional reserved bean liquid during cooking. If, at the end of cooking time, the beans are not as dry as you like, continue to bake them, uncovered, until some of the liquid has evaporated. Keep in mind, though, that beans will continue to soak up the liquid after cooking.
Looking for a shortcut to making great baked beans? With a prep time of just 20 minutes and a cook time of 45 minutes, our canned bean recipe is easy to prepare. With a few simple additions, no one will know they're not made from scratch.
1. Prep the Bacon and Onions
2. Choose and Prep the Beans
3. Bake the Beans
Unique Baked Beans Recipes to Try Once you learn how to make classic baked beans, you can add flavorings and extra ingredients to create your signature baked beans recipe. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Don't stop here—there's so much more you can learn, including some of our favorite baked beans recipes! Learn how to make BBQ baked beans, or just find your next go-to recipe for potlucks and picnics. No matter which ones you try, these homemade baked beans will all be side dish standouts at your table.