Homemade Baked Beans

Homemade baked beans are a lovely frugal and protein/fiber addition to practically any meal, from hot dogs and hamburgers to a main dish salad. This recipe is one I have been working on for awhile now before finally perfecting it to our liking! This recipe works very well for making a large batch and freezing in smaller quantities before or after adding the flavorings. You can also add chopped bacon for a special treat. The key: marinating all the ingredients in advance. Enjoy!

4 cups cooked white navy beans (which equals approximately 1 1/2 cups dry beans or 2-3 cans)
1/3-1/2 cup ketchup
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
dash of onion powder or 1/2 onion, chopped and sauteed
1/3 cup sorghum syrup, maple syrup or combination (molasses is another option, but I would only use in combination with sorghum or maple syrup due to its strong flavor)
bacon, cooked & chopped (optional)

If using dry beans, soak beans for 12-18 hours in water with the addition of a tablespoon or two of an acid medium (vinegar or lemon juice are best for this task). After soaking, rinse and cover with fresh filtered water and cook on low for 5-6 hours in a crock pot (overnight works best) or bring to a boil on the stove and then simmer till tender, just until slightly tender but not overly soft.

Saute chopped onions, if desired. Drain beans and combine with all the remaining ingredients. If time allows, cover and marinate for awhile in the fridge.  This provides the best flavor. Re-heat and enjoy!

Makes 5-6 servings.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

46 Responses to Homemade Baked Beans

  1. Kay May 28, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    Thank you for posting this recipe. I am anxious to try it as I am trying to get the family away from products that use High Fructose Corn Syrup as much as possible. My current recipe uses Van Camp pork and beans which have the HFCS in them as do the barbeque sauce that I put in there. Probably going to add some pepper to the chopped and cooked bacon since the recipe that I use contains peppered bacon.

  2. Sanjuanita Raudenbush November 30, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    I’m heading out to Haiti tomorrow for a couple of weeks (basically the only vacation I could get this year). I went to Sudan last year. Part of the reason I go abroad is because it’s good to be reminded why I chose to be a doctor. Working in the US is rewarding but so much of it is about paperwork and and doing things to prevent getting sued (as opposed to being medically appropriate).

  3. Allie June 13, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

    Have you ever tried this recipe with pinto beans? I have 25 lb bags of pinto, black, & kidney beans from Azure, so I’d feel rather silly buying more beans. ;)

    • Lindsay June 13, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

      No, I have not. It would definitely give it a different texture.

  4. Priscilla April 24, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    In this above recipe, Homemade Baked Beans, I wanted to check are the beans drained twice? as I read the recipe, I drain the bean once after soaking/before cooking. Are the beans to be drained again after they are cooked?

  5. Priscilla February 17, 2011 at 8:06 pm #

    Molasses such as (Brer Rabbit or Mother’s Original, I think is made from a Sugar Cane) HOW is that different from molasses made from sorghum?

    Is there any nutritional difference? Is one more ‘natural’ than the other?

  6. Laura June 18, 2009 at 12:59 pm #

    Hello Lindsey!
    Thanks for posting this recipe. I live in Mozambique and don’t think I can find sorghum, molasses or pure maple syrup. I will check in South Africa next time I go. In the meantime, do you think substituting a type of sugar will work? I have American style brown sugar, Muscovado and Demerara sugars. I gather you don’t use sugar too much (!) but I am not really at the natural/health food stage you are. I’m very interested though! Many of my options are limited by living here. Anyway, I know it’d be different without a liquid but wondered if a bit of one of those sugars might suffice?

    • Lindsay June 22, 2009 at 8:21 pm #

      Brown sugar would be the best alternative here. I am sure honey would probably work too if you have access to that.

      • Laura June 30, 2009 at 9:38 am #

        Thanks Lindsay for taking time to reply. I know this blog must keep you busy! I am making the beans tomorrow for a Canada Day/Early Independence Day celebration and hope they turn out yummy. It’s not Independence Day without baked beans!

  7. Emily June 5, 2009 at 10:25 am #

    Cooksillustrated says soaking/cooking beans in an acidic environment will make them tough. Have you found this to be true? In their recipes, if you are going to cook a bean soup, for example, you can’t add tomatoes until the beans are cooked, because the acid will make them tough. I tried a little bit of lemon juice when soaking beans once and they were tough, so now I just use water.

    • Lindsay June 5, 2009 at 11:19 am #

      I have soaked all my beans for quite some time and have never experienced this. If anything my beans have become softer as a result as they absorb more liquids through the process. Hope that helps!

  8. Cardamoms Pod June 1, 2009 at 3:12 am #

    Thanks for this! My husband loves Bush’s Beans, and I’ve been experimenting with recipes on and off for years to try to duplicate (as close as possible) the flavor. My current recipe is so similar to the one you posted – with the exception of the sorghum syrup – I’ve been using molasses and maple syrup. Where can you find sorghum??? I’ve been looking…

    • Lindsay June 2, 2009 at 7:21 am #

      I purchase my sorghum through Azure Standard, but there are several other sources online. It is more common in grocery stores in the South. Molasses and maple syrup work very well also. Sorghum is just more natural and nutritious.

  9. Kathryn May 20, 2009 at 7:25 pm #

    Thanks for the recipe. It looks very tasty and easy to make. Question: why add an acid to the soaking water of the beans?

    • Lindsay May 21, 2009 at 9:21 am #

      Simply to help make them more digestible and less prone to have gassing issues.

  10. Anna May 20, 2009 at 7:26 am #

    I make baked beans every year at my mom’s house for Memorial Day and 4th of July. My family loves them! My mom passed down a family barbeque sauce recipe and I love to add green bell peppers and a dash of cayenne to my baked beans! Occasionally I use turkey bacon; but we have some vegetarians in the family so I haven’t used that in a while. I cook them all day in the crock-pot and they turn out great!! Summer holidays aren’t the same without baked beans!!

  11. Deena Barton March 31, 2009 at 4:45 pm #


    What Worcestershire sauce do you use, as my favorite and all that I am finding have MSG? Thanks, Deena

    • Lindsay April 1, 2009 at 6:59 am #

      This is one of the products that it took me awhile to find a MSG free version so I used it very sparingly. I did just come across Annie’s Naturals brand that produces one, if you can find it.

  12. Lauren November 24, 2008 at 5:38 pm #

    I have really enjoyed your blog this past month and have been inspired to try many of your recipes. This past weekend I followed the above for baked beans but they turned out hard!? Is it possible to over cook beans? I followed the soaking and cooking directions perfectly but the beans were still hard. Any tips?

    • Lindsay November 24, 2008 at 10:39 pm #

      Hmmm…the problem probably lies in it getting too dried out in the second cooking process. Occasionally, I have to add a little more water as it cooks to keep it from drying out. In times past, I have also added tomato sauce or tomato paste. I will make that addition to the recipe. You also may not have cooked them long enough in the first stage. They need to be almost completely cooked through.

      • Laura June 30, 2009 at 11:10 pm #

        HI again,

        Sorry to have so many questions but this comment/reply has me a bit confused. I don’t see two different “cooking” stages. I see the cooking the beans alone in the crockpot, then it says to drain the beans and add all the other ingredients, then cover and refrigerate if you have time. You do mention re-heating – is that what you mean by the second cooking stage? Or, after adding all the ingredients, does it require further cooking before refrigerating? I’m making them now so I hope I’ve read the recipe right!

        Lastly, if using canned beans, is it really simply a matter of combining them with the ingredients, letting it marinate for a while and heating them up?

        Thanks, Laura

        • Lindsay July 1, 2009 at 6:14 am #

          No, it is not necessary to cook it twice. Simply cook the beans and then add the remaining ingredients. It is optional to marinate. You can simply add the other ingredients, heat it all up and serve. If using canned beans, just add the remaining ingredients, marinate as desired, and then heat and serve.

  13. Dawn November 14, 2008 at 4:17 pm #

    Y’know, this reminds me of a question I have. Perhaps you have run across more info on why sometimes Nourishing Traditions recommends using whey/lemon juice and at other times doesn’t? If you look at the chapter on legumes (p. 495), many of the recipes say to soak with warm water, without the addition of an acid.

    I continue to enjoy your blog and share it with others!

    • Lindsay November 15, 2008 at 8:25 pm #

      You have the freedom to use whatever acid medium you would like for the occasion. Just because she says to use whey in a certain recipe does not have to limit you. You can use any of the acid mediums in whatever you are making, although some affect the taste more than others. Lemon juice, vinegar or whey works best for beans and legumes, whereas kefir works better for baking products, as the lemon juice or vinegar may have a more unpleasant affect on the taste. You can just use warm filtered water but it will not be as affective as adding an acid medium. Hope that helps!

      • Dawn November 15, 2008 at 8:48 pm #

        Thanks for the insights from your experience. I don’t use legumes enough to soak them often. What I meant (sorry I wasn’t clear) is that a good number of the NT recipes just recommend soaking in warm water…no acid medium at all. Yet, I didn’t find an explanation as to the rationale for using it or not using it.

  14. Suzy November 13, 2008 at 4:53 am #

    This recipe looks lovely :0)
    Homemade is always worth the effort isn’t it.
    Thanks for sharing this one!
    Blessings ~

  15. Shellie November 12, 2008 at 10:29 pm #

    I have been looking for a healthier baked beans recipe. My daughter loves them out of a can, but we have been trying to eat healthier. I made beans with dinner tonight, and my kids ate them! Yeay! I just know they will like this one. Thanks!

  16. ru4real November 12, 2008 at 7:58 am #

    This recipe looks great! I’m going to add it to my menu for next week. I love the smell of tomato based things cooking in the crock pot … who am I kidding? … I love the smell of most anything cooking!

  17. Teresa November 11, 2008 at 3:10 pm #

    Thanks for posting – it looks yummy!

  18. Jen November 11, 2008 at 10:46 am #

    Love this recipe! I personally don’t care for beans but DH loves it so I will be making it this week. I enjoy reading your blog. I have made my oatmeal differently now thanks to you and one other blogger (keepingthehome). The oatmeal has becaome my favorite breakfast item. :)
    I have a question – I noticed you mentioned the word budget. I have always been curious about how other people’s grocery budget is like. We have only $100.00 alotted for a family of 5 – Dad & Mom, 1 teen, 1 preteen and 1 baby (I make my own baby food but have been supplementing baby soy formular for his diet). Do you think $100.00 is a standard budget for a family of 5 in nowadays budget? Thank you for your time. God bless!

    • Lindsay November 11, 2008 at 3:03 pm #

      It really depends upon what route you go as far as your food and lifestyle choices. As I have grown in my understanding of healthy eating, I prefer to choose more organic, less packaged, or processed options as much as possible. This will definitely increase your budget, but with making things on my own as much as possible, we have kept our budget down compared to the average organic family. Our monthly grocery budget is $300 for our family of three but the average is around $500 for our size. This includes hospitality funds, and any additional household items (cleaning, hygiene products) as well. We have cut back in other areas so we could contribute more funds to our food as I believe healthy eating to be so important. This is just one of the reasons we use cloth diapers. We have just chosen to prioritize our food in arranging our budget. So your budget is definitely lower than the average. Overall, it is just important to be in peaceful agreement with our husbands on this issue.

      • Jen November 11, 2008 at 4:40 pm #

        Thank you Lindsay for your reply. I guess we are doing all right with the $100 weekly grocery budget then. I only shop at T.J. and Costco. I have just begun all of the home made stuff. I truely enjoy your blog on the recipe section and I enjoy reading your mission trip in Cambodia as well. I was in a refuge camp and I know first hand what it’s like to be without. I thank God everyday for my freedom here in the U.S. and I am living my life here with many blessings from Him.
        I know some bloggers have stopped blogging due to the time factor with a growing family. I pray you will continue this good work that He has blessed you with.
        Thanking Him for you,

  19. Marilyn November 11, 2008 at 9:06 am #

    Hi-I have been lurking on your blog for awhile. I noticed that you include ketchup in your recipe. Do you have a HFCS free ketchup you like-or do you have a homemade ketchup you make? I am trying to avoid HFCS and it is in EVERYTHING.

    • Lindsay November 11, 2008 at 2:51 pm #

      I have made my own but also occasionally purchased an organic ketchup at Trader Joe’s. Organic ketchup does not have HFCS. I prefer the store bough organic ketchup for this recipe, but you can see my homemade recipe here.

    • autumn sager November 11, 2008 at 3:44 pm #

      Del monte Ketchup does not hfcs, and i buy it at winco for like .89 pretty good deal

      • Lindsay November 11, 2008 at 6:26 pm #

        Good to know. It’s about $1.99 at TJ’s using organic tomatoes. Tomatoes are high in pesticides and thus buying organic is best.

        • autumn sager November 11, 2008 at 9:12 pm #

          Thanks. I just figured that staying clear of the produce that is on the dirty dozen list should help
          with trying to stay in budget, and I don’t remember seeing tomatoes on there. Are they?

          • Lindsay November 11, 2008 at 10:10 pm #

            Tomatoes are ranked around #19 as to pesticide content, so they are not on the top dozen but they are also not on the low pesticide list either. I usually stick to just buying the lowest pesticide items non-organically like bananas, avacados, etc. and avoid the others when they are not in season. Growing my own tomatoes obviously helped with this one this year and I am still enjoying them! We don’t eat them other parts of the year (beyond what I canned) so that keeps us within budget. Organic tomatoes are not cheap! This is a means of getting the freshest produce at the cheapest price. Overall, just work with what fits into your budget! Eliminating the top dozen is a great start!

          • Kathy Eller May 22, 2009 at 11:32 pm #

            We have a tomato allergy here and I am not that experienced or experimental a cook…

            Would you reccomend making the beans and leaving out the ketchup/or not making them at all if not using ketchup?

          • Lindsay May 23, 2009 at 9:02 pm #

            Hmm…I don’t know. The ketchup is one of the main flavorings in this recipe, but then again the sorghum adds a wonderful flavor as well that may be fine on its one. I would recommend making a small batch and adapting it to your likings.

      • Kate July 11, 2009 at 4:06 pm #

        Heinz also has an organic ketchup.

  20. Alison November 11, 2008 at 7:18 am #

    Thanks for posting this! I’ve been wanting a recipe for baked beans for a long time. Quick question, do you use bacon? Are you concerned at all by the nitrates used to cure bacon?

    Certain members of my family love bacon, so at this point we do eat it, but I would like to find a way to cut out harmful nitrates(found in bacon and lunch meat) from our diet)

    • Lindsay November 11, 2008 at 8:42 am #

      I purchase nitrate free bacon. It is available at Costco and Trader Joe’s for reasonable prices and other sources. TJ’s sells a smoked apple bacon that is fabulous! I definitely avoid the other stuff and choose not to use the bacon if the budget doesn’t allow for the month.

      • Kate November 11, 2008 at 6:31 pm #

        Turkey bacon is even better for you. I can’t bring myself to eat pork anymore.

      • Melanie May 20, 2009 at 9:18 am #

        May I suggest making your own bacon?
        Another option is to buy a whole hog directly from a farmer and request that all of your bacon be fresh. You can decide whether you want to cure it or not.
        We keep livestock that we pasture (and sell), and I can attest that nothing is as good as homemade bacon. It’s also really easy!

  21. Donielle @ Raising Peanuts November 11, 2008 at 5:34 am #

    Thanks for posting! I was just going to try and make some beans for dinner this week. :-)