New England Baked Beans have a complex sweet and savory blend with brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, garlic, ketchup, bacon, and Worcestershire sauce.
Baked Beans make the perfect, filling Side Dish to serve at Summer BBQs or at a mid-week meal. For more flavorful bean recipes, try our Southern Baked Beans, Brisket Baked Beans, and Baked Bean Casserole.
NEW ENGLAND BAKED BEANS
This saucy bean dish is made with complex and deep flavor from a few bold ingredients. Sweeten the beans with maple, brown sugar, and molasses. Then there’s even more rich flavor with a touch of mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and salty bacon. The sweet and tangy molasses sauce bakes into a thickened, sweet-savory sauce in the oven to make the beans creamy and mouthwatering.
These are honestly the best beans imaginable. The cooking process is easy, and it makes thick and delicious beans with bacon that you can serve with so many of your favorite dinner recipes. Enjoy eating baked beans on the side of Hamburgers, Grilled Chicken, or over the top of Baked Potatoes.
These beans are also great to add to your weekly recipes, because they’re an inexpensive food that’s filling and easy to make. Plus we’ve included alternative cooking instructions for instant pots and slow cooking later in the post, so you can make them in a variety of ways depending on your schedule.
MORE SIDE DISH RECIPES
- Bacon and onion mixture: Add bacon to a large skillet or dutch oven and cook over medium-high heat until crisp on each side. Discard all but 2 tablespoons bacon grease. Then add the sliced onion to the pan with the remaining bacon grease. Cook until softened and translucent. Stir in the garlic cloves and continue cooking for 30 seconds.
- Cooking liquid: Add the ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, ground mustard powder, salt, and black pepper. Stir thoroughly and bring the mixture to a simmer. It should all cook into a thickened, glaze-like sauce.
- Beans: Drain beans and rinse them well. Draining is a key step, otherwise, you’ll have too much liquid for cooking, and end up with a watery pot of beans. Add a layer of beans to the pot and stir until well combined with the tangy molasses sauce.
- Cooking time: Pour the mixture into an 8×8 inch baking dish, and top it with the bacon slices. Put it in the oven for 35-40 minutes. Cook until dish is warmed through, thickened, and bubbling around the edges. Make sure not to overcook, or you’ll have mushy, over-browned beans. However, if it isn’t bubbling yet, return the bean dish to the oven to bake for an extra few minutes.
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- Flavor additions: There are lots of ways you can add extra flavor to this versatile bean dish. For a more smoky flavor, try mixing in some liquid smoke or BBQ sauce with the original recipe. You can also add seasonings like paprika, garlic salt, cumin, or onion powder. If you want a spicy dish, you can add plenty of heat with a dash of hot sauce or cayenne pepper.
- Types of beans: You can try adding different kinds of beans to this recipe to go along with the navy beans like cannellini, pinto, or Northern beans.
- Salt Pork: Traditional Boston Baked Beans are made with salt pork instead of bacon. Salt pork is similar to slab bacon. The difference is salt pork is fattier, saltier, and has been cured longer than bacon. If you want to make a more classic Boston Baked Beans recipe, you can cook and slice salt pork to add into the old-fashioned baked beans.
If you want to prep the recipe ahead of time, you can get it ready in the morning and let it cook for hours in the crock pot.
- Start by cooking the bacon and onion in a separate pan so that it’s browned on all sides.
- Add the ingredients to your crockpot.
- For the cooking time, you can cook on high for 4-6 hours. Or, set the crockpot to low and continue cooking for 6-8 hours until done.
- For the pressure cooker, start by setting the pot to sauté mode to cook the bacon and onion.
- Then add in the sauce and bean ingredients, mixing thoroughly.
- Cook at high pressure for 35 minutes.
- Allow a natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then quick release the remaining pressure.
DISHES TO SERVE WITH NEW ENGLAND BAKED BEANS
HOW TO STORE
- Serve: Don’t leave the beans with bacon at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Store: Let the dish cool completely, then cover or transfer beans to an airtight container to store in the fridge for 3-5 days.
- Freeze: You can also seal and freeze any leftovers for up to 6 months.
- 1/2 pound thick bacon , chopped
- 1 yellow onion , chopped
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 cup brown sugar , packed
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 45 ounces low sodium navy beans , drained and rinsed well (gently)
- 1/2 pound thick bacon strips
- Cook bacon in a large heavy skillet until crisp, then remove from the pan.
- Leave about 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in the pan and safely discard the rest.
- Add the onion on medium heat and cook until translucent and softened.
- Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add in ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, ground mustard, salt, and pepper.
- Stir well and bring to a simmer.
- Stir in the navy beans until well coated.
- Pour mixture into an 8x8 baking dish, top with bacon slices, and bake, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes.