Slow Cooker Pork and Beans is an easy BBQ side dish recipe! Dried white beans and bacon slow cooked in barbecue sauce with ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard.
These slow-cooked barbecue beans are the easiest way to make a classic comfort food recipe. Once the beans, bacon, and sauce ingredients go into the crockpot, it’s a hands-free side dish! Since you are cooking them in a slow cooker, these beans are party or potluck ready when you are and only get better as they simmer in the tasty sauce.
Mild and flavorful, these Slow Cooker Pork and Beans are an easy, family-friendly recipe made with just a handful of ingredients. The smoky, sweet, and tangy flavors of the navy beans are a tasty side for parties, backyard parties, or Sunday dinner. These Pork and Beans are just as delicious served with Roast Chicken and Mashed Potatoes as they are served with Pulled Pork and Mac and Cheese.
This Slow Cooker Pork and Beans recipe is delicious with a sweet and slightly tangy sauce, but you can season this tasty bean dish with whatever you have on hand. The white beans and bacon go with pretty much everything, so feel to add flavors you love. If you have a medium onion, garlic cloves, and green peppers on hand, sauté and add them in for an easy way to pump up flavor fast.
If you want to make these beans ahead of time, cook as usual and then remove the slow cooker insert from the machine. Allow to cool completely and store covered insert in the refrigerator. To heat beans to serve, allow the pot to be at room temperature for 30 minutes (so the glass insert isn’t too cold) then place the slow cooker insert back into the cooker. Cook on low or high heat, stirring until hot. Keep on low or warm for up to 4 hours.
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FAQs for Slow Cooker Pork and Beans
Soaking them overnight helps get rid of complex sugars in the beans, which can be difficult to digest, and cause unpleasant side effects (like gas – yikes!).
If your beans are not softening, it could be that you forgot to soak them overnight. It could also be that your beans are old. As they age, they lose their ability to soak up water. You could also be using hard water, or there could be an acidic ingredient in the water causing a problem.
Cooking Tips for Slower Cooker Pork and Beans
- Molasses: If you don’t have molasses on hand, you can substitute 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, honey, dark corn syrup, or brown sugar. You can use dark or light fancy molasses, but don’t use bitter bootstrap molasses.
- Beans: Different white beans will give you different textures and flavors, like firm and nutty or soft and creamy. Navy beans are small, cook quickly, and have a creamy texture, Great Northern beans are slightly nutty and firmer, and Cannellini beans are firmest, nutty, and earthy.
- Tender Beans: If you are worried about your beans not being tender or have had issues in the past cooking dried beans, you can boil them for 30 minutes in water and then drain them.
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Can Slow Cooker Pork and Beans be made ahead?
These beans reheat really well, so you can go ahead and make them at least the day before you want to serve them. This works especially well if you need to use your slow cooker for another dish that day. You can warm up the Pork and Beans in the microwave, or in a pot on the stove.
Recipe Variations for Slow Cooker Pork and Beans
- Pork: For a hearty and simple meal, add pork shoulder roast or other boneless pork to the slow cooker about 4-6 hours into the cooking time. Use a 2-3 pound pork roast, cut into 1-inch cubes, and sear before adding to the crockpot.
- Canned Beans: If you want to use canned beans for this recipe, reduce the cooking time to 4-5 hours and use 3 cans (15 ounces) of beans. Drain and rinse beans before adding them for the best flavor.
- BBQ Sauce: For more BBQ flavor, use 1 cup of store-bought or Homemade Barbecue Sauce for 1 cup of ketchup. You can also add up to ½ teaspoon liquid smoke for smoky baked beans.
- Peppers and Onions: Bell peppers and onions would add another layer of fresh flavors to this tasty side dish. A classic pairing is green bell peppers and yellow onions, but you could also use red bell peppers, sweet peppers, red onions, or shallots.
- Spicy: Balance out the sweet flavors with a spicy-tomato based sauce by adding ¼ cup hot sauce or salsa for 1/4 cup ketchup. You could also add jalapeño pepper, cayenne pepper, or chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for heat!
- Spices: Adjust the flavor to your taste with seasonings and spices like garlic powder, minced garlic, chopped onions, onion powder, onion soup mix, BBQ seasoning, chili powder, black pepper, dry mustard, apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar.
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How to Store Slower Cooker Pork and Beans
- Serve: Cook Slow Cooker Pork and Beans until they are fork-tender before serving. You can keep the beans covered on warm for up to 4 hours.
- Store: Cool beans completely before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat over low heat on the stovetop or bake covered in the oven for best taste and texture.
- Freeze: Once Pork and Beans are cooled completely, store in a sealed container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating on the stovetop or in the oven.
- 3 cups dried navy beans
- 12 cups boiling water
- 6 cups water , or chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1/2 cup brown sugar , packed
- 2 cups ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 12 slices thick cut bacon , chopped
- Add beans and boiling water to a large pot and cover.
- Let sit overnight.
- Drain navy beans.
- Add navy beans to the slow cooker along with 6 cups water (or chicken broth), salt, molasses, mustard, brown sugar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and bacon and stir well.
- Cook on low heat for 10 hours.