Baked beans are comforting, satisfying, and a great side to grilled or barbecued meats. While they are usually baked in the oven, it’s even easier to throw everything in the slow cooker instead.
Smoky bacon, navy beans, onion, and a few sweet ingredients like molasses, ketchup, and brown sugar are stirred together and slow-cooked until they are tender and the sauce thickens. The beans taste better the longer they sit, so make them a day or two ahead or freeze for later.
There are various intensities of molasses available, from light to blackstrap. Dark (sometimes marketed as robust) tastes best in this recipe. Molasses can be found in the baking aisle at grocery stores.
- 1 pound dried navy or pea beans
- 8 ounces thick-cut bacon slices
- 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup dark molasses
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 1/2 cups water, plus more for soaking the beans
Place the beans in a large bowl and pick through them, discarding any broken beans or stones. Cover them with at least 3 inches of cold water. Allow to soak uncovered at room temperature for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain in a colander and reserve the bowl (no need to wash); set the bowl aside. Place the beans, bacon, and onion in a slow cooker.
Whisk the remaining measured ingredients in the reserved bowl until combined. Pour into the slow cooker and stir until thoroughly combined. Cover and cook on either high or low heat until they are tender and the liquid thickens slightly (it will thicken more as it cools), about 6 hours. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Be sure to soak the beans the night before you plan on making the recipe.
- Cook them for 6 hours on both high and low settings, with excellent results for both.
- They can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw in the refrigerator before reheating over low heat.
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