Baked Beans from Scratch
Summary: Because this recipe is made with dried beans, the beans maintain a little firmness. So if you're not a fan of goopy, mushy baked beans, these are for you! Quite frankly, I like baked beans any way I can get them, but my kids enjoy these a little more than the standard canned bean rendition, I think because there is a little bite left in the bean. Adults always comment on the exceptional flavor. Compared to most recipes, this one actually has less bacon and brown sugar but you'd never know it based on the taste.

Yields 8-10 servings


  • 1 pound dry pinto, great northern, or cannellini beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce (your favorite store-bought or [this homemade version|]
  • 2 tablespoons molasses (unsulphured)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (smoked paprika is delicious but regular works well, too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (may use 1/8 teaspoon for a hint of flavor without noticeable heat)
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, vinegar, molasses, mustard, paprika, salt and cayenne pepper. Set aside. These ingredients may be combined in advance and refrigerated up to a day or two.
  3. Chop three slices of the bacon, and heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. (A 14-inch skillet–12-inch may overflow–or large heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid may also be used.) Cook the bacon until some of the fat has rendered, and then add the onion and stir. Sauté until the onion is softened and the bacon becomes a bit crisper, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the brown sugar mixture, followed by the drained beans and the broth. Stir to incorporate and scrape up any crusty bits on the bottom of the pot. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once the mixture has come to a boil, remove from the heat and place the remaining bacon strips on top of the beans.
  4. Cover and place the beans in the oven and bake for 6-8 hours or until the beans are tender. After 4-5 hours I usually check and stir. Once the beans are done, they may sit at room temperature, covered, for up to 2 hours. Place in a warm oven to reheat, as needed.


  • Advance prep aspect makes this really easy.
  • A tight-fitting lid ensures that the moisture doesn’t escape and the finished baked beans have a good level of sauciness. I have tried the recipe in a large skillet (see recipe for size recommendation) using a foil lid. If doing so, use a heavy duty foil or a double layer making sure to seal it well. It’s also helpful if the foil doesn’t rest directly on the beans.
  • I have forgotten the garlic on occasion and the beans are still delicious.
  • Because of the low cooking temperature, it’s hard to overcook these beans. However, if you end up cooking the beans longer than necessary, they will likely appear a little dry before they get mushy. In this case, loosen with extra chicken broth or, in a pinch, a little water. If at the end of cooking time you prefer sweeter or soupier beans, feel free to add an extra squirt or two of ketchup and barbecue sauce and/or an additional tablespoon or two of brown sugar….or even a drizzle of maple syrup.

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