Crock Pot Baked Beans

You'll never want canned baked beans again once you eat crock pot baked beans made from scratch! Made with canned navy beans, onion, molasses, brown sugar, and a kick of spicy mustard, these easy and delicious baked beans are covered in a thick, smoky-sweet sauce. 

Dust off your slow cooker and make these beans for your next BBQ, cookout, or as a potluck side dish.

Why This Recipe Works 

  • Using a crock pot or slow cooker means you don’t have to run the oven for hours or heat up the house in the summer.
  • This recipe doubles easily and is a perfect side dish when you’re feeding a crowd.
  • It's easy to make ahead (set it and forget it) and freeze for later.
  • You can control the amount of sweetener and easily make these beans vegetarian.
  • Beans are healthy! They’re high in fiber and protein, and research suggests they have prebiotic compounds that can improve gut health. Baked beans are a delicious way to eat more beans. 

Recipe Ingredients

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make these baked beans. I’ve listed a few substitutions and variations in the section below.

Be sure to check out the recipe card below for the complete list of ingredients with measurements.

Ingredients needed to make crock pot baked beans.

Beans. I recommend canned navy beans. These small, white beans are traditionally used in Boston-style baked beans because they’re soft and creamy and maintain their shape during cooking. Navy beans are also known as small white beans.

Bacon. This is optional, but it adds a nice, smoky flavor. Plus, you only need two or three slices. You’ll precook the bacon to remove most of the fat, and then remove the bacon slices before serving the beans. Buy center cut (it has less fat) and uncured bacon.

Molasses. It adds a nice, rich flavor and makes the sauce extra thick.

Mustard. Use brown Dijon or whole-grain mustard, which has more heat and flavor than yellow mustard.

Apple cider vinegar. This helps balance the sweetness of the sauce.

Substitutions and Variations

  • For vegetarian baked beans, skip the bacon.
  • Add jalapeños, garlic, and chili powder for a Southwest flavor or a pinch of cayenne pepper for some heat.
  • Swap barbecue sauce for the brown sugar and molasses.
  • For less sugar, swap a zero-calorie brown sugar and use less molasses.
  • Use turkey bacon or crumbled chicken sausage if you don't eat pork.
  • Instead of navy beans, substitute Great Northern, pinto, or cannellini beans. Note that cannellini beans are often very soft and may not hold their shape as well as the others.

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Saute the bacon. Trim as much fat as possible from your bacon slices. Cook the bacon over medium-high heat in a skillet until most of the remaining fat is rendered. Remove the bacon and discard the fat.

Steps 1 & 2 to make crock pot baked beans

2. Saute the onion. Dice the onion and add it to the skillet. Saute it on medium-high heat for three to five minutes or until it is wilted and golden. 

3. Combine the ingredients in a slow cooker. Set the cooker to low, cover, and cook for four to five hours.

Crock Pot baked beans steps 3 & 4.

4. Stir the beans occasionally. They'll be finished with they are deep brown in color and the sauce is thick. Remove the bacon strips before serving.

A white casserole dish filled with crock pot baked beans.

Expert Tips

Because there's a little bit of bacon fat in the pan, I don’t add extra oil to the skillet when sauteeing the onions. However, I add about two tablespoons of water to help them wilt and start browning faster. Browning your onions brings out more of their natural sweetness.

The bean liquid will be very thin initially, but it will thicken up after about four hours. If your beans seem too dry, add about ¼ cup of water to thin the sauce as they cook. 

I use canned beans because they save about eight hours of cooking time, and they’re just as healthy as dry beans. If you prefer to use dry navy beans, you’ll need to make this recipe in two steps: 

  • First, cover the dry beans with about 6 cups of cold water and cook them in the slow cooker on low for at least eight hours or until tender. 
  • Second, drain the cooking liquid and proceed with the rest of the recipe.

Don’t oversalt your beans! I only add ¼ teaspoon of salt to the crock pot before they cook because the bacon is already very high in salt. You can add more salt if needed after the beans are completely cooked.

What to Eat With Crock Pot Baked Beans

Serve these beans with other cookout favorites like:

Recipe FAQs

How long can you store leftover baked beans?

Store leftovers tightly covered in the refrigerator for three to four days. Reheat them in the microwave. Add one or two tablespoons of water if needed to loosen the sauce. 

Once cooled, you can also freeze these baked beans for up to four months.

Can you cook baked beans on high heat in a slow cooker to shorten the cooking time?

Cooking beans on high heat may cause them to dry out and become tough. A slow cooker set to low or a very low oven will result in more tender, evenly cooked beans. 

Related Side Dish Recipes

Planning a barbecue or summer cookout? Try these recipes too!

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating on the recipe card below & a review in the comments section further down the page.

Recipe

A white casserole dish and with crockpot baked beans. A serving spoon is in the dish, and a striped napkin and two forks are in the background.

Crock Pot Baked Beans

A perfect side dish for your next barbecue
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Heart Healthy
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 229kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 slices lean bacon
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 30 ounces canned navy beans 2 cans, drained and rinsed well
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  • Trim as much fat from the bacon as possible. Cook it in a skillet over medium heat for about three minutes or until most of the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon from the pan. Drain off the fat.
  • Add the diced onion to the pan with about one tablespoon of water. Cover the pan for about two minutes to let the onion wilt. Uncover the pan and let the onion saute for about three minutes or until it's wilted and starts to brown.
  • Drain and rinse the beans. Place the beans, partially cooked bacon, browned onion, molasses, mustard, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper in a crock pot set to low heat. Stir to combine the ingredients.
  • Cover the crock pot and let the beans cook for four to five hours, stirring occasionally. The beans will be ready when they are brown and the sauce is thick.
  • Taste and add additional salt if needed.

Notes

To make vegetarian baked beans, omit the bacon.
This recipe makes about 2 ½ cups. It doubles easily.
Refrigerate leftovers for up to four days or freeze them for up to four months.

Nutrition

Calories: 229kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 771mg | Potassium: 661mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 3mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag me @CravingSomethingHealthy!

8 Comments

    1. Yes, thank God for the crock-pot (or whoever invented it). Super easy and they smell so good when they cook! Thanks for visiting Melanie 🙂

  1. Love it! I have been looking to find some new recipes seeing that I am trying to continue eating healthy. I have been able to control my weight ever since I read about Jennifer and her story over at her blog http://musclehabit.com/my-story-2/. Reading her story was on of the greatest inspirations that I have ever had on my life. She has helped my to realise my true potential and that I could make it if I tried hard enough and changed my eating habits.

  2. My aunt serves them her Boston-born husband and family EVERY Saturday night. But I've never gotten the recipe. I'm more apt to make slow cooker version anyway...so will be making these!

    1. Wow! Every Saturday?! Not sure I could eat them that often, but they are kind of a treat when I do make them 🙂 Hope you enjoy the recipe!

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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