Slow Cooker Baked Beans have the perfect combination of bacon, onions, beans, ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, bourbon and more! This is great for potlucks, parties, and all your summertime barbecues!
This homemade baked beans recipes been a family favorite for a while now! It’s sweet, tangy, and has the right amount of zestiness.
Enjoy this recipe for parties, barbecues, potlucks, and with dinner. Seriously, you won’t regret it.
🍽️ Why This Works
Large Batch – You will get eight hefty servings out of each batch. Whether you are feeding a large group or simply want leftovers, this is a great recipe!
Easy – It truly doesn’t get much easier than these brown sugar baked beans. Literally, adding ingredients to the slow cooker, stirring and cooking! That’s it!
Comforting – If you grew up eating baked beans at all your family events, you will appreciate the flavors and textures even more. They will take you back to being a kid.
Bacon | The key ingredient to the best slow cooker baked beans you’ll ever taste! It adds saltiness and tastes oh so good. Be sure to cook the bacon so it’s crispy because it will soften as it absorbs all the juices and bourbon.
Beans | For best results, use northern beans that have been soaking overnight. The texture will be fantastic and it’s not a lot of effort to soak them. Just use cool water and place them in a large bowl. Fill the bowl until it covers the beans by a couple of inches.
Sauce | Using a combination of ketchup, molasses, mustard, bourbon and Worcestershire is the way to go. They all complement each other well and while you can leave some of them out, you won’t get that same robust flavor if you do.
Seasonings | Salt, pepper, garlic powder and brown sugar are the rest of the ingredients you will be needing.
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
Slow Cooker | Yep, that’s right! It’s the only piece of equipment that is required to make these crockpot baked beans. We used our 7 qt oval one this time as we knew it was going to need to hold a lot.
Step One: Add the bacon, onion, beans, sauces, brown sugar, and seasonings in a slow cooker. Stir well.
Step Two: Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Be sure to stir every hour until they are done so they don’t stick to the bottom.
❗ Expert Tips
Add a liner – To save time on clean up add a slow cooker liner. They save time cleaning and work like a charm.
In a hurry? Cook on high for 3-4 hours to speed up the process. While you will get a stronger flavor the longer they cook, it will still be delicious.
Canned beans work – If you completely forget about soaking dried beans, it’s fine to used canned instead. Just drain them off before you begin and you’ll be all set.
Fridge: Place the cooled baked beans in a sealed food container. They will last for up to five days in the fridge and the flavor develops as they rest.
Freezer: Put the beans in a freezer bag and squeeze out extra air. Label and keep frozen for up to three months. Defrost in the fridge before reheating and serving.
Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and keep them in the fridge for up to 24 hours in advance. Then cook when you are ready and serve.
Barbecue sauce – You can use barbecue sauce in place of ketchup. Use a flavor that you love already. You may need to back off on the brown sugar and molasses if you opt for a sweet variety.
Meats – Feel free to play around with the meats that you add. We love doctoring up baked beans with all sorts of meat. Ground beef, pulled pork, pulled chicken, and ground turkey are a few suggestions.
Maple Syrup – You can use maple syrup in place of the brown sugar. White sugar can also be used as well.
Never cook red kidney beans if they are dry. Canned red kidney beans are fine, but if they are dry you will need to boil them for 10 minutes first. They develop a type of protein called lectin that may be toxic to humans.
Basically, the difference is molasses! Typically, traditional baked beans call for brown sugar and a lot of recipes call for corn syrup. But Boston baked beans use molasses. For this baked beans recipe, we use both so it doesn’t matter to us what you call them. 😉
If the pinto beans are still hard, odds are you didn’t soak them long enough. Another possibility is that they weren’t cooked long enough. If they are still hard, I recommend cooking for another hour and re-checking. Repeat as many times as needed until they reach the desired doneness.
If they aren’t getting soft, it could also be that your beans were old, to begin with. It’s best to use fresher dried beans.
Yes, and they will be incredibly mushy if you cook them too long. As the beans get closer to done, check them to see if they are the correct texture. You don’t want them to be too firm, but you also don’t want them to be slimy or broken either.
When they are finished, you will see that the edges of the crockpot are bubbling and hot. It may even be a little sticky. You should be able to pierce them with a fork without too much resistance.
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Slow Cooker Baked Beans
- Slow Cooker
- 12 oz Bacon cooked and cut into chunks
- 1 cup Onion chopped
- 16 oz Great Northern Beans dried, soaked overnight to soften
- ¾ cup Ketchup
- ⅓ cup Brown Sugar
- ¼ cup Molasses
- ¼ cup Bourbon
- 2 tbsp Yellow Mustard
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- ½ tsp Garlic Powder
- ¼ tsp Salt and Pepper each
- Place all the ingredients into the slow cooker and stir. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
- Stir every hour or so to make sure it is not sticking to the bottom.