An old fashioned baked bean recipe made with dried beans, molasses, brown sugar and patience.
I may have mentioned one or 40 million times about how Easter isn’t my favourite holiday. That’s based on my two main criteria for judging holidays – the traditional food and the decorating. Easter is filled with all the things I dislike. Pastel colours and ham. It’s the time of year when marshmallows mixed with canned fruit are proudly set on the table and declared a salad. You can see my Marshmallow Salad recipe here. We refer to it as White Trash Salad because it’s a salad made out of marshmallows and canned fruit. Pretty self explanatory.
A few years ago I started bringing baked beans to Easter dinner. Because ham and baked beans make sense together. They create a bundle of salty, smoky goodness in your mouth. Also, I don’t eat ham, so having baked beans ensures I’d have more than marshmallows and scalloped potatoes in my stomach.
Now don’t think that you have to save these baked beans for Easter dinner. You do not. They also go great with any meats you pull off of your summertime grill. And as a quick autumn or cool spring day lunch to fill yourself up, beans on toast is fantastic! Filling, nutritious and – O.K. I know you’re ALL thinking of the tooting. So go ahead and giggle about the toots so we can continue with this serious baked bean discussion.
These are traditional baked beans done in the oven and yes they take a day or two. I’ve done these in the Instant Pot and they just aren’t as good. BUT you can make them in an Instant Pot much faster and in a pinch if you have to. I’ve included instructions for Instant Pot baked beans as well. Even though you’re not allowed to call them baked because they’re Instant Potted. Not baked.
Homemade Baked Beans
This is where some controversy will pop into the bean conversation. After soaking my beans I use the same bean water later in the recipe. There’s evidence that throwing away the soaking water and using new water later in the recipe will reduce the toots. But I like the added flavour using the bean water gives.
I used a bag of White Pea Beans (Navy beans) because I didn’t grow enough dried beans to make a whole pot of baked beans.
The ingredients are classic baked bean ingredients. Nothing super fancy and no heat. To me, baked beans shouldn’t be spicy. But if you like spicy baked beans you can add a couple of finely diced jalapeño peppers.
2 days seems like a long time but 95% of that time is dedicated to slow cooking. You aren’t actively doing anything other than smelling the scent of baked beans waft throughout the kitchen. You soak the beans, mix the ingredients together and then pop the beans in the oven for 8 hours or so.
When they’re cooked, the beans come out and they’re ready to serve. Just like that. So it seems like a big ordeal, but it really isn’t. It just takes a long time.
As an aside, I am absolutely STUNNED at the amount of Baked Bean recipes on the Internet that are made with … CANS of baked beans. What the??? As I mentioned, this recipe is made with a bag of dried beans. Not a can of them.
Old Fashioned Baked Beans
- 454 grams dry beans white pea (navy) beans
- water enough to cover beans
- 1 onion diced
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 2 tsps cider vinegar
- 1/4 lb bacon or salt pork
- 1 tsp mustard
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- pinch black pepper
- Soak the beans overnight in water.
- The next morning heat the beans to boiling and simmer for around 30 minutes. If the skin of the bean peels back when you blow on it the beans are done.
- Drain the beans and SAVE the bean water.
- Mix all of the sauce ingredients together and mix in the cooked beans. Put everything in a bean pot.
- Add enough of the reserved bean water to the bean pot to cover the beans by 1/2".
- Add bacon or salt pork to top of beans, cover and bake at 250 F for 7 hours.
- Remove lid and continue to cook uncovered for 2 hours to help the beans develop a dark brown colour.
- Serve with grilled meats as a side dish or on toast for a lunch.
- Remove from oven and remove bacon or salt pork. If you like your beans with some meat chop it up and mix it into the beans. I prefer to remove the pork entirely and just use it for the flavour and smokiness it infuses in the beans while cooking.
- To eliminate the overnight soak, you can boil the beans for longer during their initial cook in water. Instead of simmering for 30 minutes, simmer for (apx) 90 minutes.
- If you're vegan or vegetarian and want to eliminate the bacon then double the amount of smoked paprika from 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp.
- TO COOK BAKED BEANS IN THE INSTANT POT (bleh) 1. Add your dried beans to the Instant Pot with enough water to cover them quite well. Cook on high for 25 minutes. They might be perfectly done or they might be overdone and mushy. It depends on the bean. And that's why I don't like the Instant Pot. 2. Drain the beans and return them to the Instant Pot. Add all of the other ingredients and cook on high for 10 minutes.
If you don’t have a bean baking pot, just use any oven safe casserole with a lid and keep your eyes open at antique shops and flea markets for a vintage baked bean pot. Just check the inside to make sure it’s still in good shape inside with the glaze in tact and no crazing.
This is where you get to answer my question. Baked beans for Easter dinner. Is that weird?
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