Baked Beans in the Crock Pot

After a whirlwind long weekend of family, non-stop cooking and calorie-packed holiday meals, I feel like it's finally time to kick up my heels, relax and pick a simple, healthy recipe to feed the family. Whenever I'm looking for the path of least resistance in the kitchen, it usually means pulling out my crock pot.

I ate a lot of Baked Beans as a kid, but they were almost exclusively prepared out of a can. Making these fresh, slow cooked, sweet white beans is a real treat that bears practically no resemblance to their canned cousins. And the taste? Whenever I make them my kids couldn't be happier, so after the seeming non-stop parade of rich food during the past week, I think we're all finally ready for something a little bit more healthy as we head towards the New Year!

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Baked Beans in the Crock Pot (Serves 4-6)

Prep Time: 5 mins Cook Time: 8 mins

egg free

dairy free

gluten free

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 pound small white beans
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 32-ounce box vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt

Preparation

1. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan, add the onions and cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes.
2. Transfer the onions to a crock pot, add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
3. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or until the beans are tender.
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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. My passion is creating simple, healthy recipes that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

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64 comments

  • Marta

    Do you soak the beans before or just put them straight to the slow cooker?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      The white beans are pretty small, so you don't have to soak them. Just dump everything in, stir and cook on low for 8-10 hours. SO easy!

      leave a comment

  • Julie

    These sound delicious. Can I sub something for molasses, since I don't keep it on hand? Also, can extra be frozen?

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    • Jana R

      I freeze mine! I use a food saver so they don't get freezer burned. My husband actually like them better the second time because all the flavors has soaked in for such a long time!

      leave a comment

    • Jenn

      I'm making them now and they have great colour and the beans are still firm in texture, not mush. I didn't presoak and they seem to be coming along nicely though I think they will need 10 hours. I ran out of maple syrup after I decided to double the recipe so I substituted some brown sugar that seems to be working okay.
      Can't wait for dinner!

      leave a comment

  • Anna

    When you say that these \"bears practically no resemblance to their canned cousins\" how do you think they will go over at a New Years Eve party where everyone is very used to the canned version? Are they a little bit similar so they will go over with a crowd who likes \"tradition\"?

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    • Catherine

      I like the canned version, but they taste so \"sugary\" to me. These are plenty sweet, but they just taste a lot more fresh (and not like they've been sitting in a can-if that makes sense)?! I grew up eating my fair share of canned everything, so now whenever I can recreate some of my favorite foods that came out of a can like chicken noodle soup, Spaghetti O's or baked beans I like to do it b/c my family seems to love it too.

      leave a comment

  • Maryea

    Yay for baked beans without refined sugar!

    leave a comment

  • Erin

    Finally. :) I've been waiting for this recipe since you hinted about it on Facebook. I can't WAIT to try it! I LOVE that you put maple syrup in them... being Canadian, it's my favorite way to have baked beans! :) THANK YOU!

    leave a comment

  • Jana R

    I LOVE homeade baked beans!!!! I had made them once before and liked the taste but wasn't too happy with the recipe. Thanks for posting a healthy one! I am going to try it this week

    leave a comment

  • Wendy ABCs And Garden Peas

    Great recipe! Exactly what I need for my little boy who is really starting to love eating along with us!

    Are the beans in the recipe dried beans? I really like serving him beans, but I prefer to stay away from cans whenever possible. I'm experimenting more with dried beans, but I'm always worried that I won't cook them properly and they will upset his tummy. Can you offer any tips for preparation so that baby doesn't end up too gassy? (I know canned beans need to be rinsed, but not so sure about dried.)

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Unfortunately beans are just one of those foods that cause a bit of gas, but you could try pureeing or mashing them for your baby. This recipe is super easy for making fresh black beans: http://b12.ba4.myftpupload.com/2010/03/04/black-beans/ I keep them in the fridge for my daughter at all times b/c she loves beans as a snack, for breakfast, whenever!

      leave a comment

  • Julie

    I don't have a crock pot. Is it the same as a slow cooker? Do you have any advice on brands/features to look for? Thanks.

    leave a comment

    • Christa

      crock-pot is the rival brand of a slow cooker.

      leave a comment

    • Catherine

      yes, slow cook and crock pot is the same thing.

      leave a comment

  • Jessica

    Another great one! Thanks so much!

    leave a comment

  • Dawn

    I have never had homemade baked beans. can't wait to try them!!!

    leave a comment

  • Liz

    This looks great! I cant't wait to try it, it's been so long since i've had homemade baked beans.

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  • Healthy Mom

    I can't wait to try this recipe! My 17 month old is fairly picky, but he seems to like stews and anything sweet. This may just be the perfect combination!

    leave a comment

  • Karen

    I have been cooking these in my dutch oven on the stove top on low for 11 hours now and the beans are still very hard. Did I miss something? The sauce tastes good but the beans are crunchy.

    leave a comment

    • Elizabeth

      I thought it was common knowledge that you are not supposed to cook beans with salt because it is the salt that prevents them from totally cooking, e.g., staying \"crunchy\". I will try again and add the salt at the end or presoak?

      leave a comment

    • Anna

      Mine are still crunchy too. And they are not old... I bought them yesterday. I hope they are ready in 4 hours for dinner tonight. I've turned them up to high to see if that helps. I am wondering if I bought the wrong kind of bean. They didn't have anything called a \"white bean\" at the store. I got \"Great Northern Beans\" that google said was in the \"white bean\" family. I am wondering if they are bigger than the ones Catherine used.

      leave a comment

    • Kevin

      You didn't miss anything Karen, I am sure you figured out.


      These really need to be pre-soaked.


      I didn't think about it til after I dumped everything in, then a light bulb went off: \"Wait- I didn't soak the beans, what was I thinking?\" I just blindly went along with the recipe. That was a mistake. I had these going for 10 hours on slow cook, with a couple hours extra after and the beans were still tough. I tossed the batch out, and will be re-making another time, with soaked beans. (The sauce was tasty, btw.)

      leave a comment

  • Raquel

    I also used the great northern beans and it took a lot longer, but eventually they turned out great. My 10 month old loved these beans!

    leave a comment

  • Laura Degnan

    Whole foods only had navy beans. Will these work Catherine?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Yes but depending on how big they are , you may need to soak them. I used small white beans

      leave a comment

  • Larissa

    Great recipe! You've done it again! Mine turned out really yummy and only took about 8 hrs before the beans were soft. I read all the previous posts about beans still crunchy and was a bit worried, but I used white pea beans and they're terrific!

    leave a comment

  • Dana

    I used small white beans from the bulk bin and they turned out just fine without presoaking.

    leave a comment

  • Karen

    When I try these again I will soak them first - any tips on soaking beans? I have never done this before. ie - how long? do I add anything to the water? heat at all? Thanks!

    leave a comment

  • Shannon

    Had to throw out the batch I made, hard and dry...and I quick soaked the beans beforehand. Used Great Northerns from Whole Foods. I literally cooked them for almost 24 hours in the slow cooker, and they never got soft...ugh! The sauce was tasty, though. Maybe will use canned next time. Oh well!

    leave a comment

    • Howard

      This has been a specialty for dirtees. I first saw this idea from Weight Watchers. The diet soda works well; the only drawback is the cake doesn't rise as well as using the oil and eggs. But if it fits into your plan, you don't feel deprived from having some cake

      leave a comment

  • Anna Bee

    I find the differing results so ODD. I also used Great Northern beans (small white beans) pre-soaked for 4 hours, and they turned out GREAT.

    In the past I've made baked beans (again, Great Northern) in the crock pot WITHOUT soaking, and it turned out fine that way too, though I think it took a little longer for them to soften. Because of comments here, I thought I'd soak this time just to be safe. I have to say though, I think the beans are better with a pre-soak.

    Thank you for a wonderful recipe - so tasty!! :)

    leave a comment

  • Stephanie

    I used great northern beans (without soaking) and they never got soft. They ended up hard and dried. I definitely recommend soaking first. Next time I will try the white pea beans!!

    leave a comment

  • Karen

    I've read from several sources that pre-soaking beans is better for digestion. It decreases the phytic acid in the beans that prevents you from absorbing all the nutrients properly. It also helps with eliminating some of the stuff that causes gas when you eat beans. I haven't made this recipe yet, but whenever I cook dried beans I always soak them overnight first.

    leave a comment

  • Julie

    I used small white beans and soaked them overnight after reading the other reviews. They were super soft after about 8 hrs in the crock pot. I served them over rice and my toddler devoured them. I did not have dijon mustard on hand, so didn't add any, but it was still delicious.

    leave a comment

  • Sara

    I am cooking these right now and they are ocmpletely crunchy after cooking for 6 hours on low. I have turned up to high to see if that makes a difference. I have heard that cooking beans in tomato products will keep them from cooking properly. Wonder if that could be it?!? I thought about not adding the tomato paste until the end but decided to go ahead and follow the recipe.

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      I'm so sorry, but your beans might have been bigger. I used small white beans. Next time, if your beans are on the medium to large size, you should cook them overnight. Also, tomato paste does not effect the cooking :)

      leave a comment

  • Kim Gravel

    This might be a silly question, but what would you serve this with? I'm really looking forward to trying this recipe this week!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      You can serve this with corn on the cob, or even bbq chicken! This recipe can go with anything! Great for bbqs!

      leave a comment

  • Amy

    Okay, I made these last night and they turned out really tasty, but they took way longer than 8 hours on low. After 8 hours they were still very 'soupy'. I put them on for another 3 hours on low and then they were in the crock pot on 'warm' all night and this morning they looked more like baked beans. I soaked the beans before.

    leave a comment

  • Threya

    in case it helps anyone, navy beans (goya brand) worked perfectly for us. no soaking needed.

    leave a comment

  • Anna K

    I made these on memorial day & they were a hit with my 21 month old. They were, however, even tastier the next day! (btw - i soaked the beans overnight & the beans took a full 8 hours to cook to tenderness)

    leave a comment

  • Kristi

    I made these last night and I am thankful I read the reviews!! I used dry organic navy beans and after 12hrs cooking on low the beans were still HARD. I even added 2 extra cups of water--just incase. This morning I added another 3-3 1/2 cups of water and cooked them on high for another 7hrs and they are almost done. I'm so glad I planned ahead and started these last night!!

    I also added bacon and this morning some extra maple syrup. So dispite the crunchy beans the flavor is still really good!

    leave a comment

    • Kristi

      I also doubled the recipe, but exactly doubled it. So that is why my cooking time is so much longer, but even still 19hrs for beans??

      leave a comment

  • Erin

    I have made these twice! The first time I used small white beans and didn't pre-soak at all. The second time I could only find larger white beans so I did soak them overnight. The sauce does look a little soupy in the slow cooker but it thickens up a little as it cools down. Both times the recipe was so easy and the beans were delicious!

    leave a comment

    • Khamkhoun

      Ok Kirsh .I've been waiting all day for the fnstoirg recipe .I bought the cake mix and the yogurt this morning. Haha I fulled up facebook while at the grocery store this morning in hopes that you posted the recipe. I wont frost these until I hear from you

      leave a comment

  • Heather

    I made these with pinto beans and served them over brown rice. My kids surprised me by eating everything! We had no leftovers. The only thing I will do differently next time is double the recipe. ;-)

    leave a comment

  • Janelle Weems

    i made these (i let them soak overnight) and they were delicious!! making again this saturday for a
    lil fam bbq =)

    leave a comment

  • Zow

    I'm making these now, having soaked them overnight (10+ hrs). While they smell amazing, I can report like some of the other commenters that the beans are still very hard after 6 hours of cooking. I've changed my crockpot setting to High and am hoping for the best. :)

    leave a comment

  • Holly

    I am making these right now for a BBQ tomorrow. I did soak them overnight and other than adding honey (didn't have maple syrup) and spicy brown mustard (didnt have Dijon) I followed this recipe. Oh, and too lazy to saute onions so added them raw!I will report back when they are done, they smell amazing already!

    leave a comment

  • Lyndsey

    I have found that when I try to cook beans from hard in stuff such as making baked beans in the crock pot, they never cook for whatever reason - the sugar, not enough water, etc. Likely it is because there is not enough water as when I cook hard beans in a crock pot I have to fill it most of the way with water to get them to cook properly. So I cook my beans ahead of time and then slash the time it takes for the recipe to cook in the crock pot.

    leave a comment

  • Jaci

    Whenever I make any baked beans in the crockpot, I always cook them most of the way before making them \"baked beans.\" For example, right now I have a batch of great northern beans in the slow cooker, just water, salt, and pepper. They'll cook about 8 hours until they are just a little crunchy, almost done, then I'll drain them (keep the water/sauce in case they start to dry out later) and add all of the other ingredients. Then I cook them until the sauce thickens and the beans are the right texture. could be anywhere from 3-6 more hours. just depends on the batch of beans. if they start to get too dry before the beans soften, add some of the water you drained out before. Also, white beans take longer to cook than say, pinto beans. So if you don't want to spend as much time, try pintos instead. They still taste good and will save a few hours.

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    • Cynthia

      Jack, when you cook the baked beans for 8 hours before adding other ingredients is it on low? I have had problems in the past with hard beans, I will try your method. Thanks

      leave a comment

  • Jaci

    Also, I have found that if you cook baked beans too long the sugars will cause the beans to start hardening up again, not crunchy but dry and too firm. Checking on them every couple hours can save that problem.

    leave a comment

  • Melanie

    Will black beans work for this recipe?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Yes! You could even follow this soup recipe and just don't puree them! http://b12.ba4.myftpupload.com/2011/01/10/crock-pot-black-bean-soup/

      leave a comment

  • Deborah

    Can vegetable broth be replaced with plain boiling water?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Yes, but the beans will be less flavorful!

      leave a comment

  • Easter Leftover Ham Boston Baked Beans The Days Are long, But The Years Are Short...

    […] following these instructions, this is how you get started on the baked beans.  I originally found this recipe, but after reading so many disheartening comments, I ended up changing it all around! […]

    leave a comment

  • Easter Leftover Ham Boston Baked Beans All The Little Reasons

    […] following these instructions, this is how you get started on the baked beans.  I originally found this recipe, but after reading so many disheartening comments, I ended up changing it all around! […]

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  • Lisa

    I made your Mexican bean and corn soup last week and used the vegetable broth for it so I don't have any on hand. Will chicken or beef broth work?

    leave a comment

    • McCord

      Yep, either of those will work!

      leave a comment

  • LB

    Hi Catherine, I am a big fan of weelicious.. like other reviews I have made slow cooker baked beans several times and had to throw them out because they never softened. I want to make these for a party and don't want to risk them being not done. Can you tell me about how many cans of white beans would be the equivalent of a 16 oz bad of dried, and would I follow the rest of the recipe the same? Thanks!!

    leave a comment

    • McCord

      The beans soak up so much liquid so without testing the recipe with canned beans I don't feel I can give you an accurate recipe. You would be using less liquid since the canned beans are already cooked. 16 ounces of dried beans is about 4 cups of beans once they are cooked.

      leave a comment