Boston Baked Beans

baked beans

The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 3 hrs
Soak: 8 hrs
Total: 11 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 10 servings

Baked beans are smoky, sweet, flavorful beans coated in a thick, bacon-infused sauce. This recipe is super easy because it uses canned beans. Simply fry up the bacon and veggies, add in the beans and sauce ingredients and bake for a few hours. We also detailed how to make it in the slow cooker below. You can also make it with dried beans for a true, from scratch baked bean recipe. 

It’s the perfect recipe for all of your favorite summer potlucks, picnics, and barbecues. They can easily be made ahead of time and reheated. Serve them alongside macaroni and cheese, cornbread, and smoked ribs for a perfect backyard meal.


  • 4 slices Canadian bacon (diced)

  •  1/2 medium onion (diced) 

  • 1/2 green bell pepper (diced)

  •  3 (16 ounce) cans navy beans

  •  1/2 cup brown sugar

  •  2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 

  • 1 tablespoon ketchup

  •  2 teaspoons dijon mustard 

  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce

  •  1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  •  6 slices bacon 

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Preheat the oven to 325F.

  2. In a large cast iron skillet add the diced canadian bacon and heat on high heat, stirring occasionally until the bacon has browned.

  3. Add in the diced onion and bell peppers and saute on medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.

  4. Add in the navy beans with the liquid from the can included, brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce and garlic powder. Stir to combine the ingredients and cook on medium-low until the mixture is bubbling.

  5. Top the beans with the 6 slices of bacon and bake on the center rack of the oven for at least 2 hours, or up to 4.

  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes, and then serve. Be careful not to overstir.

    How to Store

    You can store the baked beans in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for 5 days. You can also place the cooled beans in a plastic storage bag and freeze for up to 6 months. When you are ready to eat you can defrost in the refrigerator overnight and then heat in a pot. Or you can simply take it out of the bag frozen, add a ¼ cup of water and heat until hot.

    Recipe Variations

    Dried Beans: To make this recipe with dried beans, simply soak 16 ounces of beans overnight in water. Drain and rinse the beans and then follow the recipe as directed, adding in 1 cup of water along with the soaked beans 

    Slow Cooker: Add all of the ingredients except for the bacon slices  to a crock pot and stir to combine. Top with the bacon slices. Cover and cook on high heat for 4 hours, or low heat for 8 hours. 

    Spicy: To make these beans spicy, simply dice a jalapeno and add it to the peppers and onions in the pan to saute. Continue making the recipe as directed.

    What Beans are in Baked Beans?

    You can use navy beans, great northern beans, or any other small white bean. Kidney beans can be used but they will have a slightly different texture and flavor.

    How Do I Make Baked Beans Thicker?

    • Baked beans can be made thicker by limiting the amount of liquid added and the amount of sugar. There needs to be enough sugar to make the sauce thick. Using the liquid from the can is the perfect amount of liquid to make a nice sauce. However if you want to make more sauce you can add in a little water. 
    • You can keep them from becoming mushy by not stirring them. They do not need to be stirred once they are hot. Also be careful not to cook them for too long.