CrockPot Boston Baked Beans Recipe

How to make Boston Baked Beans in the crockpot slow cooker. Brown sugar, kidney beans, onions, sausage, molasses -- great for a backyard party side dish.
Day 272.

These are very good beans. Our family always has an 8-pack of Bush's Baked Beans on the shelf in the garage. We buy them in bulk at Costco, and they are a go-to for an easy snack or lunch for the kids (and me!). Because I like them so much, I never really played around with making a Baked Bean anything of my own.

Until Friday. We brought these beans to a PTA potluck, and everyone who tried them commented on how good they were.

I'm going to make another batch today for lunch, because we weren't able to eat as much as we would have liked.

The Ingredients.

This is enough food to feed 8-10 as a side dish. Next time I will make more.

--3 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
--2 medium onions, chopped finely, or 2 T dried minced onion (I used dried, because I didn't want to get to the store. I wish I had been able to get fresh)
--1/2 cup brown sugar
--1/4 cup molasses
--1/3 cup ketchup
--1 tsp salt
--1 1/2 tsp dried mustard
--1/4 tsp black pepper
--1/2 pound of bacon, or equivalent. I used chicken and apple sausage.

The Directions.

I used a 4 quart crockpot, but this will fit in as small as a 1.5 quart.

Drain and rinse your beans, and add them to the crockpot. Add onion and brown sugar. Pour in the molasses and ketchup. Add spices. Stir to combine.

Lay slices of uncooked bacon over the top of the beans, or slice chicken and apple sausage and lay it over the top.

Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours, or high for about 4. I think you would discard the bacon after cooking, but I kept the chicken and apple sausage and mixed it in.

Our beans ended up being cooked on low for 6 hours, and then were on warm for another 3. They tasted great, but got a bit more dried out than I would have liked. I think if I had used bacon, they wouldn't have---the bacon would have created more juice. Using fresh onion would have helped, too.

The Verdict.

Very tasty.
This is a keeper. We'll make this often. The flavors were much richer than canned beans. If I was going to use dried beans, I'd probably use pinto or a white bean, after learning about that freaky kidney bean toxin.

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at September 28, 2008

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What they say about this article

  1. Anonymous9/28/2008

    Stephanie, I have eaten dried kidney beans that have been cooked in the crockpot my entire life (I'm 40 years old and I remember my mom getting her first crockpot when I was about 5 years old) and I've never (nor has anyone around me) ever gotten sick from it. From the article that you posted, I would suspect that it is probably a type of bacteria or something that is only common to the UK, as they stated that there has not been any reported cases in the US. BUT, if you don't feel comfortable, then follow your instincts, but I wanted to share with you that we cook/eat kidney beans (from dried beans) in the crockpot on a regular basis and none of my family (immediate or extended) has ever gotten sick from them.

  2. Thank you, Lori, I really appreciate you writing in. When I made bbq beans and weenies, I got dozens of emails telling me of this toxin, which I had never heard of.

    There is some information posted on Whole Food's website, too. I have no idea what is "real" or Internet hype, but I'd hate anyone to get sick. And we always have canned kidneys on hand, anyhow. :-)


  3. Anonymous9/28/2008

    hey steph, i have an important question. every time i cook something in my crockpot i start it at night before i get in bed (usually around midnight) and wake up around the time it needs to be turned off and put it on warm the entire time im at work which is usually 10-12 hrs. is this not good to do? will it overcook my food? also, as a sidenote, im FINALLY making the indian curry from RR today and i have frozen chicken tenders to use so i suppose i will have to cut the chicken into pieces after its on my plate (lol) but should i still go with the 6 hrs on high? i think chk tndrs wld be smaller than what u had used but u didnt specify if urs were frozen. thanks! i'm on ur blog everyday since RR still.

  4. Hi Heather,

    I think you're right, in that the chicken tenders will cook faster. I'd check it after 3 hours on high, and adjust from there. If you need to set it to leave, set it for 4 hours on high, then let it stay on warm. There is enough liquid in the pot that it will be okay.

    LOL on the warm all day at work! I've never done that, but it sounds like it's been working for you. I don't really know if the food is actually still cooking, or if it's just hot enough to cook away some of the moisture. You know your crockpot the best. I have one that I wouldn't think twice of leaving on warm all day, but I have 2 others that I wouldn't trust.

    this is kind of reading like I have a personal relationship with my crockpots.... I need to get out more. :-)


  5. Anonymous9/28/2008

    I hadn't heard of that toxin before. Thanks, Steph, for making me a little smarter. Or maybe now I know just enough to be dangerous. Hmmm. Anyway, do canned kidney beans count as potential toxins? Or is it just the dried and soaked versions? I have always eaten canned kidney beans, cold, off the salad bar, in my salads. Never recall getting sick from them but then I wouldn't have connected the two things most likely.

  6. boston baked beans aren't only little boxes of candy at the dime store?


    these sound tasty too:)

  7. What great timing! Just this morning I was thinking about trying baked beans in the crock, since - like you - I always have them on hand as a quick meal or snack option. I'll try it with pea beans. I used to be able to buy homemade baked beans made with pea beans, and mmmmm were they ever good.

    I've been using my crockpot more and more often lately, but this weekend has been a record-breaker: friday I cooked sweet italian sausage with carrots, Saturday I cooked garlic & parmesan sausage with potatoes, right now there's eggplant parmagiana cooking, tonight I'll make overnight grits, and tomorrow I'll be making my first crockpot pork roast! I'll have to check your list for pork recipes later :)
    The funny thing is, I did NOT plan any of this. The crockpot is just becoming my go-to tool for hot meal preparation.


  8. This sounds really, really good.

    Thank you for another great recipe to try.......and for the info on the bean toxin......who knew!

  9. Hey Steph,
    So if someone were going to use dried beans, how would you alter this recipe? How much dried beans, how much water and how long would you cook it? I know it's all guesstimation but since dried beans are so cheap I'd like to give it a try.


  10. OH! And I have one more question....I have a pot roast in the freezer and was looking to do something different than usual...any favorite recipes you've tried for pot roast?

  11. Yet again you have impeccable timing. Can you read my mind? We're having burgers and baked beans in the next week and I want to make homemade baked beans cause we have everything on hand.

    I'd like to try your bbq beans and weenies but am "allergic" to hot dogs now. :-(

  12. Anonymous9/28/2008

    From the article it looks like you would only need to worry about dried and soaked beans. If you are really worried, you could do the overnite soak, and then microwave the soaked beans in water until they are heated and then add to the crockpot. On the other hand - I was raised on the dried beans and I'm probably not going to worry.

  13. Had to come back for another comment...I just found the pork recipe jackpot!

    This seems to be my lucky day. Do you think it extends beyond crocking? Should I go into town and buy a lottery ticket? ;)

  14. I've never tried baked beans made with kidney beans!! WOOHOO....sounds great-Thanx :)

  15. Anonymous9/28/2008

    Another good thing in beans is to throw in a small can of crushed pineapple. It sweetens them nicely and it almost disappears. It gets that I-don't-know-what-that-flavor-is-but-I-like-it kind of response.

  16. Anonymous9/28/2008

    Thanks for the Boston Baked Bean recipe -- I have it cooking as I write this.

    Regarding crockpots: I have tried almost all other models and finally have a combination that works great for me: A Hamilton Beach 3 In 1. I has three bowls that stack inside each other, a 2, 4 and 6 quart.

    The base has three buttons so you can choose the right heat for each bowl. The lid is a glass lid with a steam release hole that I put a digital thermometer in to test if the chicken breast is done or not. You can use an instant digital thermometer or (like I do) use the probe from a digital oven thermometer. It works great for me and never a dried out chicken breast. I got mine at Amazon for $50 which is a bargain to get three sizes!! And they all work really well and storage is no problem.

    Thanks for your website.

  17. I don't normally comment twice on one post, but I also have the Hamilton Beach 3-in-1 slow cooker too and I love it. In fact I have cube steaks in it right now. I found mine on clearance at K-Mart in July for 28.00 bucks. No way I would pay $60.00 like they wanted at Wal-Mart at the time. Just a word of caution though if anything oily spills on the front it will rub the writing off. Luckily I use mine three times a week usually so I have the temperatures memorized.

  18. Anonymous9/28/2008

    I've never tried makin my own baked beans before... and I'm a little ashamed to say that cuz baked beans are so damn good!these beans look delicious!!! and that kidney bean toxin scares me now. I just bought a can today and had some for dinner a few nights ago :/

  19. Anonymous9/28/2008

    wow. wow. wow.
    I haven't checked back here on your blog in a while and I am in AWE of you... 271 days! phew!
    Keep on crocking!

  20. do I have to cook the bacon before laying it on top?

  21. Hi Kirsten,

    nope! throw it on top uncooked. I think I'd discard it when the cooking time is done. Or I guess you could brown it on the stovetop?
    I'm not sure.


  22. Anonymous9/28/2008

    hi Steph. my indian chicken curry turned out amazing!!! the chicken was so good it was falling apart and i shredded it with a fork and it was just perfect. the flavors were perfect and i took some to a friend who was really impressed too. thank you soooo much :) will definitely be making again. now if only i could find a recipe for the makhani i order at the indian restaurant..... ;)

  23. Anonymous9/28/2008

    Stephanie, I always do my baked beans in the crockpot! Mine are similar to yours, except I use linguisa and add frozen bell pepper slices. Thank you also for the info about the kidney beans. I've never heard of that.

  24. Anonymous9/29/2008

    hi, I think this may be my first comment even though I have been cooking along with you since the beginning! Just wanted to say that I always especially appreciate the many recipes where you give scratch (or more or less) scratch ingredients. It's hard to replicate your results for us non-USA types sometimes, because we have no equivalent to the barbecue sauce that you have there, for example (I'm pretty sure the condiment we call bbq sauce would be revolting in a bowl). anyway love your blog and thanks for the inspiration day after day.

  25. Anonymous9/29/2008

    I read about the kidney bean toxin and was not sure it was real or an internet spoof, so I checked it out on the FDA web site. It is real. Here is the FDA link:

    You may have to copy the link and paste it to your browser to get it to work.

  26. Whoa...I had never heard of that toxin before! Yikes.

  27. Yes, the toxin is real, as shown on the US FDA Website.

    That said, I've been making crock-pot baked beanies-and-weenies for a while, either using hot dogs or keilbasa. It's delicious with chunks of canned pineapple added.

  28. I used to make baked beans in my crockpot with navy beans and/or great northern. Now that we're (a little) older, I think I'd need to serve it with Beano!

  29. I made a big pot of Italian Chili with kidney beans yesterday. I left it on high by mistake & the temp went well over 190 degrees F.

  30. I made these tonight for supper. Yummmmmm. You're totally right, though Stephanie, these should be made in a double batch. We ate them all in one sitting, and I would like leftovers. Thanks for the great recipe!

  31. Anonymous10/08/2008

    Hey! I made these tonite. The recipe is almost identical to the one my Grandma was famous for in her day. (But she baked them in the oven.) I used canned butter beans (cuz that's what she used) and not the full amount of bacon--just enough to lay across the top. And they were fantastic! I will make these again. Thanks, Stephanie!


  32. Wow, I just discovered your site from a link from Cheap Healthy Good, and I'm in heaven (just in time for winter).

    I used to do kidney beans in the crock until I read about the toxin. Now I still buy them dried, but I use a pressure cooker. Pressure cooker, so I've read, ALWAYS gets hot enough to kill the toxin.

  33. I made this for my DD's 3rd birthday party on 11/8 and they were a HUGE hit - hardly any left. My IL's loved them so much that I am making them again right now for my DS's and my b-day dinner 11/13 and I am sure my other DS will want them for his b-day dinner on 11/28!! We have a very full November. Thanks for the great recipe and the huge hit with my family!! My friend is even making them for a cook-off at her husband's job. I didn't use bacon but I did use the al fresco GF brand chicken sausage.

  34. Anonymous1/20/2009

    The flavor on this is fantastic! I wanted to give you feedback on the bacon though, which we took out of the crockpot, cut it up into bite-size pieces and mixed it into the beans. It was wonderful! Also, instead of three kidney beans, we used one of each: garbanzo, white kidney, red kidney and pinto. Thanks for another great recipe!

  35. yum! i knew you'd have a good recipe for baked beans. :) made this in my 6 qt crock, doubled the recipe, and used dried navy beans (did the quick soak method). i used bacon, chopped up and mixed in. based on comments, i also added in some of the bean juice - and the only change i'd make next time around would be to add a bit more of the bean juice (cooking liquid), since my crock seems to run hot even on low.

    hubby deemed them super tasty, and we'll see what the gang thinks at lunch today!

  36. Anonymous7/12/2009

    I made this Saturday night. I had one onion, so used that and 1 T of the dried onion. I'm also the sneaky sort and I know my guys only eat vegetables when I serve them so I also put in celery (it was fine, but next time I'll use zucchini instead) and red bell pepper. I also added a dash of liquid smoke. I had no bacon, so I tossed in a frozen pack of (fully cooked) garlic chicken with cheese sausage. I had plenty of liquid and even had to thicken things up a bit. We had leftovers, and the beans tasted even better today!

    Another winner!


  37. I know this recipe is not new anymore, but I wanted to add that I just stir the bacon into the beans at the end. I find that it's fallen apart enough that it just kind of disappears into the beans and is very yummy! I don't use the full half pound of bacon, FYI.