Sign up for A Family Feast emails and receive our FREE eBook with our Top 25 Recipes of All Time! Click Here

Boston Baked Beans

Boston Baked Beans - A Family Feast

Today we’re sharing our own ‘secret family recipe’ for Boston Baked Beans!  This is a recipe that Jack has perfected over the years and it’s so much better than any canned baked beans you can buy.

Boston baked beans are another one of those dishes that I never really liked – until I ate Jack’s recipe.  Growing up, we had canned baked beans on occasion, and I just never understood what the fuss was all about!

But Jack’s Boston baked beans are tender and delicious – and the sauce is rich and sweet thanks to a combination of salt pork, onion, molasses, brown sugar, and maple syrup.  And the sauce gets an even more amazing depth of flavor from Dijon mustard, ketchup, Colman’s dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce and a hint of vinegar.

Boston Baked Beans - A Family Feast

These Boston baked beans take some time to cook – first to soak the dry beans and then to bake – but it’s actually a very easy dish to make!   Boston baked beans go great with a fish cakes and coleslaw dinner, or franks and Boston Brown Bread – a dark, slightly sweet bread with or without raisins.

If you’ve never had Boston brown bread before, you can sometimes find it in the grocery store along with the canned baked beans.  Brown bread is cooked by steam in a can, and cans of the bread can be found on the supermarket shelf right next to the cans of baked beans!   It’s another popular New England favorite!

Boston Baked Beans
 
Serves: 6-8 servings
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound dry navy beans
  • ½ pound salt pork, rind left on and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 cups onion, sliced thick
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Colman’s dry mustard
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 6 cups of water, divided
Instructions
  1. Soak beans overnight at room temperature in 2 quarts of water.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Drain and rinse beans.
  4. In a large Dutch oven over medium high heat, cook salt pork, turning occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until golden brown on all sides.
  5. Add all other ingredients except the water.
  6. Stir and add two cups of water.
  7. Place in the oven covered and cook for 90 minutes. Stir and add two more cups of water.
  8. Bake for 90 more minutes covered, stir and add one cup of water.
  9. Reduce oven to 275 degrees and bake for one hour covered.
  10. Stir, and if beans are not soft enough to the bite, add the last cup of water and continue cooking covered until they are tender - just make sure they don’t burn if the sauce is very thick.
  11. Serve with brown bread.

You may also like:

Cod Fish Cakes

Cod Fish Cakes - A Family Feast

Wicked Pickles

Wicked Pickles - A Family Feast

Perfect Pork Chops

Perfect Pork Chop - A Family Feast

Comments

    Leave a Comment

    *

    CommentLuv badge

  1. These look perfectly delicious.

  2. I’m just finding a beautiful array of recipes this morning on your gorgeous blog, Martha! I NEED a good baked bean recipe too! Now I have your coleslaw and baked beans…sounds like I’m getting ready for a picnic! :}
    Carol | a cup of mascarpone recently posted…banana-pumpkin breadMy Profile

    • Thanks (as always) for your compliments Carol! I hope you continue to enjoy our recipes! Have a great weekend!
      Martha

  3. I have been searching forever for good bean recipe. One question though…what is salt pork?? Can’t wait to give this a try!

    • Hi Stephanie – Here’s a link from our How-To page that talks about salt pork…http://www.afamilyfeast.com/how-to-dice-salt-pork/

      You can find it at most grocery stores in the meat section – likely near the pork. It looks like a small slab of bacon that has been cured in salt. It adds great flavor!

      I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we do! Please let me know if you have any other questions and thanks for visiting our site! Martha

      • Thank you so much! Showed the recipe to the hubster and he was drooling too. Got the ingredients on the shopping list. 🙂

  4. Martha,
    I am new to your site and am so looking forward to trying your recipes! The individual bowls you have pictured with this Boston Baked Bean recipe are beautiful. Any recommendation on where to purchase these?

    • Hi Katie! I bought those at Crate and Barrel – but I know that they went on clearance a few months ago and I don’t think they have them in stock anymore. I’m sad I didn’t buy more myself…they are great bowls! Thanks for visiting our site! Martha

  5. Ed Standish :

    Hi Martha, I love the looks of your recipe. I tried it and must have done something wrong because 10 hours later…..that is 10 hours after the I soaked the beans overnight. My beans were still hard like they were under cooked. What did I do wrong?

    • Hi Ed! Thanks for writing to us and we’re sorry you had problems with the recipe! Jack has made this exact recipe many times without issue. He said that the one time he experienced a similar issue was when he discovered that the beans he used were very old and out of code – is it possible that happened with the beans you used? If not – his only other suggestion would be to make sure that your oven, at low temperatures like the one used in this recipe, is accurate. (Sometimes ovens don’t hold the heat when set to low temps.) Again – we’re so sorry it didn’t work out for you – especially after putting so much time and effort into making the beans! Martha

      • I don’t give up that easy. I will try try again! The smell was out of this world. I will check date on new batch of beans. Have you ever tried to pre-boil the beans for lets say an hour or so before adding the sauce to give them a head start?

        • Hi Ed – We’re glad to hear that you’re willing to try the recipe again! A gentle pre-boil for a while certainly won’t hurt the recipe! Please let us know how the recipe comes out for you the second time! M-

  6. Ed Standish :

    Hi again. Well almost success. I cooked them for 50 minutes after they soaked over night. They were semi soft. I then went right into the recipe above. After which the texture was the exact. It was like they stopped getting tender. They are edible but a little crunchy. Not what I’m used to. Any ideas? The taste has a GREAT flavor. Just need to get the bean the right texture!

    • Oh geez Ed! Jack is now planning to make our recipe again here at home just to test it again! We both remember the day we photographed the recipe – the beans were definitely tender… We aren’t sure what the issue is. If we make any changes to the recipe we will be sure to let you know!! Thank you for letting us know!

  7. Thanks Martha, I have a little stubborn in me so I’m not giving up on this. I love the color of the beans and the flavor both is exactly what I’m looking for to go with my filipino crispy skin pork shoulder (Lechon) dish. I just need to get the texture of the beans right and I’m in business.

    • Ed – This is Jack. Martha and I take every comment to heart and want very much for you and everyone else to be pleased with our recipes. So when you unsuccessfully made this twice, I had to run through our recipe again to see if there was a mistake. To be honest, I was hoping to find a mistake to solve your mystery, but they came out perfectly.

      I made them this morning, soaking the beans yesterday. The beans soaked for about 12 hours. There is one thing though that I think I will change on our site – I did not mention to soak the beans at room temperature, that is assumed but maybe not to everyone so I will add that to the instructions today. If you soaked your beans in the refrigerator, that may contribute to the longer cooking time, but not ten hours.

      When I made this today, I had several other things cooking at the same time so I added an hour to the cooking time with the cover off to evaporate a little more water. Lastly, they should have a little bite to them and not be mushy like the stuff out of a can, so maybe it depends on what your expectations are for the finished texture.

      Hope this helps and good luck Ed! Jack

      • Thanks Jack for doing this for me. I do like a little softer texture so I simply cooked my beans first. Then used your recipe for the sauce adding just enough hot water at a time to keep the beans from drying out during bake time. Yummy! Your Sauce is so good.

        • Tina edwards :

          I had the same issue the first few times I tried making baked beans. Hard (as in not edible) or soft enough to eat but not quite right. So I did what I should have done from the start, asked my 98 year old Nana. We had hard water, which can make it hard for the beans to get tender. So for every pound of dried beans add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of baking soda to the soaking water. If you are using fresh water to cook them add the baking soda To that fresh water as well. I have never had issue once learning this trick. I realize this post is old but maybe it will help someone else along the way. 😀

  8. Could you do these in a crock pot after soaking the beans and browning the salt pork? How much water do you think? Thanks!

    • Hi Betty – We haven’t tried making this recipe in a crock pot so I’m sorry – we can’t give you any advice on how to adapt the recipe for that cooking method. I would imagine it will take a lot longer in a crock pot. But please let us know if you try it!

  9. Hi Martha and Jack!
    Loved this recipe – but I have a quick question. Do you take the lid off the beans while they’re in the oven? My sauce never got thickened and I needed to boil on the stove top for a few minutes to reduce down this liquid. It still tasted great but never got that beautiful caramelized color that your photos look like.
    Thanks for your recipes!

    • Hi Heather – We definitely kept the cover on during the baking process in the oven (and we’ve updated the recipe to specifically state that). Thank you for your question!

  10. Hi! I wanted to let you know that I made this recipe in the slow cooker and it was delicious! I used 5 cups of water, and cooked it on low for about 9 hours. I really enjoyed it!

  11. LOLOL…LISTEN,, THIS OLE ITALIAN LADY IS IN LOVE WITH THESE BEANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!THEY ARE FABULOUS……JUST FABULOUS……BELIEVE IT OR NOT….I ALSO SERVE THEM(TO MYSELF..LOLOL) OVER TOASTED DAY OLD ITALIAN BREAD…I SLICE THE BREAD ,GIVE IT A LITTLE BUTTER(GARLIC??) THEN TOAST IT AND SPREAD THESE BEANS ON IT AND WOW……I’VE DONE THIS FOR DINNER AND SERVED A SALAD AND YUMMMY…THANKS FOR THE RECIPE…….

  12. Hi, Martha.
    I have lived in Boston for 10 years and never attempt to make Boston Baked Beans.
    Well, I’m glad I did. Your recipe is fantastic!
    And super EASY!! I love dump-em-all recipe 🙂
    I read the recipe and go, “For real???”
    In fact, I felt guilty and added one step (just one lol) which is sauteing onion in bacon fat.
    Yes, I used bacon fat because I didn’t have salt pork in hand.
    I dumped cooked and chopped bacon.
    Also I had to omit dried mustard but still turned out DEVINE !!!
    I don’t have dutch oven so I used Deep Covered Dish
    by Pampered Chef and cooked in the oven.
    I am not a careful reader. I filled the pot as much water as it took for start.
    It took me 5-6 hours to get my preferred doneness which was totally fine to make
    just in time of the historical kick-off.
    I served it with Trader Joe’s corn bread. Heavenly…!!!
    Thank you, thank you for sharing this recipe!
    I definitely make it again! Soon!

    Keep warm and enjoy snow !

    P.S. I changed my cover photo of the appetizer board into your baked beans 🙂

    • Thank you so much Mihoko! We’re very glad you enjoyed the recipe – and this is perfect for a game day party! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to write to us today!

  13. Just made these and they are fabulous! I’ve never had success with home made baked beans, the texture is never right, but these were perfect. One thing I did different, which I’ve started doing with all my bean recipes, is soak them in the crock pot on low heat instead of room temperature soaking. I find the texture better, and the beans seem to hold their shape. Otherwise, I followed the directions exactly. Great recipe, thanks!

  14. Thank you for the Boston bean recipe,made these the other day and they are the best . Turned out exactly as discribed and they are pretty much gone,great recipe. I am trying your roast beef recipe Friday with your horseradish sauce, really happy to have found your site,Thank You again.