Try Something New: Baked Beans

Sweet and smoky baked beans.

You’ll probably end up seeing a lot about beans in this “Try Something New” column. For years, beans managed to elude me, leaving me with giant pots filled with tough pellets or overcooked mush. But now that I actually know a little something about cooking, it’s my goal to figure out how to make all different kinds of beans.

Why beans? Well, they’re a good source of protein, and as someone who doesn’t eat a ton of meat, I need my protein from as many sources as possible. They’re also cheap, and one batch often lasts through two or three meals. Can’t beat that.

One night, I decided that I’d make baked beans for the next day’s dinner. The trick was that it had to be a slow cooker recipe (I had an offsite meeting that day, so I couldn’t tend to a stovetop recipe), and it couldn’t require molasses (I had none, and the closest supermarket was closed for the night). I stumbled across this one on, made minor modifications¬†and loved it.


  • 1 bag small white beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
  • 1 package bacon (or ham hock, but I don’t have those hanging around)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp spicy brown mustard


Drain and rinse the soaked beans. Add to the crock pot. Add onion, syrup, brown sugar, salt, water and bacon. Stir to combine. You’ll be convinced that there isn’t enough liquid. Trust me on this: there is.

Set the slow cooker on low for 8-10 hours. If possible, stir midway through.

During the final hour of cooking, add the ketchup and mustard and stir to combine.

Serve as a meal unto itself or as a side dish with grilled meat.


Everyone agreed that the recipe was a hit, although my husband thinks that it might actually be too sweet. I’ll consider scaling back the sugar for the next attempt.

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2 Responses

  1. Janet says:

    Do you slice up or cook the bacon before you add it to the crockpot? thanks!

  2. Alisa says:

    Neither. I use it for flavor like a bay leaf. When I serve the beans, I just make sure there aren’t any limp bacon strips on the plate.

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