Homemade Baked Beans from Scratch
Serves 8 to 10
Canned baked beans simply cannot compare to homemade. They are so easy to make, especially in a slow cooker. An alternate cooking method is to cook in a very slow oven. You can also combine methods and cook until tender in the cooker, then bake in the oven for a short time, which is what I do most often. If you do not have a slow cooker or need the beans ready in less time, they can be cooked on the stovetop over very low heat. This recipe, which came from my mother, calls for navy or great northern beans. For something a bit different, try using large dried lima beans. That was my father's favorite and I enjoy that version on occasion.
Baked beans from scratch take a long time to cook, but prep time is very quick and the beans need little or no attention as they cook. However, if you prefer to use canned beans, there are alternate choices listed in the similar and related recipes that are equally good.
- 6 strips of bacon
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
- 4 cups dried navy, great northern or large lima beans
- 8 cups water
- 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a slow cooker set on medium heat, fry bacon until slightly crisp. Remove from pan and break into 2-inch pieces. Sauté the onions and green peppers in the bacon grease until tender. (If your slow cooker pot cannot be used on the stove top, do the bacon, as well as the onions and peppers, in a skillet, then transfer to the slow cooker and continue with the recipe.)
Add beans, water, bacon pieces and remaining ingredients to the pot. Stir well to combine. Taste the broth for seasoning, keeping in mind that the flavors will intensify as the beans cook. Cook according to the directions for your slow cooker or until beans are tender and broth has thickened, about 8 hours. (The beans can be made ahead, refrigerated for several days, then reheated in the cooker, on top of the stove or in the oven.)
Notes: The amount of corn syrup and brown sugar depends on your taste for sweetness. Usually, I use less. Mom always added more ketchup. Be careful not to use too much cinnamon. You can always add more later. This recipe can be halved, but make certain the amount is appropriate for the size of your slow cooker.