Baked Beans seem to vary depending on the region. I grew up with New England style baked beans that had a strong molasses flavor to them. Here in the south, baked beans tend to have a barbecue taste to them. Before I learned how to make beans from scratch, we would take a can of Gramma Brown’s baked beans and doctor them up with brown sugar and butter. These were a big hit with the family and that became the inspiration for these crock-pot baked beans.
I like that I can cook up 2 pounds of beans at once which is great if I’m feeding a crowd or want to freeze portions for busy nights when I don’t have much time to cook dinner. Using dry beans is really economical as well. These definitely take time to make – you don’t actually have to do much in that time, but just for planning purposes, it’s a 2 day process.
Start by soaking the dry beans overnight in the crockpot. Place 2 pounds of rinsed dry navy or great northern beans (or your favorite bean) in the crock pot and fill with water. I never measure the water, but I’d say you want about twice as much water as beans.
In the morning, drain off the soaking water. The beans will increase in size quite a bit, having absorbed some of the soaking water. Add fresh water to about 1/2 inch over the top of the beans. If you put too much water in, the beans will be soupy, not enough and they’ll dry out and be hard. I find that if the water just covers the beans and then add another 1/2 inch, that’s about perfect.
Add 1 cup of brown sugar. If you like them extra sweet, add another 1/2 cup or so. 1 cup sounds like a lot, but the beans really do not come out that sweet. If I’m out of brown sugar, I throw in maple syrup instead. If you prefer a molasses flavor, add some molasses instead. Brown sugar is definitely our favorite, but this recipe can easily be tweaked if you prefer a different sweetener.
Let these cook on Low for at least 12 hours. I put them on early in the morning and turn them off just before bed. Leave the beans in the crockpot over night after you turn the heat off. You could cook them on High for a shorter time as well. I just usually cook them on Low because the timing works well for me.
In the morning, stir in 1 stick of butter and a tablespoon of salt.
Put the crockpot on Low or Warm and leave them all day. The beans will be ready to eat for dinner. This second day you are only warming them up, so they don’t need to cook all day, but it is convenient if you are at work or away from the house for the day. I usually serve them for dinner on this 2nd day of cooking, then freeze the leftovers for another night.
- 2 pound bag of dry beans (navy or great northern)
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- Rinse the beans and place in the crock pot.
- Fill the pot with water. Cover and leave to soak overnight.
- In the morning, drain the soaking water.
- Add fresh water to cover the beans plus ½ inch.
- Add 1 cup (or more) of brown sugar.
- Cook on low at least 12 hours. (or high for 6-8)
- Turn off heat and leave overnight.
- In the morning, stir in the butter and salt.
- Turn the crock pot back on warm if leaving all day/long time or low if you want to heat them up in just a few hours.
- Serve warm. Freeze or refrigerate leftovers.