A favorite in both the US and the UK, baked beans are a great side dish for many meals. They are sweet, tangy, and loaded with plenty of protein. They work great as a side to a burger, or a topping for other dishes like sweet potatoes. Today, most of us are probably familiar with canned baked beans, but traditionally they were slow cooked in a ceramic or cast-iron beanpot. Since most of us probably don’t have a beanpot laying around, we were wondering if there was a way to make this great side using a slow cooker.
The trick to getting this dish perfect was not only to nail the consistency, but to get that deep, tangy yet sweet flavor. For the consistency, the trick was right in the ingredients. If you were to take the beans and slow cook them unseasoned for a long time, they would end up mushy. What stops this recipe from turning into a big puddle of mush? It turns out it’s the sugar and molasses. The calcium from the molasses as well as the sugar both harden the beans, allowing you to cook them for a long time without risking them turning mushy. to get the flavor right, we also added some garlic, onions, mustard, and of course bacon to perfect the baked beans recipe. Keep reading below to read how we made this fantastic side!
Slow Cooker Baked Beans
(makes about 4 servings)
- 1lb dry white beans
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 6oz can tomato paste
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2lb salt pork cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Place the beans in a large pot and cover with 2″ of water. Soak overnight and drain.
- Mix the molasses, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and cloves with the tomato paste, chicken broth, and hot water.
- Line the bottom of the slow cooker with half the salt pork (choose the fattiest pieces). Layer over it with half of the dried beans. Add all of the onions and garlic in a layer, then top with the remaining beans and remaining salt pork. Pour the water/tomato sauce mixture over the beans.
- Cover and cook in the slow cooker on low for 8-12 hours, or until the beans are tender. Check the water level a few hours in. If the beans need more water, add some. Add salt to taste if needed.
Recipe adapted from Squawk Fox