You can get decent baked beans from a can, it’s true, but nothing really compares to the sweet nuanced flavors of the from-scratch home-cooked variety. These Amish Baked Beans are the latter – dried beans that are soaked overnight and then cooked low and slow throughout the day (with bacon!) until the sauce they’re simmering in imbues them with sweet caramelized flavor that’s second to none. Make ’em for your next potluck or make them just for your own family… whatever you do, make them! They’re utterly delicious.
Soaking your beans is largely to help with digestibility, but it’s really no trouble at all, you just need to plan ahead to let your beans soak overnight. In the morning, you simmer them until they’re tender, drain them and set them aside and then brown up some bacon and onions…
Once those are going, you add the beans back to the pot along with some ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, molasses, and apple cider vinegar. You’ll also want to add some of the cooking liquid back to the pot here, but you can use water if you don’t have enough. Then all you have to do is cover it up and let it bake.
The baking takes a while, but it’s well worth it. Check after three hours to make sure you still have enough liquid and if you happen to have too much, just slide the lid ajar a bit to give it a chance to reduce. A couple more hours in the oven and you’ll have perfectly tender beans swimming in a syrupy, smoky, sweet sauce that you’ll have a hard time not slurping up right out of the pot. These are baked beans done right!
Amish Baked Beans
Serves 6; 30 minutes prep, 5 hours cook time
- 1 lb dried navy beans
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 lb bacon, diced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Sort through dried beans and remove any stones or broken beans. Rinse under cold water, then place in a large bowl and cover with water by 2 inches. Cover bowl and allow beans to soak overnight.
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Drain beans and add to a large Dutch oven. Add 6 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and let cook until beans are just barely tender, about 30 minutes.
- Drain beans, but reserve cooking liquid and set aside.
- To the same Dutch oven, add onions and bacon. Cook over medium heat until onions have softened and bacon is lightly crisp.
- Add beans back to pot, along with molasses, brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, and apple cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add 3 cups reserved cooking liquid, or water if you don't have enough cooking liquid.
- Cover pot and bake 4-5 hours. Check occasionally to make sure enough liquid remains.
- After 3 hours, if there is too much liquid, adjust lid so steam can escape and continue baking for 1 hour.
- Season to taste and serve. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from My Homemade Roots.