Slow Cooker Baked Beans - comfort food classic made easy in the slow cooker with dried beans (no cans!). Use a leftover ham bone or bacon for best flavor. This recipe is a family favorite!
We love serving these beans with grilled chicken, pulled pork and a side of coleslaw.
I can now officially say that I used every last bit of our Christmas ham. We enjoyed a hefty part of it for our holiday dinner, the leftovers got chopped and mixed in to make this delicious chowder and I even froze some for a breakfast casserole this weekend. The ham bone had a lot of meat on it and I knew I would use it to make something fantastic. What better dish than baked beans! In a slow cooker, because they are the best cooked slow.
If you are looking for real comfort food to warm up your soul - these baked beans are soft, rich in flavor thanks to the sweet and tangy sauce with chunks of meat or bacon. Pure comfort food!
- great Northern beans
- ham bone with meat OR thick-cut bacon
- brown sugar
- tomato sauce
- BBQ sauce
- salt, pepper
What if I don't have a ham bone?
If you don't have a ham bone, no worries! You can use bacon slices (the thick cut would be great!) or leftover pork roast chunks would work great too! I haven't tried it with raw meat so I can't say how would that affect the final dish. You need enough liquid for the beans to soak up but not too much because we are not making soup here.
How to make baked beans in a slow cooker?
- Start by soaking beans (most packages have directions).
- Add all ingredients to slow cooker, set timer to 4 hours (on HIGH setting) or 6 hours (on LOW setting).
- Stir beans and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Remove bone, take off the meat and stir it into beans.
What beans are best to make this dish?
For this recipe, I used one pound of dry great northern beans that were soaked. You can do that two ways (most packages have the instructions on them): overnight soak or quick soak. I have used both methods and had great results each time. To rapid soak the beans, simply place them in a large pot with enough water. Bring to boil and let cook for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover the pot. Let sit for 1 hr. Drain the beans and use in this recipe.
More slow cooker recipes:
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Slow Cooker Baked Beans
- 1 lb dry great northern or navy beans
- 1 medium onion chopped
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ⅓ cup molasses
- 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup BBQ sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2.5 cups water
- 2 lbs meaty ham bone
- Soak beans according to package directions.
- In a slow cooker, place beans, chopped onion, brown sugar, molasses, tomato sauce, ketchup, BBQ sauce, salt and pepper. Stir well. Add water and stir again.
- Add ham bone or bacon and stir.
- Set slow cooker on low and cook for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours.
- When done, stir the mixture and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes with lid slightly open.
- To freeze, cool beans completely, then place in Ziploc bags.
This post was originally published on December 30th, 2015 and updated on May 21st, 2019.
We have so many pound bags of dried beans we thought this a way to use them and indeed it is. We doubled it and can now freeze some ~~ if there are any leftovers after Memorial Day lol
Laura Clevenger says
Might be the best recipe I've ever made! Soaked the beans for almost 24 hours, drained them and put them in crockpot with the water, onion, ham bone and lots of ham bits. Cooked on high for 2 hours till the beans were soft. Mixed all the other ingredients in a measuring cup and added it to the pot... cooked for another 2 hours on high. Took out the ham bone, stripped off the remaining meat and added that back to the pot. That's really good... thanks for great recipe!
Hi Laura! I am so glad the recipe was a hit! Thank you so much for giving it a try and for your comment!
Anyone know how long to make this recipe in an Instant Pot?
Made these ahead of time and I'm really glad I did. The only thing I changed from this recipe was the soaking and cook times. Day 1 at 7 am I dumped 2 lbs of dry great northern beans in a pot of cold tap water and went to work. At 7 pm I drained the water off, warm water rinsed the beans for about 2 minutes and then started a 30 minute hot tap water soak while I got all the other ingredients together (including a ham bone with some meat from a few nights before) and prepped my crock pot (add 2 cups of boiling water and let sit about 20 minutes on high. Dump out the water and dry the hot crock pot. Spray with non stick spray) I dumped everything into the preheated crock pot and set on low and let it go overnight (about 12 to 13 hours). A little after 8 am the second morning, I dumped the cooked beans into a pan, pulled out the ham bone, covered the pan with foil and let sit at room temperature until we left for a small family gathering at 2 pm. Popped it into a steam table pan upon arrival and by 3 pm everyone wanted the recipe.
Next time you make these try adding 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of liquid smoke. It just gives it a slight campfire flavor. This recipe for is great!
Fantastic! I cooked the onion with a little lean bacon first, but followed everything otherwise. I did have a ham bone. I was really worried about only 2.5 cups of water (the bean bag indicated 6 cups), but it came out perfect. First time I've ever made beans. Wish I thought to make some corn bread before we were ready to eat (but there's lots of leftovers). Excellent!!
These taste amazing. I did notice (like other reviews) that the beans needed longer cooking time. I did mine on high for 7 hours. I added 1/4 teaspoon baking soda to the slow cooker with my beans. Also, I did not add the ketchup or tomato sauce until the last hour of cooking. (Once the beans were mostly tender)
I want to love these beans followed exactly but after six hours on low beans are still crunchy so now I put them on high. I guess we will see....I did soak the beans overnight
mine did the same. it was disappointing.
Jen Morgan says
My whole family loved this, and my kids are picky. They are used to having Campbell's pork n'beans. I used my leftover hambone and did not presoak, just used about 8 cups of water and the hambone in the crockpot low for 8 hours. No problem with the beans being crunchy at all. I drained them saving the broth. Put together the sauce in a pot: sauteeing the onion in butter first, adding salt, pepper, and then the rest of the ingredients. Brought to a simmer then stirred in the beans and ham. Totally excellent.
Fantastic! I am so glad the beans were a hit! Thank you, Jen!
This recipe worked perfectly for me. Quick soaked the navy beans and then slowcooked 6 hours on low temp.
The combination of ingredients resulted in an exceptional flavour.
I did not add the acid ingredients ( tomatoe based items) until the last 30 minutes as I always had issues with undercooked beans and I read recommendations that indicated not to cook beans with tomatoes and it works for me.
Thank you so much, Donnalee! I am so glad the beans were a hit!
The recipe is delicious. I used sausage as my meat and that works well too.
The only problem, like some others have noted, is the cook times listed. The first time I cooked with the instructions it took all day on low and weren’t ready in time. This time, I started it on high. 7 hours later on high = perfect!
SO delicious. I only had bacon, so used that with the fat trimmed off. This is a sweet recipe, which I didn't mind; I might play with less sugar and molasses next time though.
I used great northern beans, soaked overnight, and after 5 hours on high they were still very crunchy. The review saying she cooked it 12 hours probably would have been my experience too. Short on time, I threw it in the Instant Pot to finish and that worked great, because the crock pot had caramelized the sugars by 5 hours in, and the IP finished the rest.
I want to try again, but if I start it in the Instant Pot, the flavors won't caramelize the same way. Any advice, or do you have an Instant Pot baked bean recipe you like? Thanks for this tasty and simple recipe anyway!
What if I don't have molasses ? Any suggestions for a substitute ?
Hi Cheryl! You can use more BBQ sauce or brown sugar.
this recipe is perfect, exactly what I was looking for. Used navy beans, and a leftover ham bone. Used tomato paste instead of sauce, added a little extra water. It probably cooked for 12 hours and was absolutely perfect!
That's wonderful, Janet! Thank you so much!
Is it tomato paste or sauce, it’s unclear to me?
Pam Kohart says
I am going to try them this way because I like the idea of ham with beans. But when I was growing up, my mom always used thick cut bacon and lots of sweet onion chopped. That's what I do now when my family requests this dish for cookouts and such. But I have learned to double the amount of bacon. Why? Because there are always the people who walk by the dish on the table and pick the pieces of bacon out they see at the top! My daughter is the guilty party in our family. Instead of giving her the dickens, I just put extra bacon in it, and everyone is happy! Sounds like a great recipe!
I use brown sugar. No molasses. They turn out great.I also use bacon and bite size chunks of pork. Everyone loves my beans.
Patricia Ward says
I don't have tomato paste. Can I use canned tomatoes?
Hi Patricia! I don't think that will work. Use ketchup instead. Hope this helps!
Hi Meleah! That's strange. Six hours should be enough to cook the beans. Are you using ham? Were the beans older? How does the mixture look?
The same thing is happening to me . I started it out on low and when I realized they weren't going to be done I put it on high. I am not overly upset, the plan was to freeze most of it. Still looking forward to tasting them. I did check the date on the package of beans just in case and that was fine. They soaked at least 8 hours ( I don't remember exactly when I started soaking them)
I too had very undercooked beans. I had them on low for 4hrs then high for another 4hrs, back to low another 4hrs and now at the 12 hr Mark they are still crunchy. I will leave overnight on low and see. I soaked my beans overnight initially, did not cook them. I would also recommend some dry mustard powder. But that’s my taste.
Lorena in Ontario.
if you add a little baking soda to your soaking water next time, it'll ensure your beans get soft.
Can I use smoked ham hocks in this recipe.
Hi Jackie! I haven't used ham hocks but I do think it should be just fine. Definitely let me know how it goes! Thank you!
Nutmeg Nanny says
LOVE the look of these baked beans. I love when they are packed full of smoked meats. I load my beans up with bacon...yum!
Cathy Trochelman says
These are the best looking baked beans EVER!!!
MMMM! I can almost smell this amazingness! Sounds so wonderful!
Great use for the ham bone! I always make mine with salt pork but I'll have to try it this way the next time I've got a bone to use 🙂
Love that you can make these in the slow cooker! They look wonderful and comforting!
Using a ham bone gives recipes so much flavor! I'm looking forward to trying this!
These look perfect! Such great comfort food, I'll have to try them out!