Sweet & Thick Baked Beans

Posted on: February 6th, 2014 by
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I woke up this morning to the second day in a row of cancelled school for my kids due to frigid temperatures. It’s not snowing or windy or anything. Just so bitterly cold that we are advised to stay indoors. So of course I got to baking right away! And then I thought about dinner, and about you, my loyal reader, and I thought it was time for some baked beans.

These are old-fashioned baked beans! Baked all day in your oven, intoxicating aromas wafting through your house starting around lunchtime, and you still have to wait until evening for the beans to be ready to eat. The good stuff. And bonus: your oven is on ALL DAY. So your house stays really warm and toasty!


Sweet & Thick Baked Beans
(click on the recipe title to be taken to a printable version)
Makes about ten 1/2 cup servings
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: Allow 12-13 hours


1 large sweet onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
9 cups water (or 5 cups water, 4 cups veggie broth)
1 cup of your favorite beer (a medium-bodied brown ale works great)
1 pound dry navy beans (2 cups) (no need to pre-soak, but do pick-through and rinse)
1/2 cup all-natural brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 tsp. liquid smoke
4 tsp. brown (deli) mustard
1/4 tsp. salt


Place a single oven rack in the very bottom of your oven and remove all other racks to make room for an oven-safe Dutch oven or stock pot. Preheat to 350 degrees.

On the stovetop, pre-heat your oven-safe stock pot to high. Add the onions and carefully dry sauté. To dry sauté, initially wait 2 minutes before stirring to allow caramelization to begin, and then once stirred, watch carefully and stir often, most likely lowering the temperature to medium-high to avoid burning. Once the onions start to turn translucent, add the garlic, stir for ten seconds, and then add the 9 cups of water and/or veggie broth, being careful not to get burned by the released steam.

Scrape up the browned bits into the liquid, and carefully add the beer, taking care not to let it foam up too much. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to mix well and dissolve the sugar and molasses. Bring to a boil.

Immediately turn off the heat to the stovetop, cover the stock pot with an oven-safe lid, and place in the oven. Bake, covered, for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. (If you do not have an oven-safe lid, try covering with thick aluminum foil)

This is about what you'll see after you are well into the uncovered baking time.  It takes a loooong time for all of that water to get absorbed or cook off.

This is what you’ll see after you are well into the uncovered baking time. It takes a loooong time for all of that water to get absorbed and cook off.

Bake for 9 more hours, uncovered. Stir occasionally. 2 hours before the time is up, begin periodically testing the beans for doneness. They should be tender and have an almost creamy interior.

About the recipe….
This recipe takes almost no time to prepare, but a lot of time to wait for! It’s worth it, I promise. This recipe pairs well with Boston Brown Bread, a steamed cornmeal and molasses quick bread.
Your stock pot will get very dirty and have lots of cooked on gunk from the cooking process. If it’s a non-stick pot, clean carefully. If it is stainless steel, scrub with a wire pad for a fairly easy clean-up.
*I have successfully doubled this recipe in my 8 quart stock pot.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and it warms your belly on a cold, wintery day!

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