Boston Baked Beans
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Boston Baked Beans - a classic New England dish.
Recipe type: Legumes
Cuisine: Legumes
Serves: 1 quart
  • 1 lb. dry navy beans
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 4 Tb. dark brown sugar
  • ⅓ c. molasses
  • 1 Tb. dry mustard (I sometimes use plain yellow mustard for extra tang)
  • 1 Tb. ketchup (optional, but delicious)
  • 2 tsp. salt (I used kosher)
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • ½ quart hot bean water (see notes)
  • ½ lb. salt pork, cubed (traditionally this is used raw but you can saute it for extra flavor)
  1. Rinse beans in a colander; remove any stones or bad beans.
  2. Transfer beans to a large bowl and cover with cold water. Allow to sit overnight (at least 8 hours), uncovered.
  3. Drain water and transfer beans to a large sauce pan. Cover with fresh water, mix in ½ tsp. baking soda, and simmer on low heat.
  4. After about 30 minutes, check a bean to see if it’s soft. If not, continue simmering, but check every 10 minutes or so.
  5. When beans are soft, remove from the cooking liquid (but don't toss it!) using a slotted spoon, transferring them to a 1-quart bean pot.
  6. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, molasses, mustard, ketchup (if using), salt and pepper; add to beans, along with about ½ quart of the cooking liquid (enough to just cover the beans).
  8. Place salt pork & onion on top of beans.
  9. Cover and place pot in the oven.
  10. Check beans after 1 hour. If still not soft enough, return to oven, but check every 10 minutes.
Note 1: Every batch of beans our family has ever made cooks differently! Sometimes, if left too long in the oven, they can turn to mush. If not left long enough, they’re watery and still tough-skinned. It’s a matter of watching them very carefully after the first 1.5 hours, so be sure to allow enough time :)

Note 2: if you don't have a bean pot, simply use a crock-pot. After soaking and pre-cooking the beans, toss all the ingredients into a crock-pot and set to about 8 hours. Keep an eye on them to ensure there's still enough liquid in the pot. If they start looking dry, simply add more bean water.
Recipe by My Delicious Blog at