Homemade Slow Cooker Baked Beans

Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans Recipe: once you’ve tried homemade baked beans you’ll never want to go back to the canned version again.
Slow Cooker Baked Beans Recipe: once you've tried homemade baked beans you'll never want to go back to the canned version again.

This Slow Cooker Baked Beans Recipe is a favourite of mine.  These beans are sweet, and a little spicy, and definitely worth making from scratch.  

A few years ago, we were at ribfest, and my husband ordered ribs that came with a side of baked beans. I didn’t dislike baked beans, but they weren’t on my fav. list either. Until, I tried homemade ones. They were sweet and spicy and awesome.Since ribfest is only once a year, it seemed like a good idea to try and make some at home. I’ve made these so many times since then, and tweaked them a little to perfect them. 

Sweet and Spicy

I like them sweet, but if you don’t like them too sweet, you can reduce the sugar alittle. I also like a little spice so there’s a tsp of chili flakes in these, but you can adjust it up or down depending on your taste. They’d be great with fresh hot peppers in them too.

slow cooker baked beans

Soaking Beans

If you’ve never cooked navy beans from scratch, the first thing you need to do is soak them.  I also like to give them a pre-cook to soften them up.  If you don’t pre soak and boil your beans as part of the cooking process, the beans can come out hard instead of soft and tender.  Soaking and pre-cooking the beans ensures perfectly cooked, soft beans every time. Soaking your beans is easy.  Just put them in a bowl and cover them with cold water, and let them sit overnight.  In the morning drain off your soaking water and you’re ready for the next step. 


Some people don’t take the extra step to pre-boil their beans before cooking, but I’ve found that it ensures soft tender beans.  There’s nothing worse than going to the trouble of cooking beans in your slow cooker all day, and then finding out when you’re ready to serve them that they’re still hard.  Pre-boiling the beans eliminates this problem.  It’s an easy step to include and ensures success.  Transfer the pre soaked beans to a large pot and add water.  You want enough liquid to cover them plus a few inches.  You can check the water levels as they boil, to ensure they remained covered.  We boil our soaked beans in a large saucepan for one hour before adding them to the slow cooker.  They should be soft beans after an hour of boiling, and they’ll continue to cook in the slow cooker as well.  Drain off your cooking liquid, and add them to the slow cooker after boiling them.  

Can you skip the pre-boil? The short answer is yes, especially if you did soak your beans overnight already.  If you forgot to soak your beans overnight, then I would be sure to pre-boil them before cooking in the slow cooker.

One other factor that can contribute to your beans not getting nice and soft and tender is if they’re old beans.  Be sure to use new beans.  Buy them from somewhere that you’re confident they haven’t been sitting on a shelf for too long.  If you only make this recipe very occasionally, make sure you’re using fresh beans to start off with each time.

how to make baked beans in a slow cooker

Slow Cooker

This bean recipe is made in a crock pot so, once you add the beans and all the other ingredients in the crock pot, you can forget about them for awhile.  This is perfect for entertaining or focusing on other foods at the last minute.  This is one of my favorite slow cooker recipes.  I love serving this dish in the summer as a side dish at summer bbqs.  So many times, my guests have never had homemade beans before, they’ve only ever tried canned beans and not enjoyed them very much.  After trying this recipe, they usually ask for the recipe because they’re so good.

If you don’t have a slow cooker, you an make this recipe on the stove top in a large pot or baked in the oven in a dutch oven.  You will have to adjust your cooking times.  


I’m not a big fan of pork in my beans.  The pork braises in the beans and the fatty bits don’t have a chance to render or get crispy.  The texture of the pork is soft and it’s often very fatty.  If you love the flavor it adds to the beans though, you can add it in.  You can use thick-cut bacon, or regular bacon.  Just cut your raw bacon into small pieces and add to the slow cooker at the beginning of the cooking time.


If you want to serve this recipe to a vegan, be sure to not add pork.  Everything else in the recipe is suitable for a vegan.

slow cooker Boston baked beans


Boston Baked Beans

What makes Boston baked beans difference from regular baked beans?  The use of molasses.  Traditional baked beans are often sweetened with brown sugar and corn syrup.  Boston baked beans use molasses to add sweetness, but also a depth of flavor.  They also often contain pork, although we don’t add it to our recipe, but you could if you like it.  And since I’m a Canadian, I’ve also added maple syrup to bring some more sweetness to our baked beans.  I think it’s a great addition to these.  You could substitute brown sugar if you prefer.

Homemade Baked Beans

Yield: 8 cups

Slow Cooker Baked Beans Recipe

Slow Cooker Baked Beans Recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 11 hours
Total Time 11 hours 15 minutes


  • 3 cups dry navy beans
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dry mustard
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 green or red pepper, chopped


    1. Soak your beans overnight in water.
    2. Rinse beans, and boil in fresh water for an hour. Then drain the beans.
    3. In the slow cooker, combine ketchup, water, molasses, onion, dry mustard, salt, chilli flakes, brown sugar, maple syrup, and pepper with the drained cooked beans.
    4. Cover and cook on the low setting for 8 to 10 hours, stirring occasionally if possible, but not necessary.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 300Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 866mgCarbohydrates: 63gFiber: 8gSugar: 30gProtein: 12g
Give the slow cooker boston baked beans a good stir after adding them and the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker.  Then stir them occasionally during the cooking if you’re around.  As they cook you’ll see the thick sauce develop.  When they’re done they’re a perfect meal on their own, or serve them as a great side dish.

Store any leftovers in a airtight container in the refrigerator.  These are delicious as leftovers.  The flavors continue to infuse into the beans the next day, and the they are the most flavorful beans.

Boston baked beans recipe

The first time I had homemade baked beans, I couldn’t believe the difference between homemade and the canned stuff I’d had before.  These are the best baked beans I ever had.  If you’re a fan of baked beans and never tried a homemade version you are going to love these and they’re really easy to make in the  slow cooker. We make these often to go with ribs, and this week I made them for fajita night. They’re also a great make ahead for a camping trip, just make them at home and re-heat on the camp stove.  Or make these for your next potluck.  They’re pretty much awesome any time really.  You’re going to want to add this to your favorite bean recipes.

How to make Baked Beans in a slow cooker

With this slow cooker Boston baked beans recipe, life really is a party.

baked beans in a slow cooker recipe

More Recipe Inspiration

You might also like our Homemade BBQ Sauce recipe here.

Also check out our  Homemade Montreal Steak Seasoning recipe here.

You might also enjoy our No-Cook Homemade Hot Sauce recipe here.

No Cook Homemade Hot Sauce: Make this sauce in minutes in your blender and enjoy the hot tangy homemade hot sauce. The perfect Homemade Father's Day gift.


  1. I have been looking for a good bake beans recipe and this fits the bill. Can’t wait to make these. Thank you for the wonderful recipe

  2. Hi Amy, I’ve actually never tried freezing this. I think it would be fine though. If you try it, let us know how it goes.
    Best of luck,

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