Easy Homemade Baked Beans

June 4, 2012

in Soups, Salads & Sides

Homemade Baked Beans

The last couple of days have felt more like early spring than early summer around Boston. Temps in the low 50s with lots of rain, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to let up any time in the next couple of days. On a positive note, this is the type of weather that’s perfect for sleeping. So perfect, in fact, that I managed to completely miss my alarm this morning. I only overslept by about fifteen minutes, but still – there’s nothing like that brief moment of disorientation/panic to start the week.

That little bit of extra sleep ended up being a good thing, however, because not only did I need it (plus another hour that will not be happening), but it was a good excuse to cut our morning walk with the dogs short. Olive was the only one having fun trying to eat everything in sight, while Aaron was half asleep, I was complaining about the rain, and Honey was stepping ever so delicately in a fruitless attempt to avoid puddles. She loves water when it involves the bathtub or the beach, but it’s like dragging a bowling ball trying to get her to walk in the rain.

As I was coaxing Honey to put one paw in front of the other, I started to get bogged down myself thinking of my to-dos for the day, the crappy weather, the conference calls I’d rather just skip. And then I remembered lunch! This would not excite most people, but I LOVE baked beans and finally got around to making my first homemade version over the weekend. I consulted a trusty can of the TJ’s brand for an idea of the ingredients (hey, sometimes it’s nice to just open a can of beans for dinner), as well as Oh She Glow’s recipe for slow cooker maple baked beans. I played around with the measurements a little, and also left out the diced tomatoes in favor of BBQ sauce. And since I’ve yet to bite the bullet and buy a slow cooker, I went with a Dutch oven and a much shorter cooking time.

Vegan Baked Beans

This is going to sound crazy to anyone who isn’t food-obsessed, but these beans surpassed all of my expectations. The flavor is rich and complex, and despite only baking for forty-five minutes, they taste like you’ve spent your entire Sunday slaving over the stove and getting them to be just right. Aaron even compared them to a place he used to eat at as a kid when his family lived in Denver. That’s a big deal, and I think it’s safe to say no one would ever guess this version is vegan.

Easy Baked Beans

It’s perfect weather for sleeping. And perfect weather for homemade baked beans. The sleeping thing isn’t going to happen, but the baked beans are penciled in for 1pm.

These just killed any chance of me ever buying pre-made baked beans again.

Vegan Baked Beans
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6, ½ C. Servings
  • 1 Medium Sweet Onion
  • ½ Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 3 C. Cooked Navy Beans (about 2 cans, drained & rinsed)
  • ¼ C. + 2 Tbs. BBQ Sauce
  • 3 Tbs. Blackstrap Molasses
  • ¼ C. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 Tbs. Maple Syrup/Agave Blend (1½ Tbs. Maple Syrup, 1½ Tbs. Agave)
  • 2 Tbs. Whole Grain Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tbs. Ketchup
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In the base of a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil on the stovetop over medium heat.
  3. While the oil is heating, chop the onion.
  4. Add the onion to the Dutch oven and cook until soft (about 5 minutes).
  5. Add the navy beans, BBQ sauce, molasses, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and agave, mustard, and ketchup.
  6. Stir everything to combine and bring the ingredients to a low simmer.
  7. Place the lid on the Dutch oven and place it in the preheated oven.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool slightly and enjoy!


Accompanying (gluten-free!) cornbread recipe coming up next…

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle Collins June 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Isn’t this cold, rainy weather lovely? ;) These baked beans look like the perfect meal on a day like today!


Amanda June 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm

I’m nervous we’re going to be paying for a warm winter with a rainy summer. I miss the sun!


Gina @ Running to the Kitchen June 4, 2012 at 5:15 pm

I just can’t do canned baked beans. I actually wrote about it in a post last week. There is also some nasty after taste associated with them and it’s the one canned food that actually does taste like a tin can to me. If it’s only 45 mins in a dutch oven, I think I could give these a shot ;)


Gina @ Running to the Kitchen June 4, 2012 at 5:15 pm

*always*, not also.


Amanda June 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm

I sort of know what you mean about that slight tin can taste. haha I promise there’s none of that with these. :)


Julia {The Roasted Root} June 4, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Oh deary me, I love beans and have never tried making baked beans myself. I try to make everything from scratch as opposed to resorting to canned foods, so this is definitely a must-try!


Amanda June 4, 2012 at 9:28 pm

It’s worth the little bit of extra effort. :)


Lynn June 5, 2012 at 5:02 am

Awww! You make me miss Boston so much. We had baked beans ALL THE TIME in elementary school. I loved them because they would put a hint a cinnamon in them! Sounds weird, but so good!


Amanda June 5, 2012 at 11:57 am

A little cinnamon sounds pretty awesome, actually. I’ll have to give that a try!


elleblue June 5, 2012 at 6:21 am

When we were little my dad used to ‘doctor’ tinned bakes beans. He would add molases, brown sugar and 2 tsp. of yellow mustard. I have fond memories of these special baked beans.


Amanda June 5, 2012 at 11:59 am

What a great idea to mix in a few add-ins!


Rhona June 5, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Um, talk about comfort food. Those beans look very comforting. I can imagine then with some hot vegan biscuits and the couch planted under my butt.


Amanda June 5, 2012 at 3:36 pm

You are making me want to try my hand at vegan biscuits now… :)


Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning June 6, 2012 at 4:36 pm

I thought baked beans were BORN in a can! (I kid…)
It’s just one of those things that I never really hear of people making from scratch (at least around here) but yeah- why not? I haven’t had them in SO long and will be craving them now!
And with the cornbread? Yes, please.


Heather @ Sweetly Raw June 8, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Oh yay!!! My boyfriend loves baked beans and I’ve been trying to find a healthy recipe for them. Will definitely have to try your recipe.


Amanda June 8, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I hope he likes them!


Ruth June 28, 2012 at 12:14 am

Are blackstrap molasses vegan? Does the brand matter? I am a new vegan and used to use Brer Rabbit brand. I love the flavor, so I hope it is.


Amanda June 28, 2012 at 8:07 am

Yes, it’s vegan! It’s also an awesome source of iron for vegetarians/vegans. :)


Ruth June 28, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Thanks. These sound delicious. I will be making them tomorrow!!


Sharee August 22, 2012 at 10:49 pm

These look great! I can’t wait to give them a try. What type of BBQ sauce did you use?


Amanda August 23, 2012 at 8:56 am

I used TJ’s brand. :)


Anna November 3, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Hi Amanda,

I came across your blog when I was searching for a recipe for my cafe for Vegan Baked Beans.. I just read your story, it is very similar to mine! I now run a healthy fast food cafe in Sydney that I am planning on franchising and bringing international – maybe one day we can do some “work” together!!
If you’re interested have a look

Take care


Amanda November 4, 2012 at 8:19 am

Hi Anna,
Congrats on opening your cafe! I love the idea of healthy fast food – the more alternatives to places like McDonald’s, the better!
I sometimes think I’d like to open a vegan bakery one day…we’ll see what happens. :)


chesty puller November 19, 2012 at 10:32 am

this was supposed to be homemade but you used store bought BBQ sauce which supplies at lot of the flavoring and calories.


chesty puller November 19, 2012 at 10:42 am

i forgot to mention the ketchup too


Amanda November 19, 2012 at 11:09 am

You can certainly use homemade BBQ sauce if you like! I’ve also been subbing in tomato paste for the ketchup recently.


Debby December 8, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Do you drain and rinse the beans first or do you just put the whole can in?


Amanda December 8, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Yes, you should drain and rinse the beans. I just updated the recipe to be more clear. Hope you enjoy them! :)


Dorothee Bourgeois February 4, 2013 at 10:41 am

I just made your recipe and it is AWESOME! I missed baked beans so much and I am super happy I found your recipe.

Next time I will cut in half the amount of BBQ sauce because I don’t especially like the smell of it.

I doubled the maple syrup. Being a Quebecer, we have the best maple syrup here and I love it so much I skipped the agave and put a little bit more. Thank you for posting this recipe, my non-vegetarian boyfriend loved it too!


Amanda February 4, 2013 at 2:50 pm

I’m so happy to hear that you and your boyfriend liked the recipe! Love the addition of extra maple syrup! :)


Brinda February 9, 2013 at 11:51 am

These are HEAVENLY!!!


Amanda February 10, 2013 at 8:56 am

I’m glad you like them! They make it hard to go back to canned baked beans. :)


Kathryn Stratford February 17, 2013 at 7:56 pm

After going through quite a few recipes for baked beans, I finally found one for the kind that are really homemade! The last dozen recipes for “Baked beans” I found included a can of baked beans. I think it is hysterical! I mean, shortcuts are good, but using a can of baked beans to make baked beans?!
Anyway, enough of my rant. I am glad I found this recipe, because it is homemade, has good flavors in it, and isn’t overloaded with sugar, like most of the last few I saw (which had 1 cup of sugar). I also like that using canned navy beans can make somewhat of a shortcut (compared to dry beans) without compromising the delightful feeling of making it from scratch. I will bookmark this, and check out more of your recipes. I love blogs! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I can’t wait to try it.


Amanda February 18, 2013 at 9:21 am

Thanks, Kathryn! That’s really funny about the “recipes” that include a can of baked beans. :)


Stacy May 27, 2013 at 11:51 am

I attempted to make this today, but there is way too much apple cider vinegar. It does not taste like traditional baked beans.


Amanda May 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Hi Stacy! Sorry you didn’t like the apple cider vinegar. I like the flavor it adds, but you could certainly use less if that’s not your thing.


Alex @ DelishKnowledge September 1, 2014 at 11:28 am

Made these last night and LOVED them! Thank you for the recipe!


Amanda September 1, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Woo hoo! So glad you loved the baked beans, Alex!


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