Baked Beans! A Traditional New England Family Recipe

by Suzan Ferreira
Baked Beans! A Traditional New England Family Recipe featured image

Traditional New England baked beans, aka Boston Baked Beans, is a meal in of itself. This old-fashioned from scratch recipe has been in our family for generations and is one that is considered the best baked bean recipe ever…according to our family anyway.


This post may contain affiliate links at no additional cost to you.  By making your purchases through the links on this website, IMSL may make a small percentage at no direct cost to you. IMSL only promotes products we use & truly believe in. Please refer to my Privacy & Disclosures for further information. IMSL thanks you for your support!

Growing up in New England, you knew it was Saturday night when baked beans were on the menu. They are easy to make, very economical, filling, highly nutritional, and loved by everyone in the family…well, almost everyone. As a young child, the thought of having to eat even one single bite turned the stomach. Even the smell of them cooking turned the stomach. To this day the beans are cooked in the basement to reduce the cooking odors & the amount of nausea experienced.

Baked Beans! A Traditional New England Family Recipe slow cooking in the cellar
Slow Cooking Baked Beans In The Cellar

For years no beans passed these lips thinking it was the beans that were disliked. To the amazement of my entire family years later, it was discovered that indeed it was not the beans themselves, but the molasses that was disliked. Happy to say that beans of all varieties are now thoroughly enjoyed by all 🙂 , including me .

New England Baked Beans Most Requested

In our family, and a large family it is (Dad’s side had a total of 16 siblings, yes, you heard right, 16 & Mom’s side 4), no event is complete without someone’s baked beans as part of the menu. It is one versatile dish that can feed the masses. B’s college graduation party is no different, breakout the old-fashioned baked bean recipe from scratch.

Was it mentioned that this dish is versatile? It can be made to suit any taste or dietary choice. Some variations include:

  • Substitute the molasses for maple syrup…we are in New England 🙂
  • Make a vegetarian version sans the salt pork
  • Add beef, sausage, or bacon in lieu of salt pork
  • Add sliced hotdogs in addition to the salt pork (R & B’s favorite way)
  • Add your favorite BBQ sauce for a smokey flavor
  • Apple & Root Beer for a different flavor

These are just a few to mention. Baked beans have been made with limitless variations, ingredients, & imagination.

Best Baked Bean Recipe

To make this variation of traditional New England baked beans you will need the following ingredients.

  • Dry Beans (Kidney are the preferred)
  • Dry Mustard
  • Molasses
  • Brown Sugar
  • Salt Pork
  • Water
Baked Beans A New England Family Recipe gather ingredients
Gather Ingredients – Not Shown Molasses

How To Make Our Traditional Baked Beans

Follow these easy steps to make your own old-fashioned, from-scratch baked beans! A printable recipe card will follow for your convenience.

Step One

Place 2 lbs of kidney beans or your preferred bean in a large pot or crockpot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil.

Baked Beans! A Traditional New England Family Recipe beans in pan & cover with water
Cover With Water

Boil until the beans swell and float to the top as seen below.

Baked Beans! A Traditional New England Family Recipe boiling
Bring To Boil

Step Two

Add 1 tsp dry mustard, at least 2 large onions quartered, 1/4 cup molasses, 1 cup brown sugar, & a large piece of salt pork. Stir to combine well.

Baked Beans! A Traditional New England Family Recipe added ingredients
Add To Boiled Beans

Step Three

Cook until beans are tender or to your desired level of tenderness. When using a crockpot as shown, cook on medium temperature for approximately 4-6 hours. Turn down to low-medium heat and cook until tender, approximately another 8 hours or overnight.

Baked Beans! A Traditional New England Family Recipe pin image for Pinterest

The beans will thicken as they cook. Add additional water as needed and stir occasionally. That’s all there is to making our families New England baked bean recipe. Hoping that all will enjoy these at B’s grad party, however, none will pass these lips 🙂 .

Baked Beans! A Traditional New England Family Recipe
Families Traditional New England Baked Beans

Do you have a favorite baked bean recipe? Love for you to share below! Be sure you subscribe to IMSL to receive our once per month newsletter, “happenings on the hill”.

Love, Light, & Laughter ~

Baked Beans! A Traditional New England Family Recipe featured image

Traditional New England Baked Beans

Serves: 20 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 191 calories 7 grams fat
Rating: 4.0/5
( 2 voted )


  • 1 lbs Dry Beans of choice (kidney recommended)
  • 1 Tsp Dry Mustard
  • 2 Whole Large Onions Quartered
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Molasses
  • Large Piece of Salt Pork
  • Water


Place dry beans in a pan and cover with water. Bring to boil and cook until swollen and floating. Add the remainder of ingredients and stir to combine well. Cook on Medium heat for 4 hours. Reduce heat to Low-Medium and cook for an additional 8 hours or until desired tenderness is achieved.

You may also like


Hope Orkney Walencewicz March 14, 2020 - 1:10 pm

This looks like the recipe my mom made, everyone loved her beans. I’m trying to re-create. This is
the closest recipe I’ve seen in my search. All the other recipes soak the beans overnight, then drain and re-fresh the water but save 2 cups of the original liquid. Did you skip this step by accident? Or did you leave the same liquid for the recipe? Can’t remember what my mother did at this step. Thanks, trying it now, I’ve cooked the beans, but wondering if I should drain but save 2 cups to thicken?

Suzan Ferreira March 14, 2020 - 2:47 pm

We do not soak overnight. The liquid we use is just to cover the beans when boiling in the first step. Typically, no other liquid needs to be added or taken away. They thicken as they cook in the slow cooker. I hope that helps!

Lori Roach October 6, 2019 - 6:02 pm

Just wanted to let you know that I am pretending it’s fall (even though our high today will be near 80) and just prepped this recipe and popped it into the crockpot! So excited to try it out for dinner tonight! Next up: your homemade kahlua recipe…

Suzan Ferreira October 7, 2019 - 10:35 am

Ohhh, thank you for letting me know. I can’t wait to hear how they turned out and your thoughts! Please consider giving the recipe a rating if you could!

Monica July 29, 2019 - 1:59 pm

Dried beans are so much work but the taste difference compared to canned makes a huge difference. Will have to try out this recipe!

Suzan Ferreira July 29, 2019 - 3:35 pm

Couldn’t agree more Monica. This method is pretty fast and easy. Hope you give them a try!

Ruth Iaela-Pukahi July 29, 2019 - 9:19 am

I don’t think I’ve ever had baked beans from scratch before, only from a can and I don’t care for it. BUT I think I may like the real thing! I’m gonna pin this recipe! I wonder if it would work in an instantPot.

Suzan Ferreira July 29, 2019 - 12:21 pm

Hi, Ruth~ Homemade are very different from canned for sure. Yes, they can be made in an instant pot adjusting time and process to meet the pots requirements. We have only made them baked in the oven & crockpot, so I cannot attest to the results using an instant pot. Let me know if you do, we would love to find out how the recipe works & tastes!

Jean | Delightful Repast July 25, 2019 - 1:14 pm

Suzan, I’ve never heard of making baked beans with kidney beans, but why not? I love kidney beans, too. I could live on beans of all sorts, but my sister had a lifelong aversion to any type of beans. #HearthAndSoul

Suzan Ferreira July 26, 2019 - 1:51 pm

Hope you give them a try Jean. Thank you so much for stopping by!

Liz July 24, 2019 - 4:24 pm

I’d love to give this a try! Baked beans were always family staples at big events, but I’ve never made them myself.

Karla Petersen July 24, 2019 - 6:11 am

I LOVE baked beans! My kids are split half and half about liking them. I’m going to trying this!

Suzan Ferreira July 24, 2019 - 12:25 pm

Glad your going to give them a try…maybe you can convert those still holding back 🙂 . Be sure to stop back and give the recipe a rating if you give them a try!

Magan July 23, 2019 - 11:37 pm

Yum! Sounds delicious!

Tricia Snow July 23, 2019 - 11:11 pm

Wow, those look amazing!

Elizabeth July 23, 2019 - 10:51 pm

This looks so good and I don’t have a great baked bean recipe! I’ll have to try it out! I love your site!

Suzan Ferreira July 24, 2019 - 12:26 pm

Thank you, Elizabeth! Be sure to stop back and give the recipe a rating if you give them a try!

T.M. Brown July 23, 2019 - 3:01 pm

Ooooh, I am intrigued!!! I grew up in New England and we just moved down south FROM New England, but I have never made my own baked beans. (I’m so embarrassed). This recipe looks fantastic, so I’m going to print a copy of it and give it a try this fall! Thanks for sharing!! Yum!!

Suzan Ferreira July 24, 2019 - 12:27 pm

Thank you so much! Hope you give them a try. Be sure to stop back to give the recipe a rating 🙂

Robin July 23, 2019 - 12:59 pm

I have never really liked baked beans, but I like this twist! Sounds amazing and I may have to try 🙂

Suzan Ferreira July 24, 2019 - 12:28 pm

Totally feel you, Robin. Maybe they will make a convert out of you 🙂

Amy July 23, 2019 - 4:13 am

My boyfriend LOVES baked beans so I’m super excited to make these for him! Thank you for sharing this recipe and I can’t wait to try it out!

Suzan Ferreira July 23, 2019 - 10:29 am

Let us know how you like them!

Stacey July 23, 2019 - 3:56 am

I’ll have to try this! I actually prefer kidney beans in my chili, so I think I’d really like this. We normally do pinto beans as a side dish. This would be a fun variation!

Suzan Ferreira July 23, 2019 - 10:29 am


Jody July 23, 2019 - 2:33 am

This looks so good I may have to give it a try.

Jane July 23, 2019 - 1:56 am

I love beans in general and I like the fact that you pointed out some of the variations to cater everyone’s dietary needs. Its been a while since I made some at home and this gives me an idea to use my slow cooker 🙂

Shirley July 23, 2019 - 1:06 am

Sounds wonderful and easy enough that I could do it! Thank you for sharing your family’s recipe past down for generations. Those are the best recipes!

Suzan Ferreira July 23, 2019 - 10:30 am

I think so too, Shirley. Hope you give them a try!

Lisa Manderino July 22, 2019 - 8:24 pm

This is interesting to me because I grew up in Oklahoma and when I think of baked beans we always used pinto beans, I bet kidney beans would be delicious!

Leigh Ann July 22, 2019 - 8:16 pm

I love everything about this, especially that you make them in the basement! They’re one of my favorite side dishes too.

Suzan Ferreira July 23, 2019 - 10:53 am

I know it is a bit unconventional 🙂

Katie July 22, 2019 - 8:05 pm

Oh my gosh! The thought of you crocking your beans in the basement is hilarious, but clever. I’m a vegetarian….if I leave out the salt pork, would you suggest a different ingredient?

Suzan Ferreira July 23, 2019 - 10:57 am

The salt port does add the fat & flavor. To replace that, maybe add 1 Tbl EVOO or butter for every ounce of salt pork to replace the fat & add a bit of depth. I’d be curious if anyone else has suggestions as well! Good luck.

Angela July 22, 2019 - 7:22 pm

For me salt pork is a must in this but a great vegetarian meal too by easily leaving that out. I like that you added some variations to this great staple.

Suzan Ferreira July 22, 2019 - 7:40 pm

Thank you, Angela!

Nikki July 22, 2019 - 7:20 pm

Thanks for the recipe. I guess I never thought of making homemade baked beans but now I feel challenged to do it.

Suzan Ferreira July 22, 2019 - 7:39 pm

So easy you will never go back to canned! Hope you give them a try!

Laura July 22, 2019 - 6:05 pm

these look delicious! pinned for later 😉

Suzan Ferreira July 22, 2019 - 7:40 pm

Many thanks, Laura! Enjoy!!

Haley Kelley July 22, 2019 - 5:39 pm

These look so good! Saving it to try soon!

Suzan Ferreira July 22, 2019 - 7:40 pm

Let us know how you like them!

Tiffany July 22, 2019 - 5:07 pm

I never thought of making these from scratch! My boys love beans! Will have to try this out!

Suzan Ferreira July 22, 2019 - 7:41 pm

Give them a try & let us know how the boys like them!

Amy Irvin July 22, 2019 - 4:19 pm

Looks yummy! Great pictures too.

Suzan Ferreira July 22, 2019 - 7:42 pm

Thank you, Amy!


Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy