Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Bragging Rights: Best Ever Baked Beans

By Kate Rowe, May 15, 2010  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Kate Rowe
With cookout season around the corner it’s time to start rounding up great recipes for summer get-togethers. What hot dog and burger cookout is complete without baked beans? It’s easy enough to heat a few cans of prepared baked beans — and there are plenty of great canned options in our aisles that meet our exacting quality standards — but have you ever made baked beans from scratch? We think our version of Classic Baked Beans is pretty awesome! It’s not a very complicated dish and you can choose to cook your beans or simply use canned white beans. Here’s what we think are the keys to great baked beans:
  • Building blocks of flavor: bacon (optional) and onion
  • Something sweet:  brown sugar and molasses
  • Something tangy: apple cider vinegar
  • Something complex: chili powder, dry mustard, tomato paste
  • Great beans: Navy beans or Great Northerns are the classic choice for baked beans, but you could try other white beans or any bean for that matter.
Try our Best Ever Classic Baked Beans and see what you think for yourself. Judging from the comments posted on this recipe, we’re not alone in our high assessment of these homemade baked beans. “My all time favorite baked beans!” wrote HLTX and Yashieka said: “The BEST Baked Beans ever! I used 4 different beans and it came out FABULOUS!” Pretty high praise. Think you can top that? We’d like to see you try! We want to know: what’s your best ever recipe for baked beans? Share your great baked bean recipes and suggestions for what makes baked beans great in the comments below. Let’s see who can claim bragging rights. Happy summer cooking!
Category: Food & Recipes




Allen says ...
Are the beans used a caned or cooked your own from the dry beans
05/18/2010 2:03:15 PM CDT
paig292 says ...
@Allen You can use either canned beans or cooked from dry.
05/18/2010 4:20:32 PM CDT
Bev Larsen says ...
My mother's Baked Beans--She was a great Norwegian cook-so these are simple..they were a Saturday night tradition.....now passed down to all our kids...... 1 lb navy beans--wash, cover with water, cook 1 hour--DONT DRAIN! Add: 1/2 c white sugar 3 T molasses
05/19/2010 8:33:08 AM CDT
Bev Larsen says ...
Baked Beans 1 lb navy beans--washed, cover with water-cook 1 hour-DONT DRAIN Add: 1/2 C white sugar 3 T molasses 1 T mustard 1 tsp salt Bring back to boil--pour into bean pot with 1/4-1/3 lb salt pork in the bottom. Cover (my bean pot lid has a built-in air hole) Bake 300-325 degrees--all day long....check for liquid, adding a bit of water as needed. These should be on the dry side!
05/19/2010 8:38:39 AM CDT
Cesar says ...
We usually start with a quality canned bean preparation (brand of choice)and then "kick" it up with diced onion & celery, and a small can (8oz) of tomato sauce (brand of your choosing). Addition of diced and sauteed bacon or pancetta will add depth of flavor. Mix all together and slow bake for a few hours to really marry the flavors. Served warm from oven makes any grilling occasion better.
05/19/2010 9:55:29 AM CDT
Teresa Sendra-Anagnost says ...
can you safely use xylitol instead of white sugar in this recipe.
05/19/2010 12:46:53 PM CDT
seanymph says ...
http://mermaidstreasures.blogspot.com/2007/07/my-famous-baked-beans.html This is the link to my recipe on my blog. Never had one better than this! Been using this same recipe for 30yrs and always get asked for the recipe. :)
05/19/2010 2:44:05 PM CDT
Tasha Sanford says ...
I don't eat pork so what can I use??
05/19/2010 4:34:42 PM CDT
Wendy says ...
Perfect recipe! The beans were the perfect combination of sweet and savory. I used maple bacon and canned navy beans. I also used a cast iron skillet which seemed to cook them to perfection.
05/19/2010 5:17:58 PM CDT
Bea Grayson says ...
Your baked beans sound yummy but try my very easy , tasty receipe. 3 large cans of Bush Baked Beans, 1/2 cup catsup Onion powder to taste 1/2 cup brown sugar (or less depending on your taste) one cup of a good bourbon. Put in slow cooker for a couple of hours . Taste and adjust seasonings . I have a heavy hand with the bourbon. Remember , all the alcohol cooks away just leaving the wonderful flavor of bourbon.
05/20/2010 1:02:06 AM CDT
Marsia says ...
To Tasha Sanford: In place of bacon in any soup or casserole recipe such as baked beans you can add a dash or two of Figaro Liquid Smoke (TM). Comes in a small bottle about the size of Angostura Bitters, and in various flavors. I'm partial to the mesquite flavor, but the classic hickory is good too. You get the delicious flavor of bacon without the added fat! If you're not totally vegetarian, you might try substituting turkey bacon; it's much leaner than pork bacon.
05/20/2010 1:58:59 PM CDT
Mildred says ...
In Peru we prepare beans from scratch.. all types, black, red, etc. You will need a pressure cook to have them done very quick (20 min). There is no point with those can beans that you have here in sates. So I strongly recommend to prepare them from scratch.
05/20/2010 3:01:02 PM CDT
Meena says ...
Baked Bean Recipe (can be made the day before you need them) (2) 1-lb bags of Navy Pea Beans (these are smaller than regular Navy Beans) I use a gallon ice cream pail to rinse the beans in cool water - a couple of times, (they're raw from the field and I've found dirt in them) transfer beans and water through a strainer, look for small stones the size of a bean too (I've never found one of those though!). Now just put the rinsed beans back in the gallon pail and fill with cold water to soak overnight. Next morning: Dice/slice 1-lb raw bacon (no need to add salt) & 1 large white onion (put in slow cooker & stir) Add: (4) regular size cans of tomato sauce 1/4 cup each of BBQ sauce, ketchup 3 Tbsp yellow mustard 2 Tbsp liquid smoke (more or less to taste) 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 bottle of molasses Stir all together and add the secret ingredient: one ham bone-any size chunks of ham left on it is even better (check at the local deli counter or save one in the freezer from your last baked ham) Now set on low or 200 degrees for the day. Check every couple of hours and stir, I've never had them burn at this temp, half way through cooking start tasting a few beans. They should move about freely and bubble up around the sides. By 6-8pm, the beans will be softer and done. They won't get as soft as the canned, store-bought. Let them cool down a little and refridgerate until about an hour before serving. Enjoy!! I have frozen leftovers when thawed they are softer but the same great taste, or you could cut the recipe in half too!
05/20/2010 9:42:17 PM CDT
Meena says ...
Can't be beat - you'll love 'em!
05/20/2010 9:45:17 PM CDT
Stephanie Ladd says ...
For vegetarians, if you want a smoky bacon flavoring and texture in your beans, lightly brown Lightlife Smoky Tempeh Strips "fakin' bacon," and add to pot.
06/02/2010 8:07:27 PM CDT
Tine to Eat says ...
After sauteeing a chopped onion, I add a bottle of beer along with 1-2 Tbsp. tomato paste, spices, molasses, chopped roasted red &/or green bell pepper, finely chopped precooked uncured turkey bacon, and prepared beans of choice to simmer for at least 45 minutes. Garnish with a dollop of homemade guacamole and freshly chopped cilantro.
06/02/2010 10:34:37 PM CDT
Tom says ...
If you have a problem with gas from beans, add raw crushed garlic; a tablespoon of garlic to a pound of beans, at the beginning of cooking to prevent gas in any bean recipe. Although, adding garlic to canned beans and cooking them does not prevent them from causing gas.
06/03/2010 1:04:42 AM CDT
Yashieka says ...
YES! These are the best baked beans EVER! I used three different beans and I still enjoyed every bit..DELICIOUS!
06/03/2010 8:48:03 AM CDT