How to Make Boston Baked Beans

Boston Baked Beans are the perfect side dish for grilling season. Boston baked beans require several hours of cooking time, so be sure to plan ahead!  For a quicker homemade baked beans recipe, check out our Easy Baked Beans, which can be cooked in under an hour.

You might also be interested in our How to use Leftover Baked Beans recipe.

Boston Baked Beans

3 cups dried navy beans
¼ lb. salt pork
2 tsp dry mustard
⅓ cup molasses
4 thin yellow onion slices
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 ½ tsps salt
½ tsp ground pepper

  1. Soak the dried navy beans overnight.  Drain the soaking water.
  2. In a large pot, add enough fresh water to the pre-soaked navy beans so that the water level is a few inches above the beans.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, until almost tender, about 35-40 minutes. Drain and reserve the cooking liquid.
  3. Preheat an over to 300F.  In a small saucepan, add enough fresh water to cook the salt pork and bring to a boil.
  4. Cut a crisscross pattern ¼-inch deep into the top of the salt pork.  Add the salt pork to the saucepan of boiling water and boil for 1 minute, then drain.
  5. Put the navy beans in a 2-qt. baking dish, and place the salt pork and onion slices on top.
  6. In a saucepan, combine the molasses, brown sugar, salt, pepper, dry mustard, and 1 cup of the reserved bean cooking liquid.  Heat and constantly sure until the sugar has dissolved.  Pour the sauce evenly over the navy beans, and add just enough bean cooking liquid to cover the beans.
  7. Cover the dish and bake for 4 hours.  Remove the cover, scoop up the pork so that it rests on top of the beans.  Then continue to bake, uncovered, until the navy beans are cooked through and caramel-covered, and the salt pork is golden, 1 ½ – 2 hours longer.

Yield: 6-8

This recipe was adapted from Beans & Rice (Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library)

2 Responses to How to Make Boston Baked Beans

  1. Emma1965 says:

    This may sound dumb but I have no kitchen, just a microwave and refrigerator, and one hot plate. (Lots of us poor folk live like this, nowadays.)

    Is there any way to do the baking part of the beans – not the pork, I would not be including that – in a microwave? If so, how long and at what approximate settings?

    I’d like to save money and reduce my sodium intake by cooking my own beans instead of buying a can of Bush’s or S&W every time – and I use beans and rice as a staple since they make a complete protein together, so that’d be a lotta money saved. But alas, I have no oven, not of the traditional variety.

    • Ann Williams says:

      I’ve never tried to make this recipe in a microwave, so unfortunately, I don’t have the answers to your questions. My inclination is to avoid cooking this in the microwave because 1) the hours of slow-roasting in the oven is what gives this dish most of the flavor, and 2) I can’t imagine that caramel created in a microwave is going to have the right texture.
      My advice would be to save up money for a slow-cooker. There are many slow-cooker baked beans recipes out there, and of course, there are many other benefits to owning one. There are always amazing deals on slow-cookers during Black Friday and the holiday season, so keep an eye out. You also may be able to find one for cheap at thrift stores and garage sales (church sales tend to be great for finding used kitchen appliances).