Slow Cooker Maple Bacon Beer Baked Beans
Before my gypsy soul led me to Los Angeles, I spent a few years growing up on a pig farm. With seven sisters. Eight girls, startling close in age, running around like ferrel children on endless acres of farmland. Although I learned to drive a tractor before I could drive a car, maneuver a 300 pound pig anywhere I wanted him to go using just a 5 gallon bucket, and how to milk goats, these are skill that don’t really come in handy in a more urban area.
One useful skill that farm livin' did teach me was how to grill meat and what to serve with it. This was the first occurrence of beer cooking in my life, the meat was always marinated in a mixture of barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke and beer (Coors light I’m sad to say). Two sides were always, ALWAYS served alongside any meat that came off the grill: potato salad and baked beans. Potato salad and I have our issues, mostly the cringe inducing overuse of mayonnaise. But baked beans I never passed up. I like mine deep in flavor, and not too sweet. If you like your baked beans on the sweet side, add 1/4 cup brown sugar. If you like your potato salad swimming in mayo, you’re on your own.
Slow Cooker Maple Bacon Beer Baked Beans
- ½ lbs pinto beans
- ½ lbs navy beans
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 12 ounces smoked porter or stout beer
- ½ lbs bacon chopped
- 1 sweet white onion chopped
- 3 tbs molasses
- ¼ cup real maple syrup
- 3 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 1 ½ cups hot water
- Add the beans and baking soda to a large pot (the baking soda softens the beans and allows them to soak more efficiently). Cover with about 2 inches of water.
- Bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat, allow to soak for on hour. Drain.
- Add the beans and remaining ingredients to a slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 10 hours. Salt and pepper to taste.
I use this slow cooker (affiliate link).
Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar June 4, 2014 um 3:15 am
A pig farm and seven sisters sounds like a movie!! Love it…and these beans!
Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen June 4, 2014 um 5:24 am
These baked beans look great! I love baked beans and I seriously can’t remember the last time I made them. That needs to change and now! 🙂
Tieghan June 4, 2014 um 5:41 am
Your life is incredible! You have done and seen so many things and at such a young age. Crazy!!
Love these beans. They sound delicious!
Frau Dietz (Eating Wiesbaden) June 4, 2014 um 6:41 am
Good god that looks good. I must never show it to my husband, or he’ll be wanting it every night.
Actually, I’m not sure why that would be a problem.
Katherine H June 4, 2014 um 11:19 am
Wow! Although I would certainly love for you to write another cookbook, please consider writing a book about your life. it sounds truly amazing and I’m sure it would be a best seller in no time! I am always fascinated by your stories and always look forward to hearing them. Keep the recipes and the stories coming!
Can’t wait to try the beans.
Joan June 4, 2014 um 3:25 pm
what is smoked porter beer, where can you get it, and what can you use if you can’t get it?
Jackie June 4, 2014 um 3:36 pm
Smoked porter is a dark beer. If you can’t find it, it’s fine to use a stout. like Guinness
Bryan marks January 10, 2015 um 8:11 am
Gunnesss and some liquid smoke did the trick. Awesome recipe.
Samantha June 4, 2014 um 4:34 pm
I need more hot meat parties in my life. Thankfully I still have a few bottles of Surly Smoke in my cellar.
Happy Valley Chow June 4, 2014 um 5:46 pm
Man do I love baked beans, especially homemade. Yours sound absolutely delicious! Great job 🙂
Happy Valley Chow
addie | culicurious June 6, 2014 um 4:27 am
Yum, these look great. I’m all about using the slow cooker for baked beans. Helps give them an even richer taste. 🙂
cheryl June 12, 2014 um 3:01 pm
I like this a lot. great flavors and easy to make. thank you.
Audrey September 18, 2014 um 2:37 pm
I’m with you on the potato salad. I feel similarly about macaroni salad as well. Along with any other mayo based salads.
Can’t wait to try the beans!
Maggie September 23, 2014 um 7:12 am
These look amazing! Finally, a recipe for baked beans I can get behind. I’m with you on the potato salad…yuck.
William December 1, 2014 um 4:28 pm
Kidney beans cooked in a slow cooker can be toxic (cf. http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/CausesOfIllnessBadBugBook/ucm071092.htm).
Dried kidney beans should be soaked for at least five hours and then boiled in fresh water for at least 10 minutes before adding them to a slow cooker.
Diane December 2, 2014 um 12:27 pm
How many servings does this make? Thanks!
Jackie December 2, 2014 um 3:18 pm
Alan Richrod April 4, 2016 um 3:42 pm
Well, in my case 2. I was forced to share.
Robert F December 7, 2014 um 8:38 am
I made this. A friend suggested using Stone Smoked porter, which was not easy to find! Anyway, the dish was a success and several dinner guests went back for seconds. My only modification related to the consistency. Even though I used newly purchased beans and ran the slow cooker for over 10 hours the beans had a watery sauce, which doesn’t fit the mouth feel one expects for baked beans.
So I drained the beans into a colander and boiled down the remaining liquid for about 10-15 minutes until it thickened up. At this point, my dish more closely resembled the dish shown in your photos.
David Tornabene December 8, 2014 um 6:43 am
My guests loved it! Had 20 people over last night and the beans disappeared! Thank you for sharing.
Jackie December 8, 2014 um 9:18 am
YAY! I’m so glad 🙂
Stephen Ellis December 19, 2014 um 2:55 pm
Hi, I just made this and followed the directions precisely. It was the first meal I’ve made in my new Cuisinart slow cooker. But after 8 hours on low, there was a lot of thin liquid and the beans were not completely cooked. Any idea where I might have gone wrong?
Jackie December 19, 2014 um 3:53 pm
Put it on high for a few hours. Dried beans can be a bit unpredictable. Some absorb water really well while some take a lot longer. It seems like they are resisting absorbing the liquid. Turn the heat up and that should be fine.
Stephen Ellis December 20, 2014 um 6:48 am
Thanks, will try that.
Lindsay T December 23, 2014 um 2:43 pm
I’m planning on making this for Christmas. (It looks delish!) I see you use dried beans. Would using canned beans work? I’m thinking – skip step one and just add drained, canned beans to the slow cooker? (Or would they get too mushy?)
Thanks so much!
Jackie December 23, 2014 um 3:43 pm
If you do that they would need much lower cooking time and less liquid since they won’t need to be cooked. I’d do only 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup beer. If it’s too thick, add more of either. Cook on low for about 3 hours and then assess it from there.
Lindsay T December 23, 2014 um 4:01 pm
Ah. Got it. Awesome. Thanks so much for circling back so quickly! Looking forward to the beans. 🙂
Bill Davis January 20, 2015 um 9:52 pm
These look good. I do a family recipe from Kansas City BBQ life, but will try these. I just use a ham hock, dry great northerns, and then finish off after those are done. KC being a BBQ town has a distinctive bean flavor at many of the best BBQ joints. I have smokers, and do ribs and briskets regularly as I now live in Melbourne, Australia, and it is kind of unique flavor for "down under". I will tell you that craft beer based baked beans will suit many of my friends, and I will be trying it soon. Thank you so much.
For Potato Salad, we have moved to 2/3 light sour cream which actually is a better consistency, but still use 1/3 mayo. Still may not be your thing, but it is quite a bit better tasting.
Doug – N. Wisconsin January 23, 2015 um 8:38 am
Your poor dad: 8 daughters 🙂 ……I already put bean pot in oven when I found your recipe online. I will try it at our next family event. It looks great!!! Always lookn for recipes to use our homemade maple syrup with.
Sally Baldwin February 2, 2015 um 6:29 am
I made these beans following the recipe as directed, except I didn’t have any white beans or navy beans, but I did have black beans, red beans, black-eyed peas and garbanzos laying around, which I used. The beer I used was Rock Art Midnight Madness Smoked Porter (a Vermont beer). It cooked all night long on the low setting of the crock pot. The results were sublime. I am not a big baked beans fan because I usually find them to bee too sweet for my liking, but these are just absolutely delicious. Thanks so much
Lauren February 3, 2015 um 8:36 am
These looks delicious!
how big is your slow cooker?
Lauren February 3, 2015 um 8:59 am
Also…is it a problem if I can’t stir them every hour (since I’d be cooking them while at work or sleeping)?
Jackie February 3, 2015 um 1:35 pm
It shouldn’t be a big deal, you will just have some beans stuck to the bottom I assume.
Lauren February 6, 2015 um 7:37 am
Thanks! And how big is your slow cooker? Just wondering if I can double the recipe in my 6qt one.
Alex February 13, 2015 um 11:30 am
These are great, I added about a tablespoon of dark brown sugar to sweeten them up just a bit they turned out great.
Sue April 2, 2015 um 10:58 pm
I just invested in a bean pot and was looking for recipes to cook in it when I found this delicious looking recipe. Could you do this in a bean pot? If so how long and what temperature?
Supremely Weary April 21, 2015 um 10:51 am
Questions for the Rework: (I made the previous recipe and I loved it!) (I am excited to try this recipe as well!)
1. The beans are not pre soaked, correct?
2. Will this version require stirring once an hour?
3. No pre-cooking the onions in the bacon grease?
4. Regular or white balsamic vinegar?
Jackie April 21, 2015 um 10:59 am
Some people where having issues getting the beans to cook through, mostly because all dried beans are slightly different and respond differently to rehydration. Instead of pre-soaking I used a baking soda boil which will work no matter what brand of beans you use. The end result flavor is really similar to the last, but just with a higher success rate! You can definitely pre-cook the onions and bacon, that would be great and give an even better final result. I used regular balsamic, but white would work as well.
Supremely Weary April 23, 2015 um 4:15 pm
Thank you very much for your response! My family and I loved the first recipe and I’m sure we’ll love this one too! I pre-soaked the last time and only ended up having to cook it 4 hours. But this time I will follow everything as stated so that I can compare the results. Definitely going to pre-cook the bacon! Yum yum! (My husband volunteered me to make THIS specific dish for a work pot luck [yikes!], so I will be spreading the word on your blog and hopefully you’ll get some new followers!)
Sandra May 14, 2015 um 12:23 pm
Loved them. I made a double batch and followed the recipe exactly. Had to add some water after the 10 hours as they were dry. They were so good and so much better the next day after the flavors had melded.
Shannon July 3, 2015 um 3:28 pm
I used Alaskan smoked porter. Amazing. I picked it up at Lee’s liquor.
Mindie Olsen July 18, 2015 um 10:37 am
Your baked bean recipe is truly the best! I’ve been using it now for quite a while and get to make them again today. They are always a big hit. Thank you!
Jackie July 18, 2015 um 4:32 pm
awesome! Thank you!
Judylynn July 31, 2015 um 9:59 am
……….just making sure its 10 hrs on high? Want to try but don’t want to overcook 🙂
Jackie July 31, 2015 um 10:01 am
I really depends on the slow cooker. Check after a few hours and see how it looks. I did ten hours on high but other people have been doing ten hours on low and it’s turning out perfect. Go with what you think is best for your slow cooker
Judylynn August 6, 2015 um 12:14 pm
….in the pot now on high and the house smells amazing and all looking good! Thanks 🙂
Alissa December 30, 2015 um 4:25 pm
Thanks to everyone who posted all their comments! I now feel prepared to make these beans for our New Years pot luck…hoping it’s enough. I bought double the ingredients just in case since it says 6 servings and we’ll need around 14.
Julius Jahnke January 5, 2016 um 11:07 am
Well the beans were quite good on the first day and even better the next. They were in crock pot from 11PM until 3PM the next day cooking along on the LOW setting. They absorbed almosst all of the fluids and were rich and smoky flavored. A bit more expensive to make vs. dumping a can of prepared beans into a pot and doctoring them up to taste but worth it. I will do this again for sure.
Jackie January 5, 2016 um 1:10 pm
Great to hear!
maria January 23, 2016 um 12:24 am
Can’t wait to try this. I would also like to double the recipe (freeze the other half in ziplock bags) and would like to know what size slow cooker this recipe works best in, before I decide to double it. I have a 6.5 quart and don’t want to fill it past the 3/4 full mark as directed by the manual. Thanks
Jackie January 25, 2016 um 2:40 pm
I’m actually not sure. It sounds like that would work fine but I’m not 100% sure.
Chris March 13, 2016 um 10:31 am
I’d like to take these to a potluck where children are present–I’m assuming the alcohol all cooks off and I’m left with just the flavor?
Jackie March 14, 2016 um 10:26 am
There are very, very, small traces of alcohol left. Most people I’ve encountered have no problem serving this to children, but it’s your call.
Cate May 4, 2016 um 1:09 pm
We are having a huge (50 people) Graduation Party for my two graduates. I would love to make this recipe. It seems like I would need 8 batches to feed everyone. How many quarts is the crock pot you use? (didn’t see the answer in the previous question/comment section) I am visioning a multitude of crock pots all over my kitchen. Is it possible to slow bake them in the oven?
Can’t wait to try them!!
Jackie May 4, 2016 um 1:41 pm
Wow, that’s a lot of beans! I use this slow cooker http://astore.amazon.com/domefits-20/detail/B004P2NG0K
I think for 50 people, 5 batches should be enough. Not everyone will want an entire serving, or possibly any at all. I’ve never made them in the oven so I don’t have any advice for that alteration. Good luck!
Josephine July 4, 2016 um 9:53 am
I rarely find a recipe that looks like the photo but this one not only looked as good as the pic but they tasted great as well! Many compliments received at our 4th of July BBQ regarding these yummy beans. Thanks for sharing.
Michele G Allen October 9, 2016 um 10:11 am
"Cook on high for 10 hours."
High for all 10 hours??
Jackie October 10, 2016 um 10:07 am
Yes. It takes a long time to get the water to soak into the beans and high works the best
Karla – Musher at Double Z Siberians November 16, 2016 um 10:15 am
Want to know the ultimate test of a recipe? An after race potluck dinner attended by dog mushers, in which three of them are chefs. The standard is set high!
I will be cooking your baked beans this weekend and racing this weekend 🙂 I will let you know how both go. Until then, Cheers!
Jackie November 16, 2016 um 12:42 pm
Have fun! Let me know how it goes 🙂
Cidersmith Andrew February 5, 2017 um 6:30 am
Making this today for the Superbowl. I’ve been reading through your recipes the last 3 weeks and there are so many amazing ones. Thank you for sharing. The triple layer pretzel stout chocolate bars were awesome for my friends birthday. I’m in the process of starting a craft cidery and the 8 hour caramelized onion grilled cheese and chipotle chicken sliders are inspiring.
Clyde November 10, 2017 um 5:26 am
To add to the backyard BBQ smokehouse taste and feel I make it early then transfer it to a tin foil pan and finish it off on the BBQ. Add a pan of cherry wood chips off to the side and pour a little beer over the beans so they won’t dry out. Then I make a heavy beer bread the night before, cut it in slices and toast it over the BBQ. The 2 go together amazing! Or cook it exactly how you suggest is perfect as well.
Keep up the great recipes!