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Baked Beans Recipe, made from scratch.

Follow easy step-by-step, photo illustrated instructions for making these delicious Baked Beans… from scratch.  We start out with dry Navy Beans, soak them overnight then, we add bacon and a few other surprises to make some of the best beans you’ve ever enjoyed.  Did I mention we slow cooked them for about 7 hours?  Oh yeah… they’re that good.  We’ve even got a printable recipe.

Baked Beans recipe

Baked Beans Recipe… from scratch:

This is one of those recipes that I finally “got around,” to actually doing.  For some unknown reason and, for some time now, I’ve wanted to make Baked Beans from scratch.  By that, I mean that I wanted to start out with dried beans instead of those canned pork ‘n beans that I’ve always used to make my Baked Beans with in the past.  Of course, I’d love to be able to do it with fresh beans but those weren’t actually available so, dry beans it was.

I don’t know that I really thought it would make all that much of a difference but, I wanted to just try it for myself and see.  Now, I’m not going to tell you that you will just be blown away with how great these taste using dried beans instead of canned but, I will tell you, these beans have a more authentic “bite” than those canned beans.  They have a bit firmer chew to them if that makes any sense.  The canned pork ‘n beans are good and, they’re good and soft as well.  On the other hand, I imagine this recipe would be more like what one might have experienced on a month long cattle drive out in Texas or Oklahoma somewhere.

Imagine it, the camp cook pulled some beans out of the wagon and put them in soak before he settled down for the night.  A full moon glared down on the thousand acres the ranch crew had been working on all day.  Right after breakfast next morning, he put all the ingredients together to make the beans.  He hung that big cast iron pot over a pile of burning wood and started slow cooking supper for the cowboys.  By the end of the day, they were finally done and all the cow pokes grabbed a bowl and took a big heaping spoonful of fresh baked beans out of the pot.  They sat around the campfire eating beans and cornbread, talking about how the day had gone and what had to be done tomorrow.  See… it’s one of those authentic cowboy type of dishes.  OK… maybe you get the idea.  (Yes, I played cowboys and Indians a lot as a child.)

Don’t let the long list of ingredients throw you.  It’s mostly just a lot of seasonings that you already have on hand.  Add some ground beef and bacon, throw in the seasonings and let it slow bake in the oven all day.  Then, hustle up the kids and maybe let them eat supper outside tonight, around an open campfire.  Make it an experience and don’t forget the marshmallows for later.  (Did cowboys have marshmallows?)

I do hope you’ll give this recipe for Baked Beans from scratch a try.  It’s pretty easy to follow and you can just let them bake slowly in the oven throughout the day as you go about your “chores.”  Are you up for it?  Alright then… Let’s Get Cooking!

Baked Beans, ingredients you'll need.

Baked Beans Recipe… from scratch:  You’ll need these ingredients.

You’ll also need some Ketchup and Worcestershire Sauce that somehow didn’t stand up to get into the photo.

Baked Beans, sort through the dry beans.

Place your dry beans on a plate or in a pan and sort through them.  You’ll want to remove any dark colored beans and any small stones or other foreign matter that might be in there.  The beans are mechanically harvested these days and haven’t been washed.  You’ll want to make sure there isn’t anything in them that you don’t want to be chewing down on later.

Baked Beans, discard any bad beans.

Discard any beans that appear discolored or just old and super dried out.  I only found a few in my bag.  They aren’t going to soften up no matter how long you cook them so, get them out now and toss them.

Baked Beans, cover with water.

Place the dry beans in a big pot and cover them with about 3 inches of water.  Do this before you go to bed one night and they’ll be ready to start work on the next morning.  Think about laying out under the stars and staring up at that big full moon.  Off in the distance you hear the howl of a coyote and the gentle call of a bird.  Are those really birds?  It could be Indians sneaking up on you… be careful.

Baked Beans, drain and rinse.

Next morning, drain the water off the beans as you pour them into a colander.  Rinse the beans under cold running water.

Baked Beans, place beans in baking dish.

Place the beans in a good sized baking dish or pan.  I love these old restaurant type of pans, they’re so versatile.  I really could have used one of those old cast iron dutch ovens but I’ve never cleaned the one I bought at auction many months ago.  Maybe one day.

Baked Beans, dice the onions.

Peel the outer layer of skin from an onion and dice it up.

Baked Beans, brown up the ground beef.

Place your ground beef in a skillet and brown it up a bit.  I’m using 80/20 beef and I wanted to drain off as much of the fat as possible.

Baked Beans, add beef to the bean pot.

After you drain off the grease, add the browned beef to the bean pot.

Baked Beans, add the diced onions.

Add the diced onions.

Baked Beans, add the bell peppers.

Add the bell peppers.  One day, I’m going to find one of those used vacuum sealing food machines just so I can save bell peppers in my freezer throughout the year.  I can buy peppers at about 5 for a dollar during the summer and then they go up to around $1.50 each through the winter.  I always try to store some up because I just happen to like bell peppers when I cook.

Baked Beans, slice up some bacon.

Slice up about a half pound of bacon.  You do know that bacon is much easier to slice when its super cold… right?  I thought so.

Baked Beans, slightly brown the bacon.

Slightly brown the bacon in your skillet.  Can you smell that?

Baked Beans, add the baon to the bean pot.

Add the bacon and the bacon grease into the bean pot.  I must admit, there was a time further down in the recipe that I wished I hadn’t used all of the bacon grease.  It worked out by the end of the recipe though.  Still, you can add it all or just part of it, it’s your choice.  It would have cooked in the pan without browning it up in the skillet first.  I had planned to drain off the bacon grease and save it for later.  There really wasn’t a lot so I just placed it all in the bean pot.

Baked Beans, add the tomato sauce.

Add the can of Tomato Sauce.

Baked Beans, add the brown sugar.

Add the Brown Sugar.

Baked Beans, add the molasses.

Add the Molasses.  This jar is almost empty so I didn’t measure it out.  I did save enough for a biscuit tomorrow morning though.  You’re missing one of life’s greatest joys if you’ve never stuck your finger into a warm biscuit to make a hole big enough to pour in some Grandma’s Molasses.  Now we’re talking!

Baked Beans, add the mustard.

Add the Mustard.

Baked Beans, add garlic powder.

Sprinkle on some Garlic Powder.

Baked Beans, add the liquid smoke.

Add the Liquid Smoke, if desired.  Liquid Smoke is generally found in most grocery stores around the Ketchup, Mustard and Worcestershire Sauces.  It’s made from burning wood chips or sawdust and condensing it into liquids.  The process dates back to around 1895 according to Wikipedia and, its used as one of the main flavors in curing bacon.  Follow this link to learn more about it:  Liquid Smoke on Wikipedia.

Baked Beans, add the Texas Pete Hot Sauce.

Add the Texas Pete Hot Sauce.

Baked Beans, add the Worcestershire Sauce.

Add the Worcestershire Sauce.

Baked Beans, add the beef broth.

Add the Beef Broth.  I keep a jar of Beef Granules in the kitchen cabinet.  I prefer the granules over those little cubes, but hey… that’s just me.  Any type of Beef Broth should do.  I guess if I were totally making this from scratch, I’d have made my own huh?

Baked Beans, stir it up really good.

Finally, go ahead and give it all a real good stir.  Looks like a hefty soup of sorts right now doesn’t it?

Baked Beans, cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Cover the pan tightly with Aluminum Foil and pop the pan into the pre-heated oven.

Baked Beans, bake low and slow at 300 degrees.

We’re going to bake the beans “low and slow,” at 300º.  And… it’s gonna take awhile.

Baked Beans, after three hours in the oven.

Three Hours:  This is after three hours of baking in the oven.  I was curious as to how much progress the beans had made toward getting done.  I stirred them up again, covered the pan back with the Aluminum Foil and slid it back into the oven.

Baked Beans, add salt if needed.

Five hours:  At this point, the beans are getting tender.  It was time to taste them and see what else they needed.  I added a little Salt since I hadn’t put any in already.  Once the flavors start to come together, you can taste it and add Salt as needed.

Baked Beans, add some black pepper.

Add the Black Pepper.

Baked Beans, add some catsup.

Add the Ketchup.  Or, the Catsup.  Which do you call it?

Baked Beans, stir again and return to oven, without the foil on top.

Give them another good stir.  At this point, most of the beans were getting pretty tender.  I did find the occasional bean that just seemed like it hadn’t cooked any at all, despite the fact they had been in the oven all day.  Place the pan back in the oven WITHOUT the Aluminum Foil and REDUCE the temperature of the oven down to 250º.  We’re going to let them bake a bit longer and bake off some of the liquid.

Baked Beans, reduce temp and bake uncovered.

Reduce the oven to 250º and bake uncovered from here on out – until the beans are tender.

Baked Beans, baked down.

Seven Hours:  This is what mine looked like straight out of the oven, seven hours after I started.  I prefer my Baked Beans to be a bit on the “thick” side so I baked off a good deal of the liquid.  Most of the beans were tender but, I still found the occasional bean that just seemed like it had never cooked very much at all.  I did enjoy the texture of the beans though.


Serve them up good and warm… Enjoy!

Note:  It’s certainly possible to reduce the baking time some by cooking the beans prior to assembling everything together.  I was really curious as to how they would turn out when totally baked in the oven.  The beans themselves were pretty tender around the five hour mark and could have been served at that point.  As I stated, I wanted to thicken them up so I baked them, uncovered, awhile longer.   All of the ingredients are pretty much my standard “go-t0” ingredients for making Baked Beans.  I normally use the canned beans myself but found these to have a good texture overall.  Next time, I think I’ll cook the beans in water for about an hour or more to get them tender, then see if that makes any difference.  Let me get back to you on that… OK?  If you beat me to it, let me know in the Comment section below.  Thanks.

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