Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Slow cooker American Baked Beans recipe

I have to admit I was kind of flying blind with this one.

Served with an amazing warm roast pumpkin, bacon, green bean and goats cheese salad
Until three years ago I had NO idea that Heinz baked beans were not the same on both sides of the Atlantic. I had just assumed that baked beans were an American invention and that what was sold to me by an American company would be the same here too. I was wrong.

Once I looked into this in more detail, I also discovered that many people make their own baked beans in the US and that there are quite a few variations with many families having their "house blend" as it were. I've still never had a can of American baked beans so I I have no idea how authentic the taste of what I concocted is but I combined two or three recipes for home-made beans that looked good and came up with ....oh my goodness... total yumminess! You have to try this!

We're never having Brit-style baked beans again!

PS If you are an American reader and try this, I would love to know your thoughts.

Ingredients for 8 portions: 
(you'll need to reduce everything if you have less than a 6L/quart pot)

24 oz or 700g dried white beans. I used cannellini
4 smoked bacon rashers (or a 1lb ham hock)
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup/ 100g brown sugar
1.5 litres/6 cups water
1 cup ketchup
2 tbsp grainy mustard
1/4 cup molasses


Put everything up to the water into the crock and cook on Low for 8-10 hours or until the beans are soft. Remove 500 ml/2 cups of the water. I did this by pushing my ladle down into the beans and letting the liquid flood into it. Stir in the ketchup, mustard and molasses and cook for another hour. I also saw a recipe with 3 tbsp maple syrup. That sounded really good too! Enjoy with your favourite cowboy.


Did I say total yumminess? We fought over the leftovers! The beans were sweeter than UK beans, but tangy, thanks to the ketchup and the molasses gave them real depth. The bacon was a good addition too. My husband won't touch UK beans but he wanted this again the following week. A keeper. Yes, the beans too!


  1. Sounds yummy (quite like Brazilian black beans). Just checking - there's no need to soak the white beans overnight or anything?!

  2. I didn't soak them and rarely do soak beans I slow cook. I never risk it with kidney beans though and either use canned beans or boil them hard for 10 minutes after soaking and before using in the slow cooker. Same with aduki beans. Otherwise they're poisonous or something.

  3. I thought I read that cannellini beans have the same toxin as kidney beans in similar levels, so should always be soaked and boiled before use. It's why they are not a good substitute for haricot beans in the cassoulet. Of course, now I can't find the source to confirm that.

  4. From Wikipedia: "Other white beans include Cannellini, a fairly popular variety in Central and Southern Italy which is related to the kidney bean and like the kidney bean has higher levels of the toxin lectin."

  5. Thanks Jess. Naughty, GEM. So haricot beans are OK? I'm sure haricot beans would be great in this recipe too.