Easy Slow Cooker Baked Beans

Snow on shrub branches
Fresh snow today

As the snow falls around us and we try to minimize our visits to the grocery store, we enjoy making comforting old fashioned foods with simple ingredients. It’s easy to make Baked Beans and Split Pea Soup, and other cold weather classics with dried beans and a few other ingredients. In these days of pandemic isolation, cans of beans and soup disappear quickly from our grocery store, and we’ve gathered a few bags of dried legumes for days like today.

Goldendoodle behind wrought iron fence in the snow
Max enjoying today’s snow

Baked Beans is another dish enjoyed all over the world with roots said to be Native North American, often prepared with maple syrup and bear fat, providing a highly valued source of protein and calories. Our entire family just loves Baked Beans – second only to rice, as the ultimate side dish with endless recipes to explore. I even use them to make cheese and bean burritos which I heat on my ice fishing hut stove to feed my body and sole.

Inside my ice fishing hut

This baked bean recipe is effortless and different from the norm – give it a try and enjoy!

Slow Cooker Baked Beans – Ingredients

900g Dried Kidney or Romano Beans (I use a multiple bean medley – the variety of bean sizes and shapes give basic baked beans a bit of sophistication, but use what you can find!)

Rinse beans in cold water and refrigerate in a bowl of water overnight to soak the beans. You can skip this step, but the beans will take even longer to cook to the right texture if you do).

One medium onion finely diced

2 cups leftover cooked ham or bacon diced ( I used both because I had leftover ham on hand – if you want to leave out the meat and make this a vegan dish, by all means do – In which case, you may want to add a bit of salt to the dish)

2 cups water or vegetable broth

2 cups Ketchup

1 cup Brown Sugar

1/2 cup Molasses

1 tablespoon dried mustard

Barbeque sauce and additional water “to taste”


Drain dried beans and place in large slow cooker. Stir in all ingredients and turn slow cooker on medium setting and cover with lid for six to eight hours. Check and stir gently every hour or so. If beans appear to have absorbed all the liquid, add more water. The ingredients in the sauce are essentially a barbecue sauce, and sometimes I mix up some extra if I find the beans are not saucy enough – or I just add in some barbecue sauce that I have on hand to add some zest at the end.

Mixed Dried Beans
Assorted Dried Beans

After six hours check texture of beans. Even though they have been cooking for six hours, they should still be firm as the sugar and molasses keep them that way. Depending on the texture you observe after six hours, you can turn them off or continue cooking for another 2 hours.

Ham, Bacon, Beans and Sauce Ingredients in Slow Cooker
Ham, Bacon, Beans and Sauce Ingredients in Slow Cooker

This recipe makes a really large pot of baked beans, which we served as a side dish for a few days – and then we freeze the rest in individual sized containers to enjoy later.

Easy Baked Beans in a Large Dish
Easy Baked Beans

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