Best Boston Baked Beans Recipe

Boston baked beans have been a staple on the east coast for what seems like forever, and there's a good reason why Boston has the nickname "Bean Town." According to Celebrate Boston, Boston baked beans came about in the 1700s as Boston served as a major import spot for several goods, like molasses, which you can find in baked beans. Unlike your traditional can of beans, Boston baked beans are unique as they're packed with smoky flavor, taking your average bean from pretty bland to bursting with flavor. This recipe also calls for crispy fried bacon, which is the perfect meat addition to accompany the beans.

Recipe developer Catherine Brookes came up with the best Boston baked beans recipe, and whether you want it on top of your frank or as a solo side, these totally hit the spot. "I love the unique savory, smokey and sweet taste of these beans! Leaving them to simmer for plenty of time allows all of those flavors to really develop, resulting in a super tasty dish," Brookes raves. "These homemade beans are fresh, wholesome, and tasty, with fewer nasties than the canned version." That's the beauty of making things from scratch — you have complete control about what goes into the recipe, and therefore into your body.

Gather the ingredients for the best Boston baked beans

For this recipe, you will need a few ingredients, most of which add major flavor to your baked beans. Head to the store and get olive oil, onion, garlic cloves, thick-cut bacon, haricot beans, chopped tomatoes, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, tomato puree, bay leaves, and water. If you've made Boston baked beans before, you know all these are pretty standard ingredients. 

Cook the bacon

Baked beans and bacon go hand in hand. For the first step, take out a large pot and drizzle in the olive oil. Add the bacon, turn the heat to medium-high, and continue frying for about 6-8 minutes until the bacon gets nice and brown. 

Once cooked, remove the bacon from the pan and set it to the side. As for the bacon grease? Be sure to keep that in the pot for cooking.

Fry the onion and garlic

Add the chopped onion to the pan with the bacon fat and use that as the oil to fry the onions. "The bacon fat adds extra salty, savory flavors that compliment the beans perfectly," Brookes shares. 

One more thing to note? "Make sure to fry the bacon [fat] and onion for the full amount of time to really allow their flavors to release," Brookes suggests. 

Turn the heat to medium and continue cooking until the onion softens, which should take about 5 minutes. Then, add the garlic to the mix and continue cooking for another minute.

Add the remaining ingredients

Now, you can add the remaining ingredients to the mix. This includes haricot beans, chopped tomatoes, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, tomato puree, bay leaves, and water. Stir well to combine, and then crank the heat up to bring the mixture to a boil.

When the liquid begins boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and place a lid on the pot. Let the beans cook for another 45 minutes as this will help the flavors come together in the most perfect way. 

Serve and enjoy

When your 45-minute timer goes off, remove the best Boston baked beans from heat and serve as you desire. These beans are a great side to basically any main course, but they would also make a nice, hearty snack. "These are great served as a side dish, on toast, or with crusty bread to dip in," Brookes shares.

This stuff is so good that you may not have anything left, but if you do, keep it! The reheated leftovers taste just as good! "Leftovers will keep well up to 3 days in the fridge," Brookes notes.

Best Boston Baked Beans Recipe
5 from 46 ratings
These Boston baked beans are loaded with bacon and molasses for a rich, subtly sweet, and irresistible side dish.
Prep Time
Cook Time
baked beans in bowl
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 (14-ounce) cans haricot beans, drained
  • 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup water
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot and fry the chopped bacon on medium-high heat until browned, about 6-8 minutes. Remove and set aside onto a plate, reserving the fat from the bacon in the pot.
  2. Add the onion to the bacon fat and fry on medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for another minute.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients, stir well, and bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and leave to cook covered for 45 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove the bay leaves before serving as a side dish.
Calories per Serving 453
Total Fat 18.1 g
Saturated Fat 5.5 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 24.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 54.3 g
Dietary Fiber 11.6 g
Total Sugars 9.0 g
Sodium 886.2 mg
Protein 20.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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