Baked Beans

I had a few friends visiting all weekend. I knew I wanted to cook something good for them, but I also knew that once they arrived I wouldn’t have much time to put a lot of effort into a meal. My plan was wake up on Friday morning at 8am and cook all morning until they arrived at 1:30. Everything went really well! Tomorrow I will post the pulled pork sandwich I made that morning, but today I have some simple yet amazing baked beans. I have to say that recently, I have been very proud of the number of original recipes on the website. I have been improvising and having fun in the kitchen and posting many less recipes directly from another source. Today and tomorrow however are pretty much direct from other places. These recipes were so amazing that I just couldn’t pass them up! These are Alton Brown’s baked beans. They are one of the highest user rated recipes I have ever seen on the whole FN site.

I like to take my time sorting the beans. I just relax, put some music on, and roll each bean between my fingers. If it makes a slight crunch sound, it goes in the throw away pile.

I used cranberry beans for this, because they were the closest I could find to white northern.

The throw away pile was quite large.

They expand overnight in the water.

The next morning, I was up early making coffee while chopping onions and peppers. My friends were due to arrive at 1:30, and the beans take about 6 hours.

The good news is that they are unbelievably easy to make!  1lb of bacon to 1lb of beans. How could you go wrong!?

One place I varied from the recipe, was tomato paste timing. I put mine in a bit earlier than Alton so that it could fry at the bottom of the pan for a few minutes.

Do you guys love molasses as much as I do?

Another place where I strayed from Alton’s recipe was when adding liquid to the pot. Alton added some of the bean soaking liquid, along with some vegetable stock. I do not like bean soaking liquid, so I replaced it with beer and about 4 oz of chipotle.(This also helps eliminate that negative connotation that beans sometimes have) All in all, I think I used about a half cup less liquid than he did.

Cover and put it in the oven. I did 225 even though it said 250.

6 hours later. Amazing. Next time I make these, and there WILL be a next time, I think I will cut the brown sugar in half. It wasn’t crazy sweet or anything, but it was slightly sweeter than I would like.  The guys said they didn’t think it was too sweet, so I guess it is a personal preference.

Alton Brown Baked Bean Recipe is here.

Tomato paste in earlier to fry in the oil with onions and stuff.

My notes: 4 oz chipotle added in with the other liquids.

Instead of putting the beanwater in, use 2 cup veg stock, and 1 and ¼ cup beer.

Cooked 5 and a half hours at 225.

I would use less brown sugar also.

Make these for your cookout for the long weekend next weekend guys. Seriously!


  1. why oh why did you have to throw away so many? the only dried beans i’ve ever cooked were split lentils, so i’m not sure i understand the whole “throw it away if it crunches” thing.

  2. Carolyn – it all depends on the beans you buy. some have less discards, but mine had kind of a lot. if you could see that pile better, you would know that there are some little pebbles, some discolored beans, and some with the crinkly skin i was talking about. if it makes that noise in your fingers, you know the skin will fall off later. I would rather get rid of them all right from the start. it isn’t a huge deal though if you aren’t as selective as I am with the dried beans. usually if you put the ones with crinkly skin into the soaking water, you will notice they float.

  3. Another thing i just don’t really like are baked beans out of a tin YUCK! But this looks so delicious Dan. I reckon a little orange peel and rosemary would go really nice in this : )

  4. I made these for Labor Day and I have no words. They were out of this world good. I will make these again and again. Thanks for directing me to such a good recipe.

  5. Just a note, as Alton pointed out in the show using the beanwater helps to retain the beans flavor and nutrition, but does not cause you to be more or less flatulent. The responsibility lies in the beans itself and your large intestine. Soaking helps as it softens the bean making it easier to break down, but the difference in retaining the liquid or not doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in preventing flatulence. Still the beer seems like a tasty addition.

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