How to Make Real New England Style Homemade Baked Beans

I grew up in New England where homemade baked beans are practically a staple at most back yard barbeques. My parents and grandparents all had ceramic bean pots, whose sole purpose was to present those delicious little beans to the masses at every summer holiday. I learned how to make homemade baked beans from my mother at a very early age and took for granted that everyone knew how to make them. And then I moved south.

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Homemade Baked Beans

Upon graduating from college I moved to Texas and realized that not everyone understand what the term ‘homemade’ means when it comes to a baked bean recipe. Those Texans (and the Georgia folks I currently reside with) somehow believe that ‘homemade’ means you open a can of baked beans from the grocery store, throw in some ketchup and onion and call it homemade. I was horrified upon first realizing that I had moved half way across the country from people who knew how to make old fashion New England style baked beans! I knew it was up to me to teach these heathens what the word homemade really meant!


See that thing up there? That is a bean! You can use Great Northern beans or soldier beans for your homemade baked bean recipe or one or two other varieties that have escaped my mind at the moment. You will find these dried beans in the grain section of your local grocery store. Start from real dried beans! It is cheaper and turns out MUCH tastier than anything you can find in a can!

The other ingredient you must find for your homemade baked beans is one that I have trouble finding here in the south. Traditionally, my mom always used salt pork in her baked bean recipe. A small amount is finely diced and put INTO the beans as they cook, and then a chunk is scored and placed on top but removed after cooking. Maybe salt pork is a regional thing. You could use bacon but I find that it adds too much bacon flavor and detracts from the flavor of the beans themselves. I am using a cured Lardo, or fatback will work as a ‘southern’ alternative to salt pork as well.

HOmemade baked bean recipe

You will want to set aside a time when you are  going to be home for at least 7 or 8 hours to make these homemade baked beans. You will need to soak them overnight, rinse, and simmer for a short while. After combining the beans with all the other ingredients, this delicious creation will need to cook in the oven for 5 to7 hours. Watch your baked beans as they cook, adding a little of the bean cooking water as needed so they don’t dry out. Don’t over cook them or they will be too mushy. Remove the foil for the last hour or so to let them brown a bit on top. Once you taste these homemade baked beans you will NEVER again want to eat those abominations that come in a can!

Home made baked bean recipe 2

Homemade Baked Beans

Yields 10

New England Style Homemade Baked Beans

Homemade baked beans are a delicious side dish for your next back yard party!

30 minPrep Time

7 hrCook Time

7 hr, 30 Total Time

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  • 1 pound dried beans (old northern, navy beans, soldier beans)
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 pound salt pork or fatback (cut in half)


  1. Rinse the beans and place in a large pot with 2 quarts of water
  2. Soak overnight
  3. Drain and rinse. Add 2 quarts of fresh water.
  4. Add 1/2 tsp to the water. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or til just about tender
  5. Drain and reserve cooking liquid
  6. Measure out 2 cups of the cooking liquid and place in a large bowl
  7. Add the brown sugar, mustard, molasses and onion. Stir until combined
  8. Place beans in a 2 quart casserole dish
  9. Dice half the salt pork into very small pieces and add to beans
  10. Pour in liquid and stir gently
  11. Score remaining salt pork and place on top of the beans
  12. Cover with foil and bake 5 to 7 hours at 300 degrees. Add more liquid if needed, just enough to keep beans covered.
  13. Remove foil for the last 30 minutes to 1 hour of cooking time to brown slightly
  14. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving


 Let me know if you try these homemade baked beans!


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  1. I never had any idea how to do this! This doesn't seem as hard as I thought so I'll give it a try this summer.
  2. You really don't see a lot of recipes that call for molasses anymore. These look great!
  3. That sounds so good! Thanks so much for sharing this great recipe. I love baked beans.
  4. I never thought about making baked beans like this!! MY husband would be all over this recipe this is one of his favorite summer time foods.
  5. I have never made baked beans from scratch before, but I think I could do this. It looks like a delicious side and I could even throw in some sausage to make it a meal.
  6. http://Margot%20C says
    What onion? There's no onion on your ingredients list. Is it cooked? caramelized? raw? (I can't wait to make this!!) Also, bake at what temperature?
    • http://Diane says
      Sorry! Should have proofread better! Recipe has been updated. Raw onion and 300 degrees! Good luck!
  7. http://Margot%20C says
    Raw - interesting, I'm so excited by this recipe. Thank you so much.
  8. I think everything is better homemade. You can control the amount of sweet or pork you want in them. I'm from New England as well and the beans are so different down here.
  9. http://Bonnilyn%20Stanhope says
    I tried your recipe and LOVED it! It's more like the beans I grew up eating in Maine. It's really hard to find a recipe that doesn't use ketchup and or canned beans. Thank you so much for sharing!
    • http://Diane says
      I am so glad you like them! And yes, there are very few people around any more who make true old fashioned baked beans. This is my grandmother's recipe and I absolutely LOVE it!
  10. http://Renae%20Worden says
    My husband loves to make these beans and uses a cast iron dutch oven which works great in the oven. I reheat them slow in a regular 2 quart pot. Wondering if you know of a better way to do it or if this is how you warm them up again. Thanks for a great recipe.
    • http://Diane says
      I cook in a Le Creuset stoneware baking dish with a lid and that is usually how I reheat them but adding a smidge of water will help if they are dry. Or, I just microwave a serving if I am just needing one person's worth. You can put them in a pot on the stovetop as well on medium low. Just depends on how much I need and how fast I need it. I do LOVE some good baked beans! Might need to make more of these!
  11. These are the New England Baked Beans that my mom made, lost her recipe and needed to find one on line. We always use Salt Pork, never cared for the bacon taste but what truly sets them apart is the molasses and that slow cooked goodness, thanks for providing a recipe without ketchup, almost had a heart attack the first time I saw it added, LOL! my mom's been gone for a few years, still miss her terribly, thanks for bringing a little of her memory back, we loved these beans!

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