A must-have dish for any backyard barbecue, this classic baked bean recipe is made simple by simmering in a slow-cooker. Spiked with bourbon, maple syrup and molasses, these healthy baked beans have just the right amount of bacon to add a salty touch of smokiness.

Carolyn Malcoun
Source: EatingWell Magazine, May/June 2014


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

6 hrs


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Cook onion and bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the onion is starting to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continuing cooking until the onion is very soft, about 5 minutes more. Stir in bourbon (or 3 tablespoons broth) and cook for 1 minute, scraping up the browned bits. Set aside.

  • Drain and rinse the soaked beans; transfer to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in 3 cups broth, ketchup, maple syrup (or brown sugar), molasses, dry mustard and chipotle (or chili powder). Spoon the onion-bacon mixture on top of the bean mixture, but don't stir the two together. (The layer on top helps keep the beans submerged during cooking so they don't dry out). Cover and cook on High for 6 hours or Low for 8 hours. Stir in vinegar and salt just before serving.


Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months; reheat before serving.

Equipment: 5- to 6-quart slow cooker

Before using beans in a slow-cooker recipe, soak them to ensure even cooking. Start by sorting beans to remove any pebbles; rinse well with cold water. To soak overnight: Place beans in a large bowl, cover with 3 inches of cold water and soak at room temperature for 8 to 24 hours. To “quick soak”: Place beans in a large saucepan with enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour.

For easy cleanup, try a slow-cooker liner. These heat-resistant, disposable liners fit neatly inside the insert and help prevent food from sticking to the bottom and sides of your slow cooker.

Nutrition Facts

199 calories; protein 9.5g; carbohydrates 35.5g; dietary fiber 9.4g; sugars 10.7g; fat 1.9g; saturated fat 0.5g; cholesterol 2.3mg; vitamin a iu 76.4IU; vitamin c 2.6mg; folate 128.9mcg; calcium 83.9mg; iron 2.5mg; magnesium 61.3mg; potassium 530.8mg; sodium 306.8mg; thiamin 0.2mg; added sugar 9g.

Reviews (2)

Read More Reviews
6 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 1
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 2 stars
A Little Bitter... but Can Be Fixed First off I was looking for a basic baked bean recipe - I wasn't looking for healthy which these definitely are not. I didn't have any bourbon so I left it out (part of the flavor problem?). The beans smelled heavenly cooking. We even had a neighbor tell us he wanted some! The beans needed 12-hours cooking time on low after an 8-hour bean soak. I have found that beans always take much longer to cook than people think. When I went to taste them they had a bitter after taste. So I'd cut the mustard in half next time. Also they are a bit too rich. I'd cook the bacon first (probably cut down the amount of bacon too) and drain it then brown the onions. That's really it! I feel like this could be a really solid reliable recipe with these couple of tweaks so not going to abandon it just yet. And the bourbon - I'll get some. Pros: Pretty Good Flavors Cons: A Little Too Much of Everything Read More
Rating: 1 stars
Read carefully What exactly makes these beans healthy? Is it the 1/2 cup portion size? The bacon? The bacon fat that you don't drain off before adding it to the crock pot? I expect that when I read a recipe in Eating Well that has healthy in the title that it will in fact be healthier than a standard recipe. Read More
Rating: 2 stars
takes much longer than stated time I soaked my beans the night before. But they required much much more cooking time than stated in the recipe. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Minimul unhealthy ingredients. Quite Healthy. Yum! I have never had baked beans made with white beans but have heard of them. I am very glad I tried this recipe. Thanks for the post! Pros: On hand ingredients and great taste Read More
Rating: 3 stars
Beans age too! Having read the other reviews I made sure to get beans that had not been sitting on a store shelf for years. Note: Though dry beans will keep for a long time they DO age and dry up. This is why bean recipes can be so variable. Get your beans in smaller quantities from a busy bulk store. Otherwise this was a good basic recipe. I prefer fatback to bacon and added a dash of liquid smoke to blend better with the ribs. I also like to serve these with Sriacha on the side for a little heat. Pros: Easy Cons: Don't freeze well Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Yummy Easy Slow-Cooker Baked Beans This was my first time making slow cooker baked beans. I did not use the bacon vinegar or salt and I substituted dark agave for molasses. The beans are absolutely delicious!!! I followed the quick soak directions and cooked them on low for 7 hours and they weren't soft enough so i turned them on to high for about another hour and a half! Pros: Easy and Yummy! Cons: Need to cook longer than recommended! Read More