Great Grandma’s Baked Beans

WIN_20160105_180014I’ve had this recipe for almost 20 years, but this is the first time I’ve prepared it myself. It’s not that I don’t enjoy Great Grandma’s Baked Beans, but rather, the recipe is such a classic that a big Nesco of these Baked Beans reliably pop up at big family gatherings brought by someone else. I’ve come to associate Great Grandma’s Baked Beans with summer cookouts, paper plates, and conversations with first- and second-cousins. Like all recipes which begin with dry beans, this recipe takes time. However, that doesn’t mean it’s complicated! I hope you’ll give them a try.

WIN_20160105_111349Ingredients (feeds a crowd)

2 pounds (1 quart) dry white Northern beans

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

10 tablespoons molasses

1 pound bacon, cut in 1 inch pieces*

1 tablespoon dry mustard

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


*Great Grandma used a whole pound of bacon, but I only used 1/2 pound. Also, I cut the pieces smaller.


Step 1) Soak dry white Northern beans in water overnight. They will expand a LOT! Place your beans in a 3-quart bowl or larger, and cover with several inches of water.

Step 2) The next day, drain the beans and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. Cover beans with boiling water and let stand for 5 minutes.

Step 3) Drain the beans again and transfer them to a large pot. Cover with fresh water and simmer (don’t boil) for 15 minutes. Drain the beans one last time, and transfer them to a Nesco or other large slow-cooker.

Step 4) Add all remaining ingredients to the Nesco, and cover the beans with water. I added approximately 6 cups of water.

Step 5) Bake in the Nesco or other slow-cooker at 300 degrees or “high” (if your slow cooker only has “low” and “high” settings) for 4 to 5 hours, or until beans are very soft. Add more water as needed so that beans don’t get dry. I added approximately 2 cups of water after 3 hours of cooking, and allowed the beans to cook for 5 hours total.

Step 6) Enjoy with paper plates, family, and friends!



2 replies to “Great Grandma’s Baked Beans

  1. Hello, ref your Great Grandma’s baked bean recipe. I lived in New York state half my life, and loved to eat the baked beans someone would always bring to picnics. I’m hoping your recipe is what I’ve been looking for the last two years. My mother never made them so not sure.
    I’m pretty sure they were navy beans, kind of mashed texture. They were a pinkish color. Seems like they had molasses and some brown sugar, probably some bacon for flavor. Definitely baked.
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Regards, Nancy

    1. That sounds pretty similar to this recipe, Nancy. The navy beans are deceptive… during much of the cooking process, they look like individual little beans in a somewhat thin liquid. But all of the sudden, magic happens! They take on the texture to which you refer. If you make this recipe, I’ll be curious to hear how similar this is to what you remember! Happy cooking. 🙂

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