Baked Beans

April 15, 2013

Test Kitchen-Approved

Serves: 4 to 6


  • 1/2 pound cranberry, pinto or cannellini beans, soaked overnight
  • Salt
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1 small onion, diced (keep the ends for the beans)
  • 1 tablespoon bacon fat (you can also use oil or butter)
  • 1/8 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 pinch chipotle powder (optional)
  • 2 chopped canned tomatoes (I use tetra pack)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
In This Recipe


  1. Cover the beans by at least an inch with cold water. Add a few pinches of salt and the thyme, garlic and onion ends and simmer until tender, about an hour.
  2. When the beans are close to being done, heat the oven to 250 degrees F. Using a heavy, shallow ovenproof pan sauté the onion in the bacon fat over medium-low heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spices and cook for another minute. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and simmer gently for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens slightly.
  3. Stir the beans and about 1/2 cup of their cooking water into the sauce in the pan. Cover the pan and put it in the oven for an hour to an hour and a half, until the beans are very soft and the sauce has thickened a bit.
  4. Uncover the pan and cook until the sauce is quite dry, and the edges of the pan are slightly caramelized, another 20 to 30 minutes.

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Reviews (3) Questions (1)

3 Reviews

Rachel April 3, 2018
Delicious. This is a keeper and will go into regular rotation in my house. I was liberal with the spices because we like things on the hot side and used butter since that's what I had. I have a home office and this is perfect to make during my mid-afternoon "coffee break". I can leave it in the oven and have something that smells wonderful while cooking and is ready for dinner when I shut off my computer.
maam November 1, 2015
Very good.<br />I served them with BBQ dry rubbed pork loin chops. I was looking to find a recipe substitute for the high sodium canned beans...this is definitely it. <br />They have a nice subtle more sophisticated flavour. As per popular request though (my husband), I will make an extra batch of the sauce. I will cook it in the oven separately for him to use with the beans and pork chops. I feel if I doubled the sauce in the recipe it would ruin that nice caramelization that occurs stove top at the end of the cooking time. Some extra served in a nice ramekin on the side would then be a good solution for the both of us.
ChristyBean January 7, 2014
I made this last night, and the husband loved it. I think I got him off of Heinz's canned baked beans, ha! I wasn't sure about the tomatoes (2 15-oz cans of chopped tomatoes or two whole, canned tomatoes that have then been chopped??), and since I threw the pan in the oven before leaving for aquagym, I put in 2 cans for fear of the beans drying out. This version was very tomatoey and delicious with a fried egg on top with some bread on the side. I need to find more non-slow-cooker recipes that I can throw in the oven for 90 minutes and come home to a meal ready to go!