Slow Cooker Baked Beans taste like the smoky side dish from your favorite BBQ restaurant. Perfectly tender beans are cooked with bacon in a rich molasses and brown sugar sauce, with the slightest kick of spicy heat.
This dish is always a hit at potlucks and cookouts. Print out copies of this Crockpot baked bean recipe, because everyone will be asking for it!!
Slow Cooker Baked Beans
Nothing says summer quite like a cookout!
My perfect summer BBQ menu includes burgers and pulled chicken sandwiches, southern potato salad, macaroni salad, and these slow cooker baked beans, of course!
Have you ever tasted baked beans so smoky and rich that you could eat them alone for a main dish meal?
Well, crock pot baked beans from scratch are those beans of your dreams!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Dried pinto beans – Making baked beans in a crock pot requires soaking the dried beans overnight first.
For a creamier texture, use navy or cannellini beans. Or, try Great Northern beans for a firmer texture with a hint of nuttiness.
If you’re in a hurry, you can use canned beans instead — just be sure to drain and rinse them first.
- Bacon – I recommend using thick-cut bacon so you have a good amount of meat in the beans. There’s so much fat in thin-cut bacon, the pieces tend to melt away.
- Onion and garlic – Fresh onion adds extra texture to these Crockpot baked beans.
In a pinch, you could substitute both of these ingredients with 1 tablespoon of onion powder and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Molasses, brown sugar, and ketchup – This trio creates the base for the sweet and savory sauce.
- Seasonings – Apple cider vinegar adds a hint of tang to baked beans in the crock pot, while dried chipotle chili pepper creates a lovely heat and spice.
Don’t forget salt and pepper! Both are essential for any dish.
Tip for Making Baked Beans in Crock Pot
I find that it’s more convenient to let dried beans soak overnight first.
Not only does soaking shorten the cook time, but it also helps remove any sediment that you may have missed when you sorted them.
Plus, it guarantees that your crock pot baked beans turn out perfectly tender, because soaked beans absorb the flavors more easily.
Prep Ahead Instructions
Aside from soaking the beans ahead, you can also cook the bacon ahead of time!
I like to bake bacon in the oven because I can cook a larger batch, then use some of it for breakfast the next morning.
Plus, baking it doesn’t leave a greasy mess on my counters or stovetop.
It’s okay to store the cooked bacon in a sealed container at room temperature for 2-3 days.
For party prep, you can make slow cooker baked beans with bacon a day or two in advance. Allow them to cool down before transferring them to a container.
You’ll need to store crockpot baked beans in the refrigerator, but you can warm them right back up in the slow cooker about an hour or two before guests arrive!
Crockpot Baked Bean FAQ
Cook beans with bacon, onion, and seasoning for 10 to 12 hours on High, or until everything is nice and tender.
If you’ll be using dried beans, be sure to let them soak overnight before starting the recipe.
The answer depends on how much time you have.
It’s possible to use dried beans without soaking, but it requires at least an additional 2-3 hours of slow cooking time.
After slow cooking for about 10 hours, remove 2 cups of the pintos and mash them with a fork.
Then, stir them back into the slow cooker to help thicken the sauce!
Storing and Freezing Crockpot Baked Beans
Allow baked beans with bacon to cool down to room temperature first. Then, transfer them to an airtight container and refrigerate for 3 to 5 days.
You can also freeze slow cooker baked beans for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat them on the stovetop until they are warmed through.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Crockpot Side Dishes
Slow Cooker Baked Beans with Bacon
- 32 ounce package dried pinto beans
- 1 pound thick cut bacon, cooked and diced
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 cups water
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon dried chipotle chili pepper
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- Sort through beans and pick out any stones, small and shriveled, excessively dirty (like a black spot covering a whole side of a white bean), or otherwise look old and mishandled beans.
- Pour beans into a large sieve or colander and rinse well. Pour rinsed beans into 6 quart slow cooker and cover with water by 2 inches. Place cover on and leave slow cooker OFF. Allow beans to soak overnight (about 8-12 hours).
- Drain the soaked beans and rinse the slow cooker. Place onions, garlic and bacon into the slow cooker. Then add beans back into the slow cooker. Add water, molasses, brown sugar, ketchup, chili pepper, vinegar, and pepper. (Salt will be added at the end).
- Cook on high for 10-12 hours until beans are tender. Add salt to taste, we use the full 1 tablespoon.
- Serve and enjoy!
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published May 2014, updated and republished May 2023
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