beer-baked beans 10

beer baked beans

Baked beans are one of my all-time favorite foods. Observant readers might point out that I say that about almost every food I talk about, but I guess that kind of bias is one of the natural consequences of letting someone run their own food blog. You try to find someone who writes about food they don’t like every day.

Anyway, baked beans are awesome, and I’ve liked them forever. I’ve enjoyed beer for significantly less than forever, but it’s high on my list as well. The combination of beer-baked beans is wonderful. Rachel and I really wanted to have them at our wedding, so we took time out of a few different weekends to create a “bean testing lab” where we tried to concoct an awesome baked beans recipe. We tried lots of different kinds of beans, messed around with different traditional and out-of-the-box flavors, and arrived triumphant at the recipe you have in front of you.

Authentic baked beans are actually baked (surprise!), often starting in their dry state and slowly growing soft and absorbing flavor on low heat for many hours.  It’s pretty delicious, although I’d really like to try some that were made by an expert bean chef from Boston or Georgia or something if I ever get the chance. The reason I’ve opted for a “simmered beans” version in this recipe is just because it’s simpler to make and tastes just as great. If you want, you can split the difference: start with cooked beans and bake them in the liquid in your favorite dutch oven for a few hours at 300° or so.

The beer adds a lot of flavor; I find dark beers are usually more pronounced as an ingredient, so I’d encourage using something in the direction of a porter. You can add more or less depending on how much of that beer flavor you want coming through.

This was a big hit at the wedding, by the way. We made a ton of it and served it with pulled pork and many other wonderful foods. Also we got married, which was even better.

Oh yeah– this recipe is also vegetarian, so all you people sick of bacon in every baked beans recipe can rejoice and enjoy the dish with us.

Beer-Baked Beans Recipe

1 pound (about 2 cups) dry navy beans, cooked (about 4-5 cups after cooking)


2-3 regular cans navy beans (any other white bean will work as well)

1 onion, chopped

1/2-3/4 cup molasses (depending how far you live from Boston)

1/2 c. ketchup

2 tsp mustard

3 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 tsp worcestershire sauce

2 bay leaves

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tb unsalted butter

1 cup (8 0z) dark beer (feel free to use the whole  12 oz. bottle)

Most of this recipe is just assembling and mixing the ingredients. Actually that’s pretty much it.

In a large pot or slow cooker, mix the beans, onion, and all the other stuff. Mix well and add water to submerge the beans slightly.

beer baked beans

Cover the pot and simmer gently for at least 30 minutes– but a few hours would be much better. The slow cooker would be really handy in this case.

Before serving, feel free to uncover the pot for a little if the mixture seems too thin. Serve with your favorite barbecue food, or whenever you want I guess.

beer baked beans

Hope you like our wedding beans! Let me know if you come up with any interesting variations. I’ve enjoyed adding a little chipotle paste on occasion, for example.

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Hasta la vista, foodies!

beer baked beans


10 thoughts on “beer-baked beans

  1. Reply Linda Mar 12, 2012 9:39 am

    Hi Todd, still loving your recipes.

    I am awarding you the versatile blogger award for your incredible skills, you can see this here:



  2. Reply Cindy Mar 12, 2012 3:57 pm

    Delish. Period! Would Guinness work or is a stout wrong for this recipe?

    • Reply Todd Mar 12, 2012 3:59 pm

      Guinness would work fine, it’ll just be a pretty strong flavor the darker you go. I’ve used Yuengling Black & Tan, which is even a little milder than Guinness, and it came through just fine.

  3. Reply Alibaba Sep 18, 2012 10:28 am

    Absolutely perfect beans! A family of six to feed and now we’ve prepared them twice this week!!

    Thank you!! :)

  4. Reply Tim Jan 28, 2013 3:12 pm

    Hey Todd,

    These look delicious. Looking forward to making them for the Super Bowl next week, Let’s Go Ravens! Just wondering how many people will this feed as a side?

    • Reply Todd Jan 28, 2013 10:31 pm

      Hi Tim! As a side, this will go pretty far. It depends on how much people take, how many other sides there are, etc, but I think 10-15 is a pretty safe bet. Let me know how it goes.

  5. Reply Tim Feb 4, 2013 12:56 pm

    Hi Todd, beans were delicious. I added a little paprika, chili powder, and brown sugar to your recipe. They cooked for 8 hours yesterday and were fantastic. Thanks for the recipe!

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