As an early experimental cook, I decided to make baked beans from scratch, a project that entails soaking dry beans overnight and then cooking them in a sweet, sticky broth for six to eight hours.
As good as they were (and they were really good!), I don’t want to turn on the oven for eight hours and hang around to stir them every once in a while. (Maybe next time I'll try cooking the beans in a pressure cooker!)
That’s what makes this stovetop recipe using canned beans so appealing. It tastes like they were made completely from scratch, but they are ready in forty minutes or less with very little hands-on time.
Best Beans for Baked Beans
Navy beans are the bean of choice for New England-style baked beans. They are small and thus soak up a lot of sweet molasses goodness that is the hallmark of baked beans. You could also use Great Northern beans or another variety of small beans if you can’t find them, but the small pea beans (navy beans) are the most authentic for Boston-style baked beans.
Make Ahead: Storing and Freezing
Once cooked, stovetop beans will keep for at least four days in the fridge. Be sure to tuck them away, well-covered with a lid, within two hours of cooking.
They can be frozen for up to six months, but the texture can become a little mushy. If you know ahead of time you will freeze the beans, reduce the cooking time by about 10 minutes so the beans are not too soft. Let them cool on the counter and then chill thoroughly in the fridge before transferring to freezer-safe containers and freezing. Defrost in the refrigerator before reheating.
Looking for More Bean Recipes?
- Three Bean Baked Beans
- Slow Cooked Boston Baked Beans
- Pressure Cooker Baked Beans
- Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce
- Cowboy Beans
Easy Stovetop Baked Beans
- 1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch wide strips
- 1/2 peeled onion, stem intact
- 4 (15-ounce) cans navy beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup water
Cook the bacon:
In a large soup pot over medium heat, cook the bacon, turning often, for 5 minutes, or until browned. Pour off and discard about half the excess fat. Set aside about 1/4 cup bacon for garnish.
Cook the beans:
Add the onion half, drained beans, tomato sauce, molasses, brown sugar, mustard powder, bay leaf, salt, and water to the pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Cover the pot and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the sauce is thick. If your sauce doesn’t seem to be thickening to your liking, remove the lid for the final 5 minutes of cooking. Remove the onion half and bay leaf.
Serve the beans from the pot, or transfer them to a bowl, and sprinkle the reserved bacon on top.