Stove-top Baked Beans

Side DishComfort FoodBaked Beans

A richly flavored stove top baked bean recipe combining molasses, bacon, ketchup and vinegar - a great addition to hot dogs too.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Why is it that baked beans are so popular around the Fourth of July, but making them usually requires several hours of baking in a hot oven?

Where we live it gets pretty darn sizzling in the summer and the last thing we want to do is keep the oven going for hours; the AC is working hard enough as it is.

Here’s a recipe I pulled from the New York Times back in February (2007) that calls for cooking the beans on the stove top, a much preferred summer cooking method.

Richly flavored with bacon, molasses, ketchup and vinegar, these not-really-baked beans have plenty of the baked bean goodness you expect, and are great with hot dogs!

Stove-top Baked Beans Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Soaking and cooking dry beans time: 3 hours
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 1 lb dry small white beans, such as cannellini or navy beans (or 3 15-ounce cans of white beans)
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons dry mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce (or cayenne pepper if you don't have Tabasco)
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 slice raw thick-cut bacon
  • 5 slices cooked thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • ¼ red onion, finely chopped


1 Soak the dry beans: If you are using canned beans, drain the beans, put them in a large pot and skip to step 3. Put dry beans in a large pot. Cover with water by 2 inches and refrigerate overnight. Alternatively, bring beans to a boil, remove from heat and let cool for an hour.

2 Cook the beans: Drain the beans and rinse them. Add them to a large pot. Cover with 1 inch of water. Insert cloves into onion halves (so they can be easily found and discarded later), add to pot. Add garlic and bay leaf.

Heat to a simmer and let cook for 1 to 2 hours, until beans are just tender. (Older beans will take longer to cook). Add boiling water to beans if they begin to look dry while cooking.

3 Mix ketchup molasses seasonings: In a separate bowl, mix together the ketchup, molasses, vinegar, mustard powder, Tabasco sauce, and pepper.

4 Remove onion and bay leaf, add ketchup mixture and bacon: When the beans are just tender, remove the onion, cloves, and bay leaf. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the beans. Add the ketchup mixture and stir to combine. Add one slice of raw bacon to the mix.

5 Simmer until thick: Bring the beans to a simmer. Simmer over low heat for 30-40 minutes until thick. Remove bacon slice (if desired). Add more salt to taste.

Serve hot, topped with chopped red onions and cooked bacon.

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Adapted from a recipe in the New York Times, February 2007

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

15 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Barbara

    Great baked beans cooked on the stove top. Looked for a stove top recipe and found this one. Had already soaked the navy beans overnight and started from there, omitted the bacon and the beans are still delicious. Thank you for sharing your recipe.


  2. kaitlyn

    I used white beans, soaked overnight. One thing I would say is add a tsp or two of baking soda when you soak overnight to release the gas in the beans. My beans cooked in less than an hour. Also I used a 1/4 cup of brown sugar as well as the molasses. drained most of the water and added half a large can of crushed tomatoes. I dislike ketchup and wanted more nutritional value. Turned out terrrific! Also kept onion, I chopped and browned with bacon.

  3. anna

    When using canned beans, do you add the liquid too?

    Good question. Canned beans should be drained. ~Elise

  4. Omeghan

    I have made these stove top beans many times in hunt camp as a side to a chuckroast, meatloaf, burgers, or roasted keilbosa. I used French’s prepared mustard (a couple of tablespoons), a huge dollop of Ketchup, a large squeeze of molasses, diced onion & diced raw bacon.

    Add these to a couple cans ready made pork & beans and let simmer on back of the wood stove, 1-1.5 hours. Remove & let set up & reheat when required. Check moisture, add a bit of water if needed. So Thick & delicious!

    If making beans from scratch …when boiling the beans, add a bit of baking soda to the water. (it rinses off) It reduces flatulance later on. (I use baking soda too when making pea soup)

    Oh and don’t forget a chunk of home made bread & nice cold butter!

    And it goes well with a nice coarse grated coleslaw (cabbage onion & carrot) with MW salad dressing & a large splash white vinegar & pepper (shook in a jar) Pour over slaw & Let it stand, covered in fridge or in a large zip lock bag.

  5. Jen

    How would you do this with canned beans? Do you still make a stock with them? Where do you add the onions/cloves/bay leaf?

    Canned beans are already cooked, so no, you wouldn’t use the onion, cloves, bay leaf. You could add some onion salt and/or a tiny pinch of ground cloves to the last step. If you used canned beans, just skip to the last step. ~Elise

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