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  • Writer's pictureA Wild Lass

Great-Grandma's Baked Beans

Updated: Oct 31, 2022

At our small group this week, the potluck theme was “Family Favorites.” One friend told us about the weirdest recipes they’d always eaten, never realizing it was strange (think: pickles, ham, and corn in a mayo dressing).

That got me thinking about my favorite family recipes, and one of the best at reunions was always great-grandma’s baked beans. I modified her recipe a little bit, and when I made them this week, they were delicious! Below you’ll find the best recipe for homemade baked beans you’ll ever try.

Photo by Jacob Stone on Unsplash

*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.


2 lbs dry navy beans

12 c water

6 t salt

1 ⅓ c dark brown sugar

½ c molasses

4 t. spicy brown mustard

6 strips of bacon (optional)


Two days before you want to make the baked beans, put the beans in a large bowl. Cover with water.

If the beans soak up all the water, add more. Soak for two days.

On cooking day, preheat oven to 325⁰F.

Drain the bean water and set the water aside.

In a dutch oven or large roasting pan, mix sugar, salt, mustard, and molasses. Add 1 c of water and combine.

Add soaked beans and remaining 11 c of water. Stir to combine.

Bake beans, covered, for 3 hours. Check the beans, stirring and adding reserved bean water if needed. You should be able to see liquid around the beans. If the liquid is below the level of the beans, you’ll need to add more. As you stir, use the spoon to feel whether the beans are soft.

Continue baking beans, covered, until soft. This may take 3-4 more hours, depending on your oven and how long you were able to soak the beans. If you only soaked the beans one night, it may take quite a while to cook them. Once the beans are brown instead of white, you know you are getting close.


Add 6 strips of raw bacon to the top of the beans when you put them in the oven. If you choose this method, uncover beans for ½ hour at the end to make sure the bacon is done.

Alternatively, you can fry the bacon in the dutch oven before mixing in the salt, sugar, mustard, and molasses. Then proceed with the rest of the directions as normal.

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Check out these other recipes and kitchen hacks from A Wild Lass:

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*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.

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