Making whole food slow cooker honey baked beans with frozen or canned beans is an easy way to have flavorful beans ready for any party, BBQ, or simple family meal.
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I love making slow cooker baked beans! Throw all the ingredients in the crockpot, set to cook, and you'll have delicious beans ready when you are. The flavors all meld together into that sweet-tart flavor we all know and love.
Baked beans are such a great side dish for meats, burgers, and any cookout, really. But they are also a main dish on their own - with or without the bacon. A comforting bowl of baked beans served with a salad is both frugal and delicious.
Are beans good for you?
Beans are a great source of protein, complex carbs, and fiber (and according to this article, almost all Americans fail to eat enough fiber).
Dry beans also contain a healthy amount of nutrients including antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals such as copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and zinc.
While many baked bean recipes are loaded with sugar, this recipe calls for ketchup and to make this as healthy as possible, we use a homemade honey sweetened ketchup.
Then we add just a little more honey (or maple syrup, for a Maple Baked Beans variation), for slightly sweet baked beans that you know is going to be way better than any canned stuff.
To make this recipe even easier, we start with cooked beans. I use cooked and frozen dry beans because it takes just a few minutes of hands on time and they are just as convenient as canned beans, but a lot cheaper. Using canned beans is fine, though - use whatever works for you!
Slow Cooker Honey Baked Beans
- cooked beans
- ketchup (preferably homemade)
- honey (or maple syrup)
- seasonings: salt, pepper, Worcestershire, Dijon mustard
- bacon (optional)
What type of beans are baked beans?
You can use any kind of bean you'd like to, really, but traditionally baked beans are made with a white beans like navy beans.
I like to use what I have, so for this recipe I used mainly white beans, though the bigger cannellini type and filled in with some pinto beans and kidney beans. Sometimes it's nice to have different types of beans. Again, it's totally up to you.
Like I said, this recipe is e.a.s.y. It's basically 3 steps:
- Prep the ingredients.
- Add ingredients to slow cooker and stir.
- Cook and serve.
We like our beans a little dryer so there's not a ton of bean juice oozing over the whole plate at BBQs, but if you'd like yours juicier, it's simple to add a bit more water.
I hope you make these to enjoy at your next get together - I think you'll love the flavor without the extra sugar, and how easy they are.
Plus, using a slow cooker means no hot oven or worrying about enough space on the stove, which is always nice at parties. Plus I find they're easier to transport for potlucks, too.
Can you freeze homemade baked beans?
Yes! You can freeze baked beans just like you can any cooked bean. After cooling, transfer the beans to small freezer containers making sure to leave 1-2 inches for expansion. Label and freeze for up to 6 months.
Slow Cooker Honey Baked Beans (with Maple Variation)
- Slow Cooker
- 8 cups cooked beans from the freezer, or 5 cans drained
- 1¼ cup homemade ketchup* this quick honey-sweetened ketchup recipe
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 slices bacon chopped, optional
- 1/2 cup water**
- 3 tablespoons honey***
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard as desired
- 1½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Mix all ingredients in the bowl of a slow cooker. (Alternately, you can cook the bacon first and saute the onions and garlic in the bacon fat if you think it will impact the flavor a lot - I usually don't bother.)
- Cook on LOW 5-6 hours or on HIGH for 3 hours.
More easy side dishes to try:
- Creamy Fresh Baked Corn Recipe
- Tuscan White Bean Salad
- Real Food Slow Cooker Cheesy-Garlic Scalloped Potatoes
This recipe has been updated - it was originally published in May of 2013.