New England Style Baked Beans

I think I’m recovered from my trip. I’ve accepted all the lost items, they are just things that can be replaced and simultaneously I’ve embraced the chaos that is replacing all of my stuff.

Last weekend I wanted to get rolling on blog stuff because I knew my camera battery would probably run out in a week or so and I wouldn’t be able to replace the battery charger until I bought most of my basics back. I was, of course craving comfort foods, its cold out, I wanted to something to take me back to my childhood. My solution was ‘baked’ beans.

My father was from Massachusetts. My mother from Nova Scotia and when she was little, she grew on a farm. Folk from both of those cultural canons, made baked beans. Hearty, satisfying, warm and stick to your ribs, beans. Traditional New England baked beans are made with molasses and salt pork or pork belly. Obviously the pork aspect doesn’t fly with me or my blog so I needed to recreate a flavour profile to mimic the smoky, salty, umami flavour. I really think I did a great job using a few oddities, in respect to traditional New England baked beans. 

While I don’t claim this recipe follow any sort of tradition in its preparation; it’s simmered in a crock pot, it’s vegetarian and can be made vegan. It sure does recreate memories for me of the baked beans I remember from my childhood. I use both chili flakes and sriracha in this recipe but these are not spicy beans, the flavour is what I wanted. If you want spicy, increase the amounts to at least triple what I have listed. Makes about 8 servings.

New England Style Baked Beans

New England (Style) Baked Beans 

  • 1 pound / bag of navy beans (rinsed, picked through and soaked overnight)
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 small onion peeled, trimmed and  left whole
  • 2 tbs of olive oil
  • 1 tsp of liquid smoke
  • 2 tsps of garlic salt
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 6 cloves of garlic peeled, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup (or substitute molasses)
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar (use vegan sugar as a substitute)
  • 2-3 tbs of dijon mustard
  • 1-2 tsp of sriracha
  • 1 +1/2 tbs of dark miso
  • 1 tbs of apple cider vinegar


Rinse and pick through the beans, add to a large bowl and cover with water.  Store in the fridge overnight or at least 8 hours.

The next day, get your crock pot ready and rinse, drain then add the beans to it. Peel and trim the small onion and add to crock pot at the bottom.

Hide Away

Dice the medium onion and saute in olive oil over medium heat. Season with pepper, chili pepper flakes, half of the garlic salt and salt. The idea is to caramelize and over season the onions as their flavour is to replace the salt pork/bacon. Cook for about 5 minutes than add minced garlic, saute for an additional 3-5 minutes until everything is brown and caramelized. Turn off heat, removed the pan from the burner and add some liquid smoke. Mix everything together and set aside.

Smoky Caramelized Onions

Prepare the sauce. In a bowl, add maple syrup, brown sugardijon mustardsirachamiso paste and apple cider vinegar. Mix well and pour over the beans in the crock pot., Add to it, the onion mixture and stir.

Flavour Base

Cover beans with about 4-5 cups of water, the liquid should completely cover the beans. Cook on low for about 10 hours, I found mine could have went longer so after 8 hours on low I turned mine on high for about 1 hour and they were ready. When they are cooked the beans will be tender but the sauce will not thicken up until they start to cool.

Boston Baked Beans

I like beans better the next day, they will keep in your fridge for about a week. Season with extra pepper and serve with oatmeal brown bread. If you don’t have a great recipe, I’ll be posting mine in the next few days!


2 thoughts on “New England Style Baked Beans

  1. Pingback: Oatmeal Brown Bread | V-Spot

  2. Pingback: M is for … | V-Spot

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