Recipe: Homemade Baked Beans

Everything in Bean Pot and Ready To Go In Oven

It’s been snowing here off and on for two days. Monday afternoon I made up a big pot of homemade Vermont Baked Beans from my new book, The New England Yankee Cookbook. At first the whole idea of making beans on a snowy winter day seemed quite idealitic.

The process to make homemade beans is a long one. You have to soak the beans overnight and then bake them in the oven for 3-4 hours. Traditionally, you bake your beans in a ceramic bean pot. I got my bean pot from my mom. Newer versions can be found online. Scour antique shops in New England for the real thing. After an afternoon of tending to my beans I was anticipating the most glorious bean flavor ever. I served them in bowls over warmed brown bread. Greg wasn’t nearly excited about my bean feast. He thought it was bit strange that we would be eating just beans and bread for dinner. I consoled him, “If they are bad we can get takeout.”

My first reaction, “Wow they taste just like B&M canned beans.” Smoky, maple syrupy, and tangy. B&M based in Portland, Maine prides themselves on cooking their beans the New England way—using bean pots, salt pork and baked them in brick ovens. I’m not one to recommend canned products but in this scenario canned baked beans are just as good and a lot less work. B&M has really mastered the art of making homemade beans in a can. Next time, I probably just buy a can and focus my time on making a more substantial dinner like ribs rather then tending beans. Below the recipe adapted from The New England Yankee Cookbook.

Baked Beans With Vermont Maple Syrup

1 quart pea beans
1/2 pound fat salt pork
1 onion
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons salt
boiling water

Soak beans overnight. In the morning drain and rinse beans. Put a chopped onion in the bottom of bean pot; add beans. Mix syrup, mustard and salt and sprinkle over beans. Put pork down into beans so only the rind shows. I used diced canadian bacon in place of fat salt pork. Pour boiling water to cover.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 3-4 hours, adding water to cover. Beans will cook down to a thick sauce.

Soaking Beans

Making Homemade Vermont Baked Beans

Bean Pot

Just about to bean pot in oven

Homemade Baked Beans

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  1. The beans look amazing, I can smell and taste them now! And remember half the fun is in the doing! There’s nothing like saying ” I made this”!


  2. The story of the beans reminds me of the story of the doorway in the dining (?) room. The canned beans give you what you want – a delicious hearty meal of beans; they are also modern and convenient.

    The wider doorway seems to offer modernity and convenience while also giving you what you want — egress and ingress within your house.


  3. Looks delish! What in the world is fat salt pork? It sounds exactly like something in Little House on the Prairie. Do I get it at the meat counter? (Obviously I’m new to New England, but I’m trying to learn…) And I love the beanpot! I saw several in a store in Cape Cod (sadly not for sale). Now that I know what they’re called, I can do some online research.


  4. My trick to great beans is to open up two cans of baked beans, preferably B&M or whatever is on sale. I then but the beans in the beanpot and bake them in the over at 300 degrees for about 3 hours. I sometimes put bacon strips on top. People always rave about my beans and ask me for my recipe. I always laugh and tell them its an old family secret.


  5. Yes, I make my beans in that wonderful bean pot, but with molasses, not maple syrup. Do you have cole slaw with them? Very good…..!
    Thanks for following on Twitter!


  6. Actually, it sounds pretty good. I bet the B&M ones don’t use real maple syrup. Maybe you can do it easier in a crockpot. I’d love to figure out an easy way to make a similar dish, beans with duck (cassoulet).

    Tonight I’m making another traditional New England dish, salt cod chowder. First time cooking with salt cod. It’s very practical because it’s easily available where we live, it’s cheap, and it keeps for a long time.


  7. I continue to be astonished at how beautiful your food photos are, and I find it so interesting that you found the canned beans to be every bit as good as the ones that took so long to prepare. That doesn’t happen too often. A blind taste test would be fun. And yes, it is hard sometimes to convince meat eaters that beans and bread can be a meal but your efforts are not wasted. Grain plus legume is actually a complete protein when combined and very healthful in so many other ways, so it just takes some time I think to introduce more vegetarian meals into a meat-lover’s menu.


  8. Your kitchen looks so nice and bright. I like that you can look out and down at the neighborhood– are you planning on keeping the kitchen on one of the upper floors of your house?