Many hours of cooking over low heat brings complexity to the flavor of baked beans. Some home cooks shy away from baking beans, wary of the long cooking time, but the amount of actual labor involved is minimal.

Martha Stewart Living, October 2000


Credit: Dana Gallagher

Recipe Summary



Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Soak the beans in cold water overnight in a large container. Drain in a colander.

  • Heat oven to 300 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine molasses, mustard, brown sugar, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil, and whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Stud the onion halves with the cloves, and place in the bottom of a terra-cotta bean pot or Dutch oven.

  • Score the salt pork 1/4 inch deep 1 inch apart, and slice into two even pieces. Transfer to the bean pot. Add the soaked beans. Pour the molasses mixture over beans, stir, and cover. The liquid should cover the beans by 1/2 inch. Add more water if necessary.

  • Transfer to oven to bake, without stirring, until the beans are tender and the liquid has thickened, about 6 hours. Check the beans every 45 minutes, adding more hot water if necessary to keep beans slightly soupy at all times. For the last 50 to 60 minutes of cooking, uncover beans, and, using tongs or a long fork, pull the pork to the surface. Remove from oven, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve.

Cook's Notes

Soak the beans the night before you cook them. The next day, begin cooking seven hours before you plan to eat. Beans cooked in a six-quart terra-cotta bean pot have a richer flavor and finer texture, but you can also use a cast-iron Dutch oven.


Reviews (7)

147 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 32
  • 4 star values: 35
  • 3 star values: 52
  • 2 star values: 22
  • 1 star values: 6
Rating: 4 stars
This recipe at elevation--We live at 6500'. If you live at elevation you know beans are difficult and present a long process without a pressure cooker. Here's what it took to make this dish beginning with dried beans. I soaked the beans in cold water for 24 hrs. at room temp. After following the recipe (I did not deviate.) and putting the bean pot in the oven I found it was necessary to cook the beans for an hour longer than the recipe called for--removing the lid as noted in the last hour. I topped up the water in the bean pot only once--about 1/2 cup. Kind'a wish I had not. The beans would not cook to necessary creaminess without the extra hour. They are soft enough to eat but not of a creamy consistency inside. If you want the sauce to reduce to the consistency shown in the video you'll have to cook them longer or use less water overall. The end result was a thinner sauce but still very, very tasty. I served it with homemade brown bread, butter and cream cheese. AND, I'll make the recipe again but with less water. It was quite good.
Rating: 5 stars
This makes a most excellent pot of baked beans! I adapted it for our vegan household by omitting the salt pork, adding liquid smoke to make up for the change. For me, using a vintage or antique bean pot/jug is a must: there is no comparison between the beans made in a bean pot versus any other vessel. My bean pot holds only 3 quarts, so I simply halve the recipe. I love that you can use the beans without having to pre-boil them! By the 6 hour mark they are tender and suspended in a rich, thick sauce--perfect served as a main dish with brown or cornbread and a salad, as a delicious side, or even as beans on toast for brunch.
Rating: Unrated
What size does the bean pot need to be?
Rating: 5 stars
I made these in my crockpot on high for 5 hours and used 1/8 tsp of ground cloves as I did not have whole cloves. They are now a favorite in our house! Thank you so much!!!
Rating: Unrated
I made them in my crock pot. On low, 10 hours, then lid off 2 hours. I only put 4 cloves in the onion and the clove flavor was plenty. Also, no need to de-seed the canned plum tomatoes. Delicious on a baked potato, in a quesadilla, stuffed and baked in a tomato and of course as a side dish.
Rating: Unrated
It does not say what size cans for the tomatoes.
Rating: 5 stars
This was so worth the time. You don't need to pay it any attention in the oven and it comes out perfectly!