molasses baked beans with sass

Sassy Molasses Baked Beans [Gluten Free]

An old fashioned recipe for molasses baked beans with loads of flavour and lovely texture. (Classic taste — no tomato or ketchup.) 

Molasses baked beans with loads of flavour.

This is the molasses baked beans recipe that I grew up with. Mom usually made baked beans for Saturday supper, along with a loaf of oatmeal brown bread. Molasses baked beans are cold weather comfort food, perfect for fall and winter, for supper or alongside fried eggs at breakfast.

Molasses baked beans with loads of flavour.

It so happens that this recipe reminds me of the Ground Hog Gale of 1976. The Groundhog Gale, was a massive nor’easter that hit our region on February 2nd, Groundhog Day.

As an eight year old it was thrilling. Off we walked to our neighbourhood elementary school in a heavy breeze and pelted with rain. Before recess we could see garbage cans being blown down the street and before lunchtime we were told that school was closing due to the storm and we were all to go home. Most of us walked to school, so out into the gale we went to make our way home.

It was the most thrilling walk of my life. With the wind at our backs we were tossed along the rain coated ice like it was some kind of high-speed carnival ride. We were blown into puddles, and hung onto trees to catch our breath. We screamed in delight and took the long way home to prolong the fun.

Winds were clocked at over 140 km per hour and there were reports that salt spray from the Bay of Fundy was found on homes more than 10 km inland. I’m sure we were home before it got that bad but still…My poor mom hadn’t even been notified that school was closed.

Molasses baked beans

Baked beans are the sort of satisfying meal that helps you weather February storms. The long baking time keeps the kitchen cozy (although they can be baked in a slow cooker) and leftovers can be eaten with breakfast.

While the beans are baking you can can start a batch of oatmeal brown bread

oatmeal molasses brown bread - an easy recipe for beginners

I grew up with this molasses baked beans recipe, which was adapted from a recipe in The Laura Secord Canadian Cook Book. It has a bit of a bite from the pepper (that’s the sass) to balance the sweetness and develops an amazing depth of flavour. Enjoy these baked beans with oatmeal brown bread, Sarah’s Brown Bread or cracked wheat brown bread.

Do you have an Instant Pot? Try our easy recipe for “Baked Beans” in the Instant Pot

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Gluten-Free Sassy Molasses Baked Beans

An old fashioned recipe for baked beans with lots of flavour and lovely texture. (Classic taste — no tomato or ketchup.) Freeze for up to three months.

  • Author: Crosby Molasses
  • Prep Time: 12 hours
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 16 hours
  • Yield: 810 1x
  • Category: Savoury Dishes

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups dried navy or pea beans
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ tsp. dried mustard
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 slice of bacon, chopped or 1 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
  • Boiling water

Instructions

  1. Soak 2 cups of dried navy or white beans in water overnight.
  2. The next day, drain the beans, put them in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 minutes (or until the skins break when you blow on them).
  3. Preheat oven to 300 F.
  4. Drain the beans and put them in a large ovenproof pot or bean crock. Bury peeled onion in the middle of the beans.
  5. Mix together and pour over the beans: brown sugar, molasses, salt, dry mustard and pepper. Dab with the butter or oil, or sprinkle bacon pieces, overtop.
  6. Pour over enough boiling water to just cover the beans.
  7. Cover the pot and cook for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary so the beans do not dry out. Take the lid off for the last half hour of cooking.

Notes

Add half a peeled apple to the mixture along with the onion for an added layer of flavour.

Try adding left over molasses baked beans to your next batch of chili.

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Keywords: baked beans; molasses baked beans; Boston baked beans

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Comments

  • February 3, 2014
    reply

    Danielle

    Hallo…

    I have a question for you,
    the last time a make some bean, very good,
    and 3 days..
    whas rot, in my refrigerator,…

    I follow the recip,and ont no y not good at all..

    thank you…

    • February 5, 2014
      reply

      Crosby Molasses

      Hi Danielle,
      Baked beans should last more than three days in the fridge, so I’m not sure what went wrong with your recipe. If there is meat in the recipe they won’t last as long.

    • August 1, 2017
      reply

      Monique

      Maybe it was just the butter that hardened in the beans or the fat from the bacon, not rote.

  • February 3, 2014
    reply

    Maggie

    My aunt used to use yellow or brown eyed beans for this, made for a nice change. I myself add a few drops or hot sauce to my bowl! And, they taste pretty good cold plopped on top of a green salad for lunch the next day!

    • February 5, 2014
      reply

      Crosby Molasses

      Hi Maggie, THanks for the suggestion to add a bit of hot sauce. Sounds like a delicious addition. I love them cold too!

  • February 3, 2014
    reply

    monica bourque

    I have been making baked beans with molasses for many years, and my mother before me, this recipe is almost like mine except I use olive oil instead of bacon or fat pork, my husband loves them.

    • February 5, 2014
      reply

      Crosby Molasses

      Hi Monica, Like you I never use meat in my recipe, although the original recipe calls for 1/4 lb of fat salt pork! I might try olive oil next time.

      • December 8, 2016
        reply

        Sheila Whitten

        How much olive oil?

        • December 9, 2016
          reply

          Hi Sheila, You could substitute olive oil for the tablespoon of butter, although the butter adds a bit of flavour.

  • February 7, 2014
    reply

    Sheila

    I triple my recipe and then I can freeze in batches also this is the time for homemade bread/biscuts. Ham and coleslaw.

    • February 10, 2014
      reply

      Crosby Molasses

      Great suggest. I’m going to do that next time since we love leftovers but never seem to have any.

    • December 5, 2017
      reply

      Judy

      I put my beans in mason jars and bath them down for 5 minutes, will last for months and don’t dry out like in the freezer? Just like opening a can of juicey beans.

      • January 19, 2019
        reply

        Sheree

        Judy please pressure can your beans at 11 pounds pressure for 90 minutes. These are a low acid food and are not safe canned per your instructions. I can alot though and thank you for the idea. I will try some myself and see how they come out!

  • February 16, 2014
    reply

    Baked brown beans are a strong favourite childhood memory for me, too… and I have a similar memory of walking through a storm, but I was in junior high – but could relate to that feeling and it brought me right back to my old family home table – warm and cozy, with the storm raging outside. Home was always such a safe place. I love that feeling. So, these baked beans look heavenly… yet my mom always made pork and beans… always… there wasn’t much pork to eat in the bowl, but the flavour of smoky bacon was strong and prevalent, so I know that more than one piece of bacon was used in her recipe. Reading all the comments here, it is time to make my own. Never have.
    :)
    Valerie

    • April 10, 2020
      reply

      Margaret E.

      I had lost my usual recipe for baked beans and this looked closest to the way I usually make them so I made this in my crock pot today and added about half a pound of bacon ends from my favorite butcher shop. I used black eye beans and they were lovely! To me, you have to add the bacon!

      • April 16, 2020
        reply

        Crosby Molasses

        Hi Margaret, Glad you enjoyed the recipe. Yes, bacon adds great flavour :)

  • March 19, 2014
    reply

    Lorraine

    Hi there;
    I have the beans waiting for me when I get home tonight; made them in the slow cooker on low and added just a bit more water to accommodate this method of cooking. Can’t wait! The recipe has more sugar than my usual one so will let you know how it goes. I am sure the family will love it. Beans and fish cakes; yumm, should chase away the winter blues.

    • March 19, 2014
      reply

      Hi Lorraine, Lucky you to have baked beans waiting at home. I’m wishing I had the same but I do have navy beans soaking on the counter so that’ll be my supper tomorrow night. Fish cakes alongside sounds delicious, must give it a try.

  • October 3, 2014
    reply

    Nancy

    I plan on making these this weekend! I’ve been craving homemade beans and the weather is just right here in New Brunswick! :)

  • November 14, 2014
    reply

    Rod McFarlane

    Bridget I remember that particular storm very well! I lived in the Annapolis valley at the time and because of the freezing rain our home was without power for 7 days! I soaked Jacob Cattle beans last night. Going to try your recipe today and as previously suggested with fish cakes, an original Saturday evening family meal. Watching Wild World of Sports…

    • February 8, 2018
      reply

      Heather

      I too remember that storm… or one like it. I was maybe 4 or 5 I think and the power was out for almost 2 weeks where we lived in the Annapolis Valley. It was the greatest adventure ever because all 5 of us slept on our mattresses on the kitchen floor nestled warmly around our propane kitchen stove.
      I just found this recipe today, 4 years and 5 days after it was posted! ;) I plan to make it Saturday night for supper.
      I’ve never made homemade baked beans before… this should be fun!

  • January 15, 2015
    reply

    Hi Bridget I make a baked bean recipe it has half a cup of tomatoe sauce added extra to your recipe also a ham shank and I add some small pork spare ribs. cook overnight on the slowest heat with a folded towel over the whole container (tradition) and the next morning I can not wait to eat. I am so glad I found your lovely website Crosby’s

    • January 16, 2015
      reply

      Hi Marilyn, Your adaptations sound delicious! Thanks for sharing. Reminds me that I really must get myself a slow cooker.

  • February 24, 2015
    reply

    Danny Rasch

    Bridget that reciept is almost like ours except we use yellow eyed beans and fat salt pork and no pepper this has been our reciept passed down for generations, as far as them not lasting long because of the added meat they are usally gone the next day anyway. I live in Edmonton now and baking some beans right now for supper I think I will try the pepper that you suggest in your reciept. I do remember that storm walking home that day from school was fun I lived in Saint John at the time and like your mom my Mother was also not aware of the school closing early

    • March 23, 2015
      reply

      Hi Danny, This has definitely been a baked beans winter on the East Coast. Funny that you recall the Groundhog Gale too. (I think this winter has been as memorable as the winter of ’76.)

  • April 26, 2015
    reply

    Barney

    Last year I went looking for a recipe and found yours.I recognize the molasses brand and after reading your story I figured I would try it.I loved the baked beans we used to eat growing up and I missed having them so I decided to give it a try. They turned out great and I make them at least twice a month.I usually make a large batch and they last a few days. My only change is I use more bacon and it is great.
    Thanks.

    • April 28, 2015
      reply

      I Barney, I’m so pleased you’re enjoying the baked beans recipe. The old recipes always seem to be the best.

    • June 26, 2016
      reply

      Sue clark

      Can I do these in a slow cooker?

      • July 4, 2016
        reply

        Hi Sue, I haven’t made this recipe in a slow cooker, but you could try on low, keeping a close eye on the liquid so the beans don’t dry out.

  • July 7, 2015
    reply

    Deb

    I also remember that Gale. Am I dating myself?;-) These beans remind of the ones my Nan made. Haven’t had them in years. They sound delicious.

  • July 20, 2015
    reply

    Sheilagh

    I use pinto beans and reduce the sugar. Also instead of water I whiz a jar of home canned tomatoes. Hubby loves them!

    • July 27, 2015
      reply

      Hi Sheilagh, Love the idea of adding the home canned tomatoes. It must add great texture and flavour. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • September 21, 2015
    reply

    Carol Longue MacDonald

    Can you do the beans in the slow cooker with this recipe?

    • September 23, 2015
      reply

      Hi Carol, Yes, this recipe can be adapted to the slow cooker. I have been told they should be cooked on low.

    • August 21, 2017
      reply

      Norman Albert

      I use the slow cooker and the beans turn out great. The don’t seem to last very long
      I also remember the Groundhog day Storm the lasted a lot longer then a day. We were city center in out new home and without power for about 10 days. Coleman heaters in the basement well ventilated but kept us from freezing.

      • August 22, 2017
        reply

        Lynn Purdy

        I’m glad to hear that the beans do well in the slow cooker. I’m happy that you managed to stay warm.

  • October 3, 2015
    reply

    Laurie Zruna

    This is such a great baked beans recipe. I have been making them for many years with yellow eyed beans in my slow cooker. I always have a couple of ham steaks in my freezer that I can dice up in the beans to add great flavour! Recently I have been adding about 1/4 cup Beer and Chipotle BBQ sauce with the other ingredients…..yum! At the beginning of 2015 our youngest son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes so I am always looking for ways to cut sugar from recipes….but there is no replacement that I am aware of for Crosby’s molasses! It always invokes such comforting memories of growing up in PEI,NS and NB! I have beans soaking now as I write this. And we love ours with what my Mum called Johnny Cake …..hot with butter and what else? Crosby’s Molasses!

    • October 26, 2015
      reply

      Dear Laurie, Such great stories. Thanks for sharing. I love your suggestion to add BBQ sauce to the beans for a change. I too grew up eating Johnny cake — it was always a favourite.

  • October 6, 2015
    reply

    Ester Baker-Duggan

    This is a great recipe which I use with variations. I omit meat and add a few drops of liquid smoke instead, also sometimes I substitute the brown sugar and use maple syrup instead. A couple of Tbs. BBQ sauce is a good add as well. Baked beans were a once a week staple during my childhood years and always with homemade bread!

    • October 26, 2015
      reply

      Hi Ester, Thanks for all of the suggestions. Your variations sounds delicious.

  • November 15, 2015
    reply

    Nancy Teed

    Just put a pot of these babies in the oven! This is my go-to bean recipe. We absolutely love them! I do make a couple of slight changes which are I chop the onion and mix it in and also I chop a couple of peeled apples and mix in as well. The basically melt into the sauce and I really like it. I also add more pepper – just our preference and a bay leaf while cooking. Although when I first starting making this recipe, I followed the recipe exactly and then starting adjusting a bit. I usually take half the cooked beans and then make my chili out of it. AWESOME! :D Thanks for all your great posts and recipes! :D

    • November 16, 2015
      reply

      Thanks Nancy. I love the suggestion to add apples. I must give that a try.

  • November 22, 2015
    reply

    margie scott

    Trying this for my first time!! Hope all goes well !! Look like my Mom made !!

  • January 20, 2016
    reply

    Gary South

    I love this recipe but I make these beans all in the same day. I’ve found if you boil the beans for 20-25 minutes as you suggest and let them stand in the boiled water for another 10 minutes they bake up quite nicely in about 4 hours using a dutch oven.
    Like Nancy I add an apple but this is in place of the brown sugar. I also use 2 slices of turkey bacon otherwise I follow your recipe. They’re with fish cakes or toutons and molasses.

  • January 22, 2016
    reply

    Donna

    I,d love to make the oatmeal bread to go with the beans do you have the recipe!

  • February 8, 2016
    reply

    Jennifer Moore

    I enjoyed reading your memories of the Ground Hog Gail! I was in grade 1 and living on the West Side when the storm hit Saint John. My Dad made baked beans with Crosby’s molasses and I am excited to try your recipe!

  • February 7, 2017
    reply

    Doug Turner

    Ms. Oland

    An excellent recipe. Reminds me of my mother’s baked beans she used to make for New Year’s Eve.. One small modification gives a bit of piquancy. I add to the mixture over the beans about 1/2 cup of our home made chili sauce -commercial will do. . My mother used catsup, which works well.also.

    Doug Turner in Victoria B.C.

    • August 11, 2017
      reply

      Crosby Molasses

      Hi Doug, That’s a great suggestion. Thanks.

  • February 20, 2017
    reply

    Carol Arnold

    This recipe sounds Yum! Haven’t made baked beans that often but think this recipe will help me try them more often. I lived throug the “Groundhog Day Storm” too. We were very fortunate to have wood furnace and a Kemac(SP?) kitchen stove. Neighbours came for heat, hot coffee, and things cooked on kitchen stove. A good memory also, NO SCHOOL ;-)
    This winter reminds me of that winter, only difference is Generator, and not alot of neighbors needing help. No baked beans in freezer, but will have for the rest of winter.
    Thank you for memories and yummy, easy looking recipe!

  • April 20, 2017
    reply

    Cornelius Kenny

    Hi Bridget, (love the name, same as my great-grandmother)
    How exactly would you sub the salt fat pork. That’s what my mother used but I wasn’t particularly interested in watching her cook baked beans when I was growing up. Too bad.

    • August 11, 2017
      reply

      Hi Cornelius, Sorry I’m so late replying to your message. If you want to use salt pork you can just bury it in the beans before baking, along with the onion.

  • May 6, 2017
    reply

    Nancy Wisteard

    Love baked beans and grew up with them as a staple for Saturday night supper with brown bread. I use diced pancetta and no-fat low-sodium chicken stock in lieu of water.

    • August 11, 2017
      reply

      Hi Nancy, Great suggestions. Those additions must add wonderful flavour.

  • December 5, 2017
    reply

    Judy

    I put my beans in mason jars and bath them down for 5 minutes, will last for months and don’t dry out like in the freezer? Just like opening a can of juicey beans.

    Reply

    • December 13, 2017
      reply

      Lynn Purdy

      Judy, that is a great way to preserve beans. I am sure they do not dry out, but if you package beans well enough in the freezer, they should not dry out. Thank you for sharing your method. Happy Holidays.

  • January 7, 2018
    reply

    ELLEN BONNELL

    These are delicious. Thank you for sharing.

    • January 9, 2018
      reply

      Lynn Purdy

      Ellen, so very happy that you enjoyed the recipe. They are good with that extra kick of pepper.

  • January 16, 2019
    reply

    Carol Maloney

    Is it possible to use this recipe in an instant pot?

    • January 22, 2019
      reply

      Crosby Molasses

      Hi Carol, Yes, this recipe is great in an instant pot! You just have the play with the time and water ratio. I’ll post my instant pot version later this week.

  • August 11, 2019
    reply

    Robb.

    Sounds much like a family recipe i do. But i use tomato juice to replace the water to cover the beans…It’s delicious.

  • August 14, 2019
    reply

    Pat

    My grandmother (born 1880) grew up in Ct. This was her exact recipe with one exception. She used salt pork instead of bacon. It was a frequent dish, especially when times were difficult as it provided good nourishment for the family.
    I still make it quite often but I use a slow cooker.
    It’s part of my “Yankee” heritage. Thanks for including it.

    • August 15, 2019
      reply

      Crosby Molasses

      Hi Pat, I love how the best old recipes just keep making the rounds. And I’m sure salt pork was the standard way back.

  • November 13, 2019
    reply

    Wayne Lind

    Hi
    Have been making much the same recipe as my Grand Mother was in the 1800’s.
    Love Molasses. When ever I use it I treat myself to a spoonful. Now because of your email, I now have to make some backed beans. Having pet pigs I now use turkey bacon.
    Thank you for all the recipes.
    Wayne
    Nakusp, British Columbia

    • November 14, 2019
      reply

      Crosby Molasses

      Hi Wayne, Isn’t it wonderful to have old time recipes that never go out of style.

  • January 13, 2020
    reply

    Diane Holmes

    I make these beans regularly they are delicious, I always make them with cornbread. One change I make is I use the brown sugar blend its half brown sugar and half Splenda just to lower the sugar for my husband. I love the story about the storm and I re read it every time I make the beans. I add more Bacon as well.

    • January 29, 2020
      reply

      Crosby Molasses

      Hi Diane, Great tip for people who have to watch their sugar intake. Thanks.

  • March 30, 2020
    reply

    I used cooking molasses and the flavor is too strong. Is there a way to tone done the flavor.

    • April 3, 2020
      reply

      Crosby Molasses

      Hi Beth, The only way I can think of to tone down the flavour of the cooking molasses is to add some brown sugar. However, that might make your beans too sweet. (Another option is to play with adding a little tomato sauce or ketchup.)

  • April 17, 2020
    reply

    Wayne Stephen

    I made a batch of these this week. I used 3/4 tablespoon of butter and cubed up some of smoked ham. I baked for 4.5 hours. Like my beans a little juicy so I didn’t bake uncovered to darken and thicken them. Along with the onion I put in 1 clove of garlic.
    What fantastic recipe. My lovely wife and I agree; These are the best molasses bake beans we’ve ever tasted. Two thumbs up.

  • April 20, 2020
    reply

    Rick

    Just waiting to have this for dinner. I basically use the above reciprocity a couple of little things….white pepper, shoulder pork chop x 2, and Dijon mustard, instead of dry mustard. Using the boiled water, 2 cups or so, I combine the ingrediants, stirring which seems easier for spreading over the beans. Works very well!

    • April 13, 2021
      reply

      Crosby Molasses

      Hi Rick, Wow, you really turned this recipe into a full meal. Thanks for sharing your version.

  • May 8, 2020
    reply

    Claude Ménard

    I love beans, and make a lot for my old father. But a question: the dry mustard brings what in this recipe? Thanks for the answer. God bless!

  • May 21, 2021
    reply

    Lisa tolbert

    Hi. Making your lovely recipe for my Nova Scotian mother tonight. Made the oatmeal molasses bread yesterday. We look forward to going down memory lane tonight in NC. God bless!

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