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Boston Baked Beans


We love pork and beans, especially with hot dogs, hamburgers or really any kind of barbeque. You don't need to own an authentic ceramic bean pot, but I decided to invest in one anyway. Baking beans, in liquid with brown sugar, molasses and a few other aromatics for several hours yields really flavorful beans that are firm, yet tender-- that is, they don't disintegrate into mushy beans which can happen if they are simmered too long over the stove. This recipe comes from Martha Stewart, with a few minor tweaks. This will be my new "go to" recipe for Boston Baked Beans-- or in my case "Pork and Beans", since I live in California! Please click on the recipe source to see how I made these, on my food blog "A Feast for the Eyes".

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  • 2 pounds dried pinto or navy beans (I recommend navy beans)
  • 1 large onion (about 1-pound), peeled, halved and sliced
  • 4 canned plum tomatoes, seeded and crushed (I used fresh roma tomatoes, sliced in half)
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 12 whole cloves (I recommend reducing to 8, as the cloves almost overpowered the flavor)
  • 1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed (increase to 3/4 if you like sweeter beans)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 12 ounces salt pork, sliced


Servings 8
Preparation time 15mins
Cooking time 360mins
Adapted from


Step 1

Soak beans in cold water to cover overnight in a large bowl. Drain in a colander.

Heat oven to 300°F.

Arrange onions in the bottom of a bean pot or Dutch oven. Top, working in order, beginning with tomatoes, and continuing with bay leaves, dry mustard, cloves, brown sugar, and salt and pepper.

Add soaked beans and pour over molasses.

Top evenly with salt pork. Add 5 cups water and cover. (Note: I couldn't fit 5 cups of water into my bean pot. 3 hours later, I was able to add another 1/2 cup, which worked out just fine.)

Transfer to oven and bake (I'm glad I set my bean pot on a baking sheet, as the water did ooze out of the top), without stirring, until the beans are tender and the liquid has thickened, about 6 hours. Check the beans every 45 minutes, adding hot water, if necessary, to keep beans slightly soupy at all times.

Note: After 5 hours, I felt the beans were a little too soupy. I returned the beans to the oven, without the lid. The beans, and sauce, became darker and more thickened. I was very happy with that result.

Remove from oven, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary, before serving.

Tasting notes: Loved these beans! I will make them again, but just a bit more brown sugar and decrease the cloves. Then, they will be perfect!

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