Baked Beans – a NE/Maine Tradition

The Baked Bean – bean

A must have in your recipe file – this is a basic recipe – sometimes simple is best!

Start or stay here – you won’t be disappointed with this classic dish. Use Marfax (the classic baked-bean bean), Yellow Eye or Pinto dry beans – or a mixture of dry beans.


1 lb MG Marfax dry beans (or see above for an alternate)
4 qts cold water (or veg stock)
1 cup chopped yellow or Vidalia onion
1/2 cup molasses
6 strips of cooked bacon - crumbled - many people use salt pork in addition of in lieu of the bacon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt


  1. In a large pot  bring the beans, salt and 2 qts. of water to a boil – boil for 2 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and let stand for about 1 hour. An alternate method (my preferred) is to soak the beans in water the night before, rinse and drain.
  3. In a separate pan cook the bacon til just crisp adding the onions till just soft. Crumble or cut up the bacon then  add 1/2 cup of water to the bacon/onions along with the mustard, salt and pepper.
  4. Place the beans in a Dutch oven, baking dish or bean pot. Add the bacon/onion mixture making sure to add the liquid and fat from the pan as well to the beans. Add the molasses and brown sugar. Stir.
  5. Add enough water to just cover the beans by 1″. Stir to blend all. 
  6. Place in a 325 degree heated oven and bake for 3-5 hours depending on desired doneness of beans. Check beans after the first hour to add more liquid if needed and to stir. Beans will be tender when done with a thick sauce.
  7. Some variations: 1 cup ketchup; a whole apple; garlic; salt port; worcestershire sauce; balsamic vinegar (about 2 tbsp); chili powder;  a halved onion rather than chopped added directly to pot.


Course: Breakfast, Main Dish, Side Dish, Snack

Cuisine: New England

Thank you to: Taste of Home and The Food Network for their recipes for baked beans.