Bean-Hole Baked Beans

Bean-Hole Baked Beans

Recipe by Ellie Markovitch
Course: Main Course, Side Dish, Basic Prep


pot pie

All over Maine in the summer time, there are signs for Bean-hole Beans Suppers and Baked Beans Community Dinners. It all starts with local beans! Marfax beans cooked in molasses make wonderful baked beans. In this recipe, the beans hold thier shape, and the flavor shines through. 
Traditionally Bean-hole Beans are baked in a covered pot several inches deep in the ground, on top of a bed of embers for the whole day. Recipes vary, calling for molasses, brown sugar, maple syrup or a combination of sweeteners. This recipe is lightly sweet, using both maple and molasses as a nod to the history.
You can increase the molasses to half a cup, if you like that sweet, tangy flavor. The beans are soaked and then parboiled, to cut down the cooking time and adjust for a home oven version. The method in this recipe was inspired by old advertisement pictures from 1929 ads that ran in newspapers around the country, showing the layering of the ingredients!

Here is more info & history on Bean-hole Beans from the Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association.

Use Marfax (the classic baked-bean bean), Yellow Eye, Navy, Pinto beans – or a mixture of dry beans. Double the recipe, as it keeps well and can be frozen. This recipe can be made in the slow cooker set on low for 8 hours. 


  • 1 pound Maine Grains Organic Crop Rotation Marfax Beans (or see above for an alternate)

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped

  • 1/4 pound of salt pork or bacon, chopped or cut into strips

  • 2 tbsp molasses

  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

  • 2 tsp ground mustard

  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp pepper, or to taste

  • boiling water

  • Extra onion slices if desired to garnish the beans.


  • Soak the beans overnight in cold water.
  • In the morning, drain the water.
  • Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  • In a heavy bottomed pot, bring the beans to a boil and let them simmer for 15 minutes. Drain the beans in a colander.
  • In an oven safe pot, like a dutch oven or bean pot, layer the ingredients: half of the chopped onions, half of the parboiled beans, another layer of onions, the strips of pork, followed by the mustard and the rest of the beans. Drizzle the molasses and maple syrup on top. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add extra slices of onions on top if desired.
  • Top with boiling water until beans are just covered.
  • Cover the pot with a lid and transfer to the preheated oven. Cook for 6-8 hours, checking occasionally to make sure they aren’t drying out. Add a little more water if the beans seem dry.

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By Ellie Markovitch
IG @EllieMarkovitch
Facebook @storycookingmedia