Easy and Inexpensive: Slow Cooker Baked Beans

June 11, 2015   5 Comments

If you have been following this blog for a while, you know that I am cheap.

Crock Pot Baked Beans

While I would love to be the person who brings the aged steak to the BBQ, my budget allows me to bring potato salad, watermelon, or baked beans.

This recipe makes seven cups of beans and you can bring it in your slow cooker so the beans remain warm. I love these as a side for anything at a BBQ because they go so well with hot dogs, corn, coleslaw – you name it.

Beans, of course, are loved by vegetarians and your gluten-free crowd. Because I added sugar (in the form of molasses and it is added to ketchup) this is also a kid pleaser.

Don’t tell anyone this, but these beans are high in manganese, magnesium, potassium, selenium, thiamin, and vitamin B6. You get a lot of bang for your calorie buck with beans.

There is one ingredient that many of you will not have in your pantry. Liquid smoke can be found next to the barbecue sauces in the grocery store and NO – it is not like adding cigarettes to your beans.

Liquid smoke is made by channeling smoke from smoldering wood chips into a vapor. They remove the tars and resins and you get a smoke-flavored liquid that tastes really good and isn’t that different from other types of flavorings (like vanilla which is the essence of vanilla beans). Look for Wright’s Liquid Smoke – it doesn’t have additives such as salt, vinegar, or molasses and retails for $1.99 a bottle.

The liquid smoke adds back the flavor that you would have added had you used some pork fat or a ham hock - and it works! I use a ham hock for kidney beans in my book and it is super tasty (but obviously not vegetarian).

I did not soak the beans before I put them in the slow cooker and the texture was perfect. I believe with smaller beans it isn’t as necessary to soak them. If you do soak them, the cooking time will be shortened. Keep an eye on them so they don’t get too mushy.

What do you bring to BBQ's?

Crock Pot Baked Beans

Slow Cooker Baked Beans Recipe

1.6 from 21 reviews

Makes 7 cups

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1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 pound dried pinto beans, rinsed
1 teaspoon liquid smoke such as Wright’s Liquid Smoke
5 cups water

1 cup ketchup
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup cider vinegar


Put onion, chili powder, pinto beans, liquid smoke, and water into a 6 quart slow cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours or until the beans are tender. Drain the beans and put them back into the slow cooker. Add the ketchup, molasses, mustard, and cider vinegar and mix until blended. Heat on low for 20 minutes or until bubbling.

Nutrition Facts

A ½ cup serving is 154 calories, 0.7 g fat, 0.0 g saturated fat, 30.1 g carbohydrates, 8.2 g sugar, 7.5 g protein, 5.5 g fiber, 252 mg sodium, 4 Points+

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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I'm cooking these for years now and we'll usually eat them with fish cakes. Too much for 2 people but I freeze the rest for the next time.

The only thing I changed was putting only 3 cups of water and adding a bit if necessary at the end.

I have never used liquid smoke only because I thought it would taste like if you were inhaling the smoke from a bbq. Is the taste similar to that of a steak or hamburger that has been bbq? If so it would be a nice added addition to the beans.

The rest of us who are cheap salute you! Looks great, gonna try it this weekend.

Sorry, but there is nothing like homemade baked beans baked in an earthen bean crock....they are baked not steamed,,,,I don't care for crockpots because they steam or boil the food instead of baking it. I only use the crockpot for keeping food warm on a buffet table...

I often like to bring a pretty colorful salad with snipped basil, parsley & mint from my garden, colorful pepper strips, carrot curls, mixed greens, radish rounds, etc.-there's seldom leftovers.

When I bring beans to a picnic, like Barbara above, I use a Bean crock which I purchased many years and swear its the secret to baked bean heaven. I use the Boston Baked Bean recipe that accompanied the pot and keep it in the pot when stored. Its attractive and works great.

Lisa, you're not cheap, you're a wise shopper, in this case you're a wise contributor! :)

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