Boston Baked Beans

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    6 to 8

Appears in

The Bacon Bible

The Bacon Bible

By Peter Sherman and Stephanie Banyas

Published 2019

  • About

Boston baked beans are classically made with dried navy beans and salt pork and cooked low and slow for hours in the oven. I make my version with canned kidney beans, bacon confit, and a bit of heat (courtesy of Tabasco) and cook them on top of the stove. It’s quicker, done in a New York minute (not a long, drawn out Bostonian one), and just as delicious in half the time. If you don’t love kidney beans, navy or black beans would work just fine, too. Same goes for the bacon confit; good old slab bacon will get the job done.


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 (1-pound/455-g) piece Bacon Confit or slab bacon
  • 1 large Spanish onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup (240 ml) store-bought ketchup
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) molasses
  • ½ cup (110 g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 4 (15½-ounce/439-g) cans kidney beans, drained, rinsed, and drained again
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar


In a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat, combine the oil and bacon and cook until the fat begins to render and the meat is lightly golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate. Increase the heat to high.

Add the onion to the pot and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

Add 1 cup (240 ml) water and scrape up any bacon bits that may be on the bottom of the pan. Add the ketchup, molasses, brown sugar, mustard powder, salt, Tabasco, black pepper, and cayenne and stir until smooth. Add the beans and the bacon and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, adding more water if the mixture becomes too thick. Remove the bacon from the pot, shred or cut into bite-size pieces, and return to the pot. Stir in the vinegar and serve. The beans will keep, tightly covered in the refrigerator, for up to 1 day.