Baked Beans Recipe | Bon Appétit


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A pot of homemade baked beans will outshine canned versions 10 times out of 10, and this recipe for Boston-style baked beans turns out a side dish that’s rich, smoky, and complexly sweet. It’s also largely hands-off but does take a little planning.

First: Please soak your beans overnight. We love canned beans as much as the next weeknight warrior, but starting with dried beans will give your baked beans the best texture and flavor. Navy beans are traditional, but we love creamy pintos. Second, skip bottled BBQ sauce and instead make your own out of a couple of standard pantry ingredients, but do feel free to take some liberties. Don’t have dry mustard? Swap in ½ cup Dijon mustard or yellow mustard. Want more depth? Add in about 1 tsp. smoked paprika and/or 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce.

Fat is essential here, and while bacon adds a welcome smoky flavor, it is possible to make a vegan baked beans recipe: Combine equal parts neutral oil and toasted sesame oil (about 2 Tbsp. each) for a nutty, savory flavor that won’t be overpowering, and just stir it in with the remaining ingredients.

Cooking the beans in a Dutch oven means they can go straight from stovetop to oven, no separate baking dish required—but do bring them to a boil first to reduce the total cook time. The oven’s dry heat is crucial for intensifying the tangy-sweet flavors, and is essential for cooking the beans to a safe temperature. That said, if you have a slow cooker, you can use it to reheat the beans or to keep them warm during a cookout or potluck.

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