Slow Cooker Baked Beans with Ham are an easy way to make traditional baked beans without soaking. Just load up your Crock Pot with canned beans and a meaty ham bone (or bacon!), then let them simmer away in a chipotle, Jack Daniels, molasses, and brown sugar sauce. These sweet and spicy baked beans will be your new favorite party dish.
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Slow cooker baked beans. If you don’t want to heat up the whole house to make old fashioned baked beans, let your slow cooker take over. Baked beans are a perfect set-and-forget dish — just throw everything in and let the slow cooker do its thing.
Canned beans. Canned beans are perfectly okay to use in slow cooker baked beans. This no-soak recipe uses a variety of beans for color, texture, and interest. I used black beans, black eyed peas, chili beans with spicy sauce, garbanzo beans, and Great Northern beans. But you can use one type of bean or whatever you love.
Baked beans with ham bone. Slow cooker baked beans is one of my favorite things to do with the ham bone from my Chipotle Maple Bourbon Glazed Ham. I make a maple bourbon glaze for my ham, which flavors the baked beans and tastes sooooo gooooood.
No ham bone? No problem. If you don't have an extra ham bone lying around, no sweat. You can use ham hocks from the grocery store, chop up a ham steak, or throw in some fried bacon. You could even use a smoked turkey leg!
Easy recipe. I love slow cooker recipes where you can truly dump stuff in, turn it on, and walk away for hours. And this baked bean recipe is one of those.
Traditional baked beans — with a spicy twist. My mother-in-law makes killer baked beans using an old Lanz family recipe. So, of course, I drew inspiration from her old fashioned baked beans recipe, except I added a few things. Like chipotles. And Jack Daniels :).
No soak baked beans. Homemade baked beans usually call for soaking dried beans in water overnight. I see no need to jump through those kinds of hoops. Delicious baked beans can in fact come from a can. And this recipe is proof.
Molasses, bourbon, and brown sugar. These are just a few of the reasons why these slow cooker baked beans are so goshdarn good. The beans simmer in sauce that is sweetened with molasses and brown sugar, then spiked with a hint of bourbon for depth and smokiness.
No ketchup. Ok, so I know no one is expecting baked beans to be any sort of healthy food. But they also don’t have to be completely loaded in sugar. So these baked beans are without ketchup — I used tomato sauce instead.
How to Make Slow Cooker Baked Beans with Ham
Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. Place ham bone in the slow cooker.
Add all the remaining ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine. Pour over the ham bone.
Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5 hours. Remove ham bone from the slow cooker and cut the meat off the bone. Mix the ham into the beans. If there is still some meat on the bone, return it to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 more hours or low for 3 more hours. Any meat you were unable to cut from the ham bone will have fallen off.
These beans will thicken as they cool. But if they still have more liquid than you like and you want to know how to thicken slow cooker baked beans, here’s what worked for me. Just remove one cup of beans from the slow cooker, mash them with a fork, and stir them into the mixture. You can repeat this process one more time, if necessary.
Slow Cooker Baked Beans with Ham
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
- 4 tablespoons molasses
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
- 3-4 chipotle peppers, diced
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce, from chipotle peppers
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 cans various beans, drained
- 1 meaty ham bone
- Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. Place ham bone in the slow cooker.
- Add all the remaining ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine. Pour over the ham bone.
- Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5 hours. Remove ham bone from the slow cooker and cut the meat off the bone. Mix the ham into the beans. If there is still some meat on the bone, return it to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 more hours or low for 3 more hours. Any meat you were unable to cut from the ham bone will have fallen off.
- These beans will thicken as they cool. But if they still have more liquid than you like and you want to know how to thicken slow cooker baked beans, here’s what worked for me. Just remove one cup of beans from the slow cooker, mash them with a fork, and stir them into the mixture. You can repeat this process one more time, if necessary.
Brown sugar substitute. What are baked beans without brown sugar? If you’re fresh out, don’t fret. You can easily make your own with white sugar and molasses or maple syrup. For each cup of light brown sugar, use one cup of white sugar plus one tablespoon of molasses or maple syrup.
Dijon mustard. You can use any kind of mustard you have in your pantry for this baked bean recipe.
Bourbon. Jack Daniels adds sweetness and smokiness to these baked beans. You can substitute another type of whisky or use brandy or cognac. If you prefer not to cook with alcohol, apple cider would be great — or you can leave it out.
How to thicken slow cooker baked beans
After simmering for hours and hours in the slow cooker, your baked beans might have quite a bit of liquid. Because the liquid can’t really evaporate with the lid on. To thicken slow cooker beans, I like to remove a cup of the beans, mash them, and then stir them back into the pot. Also, as the beans cool, they will thicken some more.
What kind of beans are used for baked beans?
When you buy a can of baked beans, they are usually navy beans. So if you’re going for the traditional baked beans, you can definitely use canned navy beans in this recipe. I just happen to love the variety of flavors and textures that using different types of beans adds to the dish, so that’s what I do.
How long to cook baked beans in a slow cooker?
This slow cooker bake bean recipe takes about 5 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
Can baked beans be frozen?
Absolutely! Just place them in a freezer safe container for 2-3 months.
Can baked beans be eaten cold?
Baked beans are super delicious cold. So if you’re in a rush with no time to heat them up, go for it!
Will baked beans thicken as they cool?
Typically, the sauce will thicken as it cools, However, if you’re worried they won’t, you can mash one cup of the beans which will naturally thicken the sauce and absorb some of the liquid.
Hungry for More Slow Cooker Recipes?
So, not a shocker that a Crock Pot recipe requires a Crock Pot. This is the exact one I have and it's great. I love the shape of it because it just happens to fit my ham perfectly. Also the lid locks so if you're bringing your beans on the road, you don't have to worry about it spilling all over your car.
Keep your knifes nice and sharp --- and safe -- by giving them a good edge on a regular basis. You don't need to have expensive knives, but you really should keep what you have nice and sharp. And the lower quality your knives are, the more often you'll need to sharpen them. This is the knife sharpener we use to sharpen our knives. And by we, I mean my husband :).