Bourbon Maple Slow Cooker Baked Beans


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Bourbon Maple Slow Cooker Baked Beans — The BEST baked beans ever! The flavors of bourbon, maple syrup, brown sugar, molasses, and BBQ sauce intensify and concentrate over time, and the resulting beans have incredible depth of flavor. Sweet with a bit of heat, robust yet smooth, and extremely satisfying!!

two dishes of slow cooker baked beans on white towels

Slow Cooker Baked Beans Recipe

I had a craving for baked beans that hit me like a ton of bricks over Memorial Day Weekend. And these are the best beans that have ever passed my lips.

I was walking around my San Diego neighborhood, and the smells from neighborhood cookouts were wafting through the air, music was playing, people were laughing with beer bottles clanking, and the early summer evenings that stay light until 8pm reminded me of my childhood summers.

Because I grew up in Minnesota, summer was painfully short and each day was cherished. It meant as much time outdoors as possible and cookouts and grilling were an integral part. The nice thing about grilling was that it kept the mosquitoes the size of golf balls somewhat at bay.

large bowl of slow cooker baked beans with spoon resting on the side

Baked beans were always served at picnics and barbeques, and since I was never a meat eater, I made meals out of baked beans, corn on the cob, watermelon, and white grocery store-bakery sheet cakes. I’d like to get back to that diet, actually.

It’s funny how certain smells set off my cascade of memories, and I had to make bourbon baked beans. I had never made them before, but necessity was the mother of recipe development.

This is an easy and nearly work-free baked beans from scratch recipe. The only caveat is that it takes forever. Like 16 hours or so, but it’s just waiting around, no active work. They don’t call it a slow cooker for nothing. Set it and forget it.

I kept the recipe vegan, and free from garlic, onions, or added salt. Most baked bean recipes start out with bacon, pork fat, stinky spices, and enough sodium to make me retain water until Christmas. No thanks. You won’t miss one ounce of flavor or pig fat.

small bowl of slow cooker baked beans with spoon on top

If you have another method for making homemade baked beans, use it. Bean recipes are like chocolate chip cookie recipes. Everyone has one, everyone thinks their family recipe is the best, and why another recipe isn’t as good or isn’t the traditional way. I happen to love everything about these slow cooker baked beans and wouldn’t change a thing.

After soaking the beans (overnight or for an hour, details in the recipe), and simmering them for about 45 minutes, the mostly-cooked beans go into a marinade that uses everything but the kitchen sink. Mix and match based on what you have.

The key elements include maple syrup, brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, molasses, vinegar, and bbq sauce. Bourbon is the other key ingredient and you’ll need a cup. As I poured 1 cup of Jim Beam into my Crock-Pot, it felt so wrong. But so right.

The beans simmer in their black hot tub for 12 to 16 hours. I set my slow-cooker to low and let them cook for 12 hours. I didn’t bother stirring them the entire 12 hours. When I checked them, the marinade had reduced and thickened, but was no where thick enough. Still pretty liquidy and soupy.

large dish of bourbon baked beans with spoon resting on the side

So I set my Crock-Pot to high, took the lid off, and let them simmer on the hottest setting for 4 hours. Between the increased heat and the evaporation from having the lid off, they thickened up considerably and were ready. If you’re having soupy issues, remove the lid and crank up the heat. Because slow-cookers and their cooking temperatures vary greatly, tinker with the settings as you see fit.

The beans are done when they’re tender, the sauce has thickened and the flavor is rich and robust, the smell in your house is driving you nuts, and you just can’t take it any longer. The beans are slightly sweet, with a touch of heat and tanginess. They’re tender, but not mushy.

The already robust flavors of molasses, maple, and bourbon become concentrated and are intense yet smooth. Although the sauce thickens, it’s still plentiful. I’m a sauce lover and made sure they stayed juicy and saucy.

They’ll make a bean lover out of even those who say they “don’t like beans.” I’ve never been so excited about beans in my life. It’s the little things.

ingredients for bourbon baked beans lined up on countertop

What’s in Slow Cooker Baked Beans? 

To make these Crockpot baked beans from scratch, you’ll need: 

  • Dry Great Northern beans 
  • Bourbon 
  • Maple syrup
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Light brown sugar
  • Water
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Molasses
  • Olive oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Worcestershire sauce 

close up of bourbon baked beans in red dish with spoon

How to Make Baked Beans in a Slow Cooker

The prep work for these slow cooker baked beans begins the night before. You need to soak the dry beans in water overnight, then drain and rinse the beans the next day. 

Then, simmer the beans in water for about 45 minutes. You want the beans to be tender, but not cooked through. 

Once the beans are partially cooked, it’s just a matter of throwing everything into your slow cooker and letting it do all the work. Cook on low heat for about 12 hours, or until the beans are tender, the sauce has thickened and reduced dramatically, and the flavor is concentrated and robust.

small dish of bourbon baked beans in front of larger dish of beans

Do I Have to Add Bourbon to the Baked Beans? 

The finished bourbon baked beans do not taste like alcohol and all traces of alcohol are removed. There’s no way any traces survive 16 hours of simmering, and no one will get tipsy from beans. The bourbon adds wonderful richness and depth of flavor, and I can’t imagine the beans without it. Although I’m wondering how beans with tequila or scotch would be. I may have to find out.

If you have reasons to skip the bourbon, you may replace it with water; however, your beans won’t taste like mine and I loved everything about them.

Before Simmering for 16 Hours

bourbon baked beans in slow cooker

16 Hours Later

baked beans from scratch in slow cooker insert

How Long Do Baked Beans Last? 

These Crockpot baked beans will keep airtight in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, and they actually taste better on days 2 and 3 as the flavors marry even more.

Can You Freeze Baked Beans? 

I would anticipate finished beans could be frozen for up to 6 months, however I have not tested it so I can’t say for certain. 

small dish of baked beans from scratch with spoon resting on top

Tips for Making the Best Baked Beans 

I used Great Northern beans to make this bourbon maple baked beans recipe, but dry navy beans will also work. Just make sure to use dry (uncooked) beans and not canned beans! 

Likewise, you must use pure maple syrup in this recipe and NOT pancake syrup. Pancake syrup is essentially flavored corn syrup — not what you want in your slow cooker baked beans. 

Bourbon Maple Slow Cooker Baked Beans (vegan, GF) - The best baked beans and the easiest! Set it & forget it!

If you need to keep these slow cooker baked beans vegan, omit the Worcestershire sauce or substitute with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce. 

Bourbon Maple Slow Cooker Baked Beans — The BEST baked beans ever! The flavors of bourbon, maple syrup, brown sugar, molasses, and BBQ sauce intensify and concentrate over time, and the resulting beans have incredible depth of flavor. Sweet with a bit of heat, robust yet smooth, and extremely satisfying!!

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Yield: 8

Bourbon Maple Slow Cooker Baked Beans

Bourbon Maple Slow Cooker Baked Beans

The flavors of bourbon, maple syrup, brown sugar, molasses, BBQ sauce and more intensify and concentrate over time, and the resulting beans have incredible depth of flavor. They’re sweet with a bit of heat, robust yet smooth, and extremely satisfying!!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 16 hours
Total Time 16 hours 15 minutes


  • 1 pound dry Great Northern beans (or navy beans)
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup barbeque sauce
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup water
  • heaping 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup mustard (I used yellow, if using stoneground or dijon, consider using slightly less)
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (omit if keeping vegan, or substitute with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce)


  1. Rinse and sort dry beans in a colander over the sink.
  2. Add beans to a large pot and cover with 8 cups water and let soak overnight (about 8 hours). OR to save time….
  3. …Use the 1 hour rapid soak method. Bring beans and 8 cups water to a boil. Allow beans to boil rapidly for 3 minutes, uncovered. Shut the heat off, cover the pot, and let stand for 1 hour.
  4. In either the overnight soak method or the 1 hour rapid soak method, drain soaking water and rinse beans well under running water in a colander over the sink.
  5. Return beans to pot, cover with 6 cups water, and allow to simmer on low heat for about 45 minutes, or until quite tender; cooked about 80% of the way. They’ll be transferred to a slow cooker where they’ll cook for 12+ hours so you don’t want them or need them to be totally done, but they shouldn’t be overly hard either (taste a few beans, you’ll know when you bite into them)
  6. While beans are simmering, combine all remaining ingredients in the slow cooker, and whisk to combine until smooth.
  7. After beans are done simmering, drain them, add them to the slow cooker, and stir.
  8. Cover and cook on low heat for about 12 hours (start checking at about 8 hours), or until beans are tender, the sauce has thickened and reduced dramatically, the flavor is concentrated and robust, and the smell in your house is intoxicating. If after 12 hours your sauce is still liquidy or on the soupy side, remove the lid, increase the heat to the highest setting, and cook uncovered until thickened to desired level (this took 4 hours for me; 12 hours covered on low and 4 hours uncovered on high, for 16 hours total). *
  9. Serve immediately.


  • *Note – Because slow-cookers and temperatures vary greatly, you can tinker with the temperature settings as you see fit. You could possibly cook on medium for 10 to 12 hours, or cook on high for 8 to 10 hours, or do a combination of settings until your sauce has thickened and beans are tender.
  • Beans will keep airtight in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, and taste better on days 2 and 3 as the flavor marry even more.
  • I would anticipate finished beans could be frozen for up to 6 months, however I have not tested it.
  • Take care all ingredients used are suitable for your dietary needs if keeping vegan and gluten-free, reading labels and selecting specific brands that meet your needs.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 522Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 579mgCarbohydrates: 103gFiber: 12gSugar: 62gProtein: 13g

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Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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  1. Without a doubt the best baked beans ever. I did as suggested and used maple syrup and the brown sugar bourbon instead of regular bourbon. Wow! Can’t wait to have another bbq get together and torture myself with the long hours of thinking I’ll starve if these aren’t ready soon. Thanks so much for all you recipes you share. I’m 85 and love trying new recipes. :-)

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and I am glad that without a doubt they’re the best baked beans ever! I agree :)

      I love that you’re 85, still cooking, and trying new recipes from the internet! And that in your 85 years think my recipe is the best!

  2. I made these beans last night, in the crockpot. I cooked them for 18 hours. The mixture is extremely dark. The flavor is really good but the beans never really softened. They are a little too firm for my liking.What do you think I did wrong?I soaked them over night, prior to my simmering them on the stove for 45 minutes. I did not taste them at that point. I’d definitely make them again if could figure out what I did wrong this time.

    Rating: 4
    1. It is soooo hard to say where things went haywire with the beans. They were not cooked long enough, that is the bottom line, if they weren’t soft enough.

      I suggest cooking the beans longer in steps 3 and 5. Since it doesn’t sounds like your slow cooker really cooked them enough to your liking, you need to handle that then on the stovetop before even transferring them into the slow cooker.

      Soak overnight (step 2), do step 3 anyway, and do step 5 until they are 90-95% cooked I would say.

  3. Oh boy! I made these Saturday into Sunday and the bourbon taste was so overwhelming! BUT – I’m just now reading your notes (all over the page!) about the 16 hours!! I tried cooking on and off on low adding more bbq sauce, worcestershire, ketchup etc. to rid the bourbon taste!! Wow!! I need to start re-reading if something doesn’t seem right! I wonder if I could throw them back in the crock and put them on high uncovered for a couple of hours??

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for trying the recipe, yes this is a longer recipe for sure with the notes/timeframes involved although not complicated. I would say that it will mellow in time as leftovers, although not sure what would happen if you tried cooking them longer – it could “evaporate” and dissipate, or it could become stronger and more concentrated, hard to say.

  4. i haven’t tried your recipe yet, but from the ingredients list it looks good and the directions and tips you provide are excellent. (i am troubled at the thought of giving up a cup of jim bean for a pot of beams, but i will make myself do that.)

    i look forward to making my first from scratch batch of baked beans. thank you for such a great instructional post.

  5. Thank you, Averie! This recipe just finished cooking and we are sitting down to eat. My husband took a small bowl for himself….it’s gone…and he’s coming back for more. MEN!Thank you for this easy to follow recipe! So yummy!

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and glad that this was a winner and immediately your husband wanted seconds, haha..totally get it!

  6. I can’t seem to find the ingredients on this web site for the recipe ingredients and instructions for the slow roster Bourbon beans. Anyone, please help.

  7. OK, I finally made these and while I soaked them overnight, I didn’t simmer them for 45 minutes and the beans came out nice and tender.I ended up simmering these with the lid off the slow cooker for about 6 hours after they cooked for 12, but the beans smelled great and looked just like the pictures here. Everyone loved them. Except me. There was just some taste in there I didn’t like and I don’t know if it was the bourbon or the molasses. But I was the exception and I suppose it was just as well. Those beans disappeared so fast I though people were going to ask to lick the slow cooker. So I have to say this recipe was a hit, but for me I think I’ll just stick to Van Camps pork and beans with brown sugar and hot dogs.

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and glad that overall this was a hit with others and that they maybe even wanted to lick the slow cooker :)

  8. Thank you.

    I meant, you’re already cooking your beans for 12 hours in the crock pot and then another 4 hours on high if needed. That’s why I thought they wouldn’t need to be soaked to get them soft.

    Anyway, I’m going to start them tomorrow morning and I’ll let you know how they go.

  9. I’d like to make these, but I’m curious – why do you soak and simmer the beans before cooking? I make refried beans in the crock pot which I cook on high for 5 hours, and that’s more than enough time to get them to boiling and make them soft. If I were to let these beans cook on high for 4 hours after simmering for 12 hours on low, wouldn’t that make them soft without soaking and doing a 45 minute simmer before cooking them? Or am I missing something really basic (wouldn’t be surprised!). LOL

    1. The soak/simmer is to make sure the beans come out tender. And note – you’re only simmering for 45 mins, not 12 hours. Read step 5 again.

      Or just skip that and soak overnight as indicated in step 2.

      Or make the beans the way you know they will be soft and to your liking. Not everyone knows how to cook beans, and there are a jillion ways to cook them based on who you ask, so use your preferred method if that’s better for you.

  10. Help! i am in US & can only find full flavor molasses. Will that due? I also saw blackstrap & know that is not right but cannot find mild, light or first molasses anywhere

  11. I have made this recipe over a dozen times.. these beans are incredible! The recipe is so easy also. I honestly don’t care for other baked beans now after this! Delicious!

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad that you’ve made these beans over a dozen times! That’s incredible and I’m so glad that you love these above all others.

  12. I just came across this recipe and it looks great, but too sweet for me. If I cut down on BBQ sauce, syrup, ketchup, do I need to replace the liquids? Maybe leave the syrup for flavor and way less brown sugar? I’m doubling the recipe, so any advice before I have a huge pile of a nasty experiment is greatly appreciated. :)

    1. I’ve only made the recipe as written so really cannot guestimate what to suggest when you start removing or reducing ingredients.

  13. WOW WOW! Made this for my guy’s birthday dinner and what a hit!! Personally I don’t like baked beans and now I know why: I never had these before! I couldn’t find the Guy Fieri BBQ sauce you suggested, found some Bullseye “sticky and sweet” and pretty damn tasty! Thank you for this recipe – this has been added to our Must Eats List!

    1. I’m so glad you loved these and that it doesn’t even sound like you were that big of a baked beans person but now you are! Glad that this is now on your Must Eats List!

  14. Morning Averie Sunshine,

    I am new to cooking & cooking with a slow cooker. Can you please tell me what size of slow cooker your recipe is written for. Then I will scale it up or down. I have a 7 quart cooker.

    Thank You in Advance.

  15. I have 2 crock pots.  A very large rectangular 7 qt and a small oval 2-3 qt.  Which do you suggest for making the beans?
    I look forward to trying out this recipe.  

    1. I’d go with the larger one, noting the timing estimates could change based on the altered size of the slow cooker you’re using.

  16. These are the best looking beans I have seen on the internet! Definitely going to make these soon!

  17. These were great! Made them for a bbq. I don’t like beans but will eat small amounts of these. We did vacuum seal a bunch and put them in the freezer so hopefully they’ll taste as great when they’re thawed.

  18. I have made baked beans twice and both times and the beans were not soft even though I followed directions. The second time the beans did cook for a full 18 hours.  Any suggestion? We love the taste, the sauce and smell are wonderful.


    1. Slow cookers vary SO much in how hot they get and yours maybe just isn’t getting as hot as mine – that could be one issue. But ruling that out, since you’ve tried twice, I would simply cook the beans on the stovetop until they’re nearly done even though I say 80% in the recipe. I think getting them almost close to done will help you, THEN add the bourbon and all the other ingredients before you begin the 12 hour slow cook that way you know those beans are going to be soft since they started out nearly done. Just watch them so they don’t become mushy near the end. LMK how it goes trying it that way. Glad you love the taste, sauce, and smell!

  19. These look amazing! I’m planning on making these tomorrow,however I cannot find a good bourbon around me that I will drink when not placing in a recipe. Sooo…is there any substitute I can use in place of the bourbon or can I just leave it out or would it make a huge difference? I have a bottle of jack D’s Tennessee honey in the freezer whether that might work or not…haha

    1. I would use your Jack D then if you can’t find a bourbon you like. I definitely recommend using something along that flavor family rather than omitting because yes, it would be a fairly big difference in flavor. Enjoy!

  20. These look fantastic, but one question. Everything refers to maple syrup, but your pic looks like you used pancake syrup (artificially maple flavored). Which is it? Obviously pancake syrup is tons cheaper, so I wanted to verify before I tried cutting that corner!

  21. thinking about trying this without a crockpot as I just gave mine to goodwill. Any suggestions for stovetop and baking method?

    1. Slow and low on the stovetop, simmering until done. I have no idea what ‘done’ will mean since I haven’t tried it that way but I’m sure very do-able.

  22. Loooooove making this recipe over here in England – after a holiday to America I really enjoy finding interesting takes on US classics and can’t wait to get cooking more of your recipes to take me back there! Gorgeous! Xxx

  23. Made these beans yesterday as a trial run for a grad /party reunion we’re having next weekend. I’m going to try again today as i was disappointed with the results.  I had a bad feeling early on as the smell was not ‘intoxicating ” as described.  I couldn’t get past the vinegar smell which was overwhelming and the end product was super sweet. I guess as mentioned, its just personal preferences.  I think ill add in a few savory flavors to balance out the super sweet ingredients . And the vinegar has to go .

    1. Do what you think is best, of course! All brands of vinegars, BBQ sauces, personal preference for sweetness, the dry beans themselves, the maple syrup (real or imitation), etc…all play a part. You’re the first person though that has tried them and written to say they were too vinegary and too sweet so I’m thinking something happened along the way and things took a turn. That, or our ingredients used were quite different, or we have really different palates. But yes, play around with things and hope they turn out great for you!

  24. I fell in love with this recipe the minute I layed eyes on it. I am preparing to cook it tomorrow along with baby back, herbed potatoe and corn on the cob. Willlet you know how it turns out.

  25. I recently became vegan. We have the Norwegian version of “4th of July” tomorrow and I have been desperate to find a recipe for baked beans that will take me back to my southern roots. my husbands family has never had REAL baked beans, just the UK version, which is essentially just white beans in tomato sauce and sugar. ehhhhh. the second I clicked on this recipe, it was love at first sight! being vegan, I am absolutely no stranger to preparing dried beans so its not intimidating at all. the only adjustments I made were the brands of ingredients, based on what was available here (I’m using a hickory brown sugar BBQ sauce instead…OH MAN!). also, no small bottles of bourbon available here, and I don’t drink it nor did I want to spend around $60 for a big bottle, so I substituted jack Daniels (figured whiskey would be the best sub!) Also had to use blackstrap molasses since thats the only type available, i just cut the amount in half. and I’m also using a dutch oven and my oven instead because I don’t have a slow cooker yet :( the liquid form the beans was DIVINE and I could have just tipped it into a cup and chugged hehe I’m positive these will be a hit, and I just may not share ;) thank you so much!

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! Great substitutions and swaps; the recipe is very forgiving and flexible and glad everything you used came out great and that liquid is totally chug-able, I agree!

  26. This recipe is so easy and the beans are great.  So many recipes list pork, onions etc that the flavor is off.  
    The flavors all meld together for a delightful side dish.  Thanks for sharing!

  27. Hi, this looks SO amazing.  My husband loves baked beans and i’m trying to find a delicious vegan one and I think i may have it here.  My only question is can you use canned beans instead of dried?  Seems like a lot less work!


    1. Canned beans being that they’re already cooked and usually mushier than homemade beans could fall apart in the simmering process where the liquid is reducing and the flavors are marrying. Not sure, haven’t tried though, so can’t speak for sure. It’s really not a big deal at all to make them as written, I promise!

  28. Hey-O! I cook and manage a Pittsburgh bar and grill (the Brillobox) that specializes in both vegan and vegetarian food; I actually clicked on this link because last night I made up a recipe for maple bourbon baked beans to offer as a new side to our sandwiches and entrees and thought “No way! There’s already a recipe for that?! Of course there is.” And although I will be sticking with my recipe, I did feel the need to let you all know one of our kitchen’s big vegan secrets- they make vegan Worcestershire sauce already! I forgot the brand name, but it is very inexpensive and we purchase it in quantity, because we use it in most everything. When I work next I will post the name on here. “qualite”, perhaps. But fear not, it is out there and it can be found for less than the liquid aminos!

    1. Maybe, not sure…but you’ll have to make lots of adjustments with timing since the beans are already cooked and you don’t want them to become overcooked to the point of mush. The amount of liquid called for in the recipe banks on the fact that the beans are in the slow cooker for at least 8 hours. With canned beans, if you did that, you’d have mush.

  29. These are currently crocking I have probably two more hours to wait! it’s too tempting to want to sneak a taste- it smells insane!

  30. I made this yesterday and my husband, son and I had a little side dish of this. So my son says, “I don’t really like it too much.” I look at him, still spooning mouthfuls, and ask him why. “Not sure, it’s a little sweet.” So I say, “You don’t need to eat it, honey, just leave it, you tried it and that’s all that matters.” I look up after finishing my bowl and he’s still shoveling it in! “I can’t stop eating this,” he says.”But I thought you didn’t like it?” “I don’t, not really, but I can’t stop eating it!!!!” So take from this what you will, but I suspect he’s going to be eating this for a snack and his dinner tonight as will my husband and I ;)

    1. I love the story. It’s always people who ‘don’t like beans’ or don’t like xyz who end up loving said item when it’s made in a great way :) Glad you guys are all pleased!

  31. Delicious! I had to modify the recipe a bit (because I of course didn’t look at how MUCH bourbon or maple syrup I had sitting around before starting them) – so I made it with 1/2 cup bourbon, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and 1/4 cup honey. I didn’t need to simmer them with the lid off for more than an hour, but they turned out quite yummy! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. It’s such a flexible recipe and glad they came out great for you with the changes you made. I’ve made these many ways with a little dab extra of this, a little less of that, etc. and they always turn out fine :)

  32. I feel like I can smell them cooking just by reading this! Can’t wait to try them, do you think leftovers would be ok to freeze?

  33. These look delicious, but simply not adding salt, bacon or “stinky spices” doesn’t make these “healthy”.. There is a TON OF SUGAR in this recipe! Between the maple syrup, brown sugar, BBQ sauce, and molasses, it looks like there is a cup of sugar in each serving!

  34. Made this for our july 4th barbecue. Everyone loved it! It was bursting with smoky sweet tangy goodness and got many compliments. Thanks!

    1. Love that you made it for the Fourth and everyone was happy! Thanks for trying the recipe and telling me!

  35. I was so excited to find this recipe on the 4th of July, as our family needed a meat-free baked bean recipe today! We pre-soaked our beans last night, and cooked for 45 minutes like you’d suggested….I just wondered how you’d modify the recipe if it wasn’t going into a crock pot, but just a regular All-Clad large soup pan on the stovetop? I assumed I just needed to cook it on low heat, stir often, and maybe it would take fewer hours. Any suggestions on other ways to make sure stove-top cooking is successful?

    1. I assumed I just needed to cook it on low heat, stir often, and maybe it would take fewer hours. = I think that’s a good starting point. I haven’t done it that way so not sure what exact tips to give. Happy Fourth!

  36. This recipe is fabulous!!! Used quick soak method and slow cooked overnight. I didn’t have bourbon (my hubby’s favorite, so often lacking in supply) so I used Crown Royal. Also, subbed honey for brown sugar and added garlic. Cooked for an additional hour with lid off before our party and the amount of liquid was perfect. Served with Jackfruit BBQ sandwiches and our Hungarian coleslaw. Everything was loved by all! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for the awesome comment and for LMK what you did! Crown sounds fabulous and Crown, Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, it all works, right :) I love the sounds of the Jackfruit BBQ sandwiches and our Hungarian coleslaw – wow, wish I was at a party at your house! I bet your house smelled AMAZING! Thanks for the great info and feedback!

      1. The first comment from each of the guests coming over last was some version of, “Wow it smells great in here!” Gotta love that! I’m going to make up a big batch of the sauce without the beans to use for BBQ sauce on my black bean “meat”balls and tempeh “chicken” wings. Thanks again and keep posting deliciousness please!

  37. I love the idea of this recipe. However, I wanted to educate you on the suggested gluten-free quality of this recipe. Bourbons, especially Jim Beam, is NOT gluten free. Most are about 50% corn, 50% rye, and sometimes wheat. There are gluten free bourbons (all corn bourbons) available, but they are more difficult to find. For those of us with true Celiac disease, we cannot handle liquor with any gluten containing ingredients. Please suggest this in your recipe, as there are many who are just beginning their path to healthy gluten free living and do not know the dangers within alcohols yet.

    1. I have Celiac disease and I handle most bourbons just fine. You see, liquors are distilled and because of that process the amount of gluten in them are usually negligible. If hard liquors made with gluten containing ingredients set off a reaction in you it might be a placebo effect. Each person with a desire to try recipes containing distilled grain alcohols will have to see for themselves.

  38. Loved these beans and will make them again. I added one onion and some veggie bacon. Next time, I’ll leave out the bourbon or only use half the amount. May also put “bacon” in a cheese cloth so I get flavor but eliminate the mushy chunks which didn’t please my sense of texture.


    1. Glad you liked the beans and I’ve never made them with bacon so can’t advise but your cheesecloth idea sounds good!

  39. This is the first time I ever made baked beans at all. I tried the slow cooker recipe for maple baked beans and it was wonderful! I left out the Bourbon & used water. I used a little mix of flour & cold water to thicken it up an hour before eating and it didn’t ruin the taste at all. Thumbs up for this one!

    1. Congrats on your first baked beans experience! That’s nice to know you can make them now, right! And they’re even better with the bourbon but some people have reason to leave it out, but it adds so much depth of flavor. Sounds like yours turned out just fine though!

  40. Ok, this may seem like a silly question, but seeing as how these are vegetarian are you serving these as a main course? It seems like the picture would suggest this but maybe I just need more coffee. ;)

    1. I personally could make a meal out of these but they’re the type of thing you would probably serve as a side if you’re serving it for a party. After they’ve been cooking for 18+ hours and your house is just so delicious smelling, you’ll probably want to make a meal out of them though :)

  41. I LOVE your blue bowl in this post, every time I see this post I covet that dish wear. It’s beautiful! Where’d you get it?

    1. I try to get as many of my blog dishes from secondhand and thrift stores b/c I can really only use them once or twice before they look boring and same-old thing. So…I got it at a San Diego thrift store and knowing their prices, I probably paid $1 dollar. 99% of what they have is junk but the 1% is worth going for :)

  42. I’m about to add the beans to the sauce. Oh my gosh, I cannot wait to eat these! Baked beans are definitely one of my favorite dishes. My husband likes to eat them over rice, so I will be making rice tomorrow for him to eat them over. Thank you so much for the recipe. As I type hubby just walked in with the bourbon ;)

    1. Wow I’m so jealous you’ve got these started! It’s cold, rainy, and miserable in ‘sunny’ San Diego and these would hit the spot! I hope you enjoy them!

      If you have any leftover bourbon, you can always make this! It would be a nice cool contrast to those warm beans!

      Please LMK how the beans come out for you!

  43. FANTASTIC!!!!!!!! I made 1/2 the recipe & used 2 cans of kidney beans instead of the dried navy beans, and Irish whiskey instead of bourbon – both cuz that’s what I had. These are really really good & I will be making them often. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Glad you tried them and used canned beans and Irish whiskey -based on what you had, and halved the recipe to suit your needs – and it all worked out well for you. Great!

    1. So glad they were a hit with Dewar’s! Thanks for LMK & trying the recipe! I want to try with Dewar’s now too!

  44. These are cooking in my kitchen right now! The smell is unbelievable…and the whole family is so excited to try them out!

    1. Oh please let me know how they are! And yes, the smell is intoxicatingly wonderful! I know!!!! I hope you enjoy them as much as we did! Let me know!

  45. Suggestions for a different brand of barbecue sauce? I’ve access to only the most basic brands at this way-out-in-sticks small town grocery store, don’t have time to order any shipped in, and need to start cooking tomorrow. Look for one with half the usual salt?? Thanks.

    1. Just use a basic brand or whatever is available to you or your favorite. I simply used that one because I could as it was right there at my usual groc store; but I wouldn’t have gone out of my way for it, i.e. a special order. Just use what you have. And please LMK how your beans turn out!

  46. I made these baked beans today for family. They were delisious! I doubled the recipe and all the ingredients with no problems. The only thing I did different was I omited the bourbon altogether. Wich meant i didnt need to take the lid of my crockpot to thicken the sauce. Still delicious!!

    1. That is awesome that you made them and loved them. And you skipped the best part :) But I understand, it’s not for everyone. But good to know that doubling the recipe worked just fine and that because you omitted the bourbon, you didn’t need to bother with un-lidding your slow cooker. Thanks so much for the feedback and trying this recipe! I love field reports, but especially on recipes like this it’s extra helpful! :)

    1. Thanks for pinning and I just went to your website (love your URL) :) And those pics of you with the bike. And the blue water/backdrop…stunning! And you are one strong, tough cookie…whoa! Love it!

  47. LOVING these. Seriously, OMG. BAked beans are probably my favorite summer side dish ever. And they are SO much better homemade! The ketchup, the maple, the molasses, the brown sugar… you know the way to a girls heart! And yes, that girl is me… and yes, the way to my heart is beans. Pinning these too as I drool all over the screen. I want cosmic brownies for breakfast with a side of these, please and thank you. Great photography too – I could never shoot… beans. ;)

    1. Knowing I had BEANS to shoot the day I made these, well, let’s just say I was a little nervous. My hat it off to ethnic food blogger who shoot beans, lentils, soft, dark, brown and often times mushy food…lol. Not easy! These actually weren’t horrible. I’ve had cakes that were worse.

      And the sauce/marinade, Sally, it’s heavenly!! Best beans of my life, not kidding! Thanks for pinning!

  48. I’m not much of a beans person but Jason is so I definitely need to make this for him. Plus, my slow cooker has not been used all year!

  49. Another field report–these beans taste great (and are husband approved too)! I did a half batch because there are only 2 of us, and my crockpot is a taller, cylinder shape so I was worried about it being too full and not reducing enough. I thought about cooking them overnight, but knew I’d have a hard time staying asleep with yummy smells wafting into the bedroom! The sauce was thick, rich, and well balanced (neither too tomatoe-y or sugar-y per my husband)!

    1. That’s awesome, Paula, that the hubs approves (I know you said he’s a bourbon fan!) and yes, I thought I was going to have trouble sleeping with the crockpot going (that’s why I can never dehydrate things – that thing is so loud and then the food smells!) but with the crockpot, there was SO much liquid in mine, I knew I’d be safe for 4 hours. That’s about as much sleep as I can fit in :) Anyway though, thanks for the field report and that the half batch worked perfectly and that the sauce was balanced. Thanks for trying these!

  50. Actually, as another alternative, both Annie’s Naturals and The Wizard’s brands make excellent vegan Worcestershire sauces. As a convert to vegetarianism, one of the my earliest missions was to find one for my veggie burgers. I’ve seen them in natural/organic sections of chain groceries or near the bbq sauces in Whole Foods, etc. As a former Lea & Perrins junkie, believe me when I say these will not disappoint.

    1. Oh wow, very good to know about those 2 brands. I’m sure if I would have googled it, something would have popped up, but I didn’t even think to – and it’s great to have a first hand account and for someone to actually vouch for things. Thank you!

  51. Looks great, but I’ll be feeding 50-75 next weekend and wonder about scaling…! I’ll make two batches, one recipe with bacon and yours…

    Think this one would just doubling everything?

    1. I personally would make two batches, separately, from start to finish. Yes, you’ll have to plan ahead by an extra day but the flavors actually get better in time, so no issue there. I just worry that 2 batches all at once in 1 slow cooker would be a ridiculous amount of liquid and it wouldn’t cook down and reduce properly. I’d play it safe and do it the way I wrote it, twice. Please LMK how it goes!

      1. Well, unfortunately I need to cook a double of yours and then a double of another recipe with bacon, and I don’t have 4 cooking days! I need to do the veggie beans tomorrow and the bacon beans Friday for party Saturday…. So, I’m just gonna have to bite the bulleit (see what I did there?) and try 2 lbs of beans all at once. The crockpot is definitely big enough… but you’re probably right to worry about the volume of liquid.

        So I may cut back on the liquid a bit, though, figuring this could be added in as I go if needed. Maybe cut back the bourbon and water by 30% or so? Who knows.

        I’ll wing it. Hopefully not a disaster :)

      2. Ok I would reduce the water then if I were you. The regular batch is 1 c water and 1 c bourbon. I would do 1 c water and 2 c bourbon. I mean, you could reduce the bourbon rather than the water, but…I wouldn’t :) And if for some reason they’re getting dry, you can always add more water. I think you will be fine honestly though! Please LMK how things turn out!!

  52. I never have enough baked bean recipes being from the Boston area they are a staple! These look perfect and I’m sure they would get a double thumbs up at my next BBQ!

  53. I am so excited to see this! I have been searching for a good and healthy vegetarian baked bean recipe for ages. I do have one question, do you think this would work with small red beans? My son is allergic to Navy Beans (can you believe it??? also soy, peanuts, etc) so I need a good alternative. Thanks so much!

    1. Ugh that is too bad about your son having multiple food allergies. My heart goes out to you both for trying to find things that are suitable for him.

      And yes, go for it with red beans. The recipe is made for a long simmering time so the sauce reduces. If you think the red beans would cook faster than navy beans, then you may want to initially undercook them a bit in the initial step after the soaking so that they don’t turn mushy after a 12-16 hour simmer, but I don’t know how their cooking time compares to a navy bean’s cooking time. Just something to keep in mind. LMK how they turn out!

  54. So glad I found your blog! These look amazing. One of the things I miss most about the USA is grilling out! I think Memorial Day took a close second to Christmas in terms of missing home, hahah. These beans look amazing… I’ve tried making baked beans with maple syrup, but not bourbon! Definitely something I’m tackling when I get home this summer. Thanks for sharing :)

  55. OMG. So, you know I LOVE bourbon, and baked beans are such a classic, this is a genius combo!!! I must make these very, very soon!!!

  56. Averie, I confess that I’ve never been a fan of baked beans. For some reason they remind me of what those huge, sluggish, ants might taste like. (Stress the word “might!” I honestly wouldn’t know!) :D

    My dislike of baked beans is probably because I’ve endured the mushy, too-sweet, bland, canned versions. This recipe looks like something I might actually love! Of course it helps to see them in such gorgeous serving bowls. :)

    1. Well considering you’re not even a fan, I especially appreciate the pin. And based on your love of molasses, brown sugar, and that whole family of desserts, if a savory bean dish could be related to a dessert, this is the one!

  57. So scrumptious! I recently made a baked bean and slaw sandwich with buffalo sauce in the beans but these look like they’d make up an even better version. I love making homemade beans, can’t go back now to the canned.
    Beautiful pics as usual ;0
    Have a great weekend Averie!

  58. I am as much in love with that bowl as the recipe. I have always had beans the Indian way, which is in a spicy curry. This sounds delicious. Gonna try it for sure. :)

    1. Lucky find at the thrift store about a year ago. Maybe $3 bucks, tops? Sometimes I find some gems!

  59. Oh my – this calls for summer barbecue! LOVE baked beans. When I was a vegetarian, my favorite barbecue meal was a baked bean sandwich – yum!

  60. I am a sucker for the bean dishes…this looks incredibly delicious! The restaurant styled tofu is amazing too.

  61. After a lifetime of avoiding baked beans, I now love them! I love the idea of non-pork beans (I do love my bacon, but I don’t need it all the time…) with bourbon. Everything is better with bourbon!

  62. I never ate baked beans until I was an adult. I use many of the same ingredients and it is nice to have a heads up on the Guy Fieri sauce. I don’t have a slow cooker, though which would work really well for these. Thanks!

    1. You could do it simmering on the stovetop or a low oven or figure out a way that will work for you, but for 19.99, this is a recipe where a slow cooker is handy!

  63. These beans look so delicious. We have been meaning to get another crock pot and after seeing this recipe I am going shopping for one!

    1. That’s wonderful! Target and similar places usually have 19.99 ones and that’s all you need!

  64. I love baked beans! The combo of the brown sugar and maple syrup…oh my! Yum! Thanks for such a great recipe!

  65. Oh my only problem would be I will eat the whole pot of beans, I know I love me baked beans. I am so happy you made a recipe that did not contain pork fat! I love me some fats but not in my beans! give me lot’s of flavor with less salt… 16 hour is along time, but I know the flavors were amazing…

    1. Glad you could appreciate the lack of fat and yes, the flavors were sooooo good. So deep and rich and developed. I hope you try them sometime if you’re a bean fan!

  66. Hi Averie!

    Looks absolutely delicious :) I have a question please if you would be so kind as to answer: the bourbon you use, do you heat it before actually adding it to the beans? I’ve seen it mentioned a few times (not on your blog) that alcoholic beverages should always be heated separately before adding them to the mix, have you ever heard anything about that and if so, what’s your take on it?

    Thanks, and please continue to upload such awesome pictures :)

    1. No I didn’t heat it (what’s the point? I figure – if it’s going to be heated for 16 hours!) so just dumped it all in with everything else…glug, glug, glug, in went 1 cup. Whisk the mixture together and that’s that!

      And when cooking with alcohol, I never heat the alcohol first, THEN add it to the recipe. I just add it.

  67. Ok, cracking at you right now girl! First at the comment about nobody getting tipsy over beans. So true that every time you throw alcohol into a recipe, people get nervous about getting tipsy or having it taste like alcohol. My kids get nervous every time I make my vodka pasta even thought they know the vodka evaporates off. I also can totally tell your a Minnesota girl because Minnesotans love their baked beans. John loves his baked beans and come summer, he makes them all the time, and sadly, he is the only one that eats them. I’ve never been a fan, but will definitely show him this recipe so he can make a batch for his family when we head back to MN this summer.
    I hope all is going great with you and that you’re not too overwhelmed with the blog and cookbook. I’m honestly ready for summer and a chance to catch my breath. So tired lately and just need a vacation from all of the school hoopla. I know I will miss it all in about a month when the kids and I are staring at each other wondering what to do! xoxo, Jackie

    1. every time you throw alcohol into a recipe, people get nervous about getting tipsy or having it taste like alcohol. <-- yes and I could hear the comments in my brain, so wrote that specifically! Even if you're not a bean fan (my hubs isn't either),try these. They may change your mind! My daughter has like 5 events at her school this week and next. She's 6. I had to pick and choose what I could attend. It would be a FT job going to all of them otherwise. I can relate :)

  68. I JUST bought everything to make baked beens this weekend! with beer, of course. I LOVE the color you got on those, beautiful!

  69. I don’t eat nearly enough beans in my life! Bourbon is made for baked beans, and I love how this recipe is done in the slow cooker. Set it and forget it!

    1. Couldn’t imagine doing it any other way besides the slow cooker now that I’ve tried it this way!

  70. Great recipe to start off the summer months and entertaining with, Averie! So yummy!

    1. Thanks, Sandy! And for stopping by! I appreciate it! I saw a pic of you in Heidi’s post about the Dole trip and I had to stay back here on the homefront at the last minute, but hope you had a blast! :)

  71. Love this! Especially that you start with dry beans. I hate the canned stuff and so many recipes for baked beans call for cans of beans. Anyhow, pinning!

    1. I couldn’t imagine posting a recipe for baked beans that started off with beans in a can :) And although I use beans in a can as a convenience item, i.e. chickpeas that I’ll blend into hummus, there are some beans that you just HAVE to make from scratch (i.e. baked beans!) Thanks for the pin!

  72. These look so good!! Jess from How Sweet It Is has a similar recipe I made once and it was my man’s FAV! I know we’ll like this too!

  73. Mmmm…I love baked beans and your version looks delicious! This really puts me in that summer mood (this, and the fact that it’s 90 degrees today : )!

    1. I thought it was just me who thought that, but I am glad I’m not. Lots of people have said this!

  74. These sound fantastic!! I love everything in these! And now I am officially hungry for lunch : )

  75. Gosh, do I love these! I could totally relate to your description of walking through your neighborhood over Memorial Day and just smelling the lovely aroma of local grilling and BBQ; we weren’t planning to cookout, but our salivating changed the plan. Looks great, Averie! And I always love it when you bust out a savory dish! :)

    1. I actually broke out 2 savory dishes in May after I think…one all year? Lol Glad you can appreciate these and yes, walking around and smelling eveyrone’s grilled food (and I don’t even eat meat!) made me want to make these!

  76. I know that craving all too well.
    My hubby hates baked beans, I love them.
    And what I love, and it’s exactly what you did was make them nice and thick!
    Good job here Av!

  77. I’ve loved baked beans forever and realized a few weeks ago when I saw them on a menu that I haven’t eaten or made them in AGES. I need to fix that quick. These look so crazy good, and I actually have Guy Fieri’s BBQ sauce in my fridge right now. YUM!

    1. I almost NEVER buy bbq sauce and didnt realize he even had a sauce line. So funny you have it! Guess you’re one step closer to making beans!

  78. My mouth is watering right now!!! I love it when crockpot recipes fill up your house with amazing smells. When I use mine it also smells up my apartment building, my boyfriend knows he is in for a treat when he opens the main door on night when I cook :)

    1. Omg my entire bldg smelled like baked beans! :) You could smell it down the street I think. Lol I know what you mean about that!

  79. No bacon or fat?! You crazy girl you ;) My mom would love this! I think she’s the only one in my entire family that loves baked beans.

    1. My hubs doesn’t like them either but he tolerated these, which was success for me :)

  80. These look so yummy and I sure wish I had a slow cooker so I could set it and forget it. I cooked beans for the first time yesterday after pre-soaking and it was easy but slightly fussy in that I had to stay in the house to check on them. However, the taste was unbelievable compared to canned beans. Totally worth it. I’ll have to try them this way!

    1. Slow-cooker. Mine was cheap and on-sale from Target. I bought it about 3 yrs ago in the fall before football/tailgating season. Seriously go to your local thrift store, there will be TONS of them, a slow cooker graveyard, for a few bucks. Or just go to Target or similar or Amazon. 19.99 and totally worth it! Cannot believe you made beans YESTERDAY! What are the odds!

  81. I’ve never made baked beans. I used to hate them as a kid to be honest – the canned stuff. Once my aunt wouldn’t let me eat anything else for dinner b/c I wouldn’t touch the beans. Really?? But I do love beans and imagine this tastes completely different than the cheapo canned stuff. And you might be the only person I know who could actually photograph beans and make them look amazing!

    1. Thank you for the photography compliments. When I knew I had to photograph these things, I was worried…I was like OMG WHAT am I going to do. Trying to make beans look sexy and gorgeous is not like a piece of chocolate cake with dripping ganache :)

      And you would lloooooveeee these beans. The depth of flavor is just insane and I know you guys do tailgating and are into football and these would be perfect!

  82. You have me craving baked beans now too. My mom has a famous recipe everyone loves but they have bacon, beef, and come from canned beans. It’s awesome you did these from dried beans. I bet all of the flavors are incredible!

    1. Couldn’t imagine starting off with canned beans. It was so worth it to do it from scratch. The flavors are soooo intense and developed!

  83. i love making homemade beans…i made a huge batch for my kiddos birthday party last year…as with everything in my opinion there is something about homemade. i am pinning yours to make for the next party…and those cookout smells do make me think of baked beans. love the post.

    1. Thanks for the pin and yes, everyone has ‘their’ way and recipe. From cookies to beans, but I will say, this is now my way and wouldn’t change a thing!

  84. I wish my family liked beans! I love them, but the are babies and dont! I know, crazy. Really these look incredible and i love that you made them vegan and friendly for everyone! Yay!

  85. I do love baked beans but I’ve never made them myself! Thus far, I’ve left that up to my mom and grandma :) BUT, with a recipe like this, I think I’d like to give them a try. The maple and bourbon are probably my two fav ingredients here!

  86. I looooooooooooove baked beans so this post made my morning! Baked beans have such great childhood memories with the family at holidays, but now it means even greater times with close friends. This makes me want to bring a big dish of baked beans to a going away picnic this weekend. MMMMM! Great recipe, thanks for sharing.

    1. They would be perfect picnic food! With watermelon, corn on the cob, the whole summer scene!

  87. I never get to make baked beans in my house… no one likes them but me. I think I might be dining alone tonight

    1. My husband told me that too…then I made these, and he has changed his tune. He is still not ‘into’ them, but he at least eats them. Baby steps!

  88. Averie, your baked beans look irresistible! I love how you used bourbon and maple syrup in yours along with the BBQ sauce. I use BBQ sauce in mine, but not bourbon. Fab idea! I do a beer reduction and some other ‘secret’ things. (Will be sharing recipe on the blog before the 4th of July.) I am going to try your recipe this summer because I simply must try baked beans with bourbon! Thanks for sharing! xo

  89. I’ve never made baked beans, but I’ve made BBQ sauce. My hubby is a big bourbon fan and I LOVE slow cooker recipes! The sauce ingredients look awesome–I want to make extra to reduce on the stove for dipping and pouring on other things too. My bananas should be ready by this weekend….so baked beans and banana bread are on the menu!

    1. You’ve made bbq sauce? Wow that’s awesome! I’ve made mustard, tons of salad dressings but have never made mayo or bbq sauce. If you can make that, you can make these! The bourbon and molasses is just INCREDIBLE in them how it reduces. Based on what you told me, I bet your hubs will especially love them and that you’re into slow cooker recipes…perfect!

      Beans and banana bread. Your house is 1 week later mirroring what mine was like over Mem Day weekend!

  90. I like that it’s nearly work free, hahaha. I have the same thing with smells and tastes, it make s me think about past. I like it, don’t you?

  91. Baked beans do scream backyard cookout! I love the combo of bourbon, maple syrup and barbeque sauce . . . I bet these had some amazing flavor and I can see why you liked them so much.