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Grandma Browns Baked Beans Recipe

Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans Recipe is a delicious, hearty meal that is sure to please everyone at your next BBQ.

What Are The Ingredients In Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans Recipe?

The following list of ingredients will help you create this tasty bean dish from scratch.

  • 1 pound dried navy beans (canned work as well)
  • 3 tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¾ cup molasses
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • 1/8teaspoon salt
  • ¼teaspoon pepper
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion chopped fine
  • 3-5 potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Cooking Instructions
Grandma Browns Baked Beans Recipe

How Do You Make Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans?


  • 1 pound dried navy beans (canned will work)
  • 3 medium onions chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 slices bacon, diced
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 5 tablespoons vinegar


  • Soak the dried beans overnight in enough water to cover them by 2 inches.
  • Drain beans and rinse thoroughly with cold water.
  • Add 3 onions and 6 cups fresh water to the slow cooker insert of a Crock Pot.
  • Cook on low heat until all liquid has evaporated and beans are soft.
  • Remove from heat and drain off excess water.
  • In a skillet over medium high heat fry sliced bacon until crisp.
  • Add bacon to crockpot along with remaining onion and seasonings.
  • Combine molasses, ketchup, vinegar and 1/2 cup of water in another bowl.
  • Mix well together and add this mixture to the crockpot as well.
  • Cover and let soak beans and meat for 4 hours before serving.

What Is The History Of Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans Recipe?

Baking beans in an oven has been around since the 1930’s when it was first introduced as a way to preserve them.

In fact, Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans Recipe is credited to a woman named Mrs.

Ethel Brown from St.

Louis Missouri who created this classic recipe back in 1937.

In 1939, she sold her recipe for $1.50 per can (equivalent to about $10 today) but now they are more than twice that price because demand has increased immensely over the years.

Today, there are many ways to make Grandma Brown’s baked beans whether you use canned beans or dried beans.

It is important to note that some recipes call for cooking the beans before adding them into the baking dish while others don’t.

The main difference between these two methods is how long you need to simmer the beans prior to baking them.

Here are some tips on how to successfully bake Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans Recipe:

  • Use only one type of bean such as pinto, navy, black, red kidney, or any other color combination you prefer.
  • Cooking time will vary depending on what kind of beans you choose to use.
  • You may also add salt, pepper, onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, etc., according to taste.
  • You can even add bacon if you want!
  • You can either serve the beans warm with butter or sour cream or cold with ketchup, mustard, or relish.
  • Beans should be served immediately after baking.
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Why Are Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans So Popular?

The first time I ever had this classic recipe was when my mother made it one afternoon while we were visiting her in Ohio.

She asked me what I thought about it, and I replied that it was really good! Since then, she has always been known as “the bean lady.”

We have had these every year since our family moved back to Ohio from California after college graduation.

They’re still very much enjoyed by all of us (and even our daughter).

I wanted to find out more about why Grandma Brown’s Baked Bean recipe became such a favorite among families everywhere.

So I spoke with food historian and writer, David Leite, who says he’s eaten them every year on his birthday since they first appeared on store shelves around 1972.

He also shares some interesting facts about how this recipe came into being.

History of Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans Recipe

“They were invented by an elderly woman named Helen Brown whose husband died before she could tell him about the recipe.

After his death, she told her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren that she’d left instructions in a tin box hidden under a loose floorboard behind their house.

The recipe called for dried navy beans, salt pork, molasses, and vinegar.

Her family members believed her story because there was no other explanation for where the recipe originated.

It wasn’t until years later that they discovered that the original home address for Helen Brown was actually the same place the tin box was kept — the kitchen table where she sat while cooking dinner!”

So now you know why grandma Brown’s baked beans are so popular – not only do they taste amazing but they also contain lots of healthy ingredients like fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and probiotics.

Plus, they can be easily prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for several days.

How Did Grandma Brown Come Up With Her Baked Beans Recipe?

The origin of this classic American side dish has been lost over time but it was most likely inspired by a German immigrant who settled in Massachusetts.

The original recipe called for pork fat which gave the beans their rich flavor.

Pork fat was not readily available to early cooks and they replaced it with bacon grease, lard, beef drippings, or even butter!

Once people started adding meat like ham or sausage, the recipe began evolving into its current form.

Today, many recipes call for dried beans as well as other ingredients such as tomato paste, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, mustard powder, and pickled jalapenos.

The first printed version of the recipe appeared in 1849 when Mrs.

Mary E. Hays published an article about “the best way” to make baked beans in her book entitled “Our Young Housekeeper”.

It wasn’t until after she died in 1888 that the family decided to publish her handwritten notes on how to make the dish.

“Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans,” as it became known, was originally served alongside cornbread at Sunday dinners and church picnics.

In later years, it often accompanied fried chicken at holiday meals.

Since then, the bean recipe has changed little from what we know today.

Some believe that it originated in England while others claim it came from Mexico.

Either way, there are probably more than one million different versions of Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans around the world today.


  • Two 15 ounce cans white kidney beans (or 2 cups cooked)
  • One 16-ounce can tomatoes, crushed* (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small bottle chili sauce or hot sauce**
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  • Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit / 175 Celsius
  • Drain and rinse beans thoroughly under cold water
  • Add all remaining ingredients except salt and pepper to a large bowl and mix together
  • Spread prepared mixture evenly across bottom of a baking pan
  • Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top
  • Bake uncovered for 3 hours or until beans have darkened slightly and have thickened in consistency
Grandma Browns Baked Beans Recipe3

What Is The Secret Ingredient In Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans Recipe?

The secret ingredient in Grandma Brown’s baked beans recipe is an old-fashioned staple of American cuisine – molasses!

Molasses adds depth of flavor and sweetness to this classic American side dish.

Molasses is made from boiling down sugar cane juice into syrup.

Sugar cane has been grown in North America since before Columbus’ arrival on the continent.

The first recorded mention of it was by Christopher Columbus himself in his journal dated November 19, 1492.

In colonial times, molasses was used as a sweetener, but it also had medicinal properties.

It was believed to be good against coughs and colds, so it was added to tea and other beverages.

Today, molasses remains one of the most popular ingredients in baking products like cookies and breads.

It may seem odd to put molasses in baked beans when they are typically served hot and savory, but there is something about the combination of warm beans and rich, dark molasses that makes them a satisfying comfort food.

If you’re looking to add some more spice to your baked bean recipes, try adding chili powder (or cayenne pepper) along with the salt and black pepper.

You’ll find that the addition of these spices will really bring out the flavors of both the beans and molasses.

How Can I Make My Own Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans?

The first step to making this tasty treat is finding the right ingredients.

The base of a good bean dip is always going to be beans.

You will need about 1 pound (455 grams) dried navy beans, 1/4 cup (60 ml) dry red wine, 2 tablespoons (30ml) bacon fat, 3 cloves garlic minced, 1 bay leaf, 1 tablespoon (15ml) salt, 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1 medium onion chopped fine.

To top it off you will also want a few cups of water and a couple pieces of applewood smoked bacon.

Here’s how to make your very own grandma brown’s baked beans recipe!

  • Soak the beans overnight with enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches (5 cm).
  • Drain the liquid from the beans and rinse well under running water.
  • In a large stockpot over high heat, add the bacon drippings, onions, and garlic and saute until the onions start to turn translucent.
  • Add the rinsed beans, water, and seasonings to the pot.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce to low heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • After the cooking time has elapsed, remove the lid and check on the beans.
  • If they have started to get mushy, add another cup of hot water and return to a gentle boil.
  • Cook an additional 20 minutes before removing the lid again.
  • Once everything has cooled down, place the beans into jars and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Variations of Grandma Brown’s baked beans recipe

There are plenty of ways you could tweak this simple dish to suit your taste buds.

For instance, if you don’t like spicy food just leave out the Tabasco sauce or use less chili powder.

You can also substitute beer for the wine or skip both altogether.

One thing we all know about cooking though is that no matter what recipe you choose, there will always be someone who thinks it needs more of something else.

So here are a few other ideas for adding more flavor to Grandma Brown’s baked beans recipe!

  • For an extra kick try sprinkling fresh jalapeño peppers over the finished product.
  • If you would prefer a sweeter flavor, try substituting ketchup instead of the vinegar and sugar.
  • Instead of using bacon drippings, you can use olive oil as the base of the seasoning mixture.
  • You can even replace the bacon with any meat (or vegetable), such as pork chops, chicken thighs, or beef steak.
  • Just remember that whatever you do, you should prepare the meat beforehand so it doesn’t dry out while it cooks in the oven.
  • When you’re ready to serve your grandmas brown’s baked beans take them out of the fridge and let sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before serving.
  • To keep these beans nice and chilled, simply put them back in the refrigerator after you’ve served them.
  • These beans freeze beautifully.
  • Simply transfer them to freezer bags when cool and pop them in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  • They’ll stay frozen without losing their shape.

What Are Some Variations Of Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans Recipe?

If you’re not familiar with this classic American comfort food, here’s what you need to know about how it’s made.

First off, it doesn’t contain any spices beyond salt, so if you want to add other flavors, do so in addition to the seasoning on top.

The secret ingredient is molasses (or honey) which gives the beans their distinctive flavor.

The original recipe calls for “a few drops” but most recipes call for more than a few.

In fact, many people use as much as 1/4 cup of molasses per pint of beans, while others prefer less.

The original recipe doesn’t include tomato sauce or ketchup because they were considered too acidic.

Many modern versions also omit Worcestershire sauce due to its high sodium content.

Instead, they’ll use Heinz 57 to balance out the acidity from tomatoes.

Some even omit vinegar entirely.

Other common substitutions include using dry mustard instead of prepared mustard, adding bacon bits to increase the fat content, using canned beans rather than dried ones, and omitting the sugar altogether.

A popular variation on Grandma Brown’s baked beans is “Honey Bunches of Oats,” which replaces the molasses with oats and adds raisins and cinnamon.

You can find the ingredients needed for both recipes below.

You can try these recipes, but they should be considered just suggestions.

There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to cooking beans — it really depends on your taste buds.

If you like sweetened beans, then go ahead and add the extra sweetness!

However, if you prefer them plain, feel free to leave all of those out.

What Are Some Tips For Making Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans?

You can make this recipe with canned beans if you prefer, but it will take longer to prepare (about 1 hour total).

If you want to save time, it’s best to use dried beans in this recipe since they’ll be cooked on top of the stove rather than being boiled like canned beans would be.

It may seem strange to put a whole onion into the mix when cooking these beans, but it helps bring out the flavor.

You can omit the onion entirely if you don’t mind missing out on a little bit of flavor, though I wouldn’t recommend doing so if you’re serving them to kids or anyone who doesn’t enjoy onions because of their strong taste.

If you’d like a more traditional version of grandma brown’s baked beans recipe, try substituting an entire 15 ounce can of pinto beans with water instead of using kidney beans as well!

Grandma Browns Baked Beans Recipe2

Grandma Browns Baked Beans Recipe

Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans Recipe is a delicious, hearty meal that is sure to please everyone at your next BBQ.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Grandma Browns Baked Beans Recipe
Servings: 4
Calories: 311kcal


  • 1 Pot
  • 1 Bowl
  • 1 Oven


  • 1 pound Navy beans
  • water
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 3 ounces bacon
  • 1 onion
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf


  • Boiling water with a tablespoon of baking soda over medium heat. After bringing the water and baking soda to a boil for at least 10 minutes, turn off the heat and cover the pot with a lid.
  • The beans should be washed. The bowl needs to be heat-resistant after they have been transferred there. Add the other ingredients to the bowl, including the cooked bacon, finely chopped onion, brown sugar, salt, and bay leaf.
  • Make sure the beans are completely submerged in the boiled water as you fill the bowl with it.
  • Set the bowl with the bean mixture into the oven and preheat it to 300°F. Bake it there for at least 4-5 hours. To stir the beans in between, open the oven. Beans that have been cooked should have a thick texture, amazing tastes, and great flavour.



Calories: 311kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 2711mg | Potassium: 542mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 10IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 3mg
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