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Maple Bourbon Baked Beans

Yeah, I know. I’m not really “with” the seasons right now. Then again, being “with it” isn’t exactly something of which I have ever been accused.

I definitely intended to get my act together and make these baked beans this summer. You know, when it was actually warm and the season for cookouts and whatnot. But somehow I blinked, and summer was suddenly gone.

Thankfully, we aren’t picky about when we eat our baked beans in this house. So as the cooler weather started rolling in, I pulled out the slow cooker and filled it with some dried pinto beans which had been soaking overnight, some spices, plenty of molasses, brown sugar, and maple syrup, and a whole cup of bourbon.

Beans, beans, they're good for your heart...

Yes, you read that right. There’s a cup of bourbon in them beans. It feels so wrong but it’s so, so right.

While this is an easy recipe, I won’t pretend like this is quick. It requires you to soak your beans (I highly recommend these from Bob’s Red Mill) for at least 8 hours, and the actual cook time on these suckers is a solid 12 hours – in fact, I would suggest letting these guys cook overnight, and reheating them when you are ready to eat. But trust me when I tell you that homemade beans are so, so worth it. These beans are sweet and rich and full of flavor from the bourbon and several slices of thick-cut bacon. Not to mention, beans freeze notoriously well, which means that a big pot of beans now can mean sides of baked beans a couple of months down the road.

Believe me, you’ll be thankful for that when there is snow up to your…nevermind.

Maple Bourbon Baked Beans close-up

Slow Cooker Maple Bourbon Baked Beans

4.23 from 9 votes

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • 7 slices thick-cut bacon diced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 6 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Place the dried beans in a large bowl. Cover with 2-3 inches of water, and let soak for 8 hours or overnight at room temperature.
  • When the beans are finished soaking, drain and place the beans in a slow cooker (minimum 3 1/2-quarts). Place the diced onion and bacon on top.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour over the beans. Cover and cook on high for 12 hours. 1-2 hours before the beans are done, you may want to check the sauce for consistency. If it seems too thin, prop the lid open slightly with a wooden spoon to allow the sauce to reduce and thicken slightly while the beans finish cooking.
  • If cooking overnight, allow the beans to cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge. Reheat before serving.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

31 Comments

  1. Forget “eating the seasons” with this recipe! None of the ingredients are seasonal, and this is a very hearty recipe. I can’t wait to try it! Thank you.

      1. 5 stars
        Wow these are awesome! There were no leftovers though so I’m going to make them again for Christmas. The bourbon seems to take the ‘wind’ out of them so that’s a plus! I used cannellini beans instead of pintos because I had them.
        Thank you for sharing this recipe. Merry Christmas!

  2. It’s completely acceptable to eat nothing but bourbon baked beans for dinner, right? Riiiiight? Can we add these to the list of therapy foods? And now that we’re on the subject, how long am I allowed to stretch this therapy food thing? At least through the holiday season, I imagine….anyway…I want some boozed up beans yesterday, so I had better get to soaking some legumes! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. I was working on the same idea–beans for my main dish! I’m there. And yes, definitely therapy food through Halloween treats and then through New Year’s. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Oh, you can absolutely milk this through the holidays. I mean…single during the holidays? That’s totally excuse for booze, cookies, and beans. Weird combo, but whatever.

      And I personally think beans and cornbread would be an ideal meal. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. It’s around this time that food blogging is really challenging for me – the rest of the country is cooling off and embracing Fall foods, while I am in Sacramento where it’s still in the high 80’s. Soup isn’t exactly on my mind yet. But hey, whaddya know, I’m posting a bean recipe tomorrow! *high five*

    1. My friend from college just moved to Sacramento with her hubby. She was telling me about her warm weather and I was feeling soooooooo bad for her (haha, not). ๐Ÿ˜‰ BUT you can still grill out, so get something grillin’ and make some beans! *high five*

  4. I don’t see anything in your recipe about how many portions it makes, or of which size. From your admonition about using a slow cooker of at least 3.5 quart capacity, I assume the recipe makes about 3 quarts, or 12 one-cup portions.

    I will be making these for a Thursday Night Football gathering at a cigar bar (fine cigars, craft beers, bourbon, hot dogs with onions, mustard and kraut — the beans will be a good fit). The number of attendees will be anywhere from 10 to 20, all mostly big guys with hearty appetites, and they will all likely eat multiple portions over 5 hours.

    I am not worried about having to take some home afterward, but whatever I do I don’t want to show up with too small an amount!

    1. Hi Bill- Sounds like you will be feeding a room full of guys who eat about like my fiance does! If you have larger slow cooker, I would double the recipe based on what you just told me. It makes around 10 cups as-is.

    1. Hi Teresa – Having not been there, I can’t tell you exactly the issue (I wish I could!). Is your slow cooker old, by chance? I had one that was crapping out and, while it seemed warm, it really wasn’t getting quite up to temp. I know some people have needed to add a bit more time to the cooking time, but over 20 hours seems excessive. We usually like to start ours before bed the night before to allow extra time as needed – but, like I said, we have never needed quite that much time! My guess would be that something is off with your slow cooker, but that’s my best guess on this one. You could certainly try pre-cooking the beans in water on the stove top before adding them to the slow cooker (though that does somewhat defeat the purpose of the slow cooker recipe!).

  5. 3 stars
    Thanks for this recipe. I made it last night and it was good. I made a few changes & subs that others might like to know about. I used haricot beans for one thing but that doesn’t matter. I cut the salt down to 1-tsp and didn’t miss it. I used pancetta because I didn’t have bacon but I’m pretty sure you can cut the meat out of this completely and it would make a great vegetarian mains or potluck dish. I also used whiskey instead of bourbon because I could buy a small bottle of it (I don’t drink either one). And finally, the next time I make it I will try cutting the sugar down to 1/4 cup. It was a bit too ‘candy sweet’ for me.

  6. 5 stars
    I know this is an older post/recipe…but I wanted to reply to the person who said the beans would not get soft after many hours. When I cook beans in a crockpot, I do two things: If water is to be added to cook the beans, I always add boiling water..(I know this does not apply to this recipe) Then it does not take forever for the crockpot to heat the water up.

    It is said that if you add salt to the beans while cooking, it takes them longer to cook. So if you can, hold off on the added salt, until the beans are tender, then add…& continue cooking. I hope this helps someone ๐Ÿ™‚

    I will be making this recipe for the Memorial Day weekend BBQ…it sounds so good….!! Thank you!

  7. 4 stars
    Im in to the 10 hour mark now and the house smells amazing! Why Im cooking beans on one the hottest days of the year? The recipe caught my eye ๐Ÿ™‚ I snuck a sample taste and already I can tell this will be delicious ! I substituted the bourbon for a dark beer because I really don’t have it around the house. I gave it a 4, but Im sure when I do it with the bourbon it will be a 5! Thank you..

  8. 5 stars
    5 stars because it insists on a rating. Haven’t tried yet but am looking forward to try. But I just want to lnow if a pressure sooker can be used to take some of the slow cooker time?

    1. Hi Karen! I have not tried this recipe in a pressure cooker yet, although I’m sure it could be done. If you give it a try, I’d love to know how it goes!

  9. 5 stars
    These beans are delicious.
    The best baked beans I have ever made.
    The pinto beans have a wonderful texture.
    I will be making these often.

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