Slow cooker smoky beans with bacon is a delicious and easy-to-make dish that is perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re hosting a potluck, a BBQ, or just looking for a comforting meal on a cold day, this recipe is sure to please.
Using a crock pot to cook the beans allows them to become perfectly tender and infused with the smoky flavor of bacon. The addition of molasses, brown sugar, and a touch of spicy heat creates a rich and complex flavor that will have you coming back for seconds.
Plus, the convenience of a slow cooker means that you can set it and forget it, allowing you to focus on other tasks while your meal cooks.
- thick-cut bacon, finely diced
- dried white beans (butter beans), rinsed and soaked in water overnight
- medium onion, finely diced
- cherry tomatoes, halved
- tomato paste
- BBQ sauce
- brown sugar
- apple cider vinegar
- Dijon mustard
How to Make Smoky Slow Cooked Beans
Begin by preparing and soaking the dried beans. Sort through them carefully, checking for any small stones or debris. Afterward, give them a thorough rinse in a colander with cool water. Remove any shriveled beans from the batch.
Transfer the cleaned beans to a spacious bowl and add enough water to cover them, making sure the water level is double the height of the beans. The beans will expand as they soak, so allow them to sit in the refrigerator overnight for optimal soaking. In the morning, drain the soaked beans, getting them ready for the next step.
Now, it’s time to set up your slow cooker. Begin by laying a layer of bacon on the bottom of the slow cooker. On top of the bacon, add the soaked beans. Follow this with a layer of onions and cherry tomatoes, but resist the urge to stir them all together at this stage.
In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients together: water, tomato paste, barbecue sauce, molasses, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard until you achieve a smooth mixture.
This flavorful mixture will be poured over the beans, but it’s important not to stir just yet.
Cover the slow cooker and set it to cook on low heat for a span of 8-10 hours. This allows the beans to slowly become tender and creamy. Once the cooking time has elapsed, give the contents a thorough stir. Taste the beans and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed to suit your preference.
Tips to make the best slow cooked beans
When it comes to this easy baked beans recipe, there are a few basic things you need to know to ensure that your dish turns out perfectly. Here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Choosing the Right Slow Cooker (Crock Pot)
The first thing you need to do is choose the right slow cooker. You want one that is big enough to hold all of your ingredients, but not so big that your food will cook too quickly. A 6-quart slow cooker is usually the perfect size for making slow cooker smoky beans with bacon.
2. Preparing Your Ingredients
Before you start cooking, you need to prepare your ingredients. This means rinsing and sorting your dry beans, chopping your onion, and cutting your bacon into small pieces. You can also add a green bell pepper for a pop of color and flavor.
3. Do not salt the beans until they have finished cooking. Salting prevents the beans from becoming tender.
4. Adding Smoky Flavor
For that delicious smoky flavor, you can use liquid smoke or smoked paprika. Liquid smoke is a concentrated smoke flavoring that you can find in most grocery stores. Smoked paprika is a spice that adds a smoky flavor to your dish. Add either of these ingredients to your slow cooker during the cooking process to infuse your beans with that irresistible smoky flavor.
When it comes to serving Slow Cooker Smoky Beans with Bacon, the possibilities are endless. This dish is versatile and can be paired with many different options to create a delicious meal. Here are some serving suggestions that I recommend:
Side Dish – These Smoky Beans with Bacon make the perfect smoky side dish for any meal. Whether you’re serving grilled chicken, steak, or pork chops, these beans will complement the main dish perfectly. The smoky flavor of the bacon pairs well with the savory flavors of meat.
Dinner Dish – If you’re looking for a hearty and filling dinner, then look no further than Slow Cooker Smoky Beans with Bacon. Serve it with a side of cornbread or rice to create a complete meal. The beans are packed with protein and fiber, making them a healthy and satisfying option.
Potluck– If you’re attending a potluck, then these beans are a great option to bring along. They can be made ahead of time and transported easily. Plus, they’re a crowd-pleaser and will be sure to disappear quickly. It goes just perfect with hot dogs!
Cornbread– One of my favorite ways to serve these beans is with a side of cornbread. The sweetness of the cornbread pairs perfectly with the smoky flavor of the bacon. It’s a match made in heaven!
Rice – Another great option is to serve these beans over a bed of rice. The rice will absorb the flavors of the beans and create a delicious and filling meal.
How to Store Cooked Beans
When it comes to leftovers, these Slow Cooker Smoky Beans with Bacon are a great option. They can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.
Refrigerator Storage. If you plan on consuming the leftovers within a few days, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The beans will stay fresh for up to 4 days. When reheating, add a splash of water or broth to prevent them from drying out.
Freezing. If you have a lot of leftovers or want to store them for a longer period of time, freezing is a great option. Allow the beans to cool completely before transferring them to a freezer-safe container or bag. They will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When reheating frozen beans, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight before reheating on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Crock Pot Baked Beans Leftover Ideas
If you’re looking for ways to use up your leftover beans, here are a few ideas:
- Serve them as a side dish with grilled meats or roasted vegetables.
- Use them as a topping for baked potatoes or sweet potatoes.
- Make a breakfast burrito by filling a tortilla with scrambled eggs, cheese, and reheated beans.
- Use them as a base for a hearty soup or chili.
Overall, these Slow Cooker Smoky Beans with Bacon are a versatile and delicious dish that can be enjoyed for days to come.
Additional Cooking Methods
While slow cooker recipes are convenient and easy, sometimes you may want to switch things up and try a different cooking method. Here are some additional cooking methods you can use to make smoky beans with bacon:
To make smoky beans with bacon on the stovetop, you will need a large skillet with a lid. Soak your beans overnight and drain them in the morning. In the same pot, add a bit of olive oil and cook your bacon on medium heat until crispy and set it aside. In the bacon grease, sauté your onions and garlic until fragrant. Add in your soaked beans, water or broth, and seasonings. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and let the beans cook for 1-2 hours or until tender. Add in your cooked bacon before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some variations of slow cooker bean recipes?
There are many variations of slow cooker bean recipes, depending on your taste preferences. Some popular variations include adding different types of beans, such as black beans or kidney beans, using different types of meat, such as ground beef or sausage, or adding different types of vegetables, such as bell peppers or onions. You can also adjust the seasoning to your liking, adding more or less salt, pepper, or other spices.
What happens to bacon when cooked in a slow cooker?
Bacon cooked in a slow cooker will become tender and infused with the flavors of the other ingredients in the dish. However, it will not become crispy like bacon cooked on the stove top or in the oven. If you prefer crispy bacon, it is recommended to cook it separately and add it to the dish just before serving.
Can I make homemade baked beans with different types of beans?
You can easily substitute dried white beans with canned white beans, pinto beans, or even chickpeas, depending on your preference. Just remember to adjust the cooking time accordingly if using canned beans, as they are already cooked.
Will canned beans become mushy when cooked in a slow cooker?
Canned beans can become mushy when cooked in a slow cooker for a long period of time. To prevent this, it is recommended to add the canned beans towards the end of the cooking time.