5 from 1 votes

Molasses Canned Baked Beans (crockpot)

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One of my favorite summer recipes is BBQ baked beans. Savory, creamy, and packed with sweet flavor, these beans are the perfect side dish recipe to bring to your next backyard cookout, picnic, or barbeque.

These simple ingredients have the perfect balance of sweetness and spice, and the long cook time tenderizes the beans and melds all the flavors beautifully.

white bowl with completed canned beans and end of spoon sticking out

And the secret? Use canned beans to make the BEST cookout beans ever!

That’s right – no soaking, no all-day cooking, no driving yourself nuts the night before prepping these beans. Canned beans can be the ULTIMATE cookout side dish in the easiest way, which are sure to become your favorite beans recipe!

Why you will love making Slow Cooker Baked Beans Using Canned Beans 

  • Using canned Great Northern Beans works because it takes out the hours and hours of soaking beans before even using them and makes it simple and easy.
  • Baked beans are one of the most common side dishes and can easily be altered with extra ingredients and a variety of great-tasting substitutions.
  • Because the crock pot is used, this dish is as low effort as it gets while still tasting homemade.
easy slow cooked baked beans using canned beans.


  • great northern beans – drained and rinsed.
  • Canned tomato sauce
  • diced ham – diced ham comes packaged in the store near deli meat.
  • Molasses – please note that molasses and maple syrup are not the same ingredient.
  • White vinegar
  • seasonings – dry mustard, ground black pepper, ground ginger.
  • Optional: Green pepper, sweet onion, bacon pieces, and bacon drippings.

How to make Crockpot Baked Beans with Canned Beans

  1. Remove the lids from 4 cans of great northern beans, pour them into a colander and rinse the cans of beans off. Place rinsed and drained beans into a crockpot.
  2. Add a can of tomato sauce.
  3. Add diced ham pieces.
6 image collage chronicling step by step of adding ingredients to slow cooker

  1. Pour in measured molasses.
  2. Continue adding all spices and seasonings, combine with bean mixture and cover the crockpot. Serve beans with a side of hot sauce.

Cook time in Crock Pots

Cooking fresh beans takes a lot of time, and the traditional way to make baked beans was, well, to bake them in the oven for hours and hours. It’s not only more labor intensive, but also makes for a very hot kitchen! Lucky for us, cooking with canned beans is super easy, and the beans taste just as good as pan-fried Southern fare. 

Because slow cookers can vary in strength, it’s important to check your beans towards the end of the cooking process to be sure there is still enough liquid remaining that the beans won’t burn. 

Once done, the slow cooker can be programmed to the warm setting for up to 2 hours before serving.


What is the difference between Boston Baked Beans and Cowboy Beans?

While Boston Baked Beans and Cowboy Beans may seem similar, there are a few distinct differences. Boston Baked Beans usually utilize only a single type of bean, whereas Cowboy Beans usually contain many different types of beans mixed together.

While Boston Baked Beans use ham (or traditionally salt pork), cowboy beans are made with a mixture of beef and pork, usually sausage or bacon.

beans in a crockpot.

What are traditional baked bean flavors?

Baked beans have been sweetened with everything from honey, brown sugar, and maple syrup; arguably, the most famous iteration is Boston Baked Beans, which uses molasses.

Early versions of baked beans used salt pork; later variations tend to use bacon or, in this recipe, ham. Since the end of the Revolutionary War, baked beans have been a favorite dish at Independence Day celebrations.

Molasses Baked Beans often have varying ingredients, and you could certainly try adding yellow mustard, yellow onion, additional slices of bacon, or barbecue sauce to get the perfect smoky flavor and summer side dish you are after in a baked bean recipe

Are molasses and maple syrup the same thing?

They are not the same ingredient as molasses comes from the sugar cane plant and maple syrup comes from a maple tree.

However, they are often used interchangeably. The biggest difference is that maple syrup can burn easier and needs less time to cook.

slow cooker baked beans in crockpot.

What summer side dish recipes go best with baked beans?

BBQ Chicken dinners, ribs, and pulled-pork sandwiches contain delicious rich flavors, and molasses beans are a beautiful paper plate worth of food for summer barbecues.

Side dishes like Mexican Street Corn on the cob, the best Watergate salad recipe, and dessert Grape salad are great with a baked beans recipe. 

Fresh-from-the-oven cornbread or American biscuits are perfect top-rated recipes for summer dinners.

huge white plate of baked beans with a spoon sticking out of it
5 from 1 votes

Molasses Baked Beans {Crock Pot + Canned Beans}

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 7 hours 10 minutes
It is so easy to make canned beans taste better with these doctored-up, kicked-up canned beans that taste homemade! No need to make beans from scratch, just make canned taste better! With added molasses, spices, and seasonings that make a deliciously sweet BBQ sauce, these beans are perfectly delicious with homemade simmering sauce in the slow cooker all day.


  • crockpot


  • 60 oz. great northern beans Typically 4 cans, 15 oz a piece, drained and rinsed
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • ¾ cup diced ham
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


  • Remove Great Northern beans from can and dump into colander.
  • Rinse canned beans and shake out excess water.
  • Dump rinsed Northern beans into slow cooker.
  • Add one can of tomato sauce.
  • Add in remaining ingredients, including diced ham, molasses, white vinegar, and all seasonings.
  • Stir well to combine everything.
  • Place slow cooker on LOW for 5 hours or HIGH for 2 1/2 hours, occasionally stirring.


Avoiding Mushy Beans
  • Wait until the end of the cooking process to add salt: You’ll notice this recipe doesn’t call for salt, and that’s for good reason.  Salt can interact with the skin of the beans, breaking it down and causing your finished dish to be mushy.
Variations for Canned Beans
  • Change the meat: Slow Cooker baked beans can be made using a lot of different meat, including ground beef or turkey, sausage, or bacon.
  • Make it vegetarian: if you want to make this dish vegetarian, there are a lot of good meat alternatives that you can use in place of the ham, including Beyond Meat or Impossible.  You can also use crumbled tofu with a few dashes of liquid smoke.
  • Change the bean: While Northern Beans are certainly my preferred choice for this recipe, it can be made with pinto, navy, or even white kidney beans.
  • Use a different sweetener: brown sugar and maple syrup MAY work in this dish, but cook times may need to be adjusted as the burn rate is faster.
Are molasses and maple syrup the same thing?
They are not the same ingredient as molasses comes from the sugar cane plant and maple syrup comes from a maple tree. However, they are often used interchangeably. The biggest difference is that maple syrup can burn easier and needs less time to cook. If using maple syrup over molasses, time may need to be adjusted.
What goes best with baked beans?
  • Fresh-from-the-oven cornbread or biscuits
  • BBQ chicken
  • Ribs
  • Pulled-pork sandwiches
  • Corn on the cob


Serving: 1 | Calories: 81kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 311mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

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5 from 1 votes

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