Ginger Molasses Baked Beans from Scratch

By Sally Cameron on July 12, 2011

beans, legumes & grains, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

A pot of baked beans is a summer classic side dish. Canned beans are fine when you are short on time, but like many recipes, there are rewards when you start from scratch. Baked beans with a meaty texture plus rich sweetness from brown sugar and molasses, a little kick from garlic and ginger, and smoky flavors from bacon and spices. Try making them from scratch with this recipe for Ginger Molasses Baked Beans.

molasses baked beans |

Ginger Molasses Baked Beans

For years I’ve made baked beans as my mom did using canned beans and doctoring them up. Making baked beans from scratch takes longer, but you can spread the work over two to three days if needed: soaking, simmering and finally baking.

molasses baked beans |

Choosing Dried Beans

Navy Beans are traditional for baked beans, but other work well too like Great Northern and Cranberry beans. They are available at most markets. I order dried heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo. For baked beans try Ayocote Blanco, Yellow Eye Beans or Cassoulet Beans.

Soaking and Cooking Beans

Soak the beans overnight in three times the volume of filtered water. For a short cut use the quick soak method in the recipe notes below to speed things up. Next, simmer beans until tender with carrot, onion and celery. Low and slow for a few hours is the best way to cook beans.

Finish the Recipe and Make it Ahead

Cook the bacon, sauté some onion and garlic, add your sweet essentials and spices, then bake beans in the oven for about an hour. You can do this the same day or cool, refrigerate after cooking and finish baking the next day.

One ingredient note: I use unsweetened ketchup from Primal Kitchen. I like the clean taste and ingredients, plus it brings the sugar down a little in this recipe.  No HFCF.

However you celebrate summer, try making a delicious pot of baked beans from scratch.

Nutrition Facts
Ginger Molasses Baked Beans from Scratch
Amount Per Serving
Calories 377 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 1026mg45%
Potassium 1189mg34%
Carbohydrates 68g23%
Fiber 10g42%
Sugar 31g34%
Protein 13g26%
Vitamin A 1627IU33%
Vitamin C 7mg8%
Calcium 112mg11%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Ginger Molasses Baked Beans from Scratch

Start the night ahead by soaking beans or use the Quick Soak method in notes at the end. For smoky flavor use smoked spices. For a vegetarian or vegan version skip the bacon and saute with a little olive oil. Don’t be overwhelmed by the length of this recipe. It’s harder to explain than do!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Baked beans, beans
Prep Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day
Servings 8
Calories 377kcal


Basic Soaking and Cooking

  • 1 pound dried beans see notes below
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped fine
  • 1 large carrot chopped fine
  • 1 large celery rib chopped fine
  • 1 large garlic clove chopped fine
  • 1 bay leaf

Finish the Baked Beans

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 ½ cups chopped onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ginger in a jar or finely grated ginger
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened ketchup Look for Primal Kitchen
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon regular or smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon regular or smoked black pepper


Soak Beans

  • Start the night ahead. Place beans in a colander, rinse and remove any broken pieces or debris. Place beans in a large container and cover with 3 times the amount of cold water. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Before cooking, drain beans. For a quick soak method see below.

Cook Beans

  • In a large heavy pot such as a 5 1/2 quart Dutch Oven, heat olive oil and saute onion, celery and carrot until soft. Add the garlic clove and cook another 1 minute. Cover the soaked beans with fresh water and add bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Boil beans for 5 minutes, then turn heat to low, partially cover and cook at a gentle simmer for 2-3 hours until the beans are tender. Check your beans occasionally to make sure they are covered with a little water. If needed, add hot filtered water (not tap water). When beans are tender, refrigerate or continue with the recipe.

Finish Baked Beans

  • Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees. In a large heavy pot, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon to paper towels then crumble or chop. Drain off most of that bacon fat (do not wash the pan). In the hot pan cook the onion until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook another 1 minute. Add the beans, molasses, brown sugar, 1 cup of the ketchup, vinegar and spices. Stir to blend then cover with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven. Bake for approximately 1 hour. Test beans to be sure they are tender. If needed, add up to another 1/2 cup of ketchup to make them more saucy. Baked beans can be enjoyed hot or warm and re-heat well if you have leftovers.


Beans that work for baked beans: Navy Beans, great Northern Beans, Cranberry Beans, and heirloom beans such as Ayocote Blanco, Yellow Eye Beans or Cassoulet Beans.
To quick soak beans, rinse dried beans with cold water in a colander and check for any broken beans or debris. Place beans in a large heavy pot such as a Dutch Oven and cover with fresh water by several inches. Bring beans to a boil and cook for 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat, cover the beans and let stand on the stove for 1 hour. Drain and proceed with the recipe.


Calories: 377kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 1026mg | Potassium: 1189mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 1627IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 5mg
  1. Ron - July 12th, 2011


  2. Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger) - July 12th, 2011

    This looks great. I’ve never seen ginger puree. Do you know of any substitutes?

  3. Sally - July 12th, 2011

    Hi Rivki. Every grocery store has it. You can usually find it in the produce department in little jars. I prefer the organic kind. Right now I am using the brand from The Ginger People. The label says minced ginger, but its a fine puree and so easy to use. If you can’t find it, use fresh ginger pieces, peeled, the rubbed over a microplane grater for fine juicy ginger.

  4. susan - July 13th, 2011

    Yay for baked beans month! Yours is a meal, all wrapped up into one little pot! We need to coordinate a baked beans pot luck!

  5. Dr. Patrick Mahaney - July 14th, 2011

    This makes me want to barbecue!
    I am going to forward this recipe to my mom and sister as a means of making the beans without white sugar or ketchup (also containing sugar in the form or 2 types of corn syrup…yuck).

  6. Francesca - July 18th, 2011

    Glad I caught this entry before the month ended! I had no idea Baked Bean month. I’ll definitely try this. Thanks for sharing!

  7. National Ice Cream Day – The Best Ice Cream in Los Angeles - July 20th, 2011

    […] week, I was comparing my baked bean recipe to my friend, Sally’s over at A Food Centric Life.  At the bottom of her post she linked to a fabulous website that lists all the national holidays. […]

  8. Lori - September 27th, 2016

    Made this today. I have a 3 year old, I will keep you posted.

  9. Sally Cameron - September 27th, 2016

    Please do Lori, I hope your little one likes it.

  10. Melissa S. - March 1st, 2017

    I came to your website looking for baked beans and I found some!! I have pinto beans, red beans, and navy beans. Would one of these also work? Are the other’s more nutritious?

  11. Sally Cameron - March 10th, 2017

    Hi Melissa, I think you could probably use any of them that you like and they would be good! Please report back on which you choose so other readers can benefit. Thanks!

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