If you know me, you know I absolutely LOVE beans and so does my partner, so they make an appearance just about every weekend morning. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with canned beans, but this slow cooker molasses bean recipe beats the added chemicals and preservatives that come in the canned versions. While you can definitely bake these beans so they’re ready in much less time, I personally love slow cooking them for a long time on low heat on a Friday night so that I wake up to fresh slow cooker molasses beans on Saturday morning.
Now, this recipe definitely makes a fair bit if beans so if you’re not feeding a lot of people, they do freeze super well and can be taken out the night before you plan on eating them. Freeze them in a freezer bag or glass jars for up to 3 months. I personally prefer small glass jars, which I clean and reuse (ex. small salsa jar) because it’s a great portion size for 2 people. For a family of 4, I’d recommend a pasta jar size.
- The first tip, and trust me I learned this the hard way through many trials and errors, make sure that your navy beans are cooked properly before adding them to the slow cooker and/or oven. NO they will not continue to cook and soften, so do not leave them a little al dente. It’s key that your beans are tender, but not mushy.
- Rendering your bacon fat is absolutely crucial and requires your attention. Dice your bacon and add to the pan on medium heat. Render the bacon slowly and when 3/4 of the way done (you do not want the bacon to get crispy) add the onion, garlic, pepper and chili powder. Seasoning at this point will help boost the flavour. The bottom of your pan will have brown bits full of flavour, called fond, so it’s key to deglaze your pan to extract all that flavour. Here at Fork & Flora it’s all about flavour, flavour, flavour!
For a vegetarian option you can easily omit the bacon. Replace with some diced tomatoes or nothing at all!
For a vegan option, omit the bacon and use a vegan molasses and BBQ sauce and you’re good to go!
For a non-alcoholic option, use a non-alcoholic beer, water or broth.
Slow Cooker Molasses Beans
- Slow cooker
- Medium pot
- Large pan
- 2 cups white navy beans soaked in cold water for 24 hours
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup bacon diced
- 3/4 cup beer of your choice
- 4 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth
- Soak 2 cups of white navy beans in cold water for 24 hours.
- Simmer the soaked beans, in fresh water, for approximately 40-60 minutes until tender but not mushy (the timing will largely depend on your stove top).
- In a large pan, over medium heat, cook and render the fat of the diced bacon for approximately 12-15 minutes. At this point, before the bacon gets crispy, reduce to medium-low heat and add the diced onion, garlic, pepper and chili powder. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, until onion becomes translucent. Next, turn up to medium-high heat and add beer to deglaze the pan, about 5-7 minutes until the alcohol evaporates.
- Add your bacon mixture and drained tender navy beans into the slow cooker. Add the molasses, BBQ sauce, ketchup, tomato paste, vegetable broth, onion powder and garlic powder and stir the contents until well combined. Depending on time, you can slow° cook the beans on low heat for 10 hours (overnight) or on high heat for 4 hours.