These Maple Baked Beans use slow-cooked with pure maple syrup instead of brown sugar, and the result is delicious! These are perfect for summer picnics!
Way back during my freshman year in college, my friends and I loaded up in a couple of cars and headed down to Florida. Now a lot of college students head down to Florida during March, but we weren’t heading to the beach. We were heading to the Final Four in Tampa/St. Pete. There were about 8 or 9 of us that piled into 2 cars and made the 10-hour drive south.
I’ve always loved a good practical joke, and this trip afforded an excellent opportunity. You see, a couple of us were at the mall before the trip, and we saw a Backstreet Boys bumper sticker. No one in their right mind would’ve put this thing on their car…unless it just appeared “magically!” My buddy drove on old white station wagon covered with stickers, and let’s just say another sticker got added right as we pulled away from Durham. He drove the full 10 hours to Florida before he found that sticker. It was one of my prouder moments in college.
Somewhere around southern Georgia, we got hungry and pulled over for dinner. I remember we had to drive a good 15 minutes off the highway to find a restaurant, and it was a total hole-in-the-wall. My memory tells me that this place had a back deck built out over a swamp. I’m not sure if that’s accurate, but I do know this place was a real dive.
I also remember eating a huge bowl of baked beans as my meal at this place. Why I chose to eat only baked beans I have no idea. Maybe I was just craving some beans. Whatever the reason, I can certainly tell you that eating a gigantic bowl of baked beans while on a road trip with friends isn’t the best idea. You better make sure those friends are really good friends. Either that, or make sure the windows in the backseat can be rolled down.
Maple Baked Beans
All jokes aside, these Maple Baked Beans are legitimately delicious! Baked beans are a picnic/BBQ staple in the south, and the addition of maple syrup to these Maple Baked Beans takes ’em to a whole new level of tasty. Baked beans typically get their sweetness from brown sugar, but I mixed things up a bit and used pure maple syrup. I actually stumbled across this concept for Maple Baked Beans at a maple sugar shack years ago. They were serving spoonfuls (along with samples of maple cream and maple cotton candy!), and I was hooked after just one bite. Delicious!
Making a pot of these Maple Baked Beans does take a bit of time. Mind you, the recipe isn’t difficult at all…it just takes time. These bad boys are slow simmered for several hours, and your house will smell like a summer BBQ by the time the buzzer goes off! Oh, and I should mention that I added in some crumbled bacon while these beans were simmering away in the stove. A little bit sweet, a little bit smoky, a whole lotta tasty!
Did you make a batch of these Maple Baked Beans at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog). Cheers!
Looking for more tasty summer side dishes? Check out these other favorites, too:
Maple Baked Beans
- 1 pound dried navy or great northern beans
- 3 tsp kosher salt divided
- 3 slices thick-cut bacon chopped
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- ¾ cup ketchup
- ¾ cup maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp dry mustard
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Using a large bowl, add beans and cover with at least 4” of cold water. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature overnight.
- The next day, drain and rinse beans. Transfer beans into a large pot and cover with at least 2” of water. Cover pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.
- Add 2 tsp of kosher salt and continue simmering for 10 more minutes.
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Meanwhile, using a large skillet, cook the bacon until crispy. Transfer bacon to a paper-towel lined plate and pat dry. Do not drain bacon grease from skillet.
- Add diced onions to skillet and sauté over medium-low heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until onions are golden brown in color.
- Using a colander, drain beans, but reserve the cooking liquid.
- Using a large bowl, add beans, onions, bacon, ketchup, maple syrup, dry mustard and black pepper; stir until well combined.
- Transfer beans into a Dutch oven or oven-safe pot. Add enough cooking liquid to barely cover beans. Cover pot and bake for 2 hours. (Note: Check beans after 1 hour. If beans appear dry, add more of the reserved cooking water until beans are barely covered.)
- Uncover and continue baking for 60-75 minutes, or until cooking liquid has thickened and beans have turned golden brown. (Note: If beans appear dry, add a small amount of cooking water as needed.)