Kick the can of beans to the curb and try your hand at making your own homemade baked beans in the crock pot. The added splash of seductive amaretto and hunks of thick, smoky bacon will have you pinky swearing you’ll never eat them from the can again!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across recipes for “homemade baked beans” just to find out the dish consists of nothing other than a couple of cans of baked beans zsooshed up with some tasty little add-ins.
Uuuum…can someone please explain to me how that constitutes homemade?
Don’t get me wrong I love me some jazzed up beans like Mama F makes every Memorial Day and Fourth of July, but come on now! Canned beans with stuff tossed in them does not equal homemade.
Owen loves beans, but I really don’t like giving him beans from cans because they’re loaded with sodium and ick. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making homemade baked beans and, since I have a bazillion and ten jobs going on at the moment, making them in the crock pot just seemed like the perfect option, especially since Fourth of July is right around the corner too.
To make these beans even more lazy lady friendly, I incorporated Jenn’s crock pot black bean technique into my recipe which completely eliminated the added step of soaking the beans overnight! Danke, dahling (as she would say). The trick for my recipe is that you have to make sure you use hot water from the start.
I did take the step, however, of rendering the bacon and cooking down the veggies beforehand because the thought of raw bacon cooking in the slow cooker gives me the skeevs. I’m pretty sure it would be fine if you just threw everything in the crockpot together at once, but don’t quote me on that. I just dumped the bacon drippings into the crock-pot with all of the veggies after it was cooked because, well, I’m a southerner and Mama Mac would have a heart attack if she knew I wasted good bacon flavorin’.
So, yeah, the amaretto? That was a complete last minute aha! moment I’m so proud I made. I wanted to make boozy baked beans because, um, hi! Have we met? And I don’t do bourbon because it tastes like a dragon threw up in my throat. When I was reaching for the spiced rum I was originally going to use, my hand went right past the amaretto. I then stopped and was all like, “I wonder…”. What’s a food blogger who doesn’t take risks, ya know? So I grabbed the amaretto instead, and it’s just IN.SANE. how incredible these beans turned out with that amaretto, y’all.
Another great thing about these beans is that they are naturally sweetened with maple syrup and, aside from any sugars that may be in the booze itself, this recipe is completely refined sugar-free!
- 1 lb small dried white beans
- 8 cups *HOT* water
- 10 slices sugar-free, thick cut bacon, sliced into small pieces
- 1 small sweet onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 cups bell pepper (any color), diced
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp dried or prepared mustard
- ¾ tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup Amaretto liquor (optional)
- 2 large handfuls fresh cilantro, chopped
- Thoroughly rinse beans and discard any broken pieces or pebbles.
- Add beans to crock pot, pour in hot water, turn the crock pot to low, then cover while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat then add bacon. Saute until crisp, about 5-7 minutes.
- While the bacon is cooking, add maple syrup, tomato sauce, vinegar, cinnamon, and mustard to the beans in the crock pot, stir, and replace lid.
- Once bacon is brown and crisp, lower heat under skillet to medium, remove bacon with a slotted spoon, and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.
- Add onion, garlic, and bell pepper to the skillet, saute for 4 minutes, then sprinkle in salt and pepper.
- Remove pan from heat, pour amaretto onto the vegetables, and return to the heat. Cook for another 3-4 minutes then stir the entire contents of the skillet into the crock pot along with ¾ of the drained bacon, reserving some to garnish once the baked beans are cooked.
- Cook the beans on low for 10-12 hours or until the beans are soft and cooked through.
- To serve: lower the heat to the warm setting (the beans will thicken as they slightly cool) and garnish with reserved bacon and freshly chopped cilantro.
PS. These would be KILLER with my pumpkin cornbread w/ whipped gingerbread butter. Hashtag swoon.