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Picnic Baked Beans

I loved it when my mom made these classic I make them for my family. They have great old-fashioned flavor and are a real crowd-pleaser. I like to make them for potlucks, picnics or as part of a summertime dinner.
  • Total Time
    Prep: 15 min. + standing Bake: 2 hours
  • Makes
    16 servings


  • 3 cups dried navy beans
  • 4 quarts cold water, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1/4 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled


  • Place beans in a Dutch oven with 2 qts. water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour.
  • Drain and rinse. Return beans to Dutch oven; add remaining water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the beans are almost tender. Drain and reserve liquid.
  • Transfer beans to an ungreased 3-qt. baking dish, add the remaining ingredients and 1-1/2 cups of reserved liquid; stir to combine.
  • Cover and bake at 300° for 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until beans are tender and reach desired consistency, stirring every 30 minutes. Add reserved liquid as needed.
Nutrition Facts
3/4 cup: 224 calories, 2g fat (1g saturated fat), 2mg cholesterol, 670mg sodium, 44g carbohydrate (19g sugars, 10g fiber), 10g protein.

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  • bacall
    Sep 30, 2015

    These were amazing! Made them for a neighborhood. Get together and brought home an empty crockpot.

  • jiljilsch
    May 26, 2015

    This is a really good dish - I've been working to translate it to a crockpot recipe - the first two times I've tried to do so, I soaked the beans overnight, then baked in the crockpot for 8 hours on low, then added the other ingredients and cooked in the crockpot until warm - next time I will try placing the other ingredients with the beans right after the initial soak and just cook on low for 10 hours - that should do the trick. Otherwise, this is a really great recipe - I peel the onion and place the whole thing in the pot, removing before serving, just like Grandma did.

  • Lizandjuan
    Mar 12, 2015

    If you like Bush's baked beans you'll love this! I had never made this before and it was a wonderful surprise at how delicious it is! I had pinto beans instead of navy beans and they were great! This is a 5 star recipe for sure!

  • grandma karyn
    Jul 27, 2014

    very good, I do not measure ingredients for dishes like this very often but thought I would try it this time only changed two things. added some extra dry mustard and some smoked paparika.

  • Montgomery77
    May 12, 2013

    In response to fujitanis3: were your dried beans old perhaps? Never use beans that have been sitting in the pantry for who knows how long. I personally use beans within a month of purchase. Also to keep beans tender, I add salt toward the end of the cooking time like this recipe states, never at the beginning during presoaks or the initial cooking. Some people disagree about the salt but I have had consistent success this way.jfgan, the recipe does start by soaking the beans, but the method used is a quick soak, an alternative to an overnight soak. As indicated, always drain the soaking liquid, as it removes some of the sugars that cause digestive problems. A second quick soak can help even further in this regard.Keep experimenting and don't give up - beans are so good for body and soul!

  • mpas4farrell
    Oct 18, 2011

    I have made these for family get togethers and their never seems to be any left. It does make a big crock pot full.

  • RoseLuvsRetro
    Jul 17, 2011

    This is a perfect recipe for a large picnic. The baked beans were delicious and a big hit with my family and friends.

  • CakeOne
    Mar 13, 2011

    When making beans with navy beans or any hard non cooked beans, I allways soak the beans overnight with 1 teaspoon of baking soda this helps make the beans tender when cooking them.When using the baking soda after soaking overnight I cook them just until they start to boil and shut them off and soak them for 30 minutes, then drain and rinse the beans and replace the water with fresh water and cook on medium-low heat after they start to boil they cook up great and will be awsome.

  • Titus2daughter
    Feb 10, 2011

    These are great! I added 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce and an extra tsp. of salt, plus a little garlic powder. Delicious!

  • jgfan
    Nov 1, 2010

    D[quote user="fujitanis3"] I decided to make this for our dinner tonight; I soaked the navy beans last night (which should have been mentioned here, thankfully my husband knew how to use beans because I never cooked with raw beans before), I then cooked the beans according to the directions, the beans never cooked. We wasted time and ingredients trying to get this to cook and bake. I am not sure if the recipe was written wrong or what, but something was not right with this recipe. [/quote] Do you have hard water? The minerals in hard water keep the beans from becoming soft. I learned this the first time I tried making bean soup after a move. Try filtered water and see if that helps.