Slow Cooker Vegetarian Boston Baked Beans

Using dried beans gives this dish a delicious bite and nutty texture but canned beans work fine too.

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Boston Baked Beans - The Lemon BowlVegetarian Boston Baked Beans are the ideal side dish for summer grilling season and they could not be any easier to make from scratch. Whether you’re hosting a 4th of July pool party or a casual backyard BBQ, these beans are the bees knees.

It probably isn’t a huge surprise that my husband who was born and raised in Boston adores baked beans. Of course, he would be perfectly happy re-heating them from a can but that’s no fun. (And don’t get me started on some ingredient lists I’ve seen.)  

When I realized how easy these were to make, I kicked myself for not making them more often. But truth be told, my Aunt Patsy is the Baked Beans Queen of our family and serves them at almost every warm-weather gathering. Aunt Patsy showing up to a summer gathering without baked beans would be like me showing up to Thanksgiving without a platter of hummus.

If you know anything about my Aunt Patsy, you know she would never make a batch of beans without massive amounts of smoky and delicious bacon.  I’m not anti-bacon, I just rarely have it sitting around in our fridge. To give these beans that unmistakable smoky flavor we crave, I relied on my BFF, smoked paprika. Let me tell you – it did not let me down.  My husband and 21 month old devoured these and I know your family will too.

Your fork is waiting.

3.2 from 6 reviews
Slow Cooker Vegetarian Boston Baked Beans
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Using dried beans gives this dish a delicious bite and nutty texture but canned beans work fine too.
Recipe type: Side
Serves: 8
  • 1 pound dried beans (navy beans, Great Northern, pinto, etc.)
  • 1 medium onion - diced
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup ketchup or tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar (or cider vinegar)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Rinse and sort dried beans then place in slow cooker covered with 2 inches of water and let soak overnight.
  2. In the morning, drain the beans then add back to the slow cooker along with all remaining ingredients.
  3. Add 2½ cups fresh water plus a good pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Cook on Low for 8 hours or High for 4 hours.
  5. Check for seasoning before serving.
Beans can be made up to two days in advance. In fact, the flavor develops over time as it sits in the fridge. Canned beans work fine too if you don't have dried beans on hand.

Cook time may vary based on the age/freshness of the dried beans.

Omit Worcestershire sauce to make recipe vegan.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ cup Calories: 136 Fat: .2 g Saturated fat: 0 Unsaturated fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 30.4 g Sugar: 10.9 g Sodium: 153 mg Fiber: 4.1 g Protein: 3.8 g Cholesterol: 0 mg



  1. says

    I am obsessed with baked beans. I’m bringing my Beano with me on the fourth so I can eat plenty of homemade baked beans!! Did you know tomorrow is National Eat Your Beans DAy?!

    • Liz DellaCroce says

      You can add bacon!! I just didn’t have it and was pretty thrilled to find a way to make it smoky and delish!!

    • Liz DellaCroce says

      I am such a smoked paprika freak!! BTW a beer would be fantastic in these beans but I’m sure you knew that already. 😉

  2. says

    I have never made Boston Baked Beans before, but I have fond memories of eating them on my first trip back East when I was 7. We visited by grandmother’s best friend where she grew up in New Hampshire, and I was treated to my first taste of Boston Baked Beans and Brown Bread. So glad you shared, and can’t wait to make these!

  3. Corry Oosterhouse says

    These sound sooo good, Liz!! And only 3 WW points plus per serving!!! YUM!! Gotta try this!!:-) now I’m gonna go do my plank–1.5 minutes today!!! It’s working!!

  4. says

    Smoked paprika is one of my secret weapons in the kitchen. I love it and can never be with out! These look amazing. I will be making my best ever baked beans today, however they will be full of bacon. ; D I think I need to give these a try some time soon!

    • Liz DellaCroce says

      You and my Aunt Patsy would get along!! Her beans are also incredible and full of bacon!!! Trust me, I love bacon, I just never have it around.

  5. says

    Being from Boston, you would think I’ve made these from scratch before! Not the case. I have got to get on this with your scrumptious recipe, Liz! These look so delicious and perfect for BBQ’in! Hope you have a very happy 4th with family!

    • Liz DellaCroce says

      You’re from Boston?? Too cool!! You’ll have to tell me where! I went to Boston University and my husband is from Saugus. :) Happy Fourth!!

      • says

        Oh cool! My hubby and I went to college there too, then lived there for a few years after. I also have lots of family in Western Mass. But over the years we shared apartments in the North End, Brighton and Newton. We try to get back once a year!

    • Liz DellaCroce says

      These are also great for a crowd!! Would be perfect for your family of 6. We had leftovers for days!

  6. says

    I’ve discovered (thanks to the Shiksa) how simple and easy it is to cook chick peas and have been rocking the hummus lately, so I think I’d ready to branch out in the bean world and try these.
    They look delicious.

  7. Andrina says

    I am so excited I found this recipe and am making these beans for my son’s birthday party this weekend!! I have most of the ingredients except molasses. Do you think I could use maple syrup instead? If so, should I adjust the brown sugar amount?


  8. Rebecca says

    Not to be rude, but these baked beans are not vegetarian-friendly. Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies, which are obviously fish. Though most vegetarians know to simply leave this ingredient out, new vegetarians looking at this recipe may be accidently ingest something against their morals. I found this recipe upon searching google for a new vegan baked bean recipe and it appeared on the first page of results. As a 9 year vegan, I am asking you to please change the recipe or change the title of the recipe to omit the word vegetarian. Thank you.

    • Liz DellaCroce says

      Hi Rebecca, Thank you so much for your candid feedback – you are not being rude at all! And forgive me because I did know that Worcestershire sauce contains fish. I made a note to omit it if people are vegan. Thank you again for your comment – and I hope you enjoy these delicious beans!!

    • Amelia says

      I am a long time vegan. I just made these, with Vegan worchestershire , that I purchased in the store. Says vegan right on the bottle. And,if you Google it, you can find recipes for homemade vegan Worcestershire sauce. Thanks for this recipe! They’re in the slow cooker right now!

    • Erin says

      Actually there are several brands of Worstershire sauce which are vegan, just read your label. We use the Kroger brand, which is vegan. If you don’t have Kroger’s, you can check your local organic grocery…they’ll usually carry a brand specifically labeled vegan.

  9. Veggiegirlfriend says

    These aren’t vegetarian baked beans because the Worcestershire sauce has anchovies in it, which unless you are a pescetarian is not vegetarian friendly. Just thought you should know and make a note of it for other readers. Sounds like a great recipe, any ideas for what I could use as a substitute for the Worcestershire sauce so that I can make this for my veggie boyfriend?

  10. Liz V says

    I tried these, but the beans seemed underdone. I soaked them for about 15 hours, then cooked on medium heat for 9 hours. While I do understand they wont be as soft as canned beans, do you have any suggestions to make them a little more well done? The flavor was great so I want to keep trying until I get it right. Great recipe!

    • Liz DellaCroce says

      Shoot! I suppose my only answer is to keep cooking until the beans are cooked through. If you need more liquid, go ahead and add more. From what I’ve read online, ultimate cook time can vary a bit depending on the age of the beans. I hope these finally cooked through for you!!!

  11. Lane says

    Omit Worcestershire if you want a vegetarian recipe. A VEGETARIAN recipe. Not Vegan. You are still being misleading since most vegetarians would not want to eat fish byproducts. Not trying to be mean but if someone wasn’t aware they wouldn’t realize they are a)not vegan or b) not VEGETARIAN like your header says. I’m aware of this, having been a vegetarian for 10+ years, but going to events people always try to make an option and if recipes are misleading, you will get some people angry and possibly even sick. Please change your heading or take out the sauce or in the least change it in the fine print to not vegetarian friendly. It would be like me labeling a bacon recipe as kosher? Most vegetarians are passionate about their lifestyle, and I am really not trying to be mean but when I came across this recipe it made me sad that someone could unknowingly be fed animal byproducts because you have mislead them and called this recipe vegetarian, and included only a small note to omit w.s. For it to be vegan.

  12. Melanie says

    I made this tonight. Delicious flavour! I thought I had smoked paprika in the house but had chipotle chilli powder instead. I used 1/2 tsp of that and a heaping tsp of regular paprika. I also didn’t have white balsamic vinegar and used regular instead. My beans must’ve been old as it took forever to cook even after turning it up to high for the last 4 hours. Just a note for anyone else making these- leave yourself a lot of time so beans are done!

    • Liz DellaCroce says

      I’m so glad you liked it!!! You’re right – the age of your beans can definitely make a difference. Thank you for noting that!!

    • Liz DellaCroce says

      Hi Lee – Not sure if you read my recipe but I did make a note of the Worcestershire sauce for everyone to see who might be vegan. :) Thank you!!

  13. Eileen says

    Sadly, this recipe did not work for me at all. I followed your instructions to a T but the beans never softened. I cooked them on high for 4 hours and then when they were still hard I set them for 8 more hours on low. After some research I think I should have cooked the beans without any seasoning first, and then added the tomato and salt AFTER they had softened. After about 12 hours, they are still nearly as hard as they were after soaking. I’ll have to find another recipe. :-(

    • Liz DellaCroce says

      Oh Eileen I am so sorry to hear this recipe did not work for you! One thing I’ve learned is that the cooking time varies based on the age/freshness of the dried beans. I’ve made this recipe many times with no issues but certainly that doesn’t make your situation any better. Regardless, I am so sorry and hope you continue to try and trust my recipes. I appreciate the feedback!! I’m going to add a note about the varying time to the recipe. Thanks again.

      • Eileen says

        I’m fairly new to cooking with dried beans, and have also read that the age of the beans is pretty crucial. I’ll probably apply the no-tomatoes-or-salt-until-the-beans-have-softened rule going forward just to be safe, but I think I’ll give your recipe another try, maybe even today (I’m really craving baked beans!), because the house smelled incredible all day yesterday. Thanks for responding!!

    • camilla says

      It took almost 2 days for my beans and the taste is too strong and bitter. My husband said it tasted like vinegar. I added a lot more brown sugar but i think i will try to cook the beans some first. I saw a recipe where the cooked the beans for an hour. I thought that was too much but now think it is the way to go!

      • says

        Oh no…. I’m so sorry this didn’t turn out for you!! We make them all the time but I like the idea of cooking the beans for an hour. I used farm fresh dried beans and I’m wondering if that is part of it. I will re-test this with other beans soon. So sorry.

        • Stephanie says

          I love homemade baked beans but often have the problem of underdone beans. I have discovered that what works for me is to soak the beans for 24 hours, then cook them for 8hours low in the slow cooker (overnight usually for me) then in the morning add all the ingredients except the water, then cook on low another 8 hours. This works especially well for recipes using tomato. I live in the dessert so my beans are probably very dry, no matter how fast I use them. I just tripled this recipe and it is in the slow cooker right now, smells amazing! Thanks for the recipe

    • Jamie says

      I love this recipe! I just cook the beans for a while with everything but the tomato based ingredients and add those when the beans are softened.

  14. Ronald McCoy says

    These beans are awesome! Sooooo yummy! The recipe goes on the regulars list. Thankyou so much. Ronald, Melbourne, Australia.

  15. says

    There is such a product as Vegan Worcestershire. you can find it mostly in natural health food store. And if you eat enough beans you will no longer need Beano. I am no more or less gassy that your average Joe. I eat beans about 3-5 times a week.

  16. Julia Sixten says

    I had similar issues with the beans softening after cooking for 8 hours, I guess I might try the tomatoes and seasoning trick mentioned above next time.

    I’m also a little confused by the nutritional information you have posted for this recipe. A pound of dry navy beans has 1530 calories and a pound of pinto beans has 1575. This means that 8 servings of beans alone would be close to 200 . Unless of course the recipe yields 2x 1/2cup serving for 8 people (which is a little disingenuous), I think the information posted might be incorrect.

    • says

      Hi Julia,

      First, I’m so sorry you had trouble with this recipe!! This is a family favorite of ours (my husband is from Boston) so I want to help make it work for you! Second, with regards to the beans softening after soaking over night – are they fresh beans? I know that older beans tend to require more time but most beans should cook perfectly with an overnight soak and proper cooking time. My beans did happen to come from a local farm so I know they were freshly harvested. Third, with regards to the nutrition facts – may I ask what makes you think a pound of dry navy beans is 1530 calories? I’ve checked over 3 sources now and my nutrition facts remain accurate. The thought is that a one pound bag of beans (2 cups measured when dry) yields 4-6 cups cooked which would technically be 8-12 servings (I kept it at 8 to be safe.) Does that clear things up a bit? Let me know. Sorry again for any confusion or trouble! We love this recipe and I want you to love it too!

      • Julia Sixten says

        Thanks for the reply!

        No need to apologize – I wasn’t trying to fault your recipe just wanted to get some information. I’ve been working my way through your slow cooker recipes which have all turned out wonderfully thus far.

        Could definitely be an issue with the beans being a bit older – when I try this again I will be sure to try to use fresher stock!

        The confusion has definitely arisen from miscalculating 1lbs into g rather than cups on my part. Makes quite a difference!! Thank you very much for taking the time to clear this up, I appreciate it.

  17. Jackie says

    Hi, I can’t wait to try this recipe. Do you use a variety of beans at one time or should I just stick with one type of bean? Thanks so much!

  18. Hillary says

    I will be trying out this recipe this weekend for Mother’s Day… I will be using an assortment of canned beans for time saving purposes. Will I still need to add the 2.5 cups of water the crock pot since I am using the canned? This may be a silly question.


  19. SpawnOfSnape says

    Hello, and thank you for this fabulous recipe!

    The first time I tried this, I used the “sprouted beans” that I got from Costco (they say no soaking required and are a mix). Those beans never cook, and the bag was fresh. We had to eat them crunchy in the end, but the flavor from your recipe was excellent.

    I am making this again with pinto beans. I’m wondering about the water content, though. My package says to fill the slow cooker to 1-2 inches of water over the top of the beans. This ends up being over 3 cups of water per lb of beans. Does this sound correct to you? If I add all of the other ingredients, then have to drain my beans, I lose a lot of the flavor. But, if I don’t add enough water (and I’m cooking 2lbs), my beans will burn and not cook. Oh, the stress! ha ha

    Anyway, I am super excited to get to eat these beans! The flavor was so delicious that we were willing to eat all of the “not fully cooked” costco beans. The beans done right will be absolute perfection!

    So, as a little side note, I was searching for a recipe for beans that was like what my mother made when I was a kid. Everybody loved her beans, but I could never manage to duplicate them. I saw your recipe posted on facebook and thought it was close enough that I would give it a whirl. This is exactly what I was looking for! My mother added sausage – some big sausage thing that comes in a package in the shape of a U. We’re vegetarian, so don’t want the sausage, of course. This is the recipe, though! This was absolutely the right flavor, and now I understand that what she made must have been “Boston Baked Beans”. Thank you! My life is complete.

    • says

      Oh I’m so thrilled to hear this – you have made my day!!! As for the water, I find it varies so much with the beans depending on size and age. Mine were fresh from a local farm so I am wondering if that’s why mine turned out differently. I will be testing again soon. Keep me posted ok? So glad you love the flavor so much!

  20. magreen says

    I doubled the recipe and the flavor is promising, but 5 hours later on high and I have soup. I transferred to a pot and am hoping to steam off some fluid although, it’s hard to imagine the sauce getting thick and caramelized with the beans. It seemed like a lot of water to add, but I was trusting the recipe! Maybe I’ll try again with half the water. It’s nice to see a recipe that works with raw beans. Everyone uses canned these days!

  21. Shannon says

    I really really wanted these to be great!! But 13 hours in the slow cooker and they beans are still crunchy! Crunchy baked beans are not good :(

    • says

      Hi Shannon – I’m so sorry these didn’t turn out for you! Do you know if your beans were expired? I know that often the cook time can vary if the beans aren’t fresh. We buy ours from a local farmers so we know they were fresh and I wonder if that is part of the reason yours didn’t cook in 13 hours. So sorry!!


  1. […] to do with the collards, so I decided to cook them like I did on New Years and pair them with these baked beans I have been wanting to try and grilled sweet potatoes. I made the baked beans with a bag of 15 […]

  2. […] Slow Cooker Vegetarian Boston Baked Beans Recipe – The Lemon Bowl – Vegetarian Boston Baked Beans are the ideal side dish for summer grilling season and they could not be any easier to make from scratch. … So happy to see a relatively healthy baked bean recipe. Thanks for sharing! Reply. Liz DellaCroce says. July 2, 2013 at 5:36 pm. Oh I’m so glad! Enjoy it!! […]

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