Home Canned Boston Style Beans

Myrna and I both grew up eating Boston Style or “Molasses" Baked Beans.  The brand we were used to isn't available around here anymore, so when someone gave me some extra dry beans, I had to try this recipe.  I did find salt pork locally and bought some to use, you can also use ham or chunks of bacon.  I used the beans in molasses sauce from a recipe in the "Better Homes and Gardens Canning Book  1973" but needed almost twice as much sauce as their recipe called for.  That is closer to other recipes I found on the internet, but we like this one that uses some brown sugar - it is tasty and less expensive.  I am giving the sauce amounts I have found that I need.
I keep these on hand; the recipe calls for pints, after the first time, I started canning them in half-pints (for the same time); so the two of us didn't have any leftovers.  We often eat them with sandwiches instead of fatty chips, they don't need any "doctoring" to be excellent.
I like canning beans – no peeling, pitting or chopping!  I like home canning – as I know where my ingredients come from! 
                            Boston Style Beans

 2           Pounds  Navy Beans -- 4 cups
  6           Quarts  Cold Water
  2           Teaspoons  Salt
     2/3    cup  Molasses
     2/3    cup  Brown Sugar -- packed
     1/4    Cup  Vinegar
  2           teaspoons  Dry Mustard
  1           teaspoon  Salt
  5           Cups Reserved Bean-soaking Liquid
     1/4    Pound  Salt Pork -- cut in 14 cubes
7 pint jars, lids and rings
  1. Rinse beans; add to 4 quarts cold water in an 8-10 quart kettle.  Bring to boiling; simmer 2 minutes.  Remove from heat; cover and let navy beans stand 1 hour.
  2. Add the 2 teaspoons salt to beans and soaking water; cover and bring to boiling.  Drain, reserving 5 cups of the liquid. (If you can’t get 5 cups, add water).
  3. In a large saucepan combine the 5 cups of reserved soaking liquid, molasses, brown sugar, vinegar, dry mustard and the teaspoon of salt.  Cover and bring to boiling; simmer 5-10 minutes.  Keep sauce hot.
  4. Divide hot beans into hot jars, filling jars 3/4 full (around 1 1/2 cups each).  Add 2 pieces of salt pork to drained beans.  Fill jars with hot molasses sauce; leave 1 inch headspace.  Remove bubbles.
  5. Adjust lids prepared according to manufacturers instructions.  Process in pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure for 65 minutes for pints (75 minutes for quarts Above 1000' can at 15 pounds pressure).
 (Times from nchfp.uga.edu)  Recipe adapted from "Better Homes and Gardens Canning Book  1973"

Equipment needed: 8 quart stock pot for beans, 3 quart pot for sauce, 10 quart or larger Pressure canner, small saucepan for lids, jar lifter, plastic knife or tool for removing bubbles, lid magnet, strainer to drain beans, slotted spoon, and ladle. Pan with cloth or paper towels for filling jars.  Tray or two with folded towels for setting cooling jars. 7 each pint jars, flat canning lids and rings.
2014 Cost:  $4.68 or 67¢ per pint if using purchased beans and salt pork.
  "7 Pint Jars"


  1. I have not made Boston Baked Beans for years, I am going to make this up and freeze in portions as I would not know where to buy a pressure canner from. I probably would not get enough use from it to justify both the cost and the storage space.

    1. Pam,
      I've found beans freeze really well, and I have successfully frozen leftovers from this recipe after I canned it.
      However, you would have to cook your beans much longer to make them edible if they don't undergo the canning process.
      You might try using a slow cooker for 8 hours or a 250° F oven for 8 hours or a 300° F oven for 6 hours.

  2. I read and enjoy your blog every day and often make your recipes. Since I'm diabetic, I'll skip the canned Boston Baked Beans but you have inspired me to can Charro Beans (Mexican Bean Soup). I often make enchiladas, tacos, fajitas, etc. and a bowl of Charro Beans is a perfect accompaniment. Unfortunately, from scratch, they are a hassle to prepare. As soon as I finish processing our garden tomatoes, I'll try my hand at canning Charro Beans. Thanks for the idea and inspiration!

  3. Nice to hear from a Texan...I graduated from North Texas in Denton and used to live, many years ago, in Collinsville, and later Houston.
    Your bean soup sounds really good; I like canning beans...not much peeling, pitting, chopping, etc.

  4. I followed the instructions exactly. Opened the first can - and they were hard as a rock! I have been boiling the beans from that can for two and half hours and still can't serve them.

    1. I'm surprised and sorry that you didn't have good results with this recipe...it is one I can regularly. I double-checked the recipe as given here against the original, and it is correct. These beans won't be mushy, but they certainly aren't hard as a rock.
      I have heard from others that old beans don't get soft, even with canning, but I have never had that experience as I never have them on hand that long.
      If you opened them within days of canning, I would suggest that you let them sit a month or two; mine usually get mushier before we use them up.

  5. Making these on this wintry
    Wisconsin day

    1. Hope you like them as much as we do. Snowing here today too!


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