Grandma Brown's Beans

"Grandma Brown's canned baked beans are available in the northeast USA but not common elsewhere. They are very simple with only 6 ingredients named on the can. This is a process to recreate them faithfully. Note that these beans are not tomato based, they are thick not saucy, and they are only mildly sweet. The final product either from the can or from the recipe is easily modified to your taste by adding bacon, tomato ketchup, brown sugar, spices. But they are great the way they are. They taste like beans!"
photo by ColoradoCooking photo by ColoradoCooking
photo by ColoradoCooking
photo by clee4029 photo by clee4029
photo by ColoradoCooking photo by ColoradoCooking
photo by jlzic photo by jlzic
photo by ColoradoCooking photo by ColoradoCooking
Ready In:
5hrs 20mins
10 cups




  • add 1 teaspoon baking soda to 6 cups water.
  • bring water to a boil.
  • sort through beans for debris.
  • add navy beans to water.
  • boil 10 minutes.
  • turn off heat.
  • cover pot.
  • let sit overnight.
  • rinse beans well.
  • add beans and all other ingredients to oven proof pot with tight fitting lid.
  • stir well.
  • add water until beans are just covered.
  • cover pot with lid.
  • bake 5 to 6 hours at 300°F.
  • every hour stir and add water to cover if beans are drying out.
  • final product should be a thick and not runny.

Questions & Replies

  1. Can canned navy beans be used to make same day?
  2. Can this recipe be converted for a pressure cooker or crock pot? Thank you
  3. Can this be done in an instant pot to speed up the process?
  4. I’m making these beans tonight and it is currently 6 pm. How long is overnight(how many hours)?
  5. Re: Grandma Brown's Beans recipe, on using Bay Leaf, did you use a bay leaf or did you use ground bay leaf, and how much did you put in the recipe. Will greatly appreicate your reply. Thank you GKZ


  1. Being from upstate New York, and that my dad did machining for the company for years, Grandma Browns was a staple for us! My mom had a hack for them as follows: fry a pound of bacon, crumble bacon in the beans, saute a diced onion in the bacon grease and when done, pour the onion AND all the fat in the beans. Some brown sugar, some Colmans mustard, seasoned salt and mix up everything. Put in casserole dish and bake till bubbly. SO GOOD!!!!! Now that covid has made Grandma Browns a casualty, they are not available. This recipe is dead on!!!! I'm so glad to find it!
  2. I made this recently and was very happy. It is VERY close to the canned version. I used white beans I bought at Costco and they turned very dark but were very tasty. I live on the west coast now and cant get grandma browns baked beans here. (I dont want to pay alot for shipping) This recipe will curb my cravings from back east. Thank you!!
  3. Excellent recipe. I followed the instructions and ingredients (I used some leftover ham) exactly except I used a crockpot in lieu of baking in the oven. In the crockpot I used enough water to just cover the beans. I started out on high for 2 hours and then about another 4 hours on low. I stirred every hour and added water as necessary. Once I achieved the desired consistency, they were done. My husband and I both felt they were better than the canned version. These are now the only beans I'll ever need.
  4. I grew up with Grandma Brown's. This recipe is very close. I doubled the brown sugar and salt and added a couple tablespoons of bacon fat with the chopped bacon. I couldn't tell the difference from the real deal. My 96 year old father who lived his whole life in upstate NY couldn't either.
  5. Best baked bean recipe.


  1. I made these again and my family went nuts over them. I don’t use the onion or bay leaf. Dark brown sugar, 2 t. salt, 3 slices of bacon and the grease + some molasses. The next day for dinner I add in some water (these beans are really thick), light brown sugar and a little more molasses. Top with pre cooked bacon and bake until heated through and bacon is crisp. Yum!



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