Slow-Cooker Brown Sugar Baked Beans


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Baked Beans in a white bowl on a wooden table

These slow-cooker brown sugar baked beans are seriously easy. Pour a bunch of delicious ingredients in the slow-cooker and hours later your house will smell crazy good and you’ll have enough of these beans to serve a crowd. Brown sugar makes them sweet and the secret ingredient that gives them amazing savory flavor? Short ribs.

 Baked Beans in a slow cooker

Brown Sugar Baked Beans

With the three day weekend ahead, hopefully you’ve got a whole lot of relaxing planned. Maybe a few house projects (just me?). Maybe a potluck or two. I can’t help with the projects, but need a quick, easy, seriously delicious dish to take to a BBQ this weekend?

That I can help with.

Beans in a white bowl

And this recipe is the definition of easy. All you need is a few ingredients and you can just set it and go. Dump everything in the slow-cooker and get on with your life.

And when it’s done cooking….look out. They won’t last long.

Beans in a white bowl

I could eat these brown sugar baked beans for breakfast.

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5 from 3 votes

Slow-Cooker Brown Sugar Baked Beans

Pour a bunch of delicious ingredients in the slow-cooker and hours later, your house smells ridiculously good and you have enough of these beans to serve a crowd. Brown sugar makes them sweet and short ribs pack them full of savory flavor.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 12 hours
Total: 12 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 12 servings


  • 4-quart or 6-quart Slow Cooker


  • 1 lb Dried White Beans (look for Navy or Great Northern)
  • 1 lb Bone-In Short Ribs
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2/3 cup Ketchup
  • 4 cups No-Sodium Beef Broth
  • 1 Tbsp Molasses
  • 2 tsp Salt


  • Soak the beans in room temperature water for 8 hours before cooking.
  • Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a slow-cooker. Stir to combine.
  • Set slow-cooker to low and cook until beans are tender, 8 to 12 hours. (See note.) Halfway through cooking, open the slow-cooker and give the ingredients a good stir.
  • When beans are finished cooking, remove the short rib bones and stir to break up any large pieces of meat.
  • Beans can be refrigerated for up to 4 days - just reheat and serve!


Dried beans have a mind of their own. How long they take to cook depends on the age of the beans which you can't really know when you buy them. SO, plan for a window of time between 8 and 12 hours. It's hard to overcook them, so if you want to keep things simple, cook them overnight and just reheat them when you're ready to serve.


Calories: 326kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 536mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 13g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Calories: 326
Keyword: feed a crowd, potluck recipe, slow cooker recipe
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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  1. The pic looks so good! They tasted good, but they weren’t done after 12 hour in the slow cooker. I had to bake them in the oven for a couple more hours and some were still hard. I used navy beans. My normal recipe uses Great Northern… . I may try again with Great Northern (and I will soak them). I remember reading somewhere navy beans take longer to cook? My husband wanted a baked bean with less sugar. He liked the taste and didn’t mind the few undercooked beans.

    1. Dried beans are so unpredictable. If they’re older they take so much longer, and there’s no way to know how long they were at the grocery store or being stored somewhere. I do think soaking them first would give more consistent results, Judy. This is on our list to retest with a soaking step, so I really appreciate your feedback. We’ll update once we test again.

    2. After I soak the beans overnight, and even into mid day, I strained them, rinsed them in cold water, and then into a pot. They go with 6 to 8 cups of water again, and I cooked them on top of the stove. Boil them for approximately an hour, and then I drained that off into a strainer And put them in the fridge while I cooked my short ribs and beef broth, bay leaves, salt and pepper and then I took the short ribs out of the liquid and I took the bones. I chopped up the meat, shredding it and then into a baking dish I put the cooked beans Shredded meat. I made my sauce using the liquid from the short ribs, molasses dry mustard and other ingredients, and I poured that over the whole thing, stirred it up and baked it.

  2. Is the no sodium beef broth vital? And do you have any thoughts on using honey instead of molasses? or have you tried any other porks? Thanks so much!