Aunt Polly’s Awesome Baked Beans

Prepping navy beans.

Prepping navy beans.

Sautéed bacon and onions for baked beans.

Bacon and Onions

What could be more American than baked beans served for your fourth of July barbecue? Aunt Polly’s awesome baked beans just such a dish to make for the fourth of July celebration both traditional and tasty. While my aunt Polly made this recipe in an oven, I have altered it to cook it in a Dutch oven on a campfire using charcoal. You can use your home oven as well, but cooking this outside is also fun. Besides, who wants to turn their house into a furnace by using their oven on a hot summer day?

I remember when I first tasted Aunt Polly’s baked beans. My mother, brother and I were at a 4th of July family reunion back at my uncle’s lake house in Minnesota. Aunt Polly served these beans and the entire family raved about them. It was then that my recipe collecting mother got this recipe from Aunt Polly.

Prepping The Beans

Cooking baked beans in a Dutch oven.

Dutch oven cooking

The only trick to prepping homemade baked beans is to make sure your beans are prepared ahead of time. Often times beans need to be rinsed and soaked overnight.  Make sure you read the package and give yourself enough time to get the beans prepared.

Baked beans cooked in a Dutch oven.

A Pot Of Baked Beans.

The great thing about baked beans is that it goes great with almost any barbecue main dish. If you wanted to prepare these a day ahead of time, you certainly can. In fact, these beans are often better the next day with a deeper and more intense flavor.  Make these baked beans for your fourth of July celebration and your guests will be talking about them for years. Be ready to share that recipe, though, because everyone will want it.

Not From A Can

A bowl of homemade baked beans.

Homemade baked beans.

As I wrote this post, I started browsing the internet looking at some other recipes out there. I was surprised to find that many of the recipes out there today use cans of pork and beans. While this works in a pinch, my aunt Polly’s recipe is truly homemade. The dried beans add so much to this dish than any canned beans, and the sweetness of the ingredients can not be mistaken. Don’t settle for canned, make these baked beans instead. Aunt Polly’s baked beans are easy, and you can even make these a day ahead of time.  When you’re camping, don’t forget to add the franks to make it a truly summertime meal no one will soon forget.

Lastly, if you want to make these in a Dutch oven over your fire, I recommend getting enough coals to get the dish to lightly simmer. While the suggested number of coals in this recipe should get the Dutch oven to 225° degrees F, you will need to constantly be adding fresh coals to maintain the temperature for such a long period of time. You can also cook this a little faster by raising the temperature a bit. I often play it by ear and check the beans after a couple of hours to see how they are cooking.

Delicious homemade baked beans.

Delicious homemade baked beans.


Looking for a delicious burger to serve these baked beans?  Try my recipe for Healthy Chicken Burgers.

Baked Beans

Homemade baked beans. A proven family recipe that is now shared with you.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 25 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 483 kcal
Author Barbara Tidwell


  • 2 lbs navy beans (dried)
  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp molasses
  • 1 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 3 tsp dried mustard powder
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 10 c water


  1. Rinse and soak the beans if necessary. You can set these out to soak overnight and they will be ready the next day.

  2. Chop up the bacon into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces, and place in skillet on medium to medium low heat. Cook until just starting to brown.

  3. While the bacon is cooking, chop the onion into small 1/4 inch pieces. Add the onion once the bacon is just starting to brown. Cook till the onions are slightly translucent. Drain grease and transfer to a Dutch oven or another similar cooking vessel.

  4. Add all the rest of the ingredients, cover and bake at 225° degrees F. for up to 8 hours or until beans are 1-inch cooked. If using a Dutch oven with coals, you can achieve 225° with 15 coals by using 9 on top and 6 on the bottom. However, if you want to cook this faster, raise the temperature and add as many coals as it takes to maintain a constant simmer.