‘The Pioneer Woman’: Ree Drummond’s Slow Cooker Baked Beans Recipe Is a Summer Go-To

Ree Drummond’s slow cooker baked beans recipe is a perfect make-ahead side dish for a summer barbeque, party, or gathering. The Pioneer Woman star said the long cooking time is totally worth it and the recipe only requires a handful of ingredients.

The Pioneer Woman star Ree Drummond wears a black top and cooks a meal with Stephen Colbert
Ree Drummond and Stephen Colber | Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images

Ree Drummond makes easy but flavorful slow cooker baked beans

Drummond shared the steps for making her baked beans recipe on an episode of The Pioneer Woman. She soaked dried navy beans overnight, drained them, and covered the beans with fresh water in a pot. Then Drummond brought the beans to a boil and simmered them for an hour.

Next, Drummond added the beans to a slow cooker with bacon, diced onions, tomato puree, water, molasses, brown sugar, and dry mustard. She stirred the ingredients together, placed the lid on top, and cooked the beans on low for 8 to 10 hours.

“Takes a long time to cook but boy, are these beans worth it,” she said.

The Food Network star added vinegar after the beans were done cooking. “If you add the vinegar too early in the process, it makes the beans tough as they cook so I wait until the end,” Drummond explained. She added salt and stirred everything together before serving.

You can find the full recipe on the Food Network website.

Ree Drummond makes another version of baked beans with canned beans

Drummond wrote about another simple baked beans recipe in a 2009 blog post on The Pioneer Woman website. “I never knew baked beans could be this good. I never knew baked beans could be improved upon; I never knew baked beans could be such a triumph, such a prayer, such a song,” she wrote. “But they can. I now know they can.”

Her recipe includes one ingredient that’s a must: bacon. She cuts bacon slices in half and cooks them on medium-low heat. “You don’t want to brown or crisp the bacon at all; the point is only to render the fat and get the bacon pieces ready to bake up and turn brown in the oven,” Drummond explained.

After removing the bacon from the pan, she adds chopped onion and peppers to the bacon grease, cooking them until tender. Then she adds canned pork and beans. “They’re the best beans for making baked beans,” she explained.

“I’ve made baked beans from scratch before — soaked the navy beans and everything,” she added. “They just weren’t as good as the ones made with pork ‘n beans.”

‘The Pioneer Woman’ star cooks the baked beans in a low-temperature oven

Drummond combines barbecue sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and Dijon mustard and pours it over the beans, then allows the mixture to simmer. She pours everything into a casserole pan and puts the half-cooked bacon pieces on top.

“Since the fat has already been rendered from these, they’re going to cook up really nicely in the oven,” she shared. “And there won’t be that big layer of grease standing on top of the beans.”

The long cooking time makes all the difference. “Bake this low and slow — 325 degrees for 2 hours. You want the beans to be very, very cooked, the bacon very, very brown, and no soupiness to the dish,” Drummond explained.

The full recipe is available on the Food Network website.

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