Arleen Kaptur's Boston Baked Beans Recipe - Traditional American Dish

Arleen Kaptur's Boston Baked Beans

Arleen Kaptur's Boston Baked Beans Recipe - Traditional American Dish
Region / culture: USA | Preparation time: 12 hours | Cooking time: 7 hours | Servings: 6


Arleen Kaptur's Boston Baked Beans
Arleen Kaptur's Boston Baked Beans

Arleen Kaptur's Boston Baked Beans recipe is a classic American dish that brings warmth and comfort to any table. This traditional recipe is known for its sweet and savory flavors, combining the richness of molasses with the heartiness of great northern beans. Perfect for family gatherings, potlucks, or a cozy night in, this dish is not only delicious but also embodies the essence of home cooking. Follow this guide to create a timeless dish that will be cherished by your loved ones.


Boston Baked Beans have a rich history dating back to the Native Americans, who first introduced early settlers to the practice of cooking beans with bear fat and maple syrup. The settlers adapted this method, incorporating molasses and pork, ingredients that were readily available due to the rum trade in Boston. Over time, this dish became a New England staple, especially known as a traditional meal for Saturday dinners. Arleen Kaptur's recipe pays homage to this historical dish, preserving its legacy while ensuring its place in modern kitchens.


How to prepare

  1. Thoroughly wash the beans.
  2. Soak the beans overnight in enough water to cover them.
  3. Add salt to the soaked beans, stir, and then drain the beans, while reserving the liquid.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
  5. Cut off one-third of the salt pork and place it at the bottom of the bean pot.
  6. Add the soaked beans to the pot.
  7. In a separate bowl, combine the mustard, brown sugar, and molasses with the reserved bean liquid. Mix well.
  8. Pour the mustard, brown sugar, and molasses mixture over the beans in the pot.
  9. Cover the pot and bake for 6.5 hours, adding water as needed to prevent drying out.
  10. Uncover the pot for the final hour of cooking.
  11. Taste the beans and add salt if desired.


  • Consider adding ingredients like onion, garlic, or apple cider vinegar for additional flavor. For a vegetarian version, omit the salt pork and use a smoky seasoning blend instead.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To achieve the perfect texture and flavor in your Boston Baked Beans, consider the following tips:

- Soaking the beans overnight will reduce cooking time and help them cook more evenly.

- Reserve the bean soaking liquid as it is packed with flavor and will be used in the cooking process.

- Cutting the salt pork into pieces allows its flavor to infuse throughout the dish.

- Cooking the beans slowly and at a low temperature helps them absorb the flavors while becoming tender.

- Adding water during the baking process prevents the beans from drying out and ensures they remain moist.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the Boston Baked Beans hot, accompanied by crusty bread or cornbread. This dish also pairs well with green salads or coleslaw for a balanced meal.

Cooking Techniques

Slow baking is key to developing the flavors and tender texture of the beans. Consider using a traditional bean pot or a Dutch oven for best results.

Ingredient Substitutions

For a healthier version, substitute the salt pork with turkey bacon or smoked turkey. Maple syrup can be used in place of molasses for a different flavor profile.

Make Ahead Tips

This dish can be prepared in advance and reheated, making it a convenient option for busy schedules. The flavors often improve overnight, enhancing the overall taste.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the beans in a rustic serving dish, garnished with fresh parsley or thyme for a touch of color and freshness.

Pairing Recommendations

Pair Boston Baked Beans with grilled meats, such as sausages or pork chops, for a hearty meal. A light, crisp beer or cider complements the dish's rich flavors.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave, adding a little water if necessary to prevent drying out.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of Boston Baked Beans is relatively high in calories, primarily due to the beans, molasses, and salt pork. However, when consumed as part of a balanced diet, this dish can provide sustained energy and satiety.


A serving of Boston Baked Beans is rich in carbohydrates, primarily from the beans and the added sugars (molasses and brown sugar). Great northern beans are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, which are essential for energy. The added sugars contribute to the dish's overall carbohydrate content, making it a hearty and energizing meal.


The fat content in this recipe comes mainly from the salt pork, which adds depth and richness to the dish. While salt pork is a source of saturated fats, it is used in moderation, contributing to the dish's flavor profile without making it overly fatty.


Great northern beans are a good source of plant-based protein, making Boston Baked Beans a satisfying and nutritious meal. The protein content is complemented by the salt pork, which adds additional protein, making this dish a balanced source of essential amino acids.

Vitamins and minerals

This dish is a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including iron and potassium from the beans, and B vitamins from both the beans and pork. Molasses also contributes minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron, enhancing the nutritional profile of the dish.


This recipe is free from common allergens such as nuts, dairy, and gluten. However, those with specific dietary restrictions or allergies should always check individual ingredient labels.


Arleen Kaptur's Boston Baked Beans offer a balanced mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals. While it is a hearty and satisfying dish, it should be enjoyed in moderation due to its calorie content.


Arleen Kaptur's Boston Baked Beans is a timeless recipe that combines the sweetness of molasses with the heartiness of beans and pork. This dish is not only a nod to American culinary history but also a nutritious and satisfying meal that can be enjoyed in various ways. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or explore variations, Boston Baked Beans is sure to be a beloved addition to your cooking repertoire.

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I was immediately hooked. It was a rainy day in the fall, and I was browsing through an old cookbook that I had found tucked away in a box of my mother's things. As soon as I read the ingredients and instructions for Arleen Kaptur's Boston Baked Beans, I knew I had to give it a try.

I had always loved baked beans, but I had never made them from scratch before. The thought of slowly simmering the beans with brown sugar, molasses, and bacon until they were sweet and savory sounded absolutely delicious. I could almost taste them just thinking about it.

I decided to make the beans for dinner that night. I gathered all the ingredients I needed and got to work in the kitchen. As I measured out the brown sugar and molasses, the rich, sweet smell filled the air. I could already tell that this was going to be a special dish.

I followed Arleen Kaptur's recipe to the letter, soaking the beans overnight and then simmering them for hours on end. As the beans cooked, the aroma grew stronger and more mouthwatering. I couldn't wait to taste the finished product.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the beans were done. I scooped a generous portion onto my plate and took my first bite. The beans were tender and flavorful, with just the right amount of sweetness from the brown sugar and molasses. They were absolutely delicious.

I couldn't believe how easy it was to make such a delicious dish. From that moment on, Arleen Kaptur's Boston Baked Beans became a staple in my recipe collection. I made them for every family gathering, potluck, and dinner party, and they were always a hit.

Over the years, I shared the recipe with friends and family, who all raved about how delicious the beans were. I even entered them into a local cooking competition, where they won first prize. I was so proud to have a recipe that was not only delicious but also a crowd-pleaser.

As I continued to make Arleen Kaptur's Boston Baked Beans, I made a few tweaks to the recipe to suit my own tastes. I added a little extra bacon for a smokier flavor, and sometimes I would throw in a pinch of cayenne pepper for a bit of heat. Each batch was a little different, but they were always delicious.

I often thought about the woman behind the recipe, Arleen Kaptur. I wondered who she was and how she had come up with such a fantastic dish. I imagined her standing in her kitchen, stirring a pot of beans on the stove, just like I was doing. I felt a kinship with her, knowing that we shared a love of cooking and a passion for creating delicious meals.

I may never meet Arleen Kaptur, but her recipe will always hold a special place in my heart. It is a reminder of the joy and satisfaction that comes from creating something delicious with your own two hands. And every time I make a batch of her Boston Baked Beans, I think of her and say a silent thank you for sharing her recipe with the world.


| American Recipes | Baked Bean Recipes | Cannellini Bean Recipes | Great Northern Bean Recipes | Salt Pork Recipes |

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