Black Folks Southern Soul Food Baked Beans

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Black folks’ soul food baked beans is a classic Southern barbecue side dish you can serve with just about anything. Perfectly seasoned with beef broth, not to mention mouth-watering delicious soul food flavors. 

These homemade beans will have everyone around the cookout table begging for the recipe! 

Black Folks Southern Soul Food Baked Beans

What are soul food baked beans?

The main difference between delicious soul food baked beans and mediocre baked beans is the seasoning and preparation. 

How do you make baked beans soul food style?

People often ask, “What can you add to baked beans for flavor?”

A question answered by a soul food baked beans recipe – like this!

Add dried navy beans to the sweet flavors of yellow onions, molasses, and a blend of magical soul food seasonings like garlic, paprika, cinnamon, and mustard. 

Plus, sauces like BBQ and Worcester yield a beautiful homemade dish of soul food baked beans. Super flavorful and filling!

With an added twist of soul food flavors and seasonings that everyone loves, this recipe is a fresh take on grandma’s old-fashioned baked beans. 

Homemade Baked Beans

Why is Boston famous for baked beans?

A little lesson in Black history, the answer is not something Boston should want to be proud to be famous for…

Boston is famous for baked beans because the triangular trade of enslaved people in the 18th century helped make Boston an exporter of rum.

Rum is produced by distilling fermented molasses, and the molasses was added to the baked bean recipes – creating Boston baked beans.

Are baked beans a meal?

From beef broth to molasses, these beans have the perfect balance of savory and sweet. A protein dish that can hold its own as a meal.

What mixes well with baked beans?

Brown sugar in this recipe helps create a thicker texture that holds on to all the delectably sweet and spicy flavors. And with the addition of BBQ sauce, this meal, usually served as a Southern side dish, get a gorgeous dark color infused with a smoky, spicy flavor.

How do you make baked beans from scratch?

Kitchen equipment for Black folks Southern soul food baked beans

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What ingredients do you need to make Southern soul food baked beans?

Check out the ingredients list below for homemade baked beans and Southern soul food seasonings.

Ingredients to make homemade baked beans

  • 1 pound of dry navy beans 
  • 8 cups of beef broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian and vegan friendly)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper
What ingredients do you need to make Southern soul food baked beans?

Ingredients to season Black folks Southern soul food baked beans

  • 1 cup of yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup of green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic, minced
  • ½ a cup of brown sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of molasses
  • ¾ cup of barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • ½ a teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground mustard

What kind of BBQ sauce do you use with this recipe?

Steve Harvey Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe
Steve Harvey Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce
Steve Harvey shares his easy homemade BBQ sauce recipe, perfect for slathering your favorite Memorial Day meats. 
And bonus—you'll likely have enough leftover sauce to bottle and share or refrigerate for later!
Check out this recipe!

How do you make baked beans from scratch?

Use the easy Instant pot instructions below for delicious soul food baked beans. 

Instructions for Black folks Southern soul food baked beans

  1. Open the Instant Pot lid and pour the beans, broth, salt, and pepper into the stainless-steel inner pot.
  2. Stir the ingredients to combine and make sure the broth covers the beans.
  3. Close the Instant Pot lid (ensure the valve is up – in the position for sealing) and pressure cook on high for 25 minutes.
  4. When the cooking time is finished, allow a natural pressure release for at least 15 minutes.
  5. To open the Instant Pot lid, move the valve to ‘venting’ and manually release any remaining pressure, if applicable.
  6. Use a colander to drain and rinse the beans under cold water.
  7. Clean the stainless-steel inner pot and return it to the Instant Pot.

Check out the recipe card below for instructions for Southern baked beans on the stovetop.

How far in advance can you prepare homemade baked beans?

Instructions to season the soul food baked beans

  1. Return the rinsed, cooked beans to the Instant Pot and add the rest of the ingredients (onion, bell pepper, water, garlic, brown sugar, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, barbecue sauce, smoked paprika, cinnamon, and ground mustard). 
  2. Gently stir the bean mixture ingredients to combine. 
  3. Close the Instant Pot lid (ensure the valve is up – in the position for sealing) and pressure cook on high for 10 minutes.
  4. When the cooking time is finished, allow a natural pressure release for at least 5 minutes.
  5. To open the Instant Pot lid, move the valve to ‘venting’ and manually release any remaining pressure, if applicable.
  6. Stir the finished homemade baked beans.
  7. Serve Black folks Southern soul food baked beans right away, and enjoy!

What goes with soul food Southern-style baked beans?

When you’re ready to serve up the best Black BBQ menu, pile the baked beans onto your plate with your favorite soul food cookout sides!

What should you serve with baked beans?

Besides baked beans, what side should you bring to a potluck?

Soul Food Baked Beans

How should you transport baked beans for a potluck?

The easiest way is in your Instant Pot with the lid locked for carrying. 

This will keep the beans warm and insulated. Then, when you arrive at the potluck, you can simply plug the Pot in and place it on the ‘keep warm’ setting.

Otherwise, transport the baked beans in an air-tight container with a lid.

What meat goes with baked beans?

What type of ground meat do you use in your baked beans?

Of course, people will ask, “Do you think ground beef would be good in these?”

This soul food baked beans recipe is a vegetarian dish, absent ground beef, ham hock, salt pork, or bacon grease. 

Adding ground beef makes this recipe a variation meal called “cowboy baked beans.”

Black folks Southern soul food baked beans FAQs

What kind of beans are baked beans?

Which beans do you use to make baked beans? Not kidney beans, butter beans, nor great Northern beans. 

Baked beans are usually made from navy beans. But you can also make them with pinto beans. 

The sauce in a soul food baked beans recipe is a thick concoction of BBQ sauce, tomato paste, mustard, molasses, smoked paprika, and minced garlic.

What can you add to baked beans for flavor?

Do you have to soak the beans overnight?

It depends on the cooking method used.

Typically, navy beans need to be soaked overnight and then boiled to soften them. 

This recipe uses the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker to eliminate the soaking step and go straight to pressure cooking the beans in a matter of minutes!

Traditionally, this dish gets its rich flavor when it’s cooked on the stovetop simmering in soul food seasonings over low heat. 

Innovative new cooking methods like the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker allow baked beans to cook in a fraction of the original stovetop time.

And without soaking the beans, the seasonings still penetrate deep into this dish!

Instructions for Southern baked beans on the stovetop

  1. Pour the beans into a colander and rinse them with cold water.
  2. Pour the drained beans into a large pot on the stovetop on medium-high heat.
  3. Add the salt, pepper, and beef broth to the pot.
  4. Bring the beans to a boil.
  5. Then cover and simmer for about 3-4 hours or until the beans are tender. Check in on them every hour and add hot water to the pot if the beans absorb the beef broth.
  6. When the beans are tender and the cooking is complete, remove the pot from the stove, and use a colander to drain and rinse the beans under cold water.
  7. Return the rinsed, cooked beans to the pot on the stovetop on medium heat.
  8. Add the remaining ingredients (onion, green bell pepper, water, garlic, brown sugar, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, barbecue sauce, smoked paprika, cinnamon, and ground mustard).
  9. Gently stir the bean mixture ingredients to combine and cook for 20 minutes.
  10. When cooking is finished, remove the beans from the stovetop, serve right away, and enjoy!

What is the difference between baked beans and pork and beans?

Soul food baked beans are a sticky, sweet, and savory dish popularly eaten with cornbread and can also be served with another protein like meat or fish. 

With pork, like bacon, added to the dish, it’s called pork and beans. Otherwise, it’s simply baked beans.

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This recipe is a contemporary soul food recipe for pork jowl. A new twist on an old classic, cooked quicker, easier, and still to perfection in the air fryer!
Check out this recipe!

Are baked beans a vegetable?

Beans are frequently considered part of the vegetable food group, classified as a starchy vegetable along with potatoes and squash.

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Black Folks Soul Food Red Beans And Rice
Experience the rich taste of soul food by way of a simple yet flavorful staple dish. Black folks' soul food red beans and rice. A dish that will make your mouth water when you smell the aroma of savory seasonings and spices as the red kidney beans soak in the rich flavors of this dish!
Check out this recipe!

How do you make baked beans not watery?

Why are your baked beans soupy? You probably added too much broth. Or maybe you omitted the brown sugar, molasses, or BBQ sauce. 

How do you spice up baked beans?

How do you thicken baked beans?

  • Molasses – You’ll want to add molasses to your baked beans for old-fashioned flavor and thickness. It adds rich, brown color and a unique taste that most people have grown to love.
  • Brown sugar – A dry thickener, adding some brown sugar will increase the flavor of your beans and give them a bit of sweetness.
  • BBQ sauce – Additionally, you will want to use some BBQ sauce. A good amount of this will provide a subtle spiciness and richness and does wonders in thickening the beans.

What brand of BBQ sauce do you recommend?

This recipe calls for The Soul Food Pot’s Steve Harvey homemade BBQ sauce recipe.

You’ll need two bottles of Rufus Teague barbecue sauce to prepare this homemade recipe. 

Where’s the chopped green bell pepper?

In addition to the line-up of sauce, thickeners, chopped onion, and soul food seasonings required to make soul food baked beans, many Southern cooks also include diced green bell pepper.

You want the beans to be smokier – how would you do that?

Try using smoked salt instead of regular salt. Or use liquid smoke for a smokier flavor. 

You could also cook the beans in a pot on a charcoal grill.

How do you make baked beans soul food style?

How do you spice up store-bought baked beans?

I would suggest simply using this recipe for Southern-style soul food baked beans with the best flavor. 

However, if you’re short on time, try adding the following for a better-seasoned canned bean:

  • Brown sugar – Adding some brown sugar will increase the flavor of your beans and give them a bit of sweetness.
  • Ground mustard – Mustard adds a zesty tang to the sweetened beans.
  • Yellow onion – Yellow onions are sweeter than red and have a more robust flavor. They are a popular ingredient in soul food cooking and are often used in stews and stir-fry.
  • Tomato paste – It blends beautifully with other ingredients giving beans a rich consistency while keeping the dish from getting too spicy. Try ketchup in the absence of tomato paste.
  • Soul food seasonings – For an ultra-delicious bowl of baked bean mixture, use the seasoning blend of smoked paprika, cinnamon, black pepper, salt, and garlic.

How do you make canned baked beans less sweet?

Easier to just make this homemade soul food baked beans recipe for the perfect taste! 

However, if you wish to make canned beans less sweet, you can try mixing in some tomato paste, dried mustard, chili powder, or smoked paprika.

Which beans do you use to make baked beans?

Do you drain the canned beans?

For making canned beans less sweet, yes, drain the liquid first.

Can you still buy Grandma Brown baked beans?

Why can’t you find grandma Brown’s baked beans? According to Food.com:

“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.”

Can these be made in a crockpot?

Instant Pot is superb for making magical meals in minutes – including tender, sweet and savory soul food baked beans. 

There’s even an Instant Pot Dutch oven if you prefer slow cooker baked beans!

While I’ve never made an attempt, it’d require much more time and soaking to cook dried beans in a crock pot or slow cooker.

How long do you bake beans in the oven?

Much longer than it would take to cook the beans in an Instant Pot – no soaking required!

While I don’t prepare my homemade baked beans in the oven. If I did, I’d suggest a temperature of 350-375 degrees F after soaking the dry beans, then cooking the beans.

Then bake until the beans are bubbly and the sauce has thickened.

Southern Baked Beans Recipe

Do you cover baked beans while baking?

Covering your beans while baking is not necessary. To preserve the beans’ natural flavor, keep them uncovered.

Bake them covered or uncovered? 

You can use an Instant Pot pressure cooker to avoid worrying about all these questions: How do you make baked beans in a slow cooker? How long do you bake beans in the ovens? Do you soak the beans? 

How far in advance can you prepare homemade baked beans?

You can make them 3 to 4 days in advance. The flavor improves as the beans sit in the sauce, so making them a few days early is ideal! 

Can you freeze baked beans and cook them later?

You can freeze baked beans, let them thaw, and reheat them again in a slow cooker (Instant Pot on the ‘slow cook ‘setting). 

They keep in the freezer best for up to 3 months. 

Can you double this soul food baked bean recipe?

Yes! Simply adjust the servings in the dynamic recipe card below to increase the ingredients for the amount you want to make.

Southern Soul Food Baked Beans

What do you think about this recipe?

Did you enjoy this Black folks’ Southern soul food baked beans recipe?

Have you had it?

Would you make it? 

Comment below and lemme know. 

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The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide
The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide
What is soul food? Soul food recipes are African-American recipes full of flavor! A legacy of Southern cooking the Black way. Check out this collection of the best soul food recipes!
Check out this recipe!

Like this post? Pin the below image to your Pinterest “Soul Food Recipes” board!

Black Folks Southern Soul Food Baked Beans Recipe
Black Folks Southern Soul Food Baked Beans

Black Folks Southern Soul Food Baked Beans

What can you add to baked beans for flavor?
The answer is in this Southern soul food baked beans recipe!
Because the main difference between delicious soul food baked beans and mediocre baked beans is the preparation and seasoning.
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Pressure Release Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Soul Food, Southern Food
Servings: 6
Calories: 302kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot electric pressure cooker

Ingredients

Ingredients to make homemade baked beans

  • 1 pound navy beans dry
  • 8 cups beef broth use vegetable broth for vegetarian and vegan friendly
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Ingredients to season Black folks Southern soul food baked beans

  • 1 cup yellow onion diced
  • ½ cup green bell pepper diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic minced
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • ¾ cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon ground
  • 1 teaspoon mustard ground

Instructions

Instructions for Black folks Southern soul food baked beans

  • Open the Instant Pot lid and pour the beans, broth, salt, and pepper into the stainless-steel inner pot.
  • Stir the ingredients to combine and make sure the broth covers the beans.
  • Close the Instant Pot lid (ensure the valve is up – in the position for sealing) and pressure cook on high for 25 minutes.
  • When the cooking time is finished, allow a natural pressure release for at least 15 minutes.
  • To open the Instant Pot lid, move the valve to ‘venting’ and manually release any remaining pressure, if applicable.
  • Use a colander to drain and rinse the beans under cold water.
  • Clean the stainless-steel inner pot and return it to the Instant Pot.
  • Instructions for Southern baked beans on the stovetop are in the recipe notes below.

Instructions to season the soul food baked beans

  • Return the rinsed, cooked beans to the Instant Pot and add the rest of the ingredients (onion, bell pepper, water, garlic, brown sugar, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, barbecue sauce, smoked paprika, cinnamon, and ground mustard). 
  • Gently stir the bean mixture ingredients to combine.
  • Close the Instant Pot lid (ensure the valve is up – in the position for sealing) and pressure cook on high for 10 minutes.
  • When the cooking time is finished, allow a natural pressure release for at least 5 minutes.
  • To open the Instant Pot lid, move the valve to ‘venting’ and manually release any remaining pressure, if applicable.
  • Stir the finished homemade baked beans.
  • Serve Black folks soul food baked beans right away, and enjoy!

Video

Notes

Instructions for Southern baked beans on the stovetop
  1. Pour the beans into a colander and rinse them with cold water.
  2. Pour the drained beans into a large pot on the stovetop on medium-high heat.
  3. Add the salt, pepper, and beef broth to the pot.
  4. Bring the beans to a boil.
  5. Then cover and simmer for about 3-4 hours or until the beans are tender. Check in on them every hour and add hot water to the pot if the beans absorb the beef broth.
  6. When the beans are tender and the cooking is complete, remove the pot from the stove, and use a colander to drain and rinse the beans under cold water.
  7. Return the rinsed, cooked beans to the pot on the stovetop on medium heat.
  8. Add the remaining ingredients (onion, green bell pepper, water, garlic, brown sugar, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, barbecue sauce, smoked paprika, cinnamon, and ground mustard).
  9. Gently stir the bean mixture ingredients to combine and cook for 20 minutes.
  10. When cooking is finished, remove the beans from the stovetop, serve right away, and enjoy!
Black Folks Southern Soul Food Baked Beans Recipe Card

Nutrition

Calories: 302kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Sodium: 2046mg | Potassium: 827mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 719IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 130mg | Iron: 4mg
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4.75 from 4 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    Black Folks Southern Soul Food Baked Beans top on steamed white rice is a good pair for me.