Vegetarian Slow-Cooker Baked Beans

3.71 avg. rating (74% score) - 166 votes

Vegetarian Slow-Cooker Baked Beans

All the goodness of seasoned, simmered old-fashioned New England baked beans, without the salt pork plus the added convenience of the slow cooker! Both bean traditionalists and vegetarians will gobble these up.

Want more? Check out the blog that goes along with this recipe.

Yield: 8-10 Servings


  • 1 lb. dried beans (such as Great Northern)
  • 1 large onion, diced fine (around 1 3/4 cups) — save the end
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 4 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (a vegetarian version)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 8 whole cloves


The night before, pick through the beans to remove any stones, then place in a bowl and cover with enough water to cover the beans by two inches. Soak overnight.

In the morning, mix together all ingredients except the beans, onion, and cloves in a large bowl.

In the bottom of minimum 4-quart slow cooker, layer the diced onion, then add the beans*.

Pour the liquid mixture over the beans, then add up to an additional 3 cups of water until the tops of the beans are just submerged.

For extra flavor, take the reserved onion end and press 8 cloves into it in a circle. I used a skewer to make the holes before inserting the cloves. (I also used more than 8 cloves, which I think overpowered the beans a bit, so in the future I will be using less!) Place the onion end into the center of the beans. Remove before eating.

Cook the beans on high for 6-8 hours, or on low for 8-10 hours. I left mine in the pot on low for around 12 hours (it was a long day), and as you might expect, they taste better the longer they sit.

Additional Notes:

If the beans will be in the slow cooker for less than 8 hours, parboil them first for 30 minutes before adding them. If the cook time will be longer than 8 hours, there is no need to parboil.
  • I’m not a baked bean connoisseur, but I found these beans to have an overwhelming taste and aroma of molasses and clove. The sauce was also very thin. Any tips for getting it thicker and keeping the sweetness without so much molasses? I’m thinking maybe I had too many onions and the water came out of them as they cooked and I should use a lighter molasses and a greater maple:molasses ratio.

  • What happened to all the old comments? They were super useful. Apparently most people preferred not to add tomato paste, and there were cooking tips.

  • ElizaBeth

    How many servings would you say this recipe makes? I don’t see it listed anywhere.

  • Lea & Perrins Original Worcestershire Sauce is gluten free. I have used it many times with no difficulty and I become ill immediately if there is gluten in a product. I doubled checked their website and they are gluten free as of July 2015.

  • Aimee

    So glad you liked them, Steffanie, and thanks for sharing your tips!

  • Steffanie

    I made these for a family reunion, and the pot was empty in no time flat! The flavors were wonderful! But, I would still parboil the beans,even if you are cooking them for more 10-12 hours. I cooked mine for 13 hours on low and the beans still had a certain firmness. Also, I made my own vegan worcestershire sauce using gluten-free tamari sauce to accommodate a celiac in the family. Thanks for the vegetarian recipe!


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