Maple Baked Beans


When people talk about the national dish of Canada, there’s the usual list sprouted off. But I sometimes wonder–should the national dish not be something almost every family has eaten?

I didn’t eat poutine until I was 20.

Nanaimo bars, although a favourite of mine, aren’t liked by everyone due to their intense sweetness.

But then there’s the humble maple baked beans and I wonder if this dish hasn’t been overlooked. It may be due to it’s other name, Boston baked beans. Maybe we feel we’re borrowing? But I wonder if any Canadian family hasn’t had it at some point! I remember them coming out of the can to be heated on the stove midweek.

For those who want to make it from scratch (this was my first time!), it does take time–8 hours of baking, as well as soaking overnight if starting with dried beans.

Typically navy beans/pea beans are called for, but any white bean, be it Cannellini beans or Great Northern beans apparently works.

The other hurdle I came up against was finding salt pork. Nup zilch nada.

Fortunately a Google search lead me to making my own salted pork. Note, give yourself a few more days if you’re adding this step in! While I have fond memories of maple baked beans as a quick family meal, the ‘from scratch’ version takes it to a whole other level.

Maple Baked Beans
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 2 cups navy beans
  • 3L water
  • 1 small onion
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1½ tsp mustard powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ lb or ~113grams salted pork
  1. Rinse the beans and place in a large pot (a large cast iron casserole works well for this recipe as we use both stove and oven).
  2. Cover with the water and soak overnight.
  3. Drain the water from the pot and fill with fresh water until just covering the beans.
  4. On the stove, bring the pot of beans to a boil and simmer with the lid off. The beans are ready when you scoop a few onto a spoon, blow on them, and the skins split. This is a more accurate way of testing whether the beans are finished as the cook time can depend on how fresh the beans are and how they were stored. They can usually take between 30-60 minutes.
  5. While they are simmering, preheat oven to 250F/120C.
  6. Once softened, turn off the stove and drain the water.
  7. Peel the onion and push into the middle of the pot of beans.
  8. In a bowl mix together the brown sugar, salt, mustard powder, black pepper, molasses and maple syrup.
  9. Pour over the beans.
  10. Slice the salt pork into cubes and stir into the beans.
  11. Boil some water in a tea kettle and pour enough into the casserole pot to just cover the beans.
  12. Place the lid on the casserole pot and place in the oven for 8 hours to cook.
  13. Additional boiling water may be required to keep from drying out.
  14. minutes before it's finished cooking, remove the lid.
  15. Serve hot with warm brown bread.
recipe adapted from The Laura Secord Canadian Cookbook


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