Old Fashioned Baked Beans

Confession – I’ve never made baked beans from scratch before.  We don’t eat them very often and at $.96 a can – why bother, right?

But on my quest to try various recipes from the food rationing era of WWII, I came across an old fashioned baked bean recipe, that I just had to try.

Now that I’ve made them, I know why we should bother – TASTE, FLAVOR, TEXTURE.  You simply cannot get the flavor of homemade, old- fashioned baked beans in a $.96 can, probably not even in a $5.00 can o beans!

baked beans

My test recipe came from Economy Recipes for Canada’s “Housoldiers” (Toronto: Canada Starch, 1943) found at www.wartimecanada.ca. As usual, I made a few variations based on what I had on hand at home.  Instead of Corn Syrup, I used Maple Syrup; instead of dried navy beans, I used dried pinto beans; instead of salt pork, I used regular breakfast bacon.  The end result was supremely delicious. Why wouldn’t it be – it’s beans, bacon and maple syrup!

baked beans with bacon

Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Old Fashioned Baked Beans

Adapted from a wartime rationing recipe from Economy Recipes for Canada’s “Housoldiers”(Toronto: Canada Starch, 1943). I used maple syrup and bacon instead of corn syrup and salt pork - very tasty, not overly sweet!
Prep : 10 minutes
Cook : 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes


  • 2 cups dried beans navy, pinto or lima
  • 2 oz salt pork or 4 pieces bacon
  • 1 small onion peeled
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup Crown Brand Corn Syrup or maple syrup
  • 1 cup liquid from boiled beans add water to make 1 cup if not enough


  • Wash beans thoroughly and soak overnight in cold water to cover generously.
  • In the morning, simmer beans in the same water (add more if necessary) for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain beans, reserving liquid.
  • Place beans in a greased 2 quart casserole; bury the onion in the beans.
  • Mix salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, syrup and bean liquor (reserved bean water) and pour over beans.
  • If necessary, add more water until it shows through top of beans.
  • Place strips of salt pork or bacon over top.
  • Cover and bake at 300°F (150°C) for 3 to 4 hours until beans are tender. Check hourly, adding more water if needed to prevent beans from baking dry.
  • Uncover beans during last hour of baking to brown the beans and the pork.


The recipe recommends baking this dish while the oven is being used for other baking so that fuel will not be wasted. A wise tip from WWII.
Yield 6- 8 servings
Tried this recipe?Mention @GetGettyS or tag #GetGettyS

Here’s a photo journey of the process beginning with soaking the beans (I used pinto beans).

beans soaking overnight onion in beans
bacon and beans baked beans 1 hrbaked beans with bacon

Go ahead and make ’em.  I know you’re going to love them.

Thanks to the Canadian Home Economics Foundation for its support in helping me test and share these recipes.


Getty Stewart is an engaging speaker and writer providing tasty recipes, time-saving tips, and helpful kitchen ideas to make home cooking easy and enjoyable. She is a Professional Home Economist, author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, mom and veggie gardener.

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