Appalachian Cider Baked Beans

Appalachian cider-baked beans takes regular pinto beans, adds salt pork, molasses, mustard, and apple cider, making them into something magical. Hearty, flavorful, and traditional, this recipe is everything you want for dinner.

A bean pot of baked beans with a wooden spoon placed on a wooden chair

The first time that I tasted cider beans was at the local gas station. Here in the mountains, folks gather at the local gas station to visit, have a meal, and catch up on the local news. Far from serving “fast food,” these little places present “home cookin’,” and it’s delicious. This good ol’ mountain recipe is very satisfying paired with cornbread or muffins.–Joan E. Aller

Where Can I get a Ceramic Bean Pot?

Thanks to this recipe, we’re experiencing some serious ceramic bean pot envy. We want one. Those of you who have one, where’d you get yours?

Appalachian Cider-Baked Beans

  • Quick Glance
  • (9)
  • 15 M
  • 6 H, 15 M
  • Serves 8
4.7/5 - 9 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Cider Beans, Wild Greens, and Dandelion Jelly cookbook

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Special Equipment: Slow cooker (if following the slow cooker method)

Ingredients


Directions

To make the Appalachian Cider Beans in your slow cooker, see the Slow Cooker Variation below.

To make the Appalachian Cider Beans as God intended, in the oven, pick over the beans, discarding any stones and wrinkled beans. Rinse well and place in a large bowl. Add cold water to cover by 3 inches, cover, and let soak for 12 hours.

Drain the beans and dump them into a heavy saucepan. Add the cider and slowly bring the beans to a boil over medium heat. Gently boil, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid.

Preheat the oven to 300°F (149°C).

Layer half of the salt pork slices on the bottom of a 2-quart ceramic bean pot or other deep baking dish, such as a Dutch oven. Spoon the beans into the pot and then bury the onions in the beans.

In a small saucepan, combine the molasses, dry mustard, and salt and place over medium heat until the mustard and salt dissolve into the molasses. Pour the mixture evenly over the beans and top with the remaining salt pork slices. Add the reserved cooking liquid to the pot. Add hot water as needed to cover the beans with liquid. Cover the pot.

Bake for 4 hours, then uncover the pot and add more water if the beans seem dry. Recover and continue to bake for 1 to 2 hours, until the beans are tender. Serve hot, directly from the pot. Originally published June 27, 2011.

Print RecipeBuy the Cider Beans, Wild Greens, and Dandelion Jelly cookbook

Want it? Click it.

    Slow Cooker Variation

    • Making a big ole pot of baked beans just got even easier. Soak and drain the beans as in step 1 of the instructions above. Toss half of the salt pork in the slow cooker. Add the beans, onions, and apple cider, using your judgement when it comes to how much cider is necessary. (You want to use enough to just barely cover the beans by no more than 1/2 an inch; if this means you use less than the specified amount, that’s okay. If the cider doesn’t completely cover the beans, add enough cold water to barely cover them.) Stir together the molasses, mustard, and salt (warming the molasses slightly in the microwave or on the stovetop will make this easier). Pour the molasses mixture over the beans and then top with the remaining salt pork. Cook on high for 3 to 6 hours, then reduce the heat to low and cook until the beans are tender and irresistibly fragrant, 1 to 4 more hours. (The beans are quite forgiving, and so can pretty much cook on whatever setting for however long, depending on your schedule.)

      [Editor’s Note: Bear in mind, no two slow cookers are exactly alike, just as no two cooks are exactly alike. This slow-cooker approach worked really, really well for us, although if you have a different slow-cooker cooking technique you want to try by all means, do so. And, natch, we’d love if you’d share it with us in a comment below.] Curious to hear more about working magic with your slow cooker? Peruse our entire selection of slow cooker recipes.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    This was a fun recipe to transfer to the Crock-Pot. Wanting to keep it simple, I elected not to simmer the beans with the cider but to use 2 cups of cider with my soaked, but uncooked beans. The perfect balance of salty and sweet with deep flavors of molasses and mustard. While the beans could have used a bit more time in the slow cooker, the flavor was absolutely wonderful. I'll definitely make these again, but I will plan on 10 hours in the slow cooker to get the beans to the point where they give up all resistance.

    I placed the salt pork on the bottom of the Crock-Pot, layered the beans on top of the salt pork, and poured the cider on the beans. I then buried the onions in the beans. I heated the molasses in the microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds. This was the perfect temperature for the mustard to blend into the molasses. I poured that on the beans and topped them with the remaining salt pork and set the slow cooker to high. I cooked the beans for 3 hours on high and then on low for 4 additional hours.

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    Comments

    1. I made these exactly per the recipe. They are tremendously awesomely great!

      Never liked Boston Baked or Maple Syrup Baked or Boozy Baked Beans. These were perfect in every way and the only ones I’ll ever make again.

      Froze half in two bags for follow up meals. Defrosted and warmed up without any loss of texture or flavour.

    2. I have made great Boston Baked Beans and equally great Canadian Baked Beans (maple syrup and maple sugar instead of molasses and brown sugar). Right now, I’m brining 1 lb of navy beans to make boiled apple cider beans. I have never made apple cider beans before, so I googled the phrase apple cider beans and got your recipe. I want to avoid using the same molasses that I use in Boston Baked Beans, so I may go to the health food store and see if they have the sorghum molasses you mention in this recipe. However, my intention had been to use boiled cider instead of molasses, and I’m wondering if anyone else out there has done this already and may have some caveats for me. For seasonings, I plan on using the same seasonings I would use in apple pie (ie cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, ginger), and a bit of dry mustard powder, as well, and I plan to also use the onions that I use in all my baked beans). Any advice?

      1. Clara, I love the way you’re thinking. (And I envy you those Canadian Baked Beans, which sound inspired!) We haven’t tried this with reduced cider but it should work fine, it should be about the same sweetness, I expect. As for seasonings, for my personal taste, I think the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger would be a little too sweet, and I would use mostly just ginger and mustard, although that’s me. Follow your instincts and let us know how it goes.

      1. Hi Lara, great question! Sorghum molasses is made from sorghum cane, a grass like plant that was used by early settlers. Molasses is made from sugar cane. They are both used as a sweetener in many baked goods as well as baked beans.

        1. Thanks, Beth. I’ve been confused about molasses types before when reading baking recipes. For ex. sulphured, unsulphured, blackstrap, etc. Perhaps this site could do a feature some time reviewing the kinds of molasses and what’s good for what type of cooking/recipe.

    3. An authentic bean pot? Look no further than Leroux Kitchen in Portland, Maine. That’s where I got mine, and the store is definitely worth a visit (as is Portland). But you can also order your bean pot from Leroux Kitchen for $25 plus $9 shipping (very reasonable for a pot which may become an heirloom). My bean pot was made in Maine and hopefully those are still the ones they carry.

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