Sugar-free Maple Baked Beans--In Less Than an Hour!

If you LOVE baked beans, but don't love how much time and effort they usually take (or all of the sugar), you're in for a treat. These Healthy Sugar-free Baked Beans have all of the taste, none of the refined sugar, and can be on your table in less than an hour. Yes, you heard that right.

These Maple Baked Beans are the perfect easy side dish for your next cookout, summer gatherings, or really any time of the year.

baked beans in a pot with wooden spoon

Bonus--I've included a super duper ultra quick stovetop option too.

So--the next time you forgot you have a potluck the next day, and want to avoid that "picked up two bags of chips on the way to the gathering" feeling, you can make these healthy baked beans without slaving for hours over a hot oven (and wishing you'd opened a can of Bush's instead).

Tell me I'm not the only one.

sugar-free baked beans

Why Are These Baked Beans Healthy?

Most baked bean recipes call for unhealthy sugars like white sugar or brown sugar, and some store bought brands have high fructose corn syrup in them--no bueno! Did In case you didn't know, HFCS has been linked to increased appetite and obesity, amongst other things (source).

This recipe, however, calls for maple syrup or sugar-free maple syrup for a truly "sugar-free" recipe.

How Long Do Baked Beans Take To Cook?

Traditionally baked beans bake at a very low temperature (typically between 225° and 250°F or maybe 275 degrees). However, you are soon to find out (like I did) that you can cook baked beans at a higher temperature, faster, and get the same results!

By baking at 350°F, you can have these baked beans on the table in MUCH less time, and with less fuss, because you don't have to keep checking on them and stirring them every hour.

spoonful of sugar-free baked beans

The other benefit of cooking them at a higher temperature is that since you aren't stirring them a bunch, there's a lot less chance of the beans turning into a super mushy baked bean mess.

To be fair, you do have to add in the "bean cooking time" for this recipe so if you count that, it does take longer than an hour even if you are doing the stovetop version. However, if you use a pressure cooker (like we do), you can cook those dry beans super fast.

Soaked navy beans can be done in a pressure cooker on high in only 3-4 minutes if you use natural pressure release, and in 6-8 minutes if you use quick release! The pressure cooker truly is amazing--check out the many benefits of pressure cooking here.

A Fun Note About Baked Beans and Bean "Doneness"

You might not know this but, when you cook the beans the first time, you want them to be pretty much done since they won't cook much at all, even if you bake them for a LONG time in the oven.

The reason?

The acidity in the tomatoes prevents the beans from cooking much so make sure you don't put hard beans in the oven or---you'll end up with hard baked beans!

The same thing goes for chili.

Ingredients

Here's a simple ingredient list for this recipe. For the full list with measurements, see the recipe card below.

  • dried navy beans (Remember: beans should to soak overnight before cooking)
  • water
  • dry mustard
  • tomato paste
  • salt
  • pepper
  • sugar-free maple syrup (or regular maple syrup)
  • molasses
  • onion
ingredients for sugar-free baked beans

Directions

Here are basic directions for this recipe. For the full details, please do see the recipe card below.

Place sorted beans in a large pot and cover with water.
Soak overnight.
Heat beans to a boil.
Lower the heat and simmer.
Drain, reserving the cooking water.
Place the beans in a Dutch oven or large casserole dish. (Photo 1)

beans in a pot and other ingredients in a cup collage

Combine the remaining ingredients. (Photos 2 & 3)

Pour over the beans and stir in. (Photos 4 & 5)

baked beans sauce poured in pot collage

Push the onion wedges down into the beans.

Add water. (Photo 5)

Cover and bake. (Photo 6)

baked beans mixed with sauce collage

Recipe Notes and Substitutions

Types of Beans to Use: Though traditional baked bean recipes use navy beans, you can truly use any type of bean you like. White beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, butter beans, black beans--they will all taste great.

You could even be adventurous and make this easy baked beans recipe with lentils or mung beans. Of course the texture and appearance will be quite different, but you'll still have that great baked bean flavor with the

Tomato Paste Alternative: Don't have tomato paste? You can use tomato sauce instead. Just use

Onions: Red onions can be used instead of the white onions as well.

For help choosing the best maple syrup for this recipe, this post on how to choose maple syrup is a great guide.

More Healthy Summer Recipes

Sugar-free Easy No Cook Ketchup - comes together in a flash and tastes great!

Best and Easiest Sugar-free Lemonade - so refreshing and nourishing too!

Cauliflower Faux Tato Salad - no one will know it's not potatoes--for real!

baked beans with text overlay
spoonful of sugar-free baked beans

60 Minute Sugar-free Maple Baked Beans

These Vegan and Sugar-free Baked Beans cook super fast and though they have a lot fewer carbs than most baked bean recipes, they have all of the taste!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: low sugar baked beans recipe, maple baked beans recipe, sugar free baked beans recipe
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 322kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried navy beans (see notes for other bean options)
  • water
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup sugar-free maple syrup (or regular maple syrup if desired)
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 large onion, cut into wedges
  • bacon (or turkey bacon), liquid smoke, mushrooms, bell peppers, cumin, chili powder, paprika, worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar optional

Instructions

  • Rinse the beans and sort them, removing and discarding any shriveled or discolored beans.
  • Place sorted beans in a large pot and cover with water. Leave to soak overnight.
  • Rinse beans and cover with water again. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and allow to simmer for 45 minutes, or until cooked as you like them. (See notes about using a pressure cooker to save time with this step.)
  • Drain, reserving the cooking water.
  • Place the beans in a Dutch oven or large casserole dish.
  • Combine the mustard, salt, pepper, maple syrup, tomato paste and molasses in a container that is approximately 1 cup in size.
  • Pour the liquid mixture over the beans and stir to coat.
  • Push the onion wedges down into the beans.
  • Add enough of the reserved cooking water (approximately 1 ½ cups) so that it is visible but does not cover the beans.
  • Put the lid on the Dutch oven or casserole dish and bake at 350°F for 1 hour.
  • Serve as a side or even on its own with fresh green salad and whole grain or grain-free bread.

Stovetop Method

  • Saute onions in a little water or oil, until softened. Turn down the heat to low.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and mix until well combined.
  • Cover with a lid and cook for 40 minutes. Remove the lid and cook uncovered for another 10 minutes to thicken the sauce. Serve warm.

Low and Slow Oven Method

  • Follow the oven baking instructions but instead of baking at 350°F, put the lid on the Dutch oven or casserole dish and bake at 275°F for 3 hours checking the beans every hour and stirring gently . If they begin to look dry, add a bit more water.

Notes

For best nutritional results, de-gas the beans when cooking them the first time.
If you prefer the "low and slow" cooking method, bake the beans at 275°F for 3 hours checking the beans every hour. If they begin to look dry add more water.  Then, uncover and continue to bake for 1 more hour.
If choosing to use any or all of  the optional ingredients for additional flavor, here are some recommended amounts to try:
1 cup brown mushrooms
3/4 cup chopped bell pepper
1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 - 1 1/2  teaspoons chili powder
1/2 - 1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 - 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
splash of apple cider vinegar
bacon or turkey bacon
If sauteeing onions, saute the peppers and mushrooms at the same time, adding after sauteeing onions for a bit. The optional spices are to be added with the other spices.
If you prefer or are particularly sensitive to digestive issues (ahem) when eating beans, use fresh water instead of reserved cooking water if needed, and use whatever you would like to de-gas the beans when cooking the beans prior to adding the other ingredients.
If you'd like to add some meat, cook 2-4 slices of bacon or turkey bacon and add to the beans along with the onion. 
To save LOADS of time with this recipe, use a pressure cooker to cook the beans. Soaked navy beans can be done in a pressure cooker on high in only 3-4 minutes if you use natural pressure release, and in 6-8 minutes if you use quick release! See all of the benefits of pressure cookers here.
 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 322kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Sodium: 472mg | Potassium: 1081mg | Fiber: 19g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 82IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 135mg | Iron: 5mg | Net Carbs: 44g

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.

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10 Comments

    1. Hi there, Kim. Actually I featured sugar-free maple syrup in the recipe and you could omit the molasses or put in more of the sugar-free syrup if you'd like.

      Many people write "sugar-free" meaning "refined sugar-free" and I'm sure you'll find that notation on other recipes as well. Actually there is sugar in the beans and tomatoes as well so there aren't many foods that are 100% sugar free. Hope that helps and hope you can find a way to make this work for you and that you like it!

  1. I know you meant no REFINED sugar, however reading the title, I assumed it was no sugar: for those on KETO or diabetics. Maple syrup is just another form of glucose or sugar, and is not ok for those on KETO or for T2 diabetics.
    Perhaps a better title would have been "Maple Syrup Baked Beans"

    1. Hi Carol,
      I'm glad you mentioned this because it made me check the recipe---the first option for the maple syrup in the recipe card is a sugar-free / keto maple syrup. It's really really good. But I understand your concern. It's hard to know how to title things. Technically even made with that syrup this recipe isn't sugar-free because there is sugar in beans and tomatoes so.......but hopefully that helps.

      I'm guessing you didn't check the recipe card because I noticed the general ingredient list in the post didn't mention "sugar-free maple syrup" but it does now :). Thanks for reading and hope you can try these.

      1. Adrienne, you are so right! I didn't check the recipe card....just looked at the first set of ingredients/directions. It confuses me when there are two sets of ingredients/instructions! But then I'm old! LOL. Thanks for setting me straight!

        1. Oh that's totally fine. I get it. Some people like to have that and others don't--I am trying to make everyone happy but it's not easy! Thanks for hanging in there with me!

  2. Hey Adrienne! This recipe looks SO yummy. Going to make these this weekend, with my uncles' homemade maple syrup of course. Any recommendations for how long to simmer the beans with all the fixings if you use the Instant Pot to cook them first? Or would you recommend baking them in the Dutch oven for the hour?

    1. Hello! Whoa - uncle's homemade maple syrup? Tell me more!! Do you mean in the Instant Pot to cook the beans as you would normally just for eating normal beans plain?

      1. Yes, cook the soaked beans first in the Instant Pot, then what? I can figure it out, just thought you may have tried it already and have suggestions.

        1. I'm actually going to update the post with this information so thanks for asking it!
          I hope to put in a Table of Contents for my posts soon but check out the new "fun tip" and let me know if that helps. Thanks again for the great question!