Maple Baked Beans & Chicken

Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 12 hr
Serves: 8

Baked beans are a classic comfort food and a time-saving “fix it and forget it,” slow cooker dish you can prepare in advance. Using lean chicken, instead of higher fat meats like pork hocks and bacon, works great and reduces the fat content.


2 cups (500 mL) navy beans, dry
2 bay leaves
4 cups (1 L) cold water
1 cup (250 mL) maple syrup
1/2 cup (125 mL) ketchup
2 tbsp (30 mL) apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp (15 mL) mustard powder
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) thyme, dried
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1.25 mL) black pepper, freshly ground
2 onions, large, cut in half
8 whole cloves
4 skinless chicken legs, separated into thigh and drumstick portions


1 Rinse beans and add to crock of slow cooker along with the bay leaf. Cover with 12 cups (3L) cold water. Cover and cook in slow cooker set to LOW for 6-8 hours. It works well to do this step overnight. The beans should be tender but not falling apart. Alternately, you can boil them on the stove for an hour or so until tender but not splitting.
2 Remove 2 cups (500 mL) bean water from crock. You may use this later if beans are dry. Keep in fridge. Discard it later if you don't use it.
3 Stir maple syrup, ketchup, cider vinegar, dry mustard powder, dried thyme, salt and pepper into beans. If you don't like sweet beans add less maple syrup. You can always adjust sweetness later.
4 Cut onions in half and peel. Push two pieces of whole cloves into each of the halves. Add to the bean pot along with the skinless chicken pieces. Push them down to submerge as well as you can. Bone in chicken will give more flavour and match the longer cooking time.
5 Cover and cook on LOW heat 4 hours. Then cook up to one additional hour with lid off to evaporate liquid and you get the desired level of "sauciness." How you want the beans is a matter of preference.