Homemade No-Bake Baked Beans

homemade no bake baked beans, no nitrites or preservatives, adhd diet healthy, bacon, coconut sugar

My son and daughter love baked beans, but I don’t love the nitrites and preservatives that come via the bacon in the can.  Nitrites are a no-no in an ADHD diet and appear in most cured meats.  Luckily there are more nitrite-free bacon options available on the market, which opens up the possibility to create baked beans from scratch at home with natural ingredients.  The recipe is fairly easy – much of it can be done in the background as you accomplish other tasks (including sleeping, as the flavors marry).  The best part is you’ll get more baked beans than you need for one meal, so it’s an easy freezer side that will come in handy for later!


  • 32oz pkg dry great northern beans
  • 1/2 12 oz pkg NITRITE-FREE bacon (or half of a larger package – doesn’t really matter if there’s MORE bacon flavor!!)
  • 1 cup natural (no high fructose corn syrup) ketscup
  • 1 cup unsweetened unflavored applesauce
  • 5 Tbsps unrefined coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup water



Prepare the dry beans according to package directions.  There are several ways you can do this.  I chose to rinse, then boil them for 45min-1hr, then strain.


As the beans cook, cut the bacon into squares.  Fry on low-medium heat in a large frying pan.  Let the outsides of the bacon pieces get a bit crispy, then add the onion and cook on low.  Once the onion is soft, add other ingredients to the sauce.  Cook thoroughly, then set aside.

3. MIX

When the sauce and beans are both ready, mix them together and let them sit overnight in the fridge.  The longer the flavors marry the better it will taste.


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2 thoughts on “Homemade No-Bake Baked Beans

    1. I’ve found a few bacon products without nitrites. A couple examples I’ve used: Hormel Natural Choice Uncured Bacon and a brand at Aldi’s called Simply Nature also carries a nitrite-free bacon. I have the Hormel in my freezer right now. On the label it says: “No nitrates or nitrites added except for those naturally occurring in seasoning.” I see this type of marketing text a lot on the uncured packaging. I notice that typically they use celery ingredients instead of adding nitrites in the uncured products. It has the same delicious flavor.

      The uncured bacon can get a little spendy but the Aldi’s brand was a more reasonable (about $3.50/pkg instead of $6).

      If you want to stay away from bacon altogether, you could probably make a decent tasting batch of beans using sliced up nitrite-free lunch meat style ham. Once again, Hormel makes a nitrite-free version of this meat.

      You have inspired me. I’m going to have to try it! 🙂

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