Newfoundland Boiled Beans (Dad's Recipe) (2024)

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This Newfoundland boiled beans recipe is simple, rustic and oh-so-satisfying.With just some basic ingredients (like beans, ham, veggies and broth) and a little time, you could be enjoying this for dinner tonight.Delicious with a hunk of crusty, buttery bread.

Newfoundland Boiled Beans (Dad's Recipe) (1)

Today I’m sharing another traditional Newfoundland recipe: boiled beans.This is my father’s recipe and I’m sure there are other variations, but I wanted to share how he does it (which I think is pretty darn tasty).

When I asked my dad how he makes his boiled bean recipe I asked a lot of questions about what goes in it, how much of each ingredient and the process. It was funny because, like most traditional recipes, they are made from the heart and not always written down (as in the case of my dad’s boiled beans).

When I asked about consistency and such, he said “I don’t know, I just look at it. If it’s too watery, I remove the cover to reduce some of the liquid; if it’s too thick, I add more water.”Simple as that.

Anyhow, after I prepared his recipe, I brought dad and mom some to enjoy for lunch. They loved it so I guess I made dad proud with this one!

It’s nice to hold onto tradition and recipes that mean a lot to you or where you’ve come from. Because of that, I’ve been trying to share more of those recipes.Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

What Are Newfoundland Boiled Beans?

Newfoundland boiled beans is exactly that, boiled beans. I know what you’re probably thinking … exciting!

Okay, definitely not, but what this recipe lacks in title, it makes up for in flavour.

Though there’s a broth, this is not a soup.It’s just cooked beans infused with a tasty liquid.As the beans and ham cook at the same time, the flavours of the ham seep into the beans and liquid base making everything quite relishing.

As you can probably tell, the recipe itself is super rustic.There’s nothing fancy here at all, but it tastes so good! For this boiled bean recipe, you’re going to need:

  • Broth and/or water (some people use all water, but I like to use a little broth, too, for extra flavour)
  • Dried beans that have been soaked overnight
  • Ham or salt beef (sometimes dad uses leftover cooked pork instead)
  • Veggies, like onion, turnip (rutabaga), carrot and celery (less traditional, but delicious)
  • Lots of black pepper
  • Molasses for a little sweetness (optional)
Newfoundland Boiled Beans (Dad's Recipe) (2)

Type of Bean To Use

Use dried navy beans that have been picked over (that is, remove and discard any foreign objects, like rocks, and imperfect beans), rinsed and drained. I don’t recommend canned beans here because they won’t withstand the cooking time.

Do the Beans Have To Be Soaked Before Cooking?

Yes! After the beans have been picked over (any foreign objects, like rocks, and imperfect beans removed and discarded), give them a rinse with water and drain.

Then place the beans in a bowl of cold water, cover and store in the refrigerator overnight.Ensure that the beans are well submerged because they will expand as they soak.

When ready to use, drain, rinse again with fresh, cold water and proceed with the recipe.

Newfoundland Boiled Beans (Dad's Recipe) (3)

How To Make Boiled Beans

Full details on how to make boiled beans are in the recipe card below, but here are the basics:

  1. After picking over, rinsing and draining the beans, soak them overnight in a bowl of cold water (covered and stored in the refrigerator) so they plump and soften a little.
  2. Add drained, soaked and rinsed beans, broth, water, smoked ham and one whole onion to a large pot.Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover with lid ajar and cook for about an hour.
  3. After an hour or when the beans are almost tender, remove the whole onion, add veggies, a little more water and half of the black pepper and salt. Cook for about 25 to 30 minutes more.
  4. Once beans and veggies are tender, stir in remaining black pepper and some molasses. Adjust seasoning if you like.
  5. Serve and enjoy!
Newfoundland Boiled Beans (Dad's Recipe) (4)

Tips for Making This Boiled Beans Recipe

  • I used two onions here: one at the beginning and one at the end. The first one I discarded after about an hour (well, by discarded, I mean ate). If you like, you could leave in for the full cooking time.
  • Have a leftover ham bone? Throw that in the mix when you start. It will further infuse the broth.
  • Brands and varieties of ham can vary in salt content. If you need additional salt here, just add to your taste.
  • I like to leave the ham and veggies in larger chunks because this is such a rustic, hearty recipe. If you want to cut smaller, that’s okay too.
  • Dad adds a touch molasses at the end to infuse a little sweetness. This is optional, but I do think it adds something special to the recipe.
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Variations for This Newfoundland Boiled Bean Recipe

  • Salt beef is more traditional for this boiled bean recipe.My father prefers ham because it’s less salty than salt beef. Plus, salt beef is pretty difficult to get your hands on outside of Newfoundland. If you’d rather use salt beef, though, go for it. Use an equivalent amount as the ham; don’t forget to properly soak your salt beef in cold water for a day or two, changing the water once or twice to get rid of excess salt before using in this recipe. Trim any excess fat, too.
  • For extra oomph, throw in a couple of bay leaves (discard when beans are cooked) and some herbage, like rosemary and thyme.
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More Comfort Food Recipes

  • Traditional Newfoundland Cod au Gratin
  • Newfoundland Salt Cod Fish Cakes
  • Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup With Ham
  • Homemade Baked Beans With Bacon

I suggest having a nice warm roll or slice of bread (like this rosemary Parmesan bread) with this ham and bean recipe. So yummy!

If you make this Newfoundland boil beans recipe, please leave a comment below!

Newfoundland Boiled Beans (Dad's Recipe) (7)

Newfoundland Boiled Beans (Dad’s Recipe)

Dawn | Girl Heart Food

This Newfoundland boiled beans recipe is simple, rustic and oh-so-satisfying.With just some basic ingredients (like beans, ham, veggies and broth) and a little time, you could be enjoying this for dinner tonight.Delicious with a hunk of crusty, buttery bread.

5 from 12 votes

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Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Cook Time 1 hour hr 45 minutes mins

Time to soak beans overnight 12 hours hrs

Total Time 13 hours hrs 55 minutes mins

Course Main Course

Cuisine Newfoundland

Servings 8 servings


  • 2 cups dried navy beans
  • 4 cups vegetable broth, or water or chicken broth
  • 4 to 5 cups water, or more depending on desired consistency
  • 1 pound smoked ham, cut into cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 2 yellow onions, divided (one peeled and left whole and one peeled and chopped)
  • 2 to 3 ribs celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 to 3 carrots, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 small turnip, peeled and chopped into cubes (about 2.5 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ to 1 tablespoon fancy molasses, depending on how sweet you like things


  • Pick over beans (that is, remove and discard any foreign objects, like rocks, and any imperfect beans).

  • Rinse and drain beans. Place beans in a large bowl and generously cover with fresh, cold water so they're submerged (and at least two inches or so of water over top). Cover and soak overnight in the refrigerator, for about 12 hours.

  • The day you are ready to make the boiled beans, remove beans from water. Give them another rinse with fresh, cold water. Drain.

  • Add the navy beans, 4 cups of broth, 3 cups of water, the smoked ham and one whole onion to a large pot or Dutch oven.

  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce the heat (to about medium-low) to maintain a simmer (you want a gentler bubbling).

  • Cover (with lid slightly ajar) and cook for 60 to 75 minutes or until beans have mostly softened (they were done to my likeness at 60 minutes). Remove whole onion.

  • After beans have mostly softened, add remaining chopped onion, celery, carrots, turnip and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. At this point you can sprinkle the vegetables with some salt (about ¼ teaspoon if you like).

  • Add another 1 to 2 cups of water.Bring up to a simmer again (the temperature will drop when you add water)and cook for another 25 to 30 minutes or until the beans are cooked through and the veggies are tender.

  • Stir in remaining ½ teaspoon of black pepper and ½ to 1 tablespoon of molasses for a little sweetness (or to taste).If you want a looser or thinner consistency, add more broth or water and heat through. Adjust seasoning, if necessary, by adding more salt and black pepper to your taste. Serve and enjoy! It's great served with crusty bread for dunking.

A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are estimates only.

© Girl Heart Food Inc. Photographs and content are copyright protected.

Keyword Newfoundland boiled beans, traditional newfoundland recipe

Tried this recipe?

If you do make this recipe, thank you!! It would mean so much if you could leave a comment below. Love to know how you enjoyed it, and it helps other readers too!

Newfoundland Boiled Beans (Dad's Recipe) (2024)


How long should I boil beans? ›

Place soaked beans in a large pot; cover with fresh water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently until beans are tender but firm. Most beans will cook in 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on the variety. Periodically, try a taste test or mash a bean against the side of the pot with a fork or spoon.

How long do navy beans take to cook without soaking? ›

Rinse dry beans and place in an oven-safe pot. Fill water to cover beans by two or three inches and add salt. Cover with a heavy lid and bake for 2 hours at 375°. Check for doneness with a taste-test; bake longer, in 30-minute increments, if needed.

Do you cook beans covered or uncovered? ›

Cook the beans uncovered until they're tender. Some foam might gather on top of the pot; skim it off with a spoon as necessary. If the water level drops below the beans, add more water so the beans are covered at all times.

How do you soften navy beans quickly? ›

Use the power of baking soda to get dried beans to soften up faster. Rinse and sort your beans. Place them in pot and cover with water, sprinkle on a tablespoon or so of baking soda and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes.

Do you boil water first before adding beans? ›

Transfer the soaked beans to a large pot and cover them with 2 inches of water. If you're using unsoaked beans, rinse them in a fine mesh strainer before you add them to the pot. Bring the water to a gentle boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, discarding any foam that rises to the surface.

What happens if you boil beans without soaking? ›

But, then I learned something astonishing: You can actually skip soaking beans over night, and actually you should. Not only does it shorten the amount of time until you have ready-to-eat beans, it also produces a more flavorful end result.

What happens if you don't soak navy beans before cooking? ›

What happens if you don't soak the beans before cooking? Short answer: They take longer to cook. Long answer: Many people claim that soaking beans is not necessary. The argument for this method is while it does take longer to cook, unsoaked beans end up having better flavor.

What happens if you don't soak navy beans? ›

You don't have to soak your dried beans overnight.

Soaking beans in the refrigerator overnight will reduce the time they have to cook drastically. And the texture of the beans will also be it their best, with fewer split-open and burst ones.

Why are my navy beans still hard after soaking? ›

It can be a number of factors. If you have hard water that can help keep them hard the calcium ions tend to bind to the beans and keep them hard. Sodium ions from water softeners don't do that. So if you have a water softener, you should soften the water you use to soak and cook them.

What not to do when cooking beans? ›

13 Common Mistakes Everyone Makes With Beans
  1. Only eating canned beans. Ilia Nesolenyi/Shutterstock. ...
  2. Sticking to one type of bean. ...
  3. Not rinsing canned beans. ...
  4. Not rinsing and soaking dried beans. ...
  5. Cooking with hard water. ...
  6. Using acidic ingredients when cooking beans. ...
  7. Not adding aromatics. ...
  8. Overcooking your beans.
Jan 30, 2023

Is it better to cook beans on the stove or oven? ›

For perfectly cooked beans with fewer blowouts, skip the stovetop and head for the oven. We've cooked a lot of dried beans on the stovetop, but even if we take all the extra measures, some blowouts or broken beans and uneven cooking are inevitable.

How to cook beans on stove top? ›

How To Cook Beans on the Stovetop
  1. Sort the beans. ...
  2. Rinse the beans. ...
  3. Transfer the beans to a large pot or Dutch oven. ...
  4. Add water and bring the beans to a boil. ...
  5. Reduce to a low simmer and cook. ...
  6. Check the beans after an hour. ...
  7. Add the salt when beans are just barely tender.

Why do you put baking soda in beans? ›

Baking soda creates an alkaline environment which reduces soaking and cooking time and preserves the beans' skin. As a result, the old bean's color comes to life, keeping them vibrant instead of dull. Compared to the grainy texture offered by old beans, baking soda beans can yield a creamy and smooth texture.

Why won't my navy beans get soft? ›

There are three primary reasons why dried beans do not soften despite extensive cooking time: 1) they are old; 2) hard water; or 3) the presence of an acid. If you don't think your beans are old, then perhaps your water is the problem. Beans cooked in hard water will never soften properly.

How to cook navy beans on stove top? ›

First you'll need to strain your beans from the cold water they've been soaking in. Then put the beans into a pot and cover them with six cups of hot water for every pound (. 45 kg) of beans. Turn on your stove and bring the water to a boil and then simmer the beans for 1.5 to 2 hours.

How long to boil beans to remove gas? ›

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a Western Regional Research Center stationed in Albany and they've developed a technique to de-gas beans. Boil a large pot of water, drop dry beans into the pot and let them boil for two minutes. Take it off the heat, cover it and let it sit for one hour.

How long to boil beans without soaking? ›

Method 1 – Cook beans without soaking on the cooktop

Add aromatics (a quartered onion, peeled garlic, or a bay leaf) and some salt. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the beans and simmer approximately 2 hours. The bigger the bean, the longer they need to cook.

Is it better to soak or boil beans? ›

Soaking Beans Benefits

Many people prefer soaking beans, especially with the hot soak method, because it makes the beans more tender after they are cooked. Others soak their beans to make the beans easier to digest and to prevent gas.

How long to boil beans before soaking? ›

Before cooking, all dried beans need to be rehydrated by soaking. The 10- to 12-hour overnight soak is the easy and always effective method, but you can quick-soak beans by bringing them to the boil for one minute, then covering the pan and letting them sit for one hour.


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