Grandma Lamb’s Baked Beans



Published by Harmony Books

This image courtesy of Shutterstock

Joanne remembers enjoying these at family reunions when she was a child. Our thanks to her aunt, Ruth Hollenbeck, for knowing the recipe.

NotesBaking Soda

Although we don’t usually recommend the addition of baking soda to beans during cooking, we decided to follow the original method and found that because of the additional water changes, it worked fine, preserving the integrity of the beans.

8 servings



Total Timeunder 4 hours

One Pot MealYes

OccasionFamily Get-together, game day

Recipe Courseside dish

Dietary Considerationegg-free, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free



  • 1 pound marrowfat or Great Northern beans, soaked
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda (see Notes)
  • 1 ham bone or ¼ pound slab bacon, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne (ground red) pepper
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ pound sliced bacon


  1. Discard soaking water and rinse beans well in a colander. Place beans in a 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven. Cover with water; add baking soda and bring to a boil. Discard water and rinse beans again in a colander.

  2. Return beans to pan; add 8 cups water, the ham bone, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover partially with a tilted lid, and cook about 1 to 1¼ hours or until beans are tender and liquid has evaporated. Taste and salt if necessary

  3. Heat oven to 350° F. Remove ham bone to platter; trim off any remaining meat and discard bone. Coarsely chop meat and stir back into beans. If using slab bacon, allow bacon to remain in beans. Turn beans into a shallow 2-quart baking dish; top with sliced bacon and bake, uncovered, 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly and bacon has browned.


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