Homemade Franks & Beans

Full disclosure: What you are looking at was supposed to be what I’ve been calling in my head “Highbrow Franks & Beans.” A few weeks ago, when I asked Andy what we should have simmering on the self-serve stovetop for Halloween night, he said, “Remember you made those baked beans one year while we carved pumpkins? Why don’t you do that again, and then get some really good hot dogs and call it franks and beans?” And so for weeks I’ve been picturing those sweet and bubbly beans inside the oven in our well-worn Le Creuset, while Andy wielded a carving knife and did his best to make the girls’ visions of toothy jack-0-lanterns come to life. Last Sunday, while everyone else was stocking up on bottled water and batteries for the storm, I was tracking down molasses and Niman Ranch franks. I had enough canned food in the pantry anyway — including a nice stash of Trader Joe’s organic baked beans that never allow a turkey burger to feel lonely in our house.

Well, Halloween was canceled. Instead of cozying up in our oven-warmed house, we were sleeping at my parents’ house across town — a house that does not have two sixty-foot oak and locust trees hovering over it — keeping watch on Hurricane Sandy. When we returned, we had no power or heat. And we had a fridge filled with things that had to be cooked or tossed –like, for instance, those hot dogs. But we were grateful for so many things, like our operational gas stove… and the fact that our house was still standing. So when what little daylight there was that afternoon vanished, we sat around the candle-lit dinner table, and pigged out on our fancy franks and those sweet, delicious beans — straight from the can.

Highbrow Franks & Beans
No reason for you guys to go without this just because my oven is down for the count. This is based on a Victoria Granof recipe from Time for Dinner and what I loved so much about working with Victoria (master food stylist and recipe developer) is that she considered it her life’s mission to dream up shortcuts wherever possible. That’s why you don’t see any soaking overnight here. She does the quick boil an hour ahead of time. Also, here is a link to some high-brow hot dogs that might be useful.

1 pound dried navy or great northern beans
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
2 tablespoons molasses
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 thick strips bacon
3 hot dogs, sliced into rounds as shown

In a large pan, cover the beans with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender, about 1 hour. Drain.

Preheat oven to 300°F. In a bowl, combine everything else except the bacon. Stir in the beans.

Place 1 bacon strip at the bottom of a large ovenproof dish or Dutch oven. Pour the bean mixture over it, then push the other strip in.

Add just enough boiling water to the pot to cover everything. Cover the pot with aluminum foil, then a lid. Bake for 5 hours, checking hourly to make sure the beans aren’t drying out. (Add more water as necessary to keep them submerged.) Uncover for the last half hour to brown the top, if desired. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, stir in hot dog slices until warmed through.

To help support victims of Hurricane Sandy, please consider donating to the Mayor’s Fund of NYC. One hundred percent of your contribution will go towards immediate relief efforts and organizations.

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Amanda @ DinnersintheFourOneFive

I love it, what a great recipe – my kids would devour this. How apropos to have Frank N’ Beans during the Frankenstorm. Well played, Jenny.

Surely I am not the only person who immediately thinks of Mary’s brother in the movie ‘Something About Mary’ who’d scream out “Frank N’ Beans!!” at inappropriate times. 🙂


we have been watching the coverage of the storm and the coast may never look the same again. like you, we are on the east coast but a bit further down. beside some flooding and a few downed trees we are good. on to the recipe… i cannot recall the last time i had this. i don’t even think my kids have had beans and franks. of course they would love it! i love that you included it on your site.


I’m so sorry you guys are still without power. I don’t even know what to say. Thinking of you and the girls.


Glad your home and family made it through Sandy unscathed. And I love that you posted this recipe. When I was a kid, it was called “Beans and Hot Dogs All Mixed Up”….and it definitely was something we would have eaten on Halloween night when my mom couldn’t get us to sit still and eat for more than 3 minutes. And it definitely would have been made from B&M baked beans in a can.

I love your site and can’t wait to buy your book!


Amanda – Love Frankenbeans! How did I not think of that????

Thank you Kendra, Mary, sandi — we are FINE and not complaining. Things could be much worse.


This is the only dinner my husband cooks. Of course, his is not very highbrow. But the kids insist upon it when I’m out!


So glad to hear your house is standing and you are fine. Frank and beans where a staple growing up. Kinda forgot about them!


I had this growing up in the fifties A LOT. My parents called it “weanie beanie.” Is that weird? They’re in their 90s now and still have it for dinner occasionally.


Glad to hear you guys and the house is safe! Love the recipe! I haven’t had this in years, my husband would probably fall out when he finds out I am making this this weekend! On a side note, I would love to you what canned goods you stock your pantry with!


Jenny – we’re breaking out the Turkey Fryer tomorrow afternoon for everyone without power – you and yours are welcome to come by.
Brett & Samantha


glad to hear you are all safe. I love that you posted this recipe: the lowbrow version works just fine for me.


Hello from a new reader (currently reading the book, too) and slightly-better-than-amateur cook. Am wondering if the baked beans, once prepared (and sans hot dogs) can be frozen? I’m on this kick of trying to cook better, more interesting dinners for my family, but I’m also on a budget and am trying to get into the whole freezer-dinners thing.
Unless a recipe specifically says “Can be frozen,” I never know whether or not it can be. Any advice on this? Thank you!


Stay safe! I made something just like this for my Halloween party this year, just so I could label it as “FrankenBeans”.


We are devastated in Hoboken. BUT-tonite -at one of the few houses with power-we prepared a smorgasbord meal which included your chicken parm meatballs which had been frozen for a rainy (and dark) day. Meatballs were a hit-6 adults and 7 little people- and even though it’s dark and the road to recovery is a long one for many, we are grateful-especially for the meatballs! Thanks Jenny!

Sara T.

My thoughts are with everyone affected by the storm. Really hoping power is restored and the recovery goes smoothly.

Do you think this recipe would be okay cooked in a crockpot rather than in the oven? It’s rare that I have 5 hours to be home while the oven is on (6 if you count bean boiling time), however overnight soaking and crockpot cooking would be easy to do.


Kim – Thank you for taking the time to check in this week. And love that Chicken Parm meatballs provided a small moment of comfort amidst the chaos. We are thinking of you guys — is there anything specific we here in the DALS community can do to help? Please let us know.


So glad to hear you and your family are safe!

I wanted to tell you (I’m sure you know this!) that DALS the book is on the Goodreads choice for best cookbook of 2012. I was so excited to vote for it and hope you win! Haha…don’t know WHAT you win other than bragging rights, but that means quite a bit, too! My fingers are crossed for you!


Yum. These remind me of what we called “Frankfurters Pilaf” — a dish that my mother made in the seventies in an avocado colored electric skillet. I found the recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook set at a garage sale and have made it for my children over and over. I am mocked by my friends, but we all love it!


Any tips on making these vegetarian? Other than leaving out the bacon? I got the vegetarian hot dog part covered, it’s the bacon the beans I’m wondering about.


This. Was. Fantastic!! YUM!! I have never made frank n’ beans before, but one of my favorite foods as a kid was canned “Beanie Weenies” — and this tasted so similar, without all the chemicals! I made one change and added a whole package of Applegate Farms hot dogs. Thank you for a fabulous recipe!


Well, my memory of baked beans in my mother’s kitchen was of tiny pellets the texture of steel. My brother reminded me of another time when it was beans all over the ceiling (those early pressure cookers were not reliable!).

I followed this recipe. They were perfect. Period. Thank you!


Do you need to drain the beans before tossing with the other ingredients?? Planning to make tomorrow


Cherie – Yes, drain beans before tossing. I can see how that was confusing. I added the instruction to the recipe. Thanks!


We were also without power for 10 days. We were so thankful to have our stove, our generator and our lives. Just found you (almost a year later) searching for a beans & weiners recipe! Yay!


I have been searching for a recipe to make these from scratch! I refuse to eat canned beans, not only are they high in sodium but they use gmo ingredients and I am boycotting the thieving sobs. I also found franks that are from humanly treated and free range animals, costs a lot but they are DELICIOUS! Thank you.

Jenny K

Hi–I’m thinking of making these this week for the Halloween craziness. Do you think this would work in the crock pot?

The Steady Table

I made this for the first time a couple of days ago, and wow, was it well-received! My husband grunted a heartfelt thank you between bites, and my daughter said it was her favorite food, and asked to have it for lunch… every day. Thanks for another keeper DALS.

Kristle Brumley

I put the weenies in the pot and am cooking them with everything else, because I read it wrong 🙁
Will this be bad?


The best homemade baked beans I’ve made, thanks to this easy recipe….I use Nathan’s franks with natural casings….Doesn’t get much better than this….!!!!


This turned out wonderfully! I admit I took a few shortcuts (bacon ends rather than bacon, simulated maple syrup = white sugar, brown sugar and maple extract) but it’s a great recipe, and I can’t wait for our finances to improve enough for me to try it properly. (Oooh, wonder how it would be with other pork meats? Ham steak??)

Lita Watson

Your dish looks so amazing! Can i use honey to replace brown sugar for this recipe? How long will this dish last in the refrigerator?