Sheila Lukins’s Favorite ‘Baked Beans’

  • Serves

    serves 6-8


Cookbook author Sheila Lukins worked her magic on the under-appreciated lima with this twist on baked beans. Use dried baby limas for this recipe instead of the large ones, which tend to fall apart.


  • 1 lb. dried baby lima beans
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped celery
  • 23 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 12 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 23 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 23 cup light molasses
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne


Step 1

Rinse lima beans well. Place them in a large heavy pot with water to cover and soak overnight.

Step 2

Drain lima beans; add bay leaves and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until beans are tender. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface.

Step 3

Preheat oven to 325°. Meanwhile, brown 2 slices of the bacon in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Remove from skillet, crumble, and set aside. Add celery, onions, peppers, cilantro, and garlic to the bacon fat in the same skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Step 4

Drain all but about 1 1⁄2 cups cooking liquid from beans. Discard bay leaves. Stir in cooked bacon, celery mixture, ketchup, molasses, dry mustard, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne.

Step 5

Place beans in a shallow baking dish and cover with remaining slices of bacon. Bake uncovered for 1 1⁄2 hours. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes to allow the beans to absorb the sauce.

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