BBQ Baked Beans is an irresistible SWEET, SAVORY, and SMOKY, side dish that is great at potlucks, BBQs, picnics, and breakfast too!
If you’d rather skip my essential cooking tips and tricks and get straight to this delicious recipe – simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.
Easy Baked Beans
When you think of BBQs and picnics, I always think of what I’m going to eat.
Aside from the usual hot dogs and burgers, the SIDE DISHES have a chance to really shine!
Some of the traditional dishes include potato salad, corn on the cob, coleslaw, and baked beans. Being from The South, you can’t have plain beans!
This Southern Baked Beans recipe has bacon and onions and is baked in the oven. Too hot to cook inside? Cook these on the grill or smoker alongside your main dish.
Not only are they delicious, they are a great way to make canned beans taste better.
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Which beans are used in baked beans?
This recipe uses pork and beans, but you can use other types of canned beans.
You can use pork n beans, baked beans, or plain beans. “Pork and Beans” are navy beans cooked in a tomato sauce with either pork or pork fat and tend to be a little sweeter.
They are a great jumping off point with a tiny bit of pork fat. Usually, this is a large chunk and not what I am looking for.
I want crispy bacon and veggies cooked in bacon fat. Who saves their bacon fat like me?
Navy beans have the perfect size and a dense and smooth texture that holds up well to baking for long time periods. They also thicken the sauce which adds to the overall yumminess you love in baked beans.
If you are working with plain canned beans, I would drain and rinse them before adding to the recipe.
Can I start with dried beans?
Yes, you can, just prepare the dried beans as you normally would to cook them. Then proceed with the recipe as planned.
Ingredients for BBQ beans
- Canned Beans
- BBQ Sauce
- Brown Sugar
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Bell Pepper
Start with you favorite beans and add the ingredients that make you happy!
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How to make baked beans from scratch
STEP ONE: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Chop the bacon small and cook till crisp in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels.
STEP TWO: Add onions and green peppers to the pan with the bacon fat and cook until translucent. If you have a large amount of bacon grease, you can pull off some but be sure to leave at least 1 tablespoon.
STEP THREE: In a large bowl stir together the beans, veggies, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Pour the mixture into a 9×13 baking dish. Top with the cooked bacon.
STEP FOUR: Bake covered for 1 to 1 ½ hours and then uncover for 30 minutes to help them thicken up nicely. Serve warm!
How long do you bake beans in the oven?
Most baked bean recipes call for anywhere between 1 to 2 hours. Depending on your oven, size and shape of dish, and how thick you like them.
I start with them covered so the bacon doesn’t burn and then uncover for the last 30 minutes. The longer you cook them the thicker they will be.
Can I double this recipe?
Yes, you can! Just make sure the pans are shaped the same so they cook evenly. This is a great way to make one for dinner and one for a later date. Making your life easier!
Can I make these in my crockpot?
Yes! Prepare your bacon and veggies as per recipe, then place the all the remaining ingredients in your slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.
If you want them to thicken like in the oven, and an additional 30-60 minutes uncovered.
Are baked beans good for you?
Aside from the song “Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart…” beans are good for you.
They have a lot of protein and fiber but these Southern baked beans also have sugar in them so be warned.
Can I make them ahead of time?
You sure can. Just prepare per the recipe and store in the fridge until ready to bake. If you are cooking them straight from the fridge be sure to add some extra cooking time for cold beans.
Can I freeze them?
After baking, cool completely and store in a freezer safe container/bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, defrost in the fridge and reheat in a pot or the oven.
If they seem dry, add 1/4 cup of water to them while reheating.
Baked Bean Tips for No Leftovers
- Use LOTS and LOTS of bacon! – my favorite tip 🙂
- Make sure to use high quality bbq sauce. Don’t skimp on this one.
- Prepared yellow mustard is best for a good tangy flavor.
- If you need even more tang, add 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.
- Want spice? Add a few jalapeño slices before baking.
- Are you vegetarian, just leave out the bacon and use plain beans.
- Want variety? Swap out some of the navy beans for northern or pinto beans.
- Want even more smokiness? Add a few drops of Liquid Smoke.
Flavor Variations To Try
Honey and Dijon Mustard
Caramelized Onions and Balsamic Vinegar
Sun-dried Tomatoes and Olives
Rotel or Fire Roasted Tomatoes, Cilantro, and Cumin
Adobo Sauce and Chorizo
Cajun Seasoning and Andouille Sausage
Southern Baked Beans are budget friendly, last for a few days in the fridge if you have leftovers, great for picnics, are kid friendly, did I mention that they have a lot of BACON?
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Other side dishes to try
Easy BBQ Baked Beans Recipe
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