This baked bean recipe is a family recipe that my mom has been making for as long as I remember. These oven-baked beans get their smoky-sweet flavor from brown sugar and bacon. They’re baked in a cast iron pan. I've honestly never taste baked beans as good as these ones.
There are a lot of recipes for baked beans on the internet. Usually, a classic pot luck recipe, this is one of my favorite summertime, serve with everything grilled recipes.
This version of bbq baked beans is my family's favorite. The sauce is sweet, tangy, and thick. The beans are tender and there is plenty of smokey bacon in every bite.
This recipe is made with canned pork and beans swimming in a tangy-sweet sauce made with bacon, brown sugar, and mustard. A lot of baked bean recipes call for diced green pepper. My mom never added green pepper to hers, and so neither have I.
I honestly didn't even consider that green pepper would be an ingredient in this recipe. Who knew?
Why you need to make this recipe
I can honestly say this is the best baked beans recipe that I have ever tried. This recipe is the perfect side dish for anything grilled. Pair it with juicy grilled burgers, or my Grilled BBQ Pork Kebabs.
- Easy: This recipe is so easy! Especially if you opt for the canned beans.
- Bacon: Everything is better with bacon!
- Sweet and Tangy: These made from scratch baked beans are saucy. They're a little bit sweet and a little bit tangy.
Foodology Geek Recipe Notes
- Bacon: I like to use a thick-cut applewood smoked bacon in this recipe. Peppered bacon is also amazing!
- Onions: Use a sweet yellow onion or a white onion for this recipe.
- Brown Sugar: Traditional brown sugar is what my mom always used, you can take the flavor this recipe up a notch by using muscovado sugar. Muscovado sugar has a richer molasses note to it.
- Canned Pork and Beans: Bush's canned baked beans were always my mom's favorite. Make sure to drain them so that your beans won't be too runny.
- Mustard: My mom always used French's Yellow Mustard or Dry Mustard Powder. Dijon mustard is also really good in these baked beans with bacon.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Worcestershire sauce is the original umami. It's hard to describe what it adds to a recipe. Richness, mouthfeel...well umami. Just use it trust me.
Step By Step Instructions
Making baked beans from scratch is super easy. With just a few ingredients and a well seasoned cast iron pan you can have a pan of savory-sweet bacon-y beans.
- Cook the bacon: Brown the bacon until it's nice and crispy. In the original recipe, my mom writes brown the bacon and then hide it. You can hide or not; it's up to you. Read the room.
- Sauté the onions: Cook the onions in the bacon grease. You can remove some of the bacon grease if it seems excessive. But, honestly, is there anything as too much bacon fat?
- Add the beans and brown sugar: Drain the canned beans and then add them to the skillet.
- Add the mustard and Worcestershire sauce: Stir gently.
- Bake the beans: You can bake these beans in the oven or cook them in a slow cooker. I always cook these in my cast iron pan in the oven. So yummy!
FAQs and Helpful Tips
Typically baked beans are made from white navy beans. If you don't want to use canned beans you can buy dried navy beans. Cook them according to the package directions.
I highly recommend adding a few teaspoons of my BBQ Seasoning to the water to give them an extra flavor boost.
Here are some of my favorite main dish recipes and side dishes that go great with baked beans.
Classic potato salad or my Hawaiian style Macaroni Salad are just a few of our favorite side dishes to serve with baked beans. A fresh and juicy savory Watermelon Salad is also another great option.
Grilled meat pairs well with the smokey sweet beans at any barbecue. Whether you want to make a Simple Marinated Grilled Chicken or some succulent Pork Kebabs with Peach Bourbon BBQ Sauce, you can't go wrong making a side of baked beans.
Baked Beans With Brown Sugar and Bacon
- cast-iron skillet (12")
- Slow Cooker
- ½ pound bacon fry crisp and set aside
- 1 medium white onion diced
- 32 ounces Bush's canned baked beans two 16 ounce cans, drained
- ¼ to ½ cup brown sugar adjust to taste
- 1 tablespoon mustard yellow mustard, dijon mustard, or dry mustard are fine
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Preheat the Oven: Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Brown the bacon: Dice the bacon and brown in a 12" cast iron skillet. Once the bacon is brown, remove it and set aside.
- Brown the onions: Add the diced onion to the bacon grease. Sauté the onions for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the Beans: Add the beans, brown sugar, mustard, and Worchestershire sauce. Return the bacon to the pan. Stir gently.
- Bake: Bake for 2 to 3 hours on the middle rack.
Slow Cooker Instructions
- Follow the instructions for browning the bacon and the onion.
- Add the bacon and onions to the slow cooker.
- Add the beans, and the remaining ingredients.
- Set the slowcooker to low and cook for 2 to 3 hours.