Baked Beans are the best summer side dish! Skip the canned baked beans and make this easy recipe for all your cookouts this year with almost no work. These old-fashioned baked beans are loaded with flavor, they’re saucy, smoky, and absolutely delish!
It’s not a cookout without baked beans, and this easy recipe is my favorite! While canned baked beans can be good, this homemade baked bean recipe is so much better with tons of flavor and a rich, tangy, and slightly sweet sauce.
This red, white, and blue layer cake is perfect for July 4th!
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Easy to make. I grew up on canned baked beans, so I didn’t realize how easy they were to make at home!
- Simple ingredients. You just need a handful of ingredients. And I bet you already have most of them on hand like ketchup, molasses, brown sugar, and mustard.
- Perfect to make ahead. When you’re planning a party menu, dishes to make in advance are key. This is an easy one to make the night before and just reheat before serving!
Here’s what you’ll need to make baked beans:
- Bacon: Everything’s better with bacon! I always add it to my baked beans.
- Onion: I love the sweet flavor of sautéed onions. It adds a great savory pop to the baked bean sauce, too.
- Green bell pepper: Pepper is one of my favorite seasonings, so bell peppers are the perfect vegetable for me. By the time this recipe is done, you’ll barely be able to find the peppers but the flavor remains!
- Navy beans: I always use canned beans for this recipe because it’s faster. You can always use dried navy beans, pinto beans, or kidney beans, too. Be sure to soak them first!
- Brown sugar: This is one of the key ingredients for beans that are a little sweet. It also adds that rich brown color to the sauce.
- Ketchup: The spice blend in ketchup is great for so many sauces and marinades. Ketchup will give you that old fashioned baked beans flavor that we all love.
- Mustard: You can use dry mustard or Dijon mustard for this baked bean recipe. I usually use dry mustard, but anything works in a pinch.
- Vinegar: For that perfect slight tanginess, use distilled white or apple cider vinegar for this recipe.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
How to Make Baked Beans
Follow these steps for the best homemade baked beans you’ll have all summer long:
- Prep the oven. First, preheat your oven, and adjust the rack to the lower middle position.
- Cook bacon. Then, cook the bacon until it’s mostly cooked but not fully crispy yet. Remove the bacon, but save the grease!
- Sauté veggies. Next, add the bell peppers and onions to the skillet and sauté until softened.
- Add beans and sauce. Now, add the canned beans, molasses, brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, garlic powder, vinegar, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Cook for a few minutes.
- Bake beans. To finish this side dish, add the bean mixture to a greased baking dish, garnish it with the par-cooked bacon, and bake for a few hours. The sauce should be the consistency of maple syrup.
- Rest and serve. When the beans are done, let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This lets the sauce thicken more.
For extra smoky baked beans, add half a teaspoon of liquid smoke to the recipe.
Tips and Tricks
If you’re new to making baked beans in the oven, these tips will help you nail this side dish recipe for your family dinner:
- Make it the night before. I think the flavors of the sauce meld more into the beans as they sit. Make this the night before your party for an easy side dish in a flash.
- Use a slow cooker. Want an even easier recipe? Cook the bacon and veggies as directed, then throw everything in the Crockpot and let it simmer for a few hours. Keep stirring every few hours so nothing sticks to the sides. It’s so easy!
- Make it your own. If you want a sweeter version or a more tangy side dish, you can tweak the ingredients to make your favorite baked beans.
- Keep it vegetarian. I love baked beans with bacon, but sometimes you need a vegetarian side dish for your guests. Simply remove the bacon! You can always add a dash of liquid smoke to make up for the lost smokiness of the bacon, too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Once I learned how to make this baked beans recipe, I’ve rarely used canned baked beans since! However, you can always dress up a basic can of baked beans with onions, molasses, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar, or of course bacon.
This is one of the best meal prep or make ahead recipes because it lasts all week! You can easily store baked beans for up to 5 days in the fridge. Let the beans cool completely before storing any leftovers.
Absolutely you can! If you want to keep the beans longer than 5 days, freeze them in airtight containers. I like to use small portions so it’s as easy as thaw and serve for a quick side dish for 2, 4, or 8 people!
Other Easy Summer Recipes I Love
- Grilled Shrimp Kabobs
- Creamed Corn
- Mexican Chicken Marinade
- Watermelon Salad with Feta Cheese
- Summer Coleslaw
- Blackberry Cobbler
- 4th of July Cupcakes
- Chocolate Pudding Shots
Now that you’re a pro at making baked beans, you’ll never look back! I make this recipe all year long, but especially in the summer with grilled chicken or hot dogs. Make sure to Pin this recipe so more people can enjoy it too!
- 9×13 inch casserole dish (3 qt)
- 8 slices bacon thick cut, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 yellow onion finely diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 4 15oz cans navy beans
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard or 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- ¼ cup distilled or cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C, and adjust oven rack to lower-middle position.
- In a skillet, cook the bacon for a few minutes until it’s partially/half cooked. Remove and drain on kitchen towels. Use the bacon grease (about 2 tablespoons) to sauté the onion and bell pepper until soft (about 5 minutes).
- Add the beans, and remaining ingredients including molasses, brown sugar, ketchup, dry mustard, garlic powder, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Cook for 2 more minutes then remove from heat.
- Grease a 9×13 inch casserole dish, and add the bean mixture to the dish.
- Top with bacon.
- Bake for about 2 hours. The sauce consistency should be similar to pancake syrup.
- Remove from the oven, and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving (the sauce will thicken a little).
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
© Little Sunny Kitchen