Rich and saucy homemade baked beans are the perfect summer BBQ side dish. This is the BEST baked beans recipe! It’s made with molasses, peppers, onions, and bacon.
Homemade Baked Beans with Bacon
If you’re looking to know how to make baked beans from scratch, this recipe might not be exactly what you want as this is a semi-homemade recipe. Large cans of baked beans start us off on the right foot, while all the rest of the ingredients are totally fresh and from scratch and the results are mouth watering.
It’s stormy outside. Like, hail, wind, thunder and rain coming down in buckets between the hail. I love it. The house is dark and quiet. Everyone is napping. It sends me waaaaay back in time.
I grew up in Vancouver, Washington. Right across the river from Portland, Oregon. Rain was obviously an everyday occurrence. In fact, we had different kinds of rain. These are just a few of the different types of rain in the Pacific Northwest:
No, really. I’m totally serious. Here in Utah it just rains, but back home you could do different things based on the rain. Really you never canceled much because tomorrow would be the same, but for example, we may do a 4th of July BBQ in anything up to raining, hiking in drizzles, but probably not pouring down rain because of the mud slides. You get my point.
Sometimes I really miss Washington. It’s beautiful, lush, green and the air really does feel fresher. Whenever we have a great rain or wind storm here it reminds me of home. In fact, it’s comforting to me. I even sleep more soundly.
Cade feels his comfort from the sun, beach and BBQ. Clearly his heart still loves South Carolina where his mom still is. Which brings us to the BEST baked beans recipe.
This is one of the very, very best recipes I’ve made, which says a lot because I don’t usually loooooove baked beans. But I do love these ones!!
What’s Needed for BBQ Baked Beans?
This easy baked beans recipe doesn’t require any special ingredients. Here’s all you’ll need to make semi-homemade baked beans:
- Red bell pepper
- Brown sugar
- Liquid smoked
- Canned baked beans
How to Make The Best Baked Beans
- Cook 2/3 the bacon down in a Cast Iron skillet. You could easily do this in a pan and later transfer to a casserole dish or pot, but we’ve found that a deep cast iron skillet brings on extra flavor and even cooking.
- Remove the bacon and drain all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan.
- Add the onions and peppers to the pan and sauté. It’s very important that you cook the veggies down until tender as they will meld right into the sauce, which is what you want versus baked beans full of veggies.
- Stir in the cans of baked beans and all remaining ingredients and add the final bacon to the top of the beans.
- Bake low and slow for almost 3 hours.
How Long Do Baked Beans Last?
These homemade baked beans with bacon will last up to 4 days in the fridge.
Can You Freeze Baked Beans?
Yes, these bbq baked beans freeze very well. Simply seal in a freezer bag and freeze. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight. You can reheat the baked beans in the oven or on the stovetop.
Can I Make Vegetarian Baked Beans?
Yes, of course! If you’d like to make these bbq baked beans vegetarian, just skip the bacon and proceed as normal, using olive oil for sautéing the vegetables instead of the bacon fat.
What Beans Are Best for Baked Beans?
There are a few different baked beans recipes out there, but most baked beans recipes are made with navy beans. This classic beans holds up well to the sauce of the baked beans and oven temperatures.
Which Brand of Baked Beans Are Best?
I never knew there could be so many brands of baked beans before, but as an adult I’m learning that not all baked beans are created equally. We are currently using Bush’s Baked beans and have had really wonderful results from the brand. We like that the sauce tastes as if it was made at home, the beans are whole and never smashed to pieces, and the sauce to beans ratio is perfect.
Tips for the BEST Baked Beans
There are two key secrets to making the best homemade baked beans:
- Liquid smoke: We’ve learned through 10 years of blogging that not everyone has a smoker, but everyone wants that smoky flavor. A small amount of liquid smoke is all it takes for these saucy baked beans to taste like you smoked them for hours out on your Traeger.
- Bake low and slow: Baking beans at a lower temperature for a longer period of time will enhance the flavor of the sauce to all new heights and the beans can easily take the heat. Try baking for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, then serve immediately.
More SUMMER SIDE DISHES:
- Classic Macaroni Salad
- Easiest Biscuits (Using 7-Up!)
- Baked Macaroni and Cheese
- The Best Potato Salad
- Bacon Ranch Corn Dip
- Classic Grilled Corn on the Cob
- 7 Layer Bean Dip
- Mexican Corn Salad
- Southern Pea Salad
- All our SIDE DISH recipes!
The Best Baked Beans
- 8 Strips Bacon, , divided
- 1 Bell Pepper, red, chopped
- 1 Onion, large, chopped
- 3/4 Cup Ketchup
- 1/4 Cup Molasses
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Mustard
- 1/4 Teaspoon Liquid Smoke
- 3 Cans Baked Beans, 16 oz.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Fry the bacon and set aside.
- Reserve 2 Tablespoons (or less is fine) of the bacon grease, then sauté onions and peppers in it.
- Mix all ingredients together except the 1/3 of the bacon.
- Sprinkle the reserved bacon over the beans.
- Put everything in a large baking dish and bake uncovered for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
- When done, sprinkle a little cilantro over the top if desired.
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This is almost the same as the way I make them. I don’t do green pepper or liquid smoke but I do add allspice to mine. The rest is the same and yes they are the best!
Yay! Thank you so much Linda!
My entire family raved about this recipe…. definitely a “keeper”. The only change or “mistake” that I made was I purchased 28oz cans of Bush’s Original beans thinking that was what I needed. After reading the recipe again I decided to use just 2 of them. Recipe was still thick and fabulous!
Yay! So glad to hear you enjoyed it!
Ok, I will admit I am a bit skeptical about a baked bean recipe that uses canned baked beans . I have made recipes that use rinsed canned beans , but never like this.
Because I LOVE your recipes, I am willing to give it a try.
Finally, to my question…. there are a TON of Bush baked beans options available, so which one did you use in this recipe ?
Yes, give it a try and let us know! We just use the original Bush’s baked beans.
Before I make them, what specifically are the varieties of beans used in the accompanying photo?!! Thanks. I’m eager to make them….
Hi Diane! We like to buy the Bush’s Baked Bean original flavor. We have loved the results using these.
Can you can these?
I’ve never tried that! I don’t see why not!
Question: So you’re using preseasoned baked beans then adding more brown sugar and molasses? I thought I read to use navy beans then the recipe calls for baked beans. Not too sweet? Just wanted to clarify thank you!
Hi Allison! A lot of baked beans are made with navy beans. It just depends on what baked beans you buy or prefer. Enjoy this recipe!
I found your recipe online when looking for a baked bean recipe similar to my MIL’s recipe. She is no longer with us to get the exact ingredients, so I went searching. The only thing different that I can identify is that she added cooked, seasoned ground beef. It has always been a family favorite as yours has been with your family. Thank you so much for sharing!
Thank you so much Kathy! I hope this comes close to the flavors you remember!
We LOVE these beans! They have officially become the “asked for” beans of family gatherings! The one thing that confused me every time is the bacon! I don’t understand if all of it goes into the dish cooked or if you’re putting uncooked bacon on the top!
Sorry just saw your reply to the same question below!
Hey Jessica! The first step stay to fry the bacon. Then 2/3 of the cooked bacon goes in with the beans, the other 1/3 gets sprinkled on top. So glad you enjoy these beans! They are a favorite in our house!
Just put them in the oven….can’t wait! They look scrumptious!!
How were they??!!
This recipe turned out great ! It was the perfect complement to BBQ ribs and potato salad. Thanks for sharing
That sounds like the perfect meal to me!! So glad you enjoyed it!
Are you supposed to drain the beans before mixing with other ingredients?
Hi Michele! Don’t drain them. Enjoy!
Can you make these in advance, refrigerate and then bake the day of?
Do you have a baked bean recipe that includes apples?
No we don’t, but that sounds delicious!
I want to try this recipe
You should for sure!!
Does the raw bacon go in with the bean mixture and the cooked bacon go on top before putting in the oven?
I’m so sorry for the confusion! I’ve updated the recipe card to be more clear. You cook all the bacon, mix 2/3 of it in the beans and sprinkle the other 1/3 on top before baking!
I also forgot to ask if doubling or tripling the recipe is the cook time stay the same? And what type of onion do you use (white, yellow, sweet)?
Hey Kimberly! Regular yellow mustard, yellow onion (purple works great too), and if you use a low lipped pan, it shouldn’t change the time, but if you use a deeper pan then you might want to add 10-15 extra minutes to get it to heat through.
Quick question…do you use dry mustard or a liquid mustard?
Can we go over the nutritional information? Not sure it’s accurate!
oh dear,it’s pulling for the full recipe again. Hang on and I’ll correct it.
I definitely want to make this recipe, this weekend, it sounds amazing!! What flavour of liquid smoke would you recommend?
Any flavor will work great! We tend to use hickory most often.
Brittany Audra @ Audra’s Appetite
Yum these look so thick and sweet!! 🙂
They are so good!
Yes, are these quart size cans or what? How many people does this feed???
Sorry about that, it’s 16 ounce cans and feeds 6-8 people
So I just made these gems today! They look PERFECT! However, I tasted them at around the 1 hour mark. They are SO INCREDIBLY SWEET. Now I like baked beans that are a little sweet, but a whole cup of brown sugar seems a bit much. I’ll taste them again at the 2 hour mark to see if the flavors meld a bit better. I’m thinking that I will make this again in the future, but cut the sugar down to 1/2 or 1/4 cup.
In the meantime, any tips to cut the sweetness? I was just going to take half the beans out, add in a new can and heat to try & mellow out that flavor.
Hey AJ! How did they turn out? If they were too sweet for you, you could definitely cut back on the brown sugar.
Sodium? Not feeding a crowd…whew smaller reciepe? for 2 maybe?
You can half the recipe and it would feed about 4 people, so you’d have leftovers.
3 large cans of beans…..do you mean the REALLY big cans? Or just the 28 oz cans?
Hi Darla, sorry about that, it’s 3 16 ounce cans
Can this be done in a crockpot? If so, for how long?
Absolutely! It will be about the same amount of time in the crockpot…2.5-3 hours on low. You could even stretch it out to 4 hours if you want.
Just like my mom makes, looks great
I love bell peppers in beans. Sounds great!