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.

A white bowl full of saucy baked beans with chopped cilantro sitting on a red checkered napkin

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:

  • Misting
  • Sprinkling
  • Drizzling
  • Pouring
  • Hailing

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!!

A cast iron skillet with saucy baked beans and a wooden spoon

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:

  • Bacon
  • Red bell pepper
  • Onion
  • Ketchup
  • Molasses
  • Brown sugar
  • Mustard
  • Liquid smoked
  • Canned baked beans

A white bowl full of saucy baked beans with chopped cilantro sitting on a red checkered napkin

How to Make The Best Baked Beans

  1. 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.
  2. Remove the bacon and drain all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan.
  3. 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.
  4. Stir in the cans of baked beans and all remaining ingredients and add the final bacon to the top of the beans.
  5. 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.

A white bowl full of saucy baked beans with chopped cilantro sitting on a red checkered napkin

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.

A white bowl full of saucy homemade baked beans with chopped cilantro sitting on a red checkered napkin

Tips for the BEST Baked Beans

There are two key secrets to making the best homemade baked beans:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.


The Best Baked Beans

4.09 from 45 votes
Servings: 6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes


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.


  • 8 Strips Bacon, divided
  • 1 Onion, large, chopped
  • 1 Bell Pepper, red, 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.
    8 Strips Bacon
  • Reserve 2 Tablespoons (or less is fine) of the bacon grease, then sauté onions and peppers in it.
    1 Bell Pepper, 1 Onion
  • Mix all ingredients together except the 1/3 of the bacon.
    3/4 Cup Ketchup, 1/4 Cup Molasses, 1 Cup Brown Sugar, 2 Tablespoons Mustard, 1/4 teaspoon Liquid Smoke, 3 Cans Baked Beans
  • 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.


store in refrigerator in a covered container for up to 4 days


Serving: 1gCalories: 773kcalCarbohydrates: 137gProtein: 25gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 2182mgPotassium: 1708mgFiber: 23gSugar: 54gVitamin A: 786IUVitamin C: 36mgCalcium: 281mgIron: 8mg
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: America's Best 4th of July Desserts, Recipes and Sides
Cuisine: American

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A white bowl full of saucy baked beans with chopped cilantro sitting on a red checkered napkin