Sweet, smoky baked beans are the best side dish for a backyard barbecue, but you’ll love this baked beans recipe any time of year!
There’s something about baked beans that just screams summertime. I’m not exactly sure why, because they’re made on the stove or in the oven, and there’s not really a season for canned beans like there is for corn-on-the-cob and strawberries.
Maybe it’s the fact that they’re often served alongside grilled meats, or maybe it’s because they’re the perfect cookout food. Whatever the reason, we can all agree that baked beans are a summertime staple!
Easy Baked Beans Recipe
This baked beans recipe is my go-to whenever I’m hosting a backyard barbecue. The sweet and smoky flavor is always a hit, and they’re so easy to make! Plus, they can be made ahead of time, which means one less thing to worry about on the day of the party.
You may be wondering why this baked bean recipe starts with baked beans. Why not a can of navy beans? Well, it’s simple—when you start with beans that are already infused with flavor, you end up with even better baked beans! In fact, I’m pretty sure these will be the best baked beans you’ve ever eaten!
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Onion – A standard white or yellow onion is perfect!
- Bell pepper
- Chili powder
- Smoked paprika
- Apple cider vinegar
- Barbecue sauce – Use your favorite brand.
- Dijon mustard
- Brown sugar – I prefer dark brown sugar because it has a stronger molasses flavor, but light brown sugar works too.
- Baked beans
- Salt and fresh ground pepper
How to Make Baked Beans
Preheat your oven to 350ºF and get out a 9×13-inch baking dish.
2. Cook the Bacon and Veggies
Set a large sauté pan or pot over medium heat and cook the bacon until it’s crispy. Remove it with a slotted spoon and place it on a plate lined with paper towels, then add the onion and bell pepper to the pan with the bacon drippings. Cook until the veggies are softened, about 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Add the Remaining Ingredients
Add the rest of the ingredients except the beans to the skillet and stir to combine. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add the beans (don’t drain them!). Season to taste and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Once it starts to boil, turn off the heat.
Pour the bean mixture into the baking dish (or a Dutch oven) and bake for 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on how thick you want the sauce. Let the beans rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving; the sauce will thicken a bit as the beans cool.
How to Store Leftover Baked Beans
Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 to 4 days. You can serve them cold, simmer them on the stove over low heat until warmed through, or pop them in the microwave.
What to Serve With Baked Beans
Baked beans are the perfect side dish for any summertime meal! Serve them alongside grilled chicken, hot dogs, or burgers, with other classic cookout sides like potato salad, macaroni salad, coleslaw, and strawberry pretzel salad.
You can also enjoy baked beans the British way—on a piece of toast!
There are many different types of baked beans, but the most common type is made with navy beans. Other popular varieties include kidney beans, pinto beans, and black beans.
There are many ways to make baked beans tastier! One way is to add some bacon or salt pork. You can also add onions, garlic, or green peppers for some extra flavor. Finally, don’t forget the spices! A little salt, pepper, and paprika will go a long way. This recipe does all of these things for maximum flavor!
If you find that your canned baked beans are too thin, you can leave them in the oven longer. The longer they bake, the more liquid will evaporate, giving you a thicker sauce. Keep in mind, though, that the sauce will thicken a bit when the beans cool.
Baked beans can be frozen, but they may not taste as good as fresh. If you do choose to freeze them, thaw them completely, then reheat them in the microwave or on the stovetop.
More Classic Side Dish Recipes
- 8 slices of bacon diced
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp BBQ sauce
- 3 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 22oz cans of baked beans
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a large saute pan, cook the bacon until crispy over medium heat. Remove using a slotted spoon and add the onion and bell pepper to the same pan. Cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add remaining spices and sauces and stir to combine. Continue to cook for 3 minutes. Add the beans and season to taste, stirring frequently. Bring the mixture to a boil and turn off the heat.
- Transfer to a 9×13 baking dish and bake for 1.5-2 hours, depending on desired consistency. Let the beans rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.