Bacon BBQ Baked Beans

published Dec 11, 2021
Baked Beans Recipe

Bacon and a handful of pantry spices go a long way in transforming an ordinary can of beans.

Serves6 to 8

Makesabout 7 cups

Prep10 minutes to 15 minutes

Cook50 minutes to 55 minutes

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Baked beans with strips of bacon on top, in a cast iron skillet with a blue napkin wrapped around the handle.
Credit: Laura Rege

The tastiest baked beans don’t rely on barbecue sauce alone for their classic flavor. Sure, it’s an essential ingredient, but the sauce requires a little doctoring to get that irresistible tangy and spiced sauce with a subtle balance of sweetness. Bacon (optional if you want to keep it vegetarian) along with a handful of pantry sauces and spices go a long way in transforming an ordinary can of beans into a tasty side.

With a nice low simmer in the oven, baked beans soak up the sauce so that each bite is full of flavor and so tender that the insides of the beans almost melt in your mouth. Although it’s a classic BBQ summer side, it’ also a dish that is just as good in the fall and winter when you want warm oven-baked comfort food. 

What Canned Beans Are Best for Baked Beans?

Pinto beans have an amazingly buttery texture and work particularly well for baked beans, but really any cooked bean works. For a fun mix of textures, try a combo of chickpeas, butter beans, kidney beans, and/or pinto beans. For next-level baked beans, opt for home-cooked rather than canned beans. Use 5 1/4 cups cooked beans in place of the cans.

Credit: Laura Rege

What Do Baked Beans Go With?

Serve baked beans as a side alongside mains like roasted chicken, ribs, burgers, hot dogs, and other traditional barbecue sides like potato salad, grilled corn, and coleslaw. Another fun way to enjoy baked beans is for breakfast! Serve them alongside fried eggs, sausage, and toast for British-inspired meal.

Baked Beans Recipe

Bacon and a handful of pantry spices go a long way in transforming an ordinary can of beans.

Prep time 10 minutes to 15 minutes

Cook time 50 minutes to 55 minutes

Makes about 7 cups

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 3 (about 15-ounce) cans

    pinto beans

  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 1

    medium red bell pepper

  • 5 large cloves

    garlic

  • 4 slices

    thick-cut bacon

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1 cup

    barbecue sauce

  • 1/2 cup

    ketchup

  • 1/4 cup

    apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons

    packed light brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons

    molasses (not blackstrap)

  • 1 tablespoon

    yellow mustard

  • 2 teaspoons

    Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 teaspoons

    smoked paprika

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Finely chop 1 medium yellow onion. Stem, seed, and finely chop 1 medium red bell pepper. Coarsely chop 5 large garlic cloves.

  2. Arrange 4 slices thick-cut bacon in a single layer in a large cast iron or ovenproof skillet. Cook over medium heat, flipping halfway through, until golden-brown and crisped, 10 to 14 minutes total. Meanwhile, drain and rinse 3 (about 15-ounce) cans pinto beans.

  3. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan and return the pan to medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until lightly golden, about 2 minutes more.

  4. Add 1 cup barbecue sauce, 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar, 2 tablespoons molasses, 1 tablespoon yellow mustard, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, and 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, and stir until well-combined. Add the beans and stir to combine. Bring to a boil.

  5. Arrange the bacon on top of the bean mixture, then cover the skillet with a lid or aluminum foil. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the mixture is bubbling, about 5 minutes more. It will continue to thicken slightly as it cools. Serve warm.

Recipe Notes

Substitutions: Pinto beans are classic for this dish, however any cooked bean works! Try any combination of chickpeas, kidney beans, and/or butter beans. Prefer to cook your own beans? Use 5 1/4 cup cooked beans.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.