Baked Beans

$7.56 recipe / $0.76 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
5 from 3 votes
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If you’ve only had canned baked beans in the past then you’ve GOT to try these homemade baked beans. They’re seriously delicious and make really incredible leftovers. I used canned beans to keep these baked beans super easy, but then combined them with bacon (bacon makes everything better!) and a super simple homemade BBQ sauce to take the beans to the next level. The beans are then slowly baked to rich, sweet, smoky perfection. You’re going to LOVE them!

Close up overhead view of baked beans in a cast iron skillet with a wooden spoon.

What Kind of Beans to Use for Baked Beans

Navy beans or Great Northern beans are my top picks for baked beans. The small shape, creamy texture, and neutral flavor of both navy and Great Northern beans make them the perfect complement to the rich and tangy sauce. Great Northern beans will hold their shape better, whereas navy beans may break down a bit if stirred too much.

What’s in the Sauce?

I used my homemade BBQ sauce for these baked beans. It’s really simple to prepare, just stir all the ingredients together and let it bake along with the beans and bacon for maximum flavor! The sauce includes tomato sauce, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and spices, like smoked paprika and garlic powder. It’s sweet, savory, tangy, and smoky!

Baked beans on a spoon held close to the camera.

How to Serve Baked Beans

Baked beans are so good that they may become the focal point of your plate, even when served as a side! I love to serve them with southern classics like pulled pork, burgers, coleslaw, potato salad, and mac and cheese. But you could also use them as a bowl meal! Add them to some mashed potatoes, top with cheese and green onion, and you’ve got a cozy and filling bowl of comfort.

What Cookware to Use

I used a well-seasoned cast iron skillet for my baked beans, but any heavy-duty ceramic or cast iron baking dish or Dutch oven will do well. Thinner materials like metal or glass may cause the sauce to overcook or burn around the edges. You’ll want a dish that can hold about two quarts in volume.

What Else Can I Add?

A lot of baked beans recipes will also include bell pepper and onion. When I originally tested this recipe I included finely diced bell pepper and onion that I sautéed until soft in the bacon fat after the bacon had browned, but I wanted to simplify the recipe this time around (less chopping and fewer ingredients!) I found the version without to be every bit as delicious!

Overhead view of baked beans in the skillet with a wooden spoon.

Baked Beans

5 from 3 votes
These baked beans combine the simplicity of canned beans with bacon and a sweet, smoky, and tangy homemade BBQ sauce.
Overhead view of baked beans in the skillet with a wooden spoon.
Servings 10 ½ cup each
Prep 5 mins
Cook 1 hr 25 mins
Total 1 hr 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. bacon ($2.40)
  • 3 15oz. cans Great Northern Beans ($2.37)
  • 1 15oz. can tomato sauce ($0.89)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste ($0.32)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar ($0.17)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar ($0.16)
  • 1/4 cup molasses ($0.77)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard ($0.05)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce ($0.03)
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika ($0.20)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.03)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.02)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces and cook in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crispy. Drain off all but 1-2 Tbsp of the bacon fat.
  • Drain the canned beans well, then add them to the skillet and stir to combine with the bacon.
  • Add the remaining ingredients: tomato sauce, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne and black pepper. Stir until everything is very well combined.
  • Bake the beans for 60-75 minutes, stirring once at 30 minutes and again at 60 minutes. If the sauce is thick at 60 minutes, it's done. If it's still a bit runny, bake 10-15 minutes longer.
  • Serve hot with your other favorite comfort foods!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 307kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 13gFat: 10gSodium: 446mgFiber: 7g
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Close up side view of baked beans in the skillet.

How to Make Baked Beans – Step by Step Photos

Bacon cooking in a cast iron skillet.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cut 8 oz. bacon into 1-inch pieces. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until it is brown and crispy. Drain off all but 1-2 Tbsp of the bacon grease. If you’ll be baking your beans in a different vessel, go ahead and transfer the cooked bacon and remaining fat to your baking dish.

Beans added to skillet with cooked bacon.

Drain 3 cans of Great Northern or navy beans well. Add them to the skillet and stir to combine with the bacon.

BBQ sauce ingredients added to the skillet.

Add the ingredients for the BBQ sauce to the skillet: 15 oz. tomato sauce, ¼ cup tomato paste, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup molasses, 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper.

Baked beans in a skillet before going into the oven.

Stir the ingredients until everything is evenly combined. Transfer the beans to the preheated 350ºF oven.

Baked beans after baking, a spoon stirring them slightly.

Bake the beans for 60-75 minutes (uncovered), stirring once after 30 minutes of baking, and again at 60 minutes. If the sauce is nice and thick at 60 seconds, they’re done. If it’s still a bit liquidy, bake until the sauce is thick.

Finished baked beans stirred in the cast iron skillet.

Serve your homemade baked beans hot with other classic comfort foods like mashed potatoes, green beans, and mac and cheese!

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  1. HI, this recipe looks yummy and delicious. Your descriptions are self-explanatory as well. Thanks for this amazing recipe.

  2. Just a simple gorgeous pot of baked beans. Next I wanna try Beth’s bbq sauce as this recipe basically made it along with the beans, and it’s very tasty. I added a sprig of rosemary to the bacon, I like it with beans.

  3. As I always look at and read the photo instructions for your recipes, I noticed your little error, ‘if the sauce looks nice and thick after 60 SECONDS(LOL!!!), Obviously you meant MINUTES!EXCELLENT RECIPE AS ALWAYS

  4. HI BETH, can the recipe be made in a slow cooker or do you already have one on your website?

    1. Yes, you can make this recipe in a slow cooker. However, we haven’t tested it and don’t have definitive directions for you. But if I were you, I’d double the cook time and taste taste taste. XOXO -Monti

  5. This looks amazing. My dad used to make spicy-sweet baked beans that were ADDICTIVE, and this looks really similar (although he usually cheated a bit by starting with good canned baked beans). This is even more budget-friendly. I’m already looking forward to them!

  6. Even in these times of ever rising prices, it’s possible to get canned beans on sale in the $.50-$.60 price range. Whenever I see them at good prices, I add a few cans to my pantry, but they never stay long on my shelves. A couple of weeks ago, I picked up 8 cans of beans for $.47 each–the limit for that price. My grocery cart had kidney beans, pintos, garbanzos, and navy beans. Canned tomatoes often go on sale simultaneously.