BBQ Beef and Beans

$7.68 recipe / $1.92 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.88 from 32 votes
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It’s been a while since I’ve made something that was just a straight-up simple comfort food, and after a super long week, comfort food was definitely in order. Think of these BBQ Beef and Beans as a cousin to sloppy Joes, or the love child of baked beans and beef chili. They’re hearty and flavorful, they meal prep well, and can be as no-fuss or as “from scratch” as you want them to be. I’ve included instructions to make them vegetarian or to amp up the vegetable content below, so scroll on down to see more!

A skillet full of BBQ Beef and Beans with a wooden spoon and a black ceramic bowl of BBQ sauce on the side.

P.S. I’ll be posting this homemade BBQ Sauce recipe on its own tomorrow, along with plenty of ways to put it to good use!

Make it Vegetarian

To make this dish vegetarian, you’ll need to swap the Worcestershire sauce for a vegetarian version (Worcestershire contains anchovies). Annies Vegan Worcestershire Sauce is the most popular brand and can be found at stores like Whole Foods, or other large grocers. Once your BBQ sauce is vegetarian, just swap the ground beef for one extra can of beans. I suggest pinto, so you have a nice trio of shapes and colors with your beans, but you could also double up on either the kidney or black beans.

Pump Up The Vegetables

I’m usually all about adding vegetables into my dishes wherever possible, but today I just wanted to keep things as simple as possible. If you want to add a few vegetables in there to balance things out, you can add a diced onion, diced bell pepper, or even some shredded cabbage (make it easy and use bagged shredded coleslaw mix, a couple handfuls added when you brown the beef should do it). 

Front view of a bowl of BBQ Beef and Beans topped with cheddar and green onion, and a fork lifting a bite.

Homemade BBQ Sauce vs. Store Bought

I had been working on a homemade BBQ sauce recipe this week, so I went ahead and used my homemade sauce in this recipe. If you don’t feel like making your own, or don’t have the necessary ingredients on hand, feel free to sub 1 cup of your favorite bottled BBQ sauce.

How to Serve BBQ Beef and Beans

I served mine bowl-style over some brown rice and topped with cheddar and green onion, but you could also serve this on a bun like a slider or sloppy joe! Or just on its own with some saltine or oyster crackers. 

Close up of BBQ Beef and Beans in the skillet, topped with sliced green onion.
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BBQ Beef and Beans

4.88 from 32 votes
Serve these sweet, tangy, and savory BBQ Beef and Beans with rice and cheese for a simple and comforting weeknight dinner the whole family will love.
Overhead view of a bowl full of BBQ Beef and Beans, served with rice and topped with cheddar and green onion. A bowl of green onion on the side.
Servings 4
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 25 minutes
Total 30 minutes


  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.04)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef ($2.65)
  • 1 15oz. can kidney beans ($0.89)
  • 1 15oz. can black beans ($0.89)

Homemade BBQ Sauce*

For Serving

  • 4 cups cooked rice ($0.80)
  • 4 oz. shredded cheddar ($0.85)
  • 2 green onions, sliced ($0.22)


  • Add the oil and minced garlic to a large skillet. Sauté the garlic for one minute over medium heat. Add the ground beef and continue to sauté until cooked through. If using a higher fat content beef, drain the excess fat before moving on to the next step.
  • Rinse the two cans of beans, then drain them well. Add the beans to the skillet with the ground beef.
  • Add the ingredients for the Homemade BBQ Sauce to the skillet (tomato sauce, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and some freshly cracked pepper).
  • Stir and cook the mixture until the sauce ingredients have combined and created a thick sauce. Allow the sauce to come up to a simmer and then simmer the beef and beans in the sauce for 5 minutes, stirring often. Taste the sauce and add salt to taste (I added 1/2 tsp).
  • To serve the BBQ Beef and Beans, place 1 cup cooked rice in each bowl, top with 1 cup of the BBQ Beef and Beans, then top with about 1/4 cup shredded cheddar and a sprinkle of sliced green onion.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


*To make this recipe faster and easier, substitute 1 cup of your favorite bottled BBQ sauce for the homemade BBQ sauce listed above.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 742.13kcalCarbohydrates: 100.15gProtein: 35.45gFat: 21.73gSodium: 1749.25mgFiber: 13.63g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Love BBQ sauce? Try these Recipes with BBQ Sauce:

Overhead view of a bowl full of BBQ Beef and Beans, served with rice and topped with cheddar and green onion. A bowl of green onion on the side.

How to Make BBQ Beef and Beans – Step by Step Photos

Cooked brown rice in the pot.

If you’ll be serving your BBQ Beef and Beans with rice, begin cooking it first so that it’s ready when the beef and beans are finished cooking (cook your rice according to the package directions). 

Minced garlic cooking in a skillet with oil. A wooden spatula in the skillet.

Add 1 Tbsp cooking oil to a large skillet, along with 2 minced cloves of garlic. Sauté over medium for one minute.

Browned ground beef.

Add 1/2 lb. ground beef and continue to sauté until the beef is cooked through. If you’re using a higher fat content ground beef, drain the excess fat before moving onto the next step.

Rinsed beans in the skillet with the browned beef.

Rinse and drain one 15 oz. can of kidney beans and one 15 oz. can of black beans. Add them to the skillet with the browned beef.

BBQ Sauce Ingredients in the skillet with the beef and beans.

Next, add the ingredients for the homemade bbq sauce (8 oz. tomato sauce, 2 Tbsp tomato paste, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbsp molasses, 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, and some freshly cracked pepper). Or add 1 cup of your favorite bottled BBQ sauce. You may notice that my tomato paste is covered in frost. I routinely portion and freeze my leftover tomato paste in 1 Tbsp portions to save it for later. :)

Finished BBQ Beef and Beans in the skillet with a wooden spatula

Continue to stir and cook the mixture until all the sauce ingredients are completely combined. Allow the sauce to come up to a simmer, then let the skillet simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. Finally, taste the BBQ Beef and Beans and add salt to taste (I added 1/2 tsp). 

Finished bowl of BBQ Beef and Beans served over rice and topped with cheddar and green onions.

To serve, place 1 cup cooked rice in each bowl, top with 1 cup BBQ Beef and Beans, some shredded cheddar, and sliced green onions. Then go to town!

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  1. Another winner! I made this with store-bought BBQ sauce for the convenience, ground turkey (on sale), and pinto beans instead of kidney beans (just my preference). It was so good! I accidentally used the whole pound of ground turkey, and if you do that, you’ll have to use more BBQ sauce, but no matter. It was delicious served over sweet potatoes, and I’m happy to have another bean-based recipe in my rotation. I’m definitely adding veggies next time.

    Budget Bytes is slowly changing my opinion of beans (I also made Cheesy Pinto Beans this week–that one is still my favorite, probably on the whole site), and thank goodness, because meat is so expensive these days!

  2. This was a great recipe, everyone had seconds! Swapped store bought bbq sauce for homemade because I needed a low-effort dinner. Cheap, easy and filling! I can’t ask for more than that.

  3. We bought the 30 day, 30 minute meal plans.

    So far this has been my favorite meal. Great flavor and easy to make. My 10 year old and wife made it together. Was a great meal.

    My son turned his into a sloppy Joe rather than having it on rice.

  4. I tried this recipe with vegetarian beans (drained them before adding to beef), red onion, red peppers, garlic powder & smoked paprika. I added bbq sauce, mustard & 2 chipotle peppers. Beef mixture was added to low carb tortilla, which was cut in half length-wise. It was good.

  5. It was okay. Followed the recipe to a T. It was definitely filling but flavor was lacking so I added a bit of pre-made bbq sauce.

  6. I enjoyed it enough for two bowls but it wasn’t a hit with kids. Made as per recipe except subbed the black beans for a can of white beans.

  7. I reviewed this before, but wanted to add that I froze some in individual portions. Tonight, I rolled one of those thawed portions into a tortilla and it was suddenly dinner. Thanks again for a great recipe.

  8. This was a hit at my house. I made it the lazy way with bottled bbq sauce and served it over some oven roasted potatoes

  9. So good. I thought it might be a lot like chili but it has a unique flavor. We served it on baked potato halves. My husband liked it too. Doubled the recipe to be able to freeze some for later.

  10. This is very tasty and I will definitely make again. I already had Baby Ray’s bbq sauce so I used it, but will try making your sauce next time. 

  11. I made this with Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce (with some added smoked paprika and black pepper) on top of roasted sweet potato halves and topped with cheddar cheese. Delicious.

  12. This was tasty and easy. I had all the ingredients on hand. I made twice as much bbq sauce and didn’t find it too saucy. I guess I like sauces! I put a dollop of sour cream on top too. I like having a new ground beef recipe for my rotation.

  13. Such a delicious and quick meal! I made this vegetarian by using a package of Impossible “meat”. Since it is more than a 1/2 lb. I doubled everything else. Now I have leftovers for lunch and/or another dinner. Thank you for another great recipe!

  14. I just made this recipe for lunch and we loved it. I made the barbecue sauce–so good. I added 1/2 half chopped red onion, 1/2 chopped red bell pepper, and about 3/4 cup of cauliflower rice. I served it over brown rice–just perfect.