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Best Ever Baked Beans are meaty, perfectly sweet and 100% delicious! Try these and I can (almost) guarantee they’ll be the last bean recipe you will ever make!

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Scoop of meaty baked beans.

Beans are the perfect side dish for summer cookouts and family gatherings.  I especially love them as a side for a grilled hot dog, pulled pork sandwich or Tuna Noodle Casserole!  (Is it normal to have baked beans with Tuna Noodle Casserole?  That’s a requirement in our house!)

Plain ‘ol canned baked beans are fine.  But there is no can of beans that will even begin to compare to my Aunt Teresa’s….the recipe I’m sharing with you today!  Her beans, you guys, ohhhhhh my word!!  They’re meaty, they’re slightly sweet, slightly smoky (thanks to the bacon!) and they’re just downright delicious!  

Toddler trying baked beans.
Little Miss just couldn’t wait to dive on in! 🙂

Though I enjoy beans any time of the year, they’re such a classic side dish when it comes to summer bbq dinners!  The addition of ground beef makes them extra hearty and gives them the perfect texture.  

Ingredients needed to make baked beans with ground beef.

Ingredients for Meaty Baked Beans

  • Canned baked beans – Your favorite brand of “pork n beans” or “original” baked beans
  • Lean ground beef 
  • Bacon 
  • Sugar
  • Brown sugar – Light or dark brown sugar 
  • Ketchup – You could do half ketchup and half bbq sauce if you want a little extra tang!
  • Onion – I prefer to use white or yellow onion 
  • Vinegar – White vinegar or apple cider vinegar works great (could also sub Worcestershire sauce!)
  • Yellow Mustard – You can use Dijon mustard instead if you’d like
Gold spoon scooping up some baked beans.

How to make the Best Ever Baked Beans

Though there’s a little more work to put these together (thanks to the ground beef and bacon), I promise that it’s worth it!!

First, you’ll cook the ground beef and drain the fat.  Place the bacon slices on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 400F until done.  Let the bacon cool then chop it! 

All of the ingredients needed for the best ever baked beans.

Once you’ve got the ground beef and bacon cooked, it’s super easy.  You will open the cans of beans and pour the excess bean sauce out as you’ll make your own homemade sauce to mix them into.  

Stirring baked beans in a crock pot.

Next, stir together the beans, the cooked beef, crispy bacon pieces and the remaining ingredients.  Here are a couple different ways to cook them:

  • On the Stovetop:  Mix the beans in a large skillet and cook over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes.  Be sure to stir occasionally.  
  • In the Oven:  Pour the beans into a casserole dish and cover with aluminum foil (or in a Dutch oven with a lid).  Bake at 350F for 1 hour.
  • In the Crock Pot:  Mix the ingredients and cook on high for 1 hour or on low for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.  
Scoop of baked beans on a wooden spoon.

​Change it up!

  • Add a variety of beans!  Swap one of the cans of baked beans for a can of (drained) kidney beans or navy beans.  If you’ve ever had “cowboy beans” its got more variety of beans in there.  Regular ‘ol butter beans are my fave.
  • Add peppers!  Add some diced green pepper or red bell pepper for a little more color and flavor.
  • Turn up the heat!  Add a pinch of cayenne pepper and some crushed red pepper for a little kick!
White bowl of baked beans with a gold spoon.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I store leftover beans?

​Spoon them into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.  I do not recommend freezing baked beans as they’ll be super mushy after freezing.

What do baked beans go with?

Baked beans go with almost any main dish.  They’re especially good with sandwiches and grilled meats – hot dogs, burgers, brats, pork chops, chicken, etc! 

What makes these the best baked beans?

Texture and flavor!  One thing I love about this hearty side dish is the texture of the soft beans, the meaty ground beef and the crisp bacon pieces.  And of course, the flavor is important!  
The bacon brings a lovely smokiness to the beans and the brown sugar gives it a richer flavor.  Simple canned beans are alright, but this baked beans with ground beef recipe will blow any can of beans out of the water!! 

How do you make baked beans from scratch?

I think the better way to put this question is “what’s the best way to doctor up a can of baked beans?”  I like to start by cooking a pound of ground beef and 8 slices of bacon.  Once the meat is ready, I combine the beans, onion, sugars, ketchup, mustard, vinegar, beef and bacon in the vessel they’ll be cooked in.  
You can cook them in either a baking dish, a slow cooker or a large saucepan.  Cook until the beans are nice and hot, the sugars have dissolved and the onions are nice and soft.  Yum!

Can I cook baked beans in the slow cooker?

Yes!!  The many ways to cook these beans is one of the things I love about this recipe.  The slow cooker is one of those ways.  Although every slow cooker is different, it will take most a couple hours.  I’d recommend cooking them on high for an hour (stirring occasionally) and then letting them cook on low an additional 2-3 hours. 

Other Delicious Side Dishes

Sweet Macaroni Salad

Frozen Fruit Cups

Tortellini Pasta Salad

Cornbread Pudding

Best Ever Baked Beans
4.83 from 17 votes

Best Ever Baked Beans

Author: Kelsey
Prep Time 20 minutes
18 1/2 c servings
These doctored-up baked beans are meaty, slightly smoky, perfectly sweet and all around delicious!

Ingredients
 

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 8 slices bacon
  • Three 15 ounce cans baked beans drained
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

Instructions

  • Brown the ground beef, drain and set aside.
  • Cook the bacon until crispy in the oven or in a skillet. Let cool then crumble or chop into small pieces.
  • In a large mixing bowl (or in the slow cooker), combine the beans, ground beef, bacon, onions, sugar, brown sugar, ketchup, mustard and vinegar.
  • Cook the beans:
    In a slow cooker on high for 1 hour (stirring occasionally) or low for 2-3 hours OR
    In a saucepan on medium-low heat for 30 minutes (stirring occasionally) OR
    In a baking dish in a 350°F oven for 1 hour

Notes

Leftover beans can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.  Enjoy cold or reheat in the microwave or oven.

Nutrition

Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 9.7g | Saturated Fat: 3.44g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.94g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4.24g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 462mg | Potassium: 301mg | Fiber: 2.9g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 48IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1.5mg
“Dance Around the Kitchen” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating




50 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this recipe for the first time today for an event. It was a hit! I did modify it a little. I was concerned that 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 cup white sugar was going to be too sweet. So, I cut both those ingredients back to 1/2 cup.I ended up substituting the yellow mustard for honey Dijon and the vinegar for Worcester sauce. I had no leftovers! Will make it again!

    1. I’m trying your version next weekend.

  2. Have made several times now. Used baked beans instead of pork & beans. Hubby loves it and in fact requested it again today – will be making it again later this week. Since it makes a lot, I shared with neighbor and they loved it as well. Truly is the best baked beans we have ever had. Thanks so much for the recipe.

    1. 5 stars
      I dont even like beans but everybody ordered Baked Beans with the Ribs. I Hope there are some left for the guest when the ribs are done… Made them just as its written above.
      These are Great.
      Definately making these again…

    2. 5 stars
      I dont even like beans but everybody ordered Baked Beans with the Ribs. I Hope there are some left for the guests when the ribs are done… Made them just as its written above.
      These are Great.
      Definately making these again…

      1. So happy to hear!!!! It’s a family favorite at our home! 🙂

  3. I used pork instead of hamburger, can’t wait to try it

  4. Susie Delaney says:

    4 stars
    I liked the recipe, but it was way too sweet! I’ve never used white sugar in a bean recipe, only brown sugar. I will definitely make this recipe again, but I will cut the white sugar by at least half, maybe more! All-in-all, aside from being too sweet, it was a very good recipe!

  5. Just want to make sure it is truly one cup each of what sugar and brown sugar. It sounds like a lot.

    1. It sounds like a lot….but it’s SO good. You could start with 1/2 cup each and see what you think! 🙂

  6. Teresa Ann Hales says:

    5 stars
    I made this recipe tonight, my husband absolutely loved it and told me he’d be upset if I didn’t make this again, Bravo!

    1. So happy to hear!!! Thanks for the wonderful review! ~Kelsey

      1. Emogene Johnson says:

        These beans are really delicious. My husband and I really loved them. Will be making them often for sure.

  7. Paula Stoddard says:

    5 stars
    I made these at Christmas time and they were a huge hit!! I will be making them again for Easter. My sister and my son couldn’t stop raving about them. I used Bush’s baked beans and it was sooo good! Can I make it the night before and then just add it to the crockpot the next day?

    1. Absolutely. That shouldn’t be a problem at all! ~Kelsey

  8. Hello, just wondering how many people does this recipe serve?? Thank you.

    1. Hi Lori – This will serve about 18 people (1/2 cup each). ~Kelsey