Best Ever Baked Beans

Best Ever Baked Beans

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

Baked beans.  You either love ‘em or you hate ‘em.  I’m 100% on team “Love ‘em!” 

When I was a little tyke, Mom always bought Van Camps.  Then I remember when Dad decided he didn’t love Van Camps, so we switched to Bush’s.  Also delish.  Now these simple canned baked beans will do the trick and they’re probably what we had 75% of the time. 

They were quick, convenient and went perfectly with Tuna Noodle Casserole.  (Is it normal to have baked beans with Tuna Noodle Casserole?  That was as normal as burgers and fries in our house!)

Where did this recipe come from anyway??

Like I said, canned baked beans are fine. However, there is no can of beans that will even begin to compare to my Aunt Teresa’s!  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! 

These meaty baked beans are a little more work than just cranking open a can, but they’re worth every second. 

These Best Ever Baked Beans are almost guaranteed to make an appearance at every gathering for my mom’s side of the family.  Like if there’s a family barbeque and the beans aren’t on the counter, we better make sure Teresa’s feeling alright. 😉

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

I got to thinking one day…why are beans such a hot commodity during summer barbeques and events?  Well, I’m assuming there are two main reasons.  1. They’re just so good with anything on the grill!  And 2. You can keep them warm in a slow cooker which means no hot oven or stovetop when company arrives!

Iowa summers can be roasty toasty, especially when accompanied by high humidity.  My permed hair made the humidty verrry apparent when I was little. Haha!  But even if the humidity is high and you’re in with the air conditioning, you don’t want the oven or stovetop on to warm things up.  That’s the beauty of a slow cooker and thus the beauty of beans. 

You can prep these beans a few days ahead of time and warm them up before company arrives in the slow cooker.  When the company arrives, you’ll be calm, “cool,” and collected because the rest of the meal will be a breeze (and won’t heat up the house)!

How to make the Best Ever Baked Beans

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Scoop of baked beans

What do baked beans go with?

Baked beans go with so many meals. They’re especially good with sandwiches and grilled meats – burgers, brats, pork chops, chicken, nearly anything!

What makes the best baked beans?

Texture and flavor! One thing I love about these beans 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 baked beans can be alright, but these 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.

These baked beans are perfect for any potluck or cookout! Need more ideas? Here are a couple more of my favorites!
Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake
Butterscotch Brickle Bars
Mexican Street Corn Salad

Best Ever Baked Beans

Best Ever Baked Beans

These doctored-up baked beans are meaty, slightly smoky, perfectly sweet and all around delicious!
4.88 from 8 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 18 1/2 c servings


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 28 oz can pork and beans drained
  • 8 oz can homestyle pork and beans
  • 1 c chopped onion
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 c ketchup
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp vinegar


  • 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


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

Recipe added to the Weekend Potluck and Meal Plan Monday


  1. Sounds so good. I am a little confused about the homestyle pork & beans. Are you referring to canned homestyle baked beans or regular pork & beans?

    • Hi Mary – Good question!! “Homestyle” is the variety of canned baked beans. So you’ll use a big can of the “pork & beans” variety and a small can of the “homestyle.” If you can’t find the homestyle variety, just get an 8 oz can of the pork & beans. Therefore you’d use a 28 oz can of the pork & beans which you will drain AND an 8 oz can of pork & beans that you will not drain. Does that make sense?

      I hope you LOVE these beans!!

    • Hello I used this recipe somewhere else and all I could taste was ketchup and my pallet couldn’t get over that they were pork n beans. Did I do something wrong? I taste them before I cooked them. Will that ketchup and pork n bean taste go away after I cook them? I love baked beans me

  2. 5 stars
    I make my baked beans almost the same as this but don’t use the ground beef. What do you taste with the ground beef?

  3. If you take out regular sugar and brown sugar
    Substitute. Dark Molasses. Mix with the mustard,, ketchup, ,, molasses. Yummy add a little liquid. Smoke. Takes it over the top. Mine are called Mom’s Beans.
    Always leave with empty pans. Try it it won’t disappoint.

  4. 5 stars
    I’m all for doctoring up an already good thing! We served this with grilled chicken and we were all stuffed! this recipe is a keeper. Bookmarked!

  5. 5 stars
    We were able to do a little grilling this last week – and I tried these. Holy smokes!! They really WERE the BEST ever beans!

  6. 5 stars
    These are one of my husband’s favorites! The weather is perfect for grilling right now and these are the perfect side!

  7. If you ve never jazzed up beans with all the sweet, tanginess of molasses, ketchup, and mustard, have you really been living? THESE are the baked beans that we ve been waiting for all our lives.

    • I would swap the 8 oz can of homestyle pork and beans for a 28 oz can. That’ll help compensate for the hamburger not being in there!! I hope you enjoy! 🙂 -Kelsey

  8. 5 stars
    I lessened the sugar a bit but my supper club loved these beans! The family got the leftovers and it went over just as well.

  9. 4 stars
    I just couldn’t bring myself to add a cup of white sugar in addition to the cup of brown sugar. It was plenty sweet without. In fact, next time I may not even add a whole cup of brown sugar. Other than that, we really liked it.

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