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!Jump to Recipe
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. 😉
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
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!!
Once you've got the ground beef and bacon cooked, it's super easy. You add all of the ingredients to a slow cooker or baking dish and cook! The recipe card below shows you all of the different options for ways to cook and for how long.
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.
Best Ever Baked Beans
- 1 pound ground beef
- 8 slices bacon
- One 28 ounce can pork and beans drained
- One 8 ounce can homestyle pork and beans
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 1 tablespoon 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 ORIn a saucepan on medium-low heat for 30 minutes (stirring occasionally) ORIn a baking dish in a 350°F oven for 1 hour