This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Picnic season is just around the corner so I thought I’d share my favorite Easy Baked Beans recipe with y’all. Seasoned with bacon and onions, these baked beans are my go-to side dish for grilled burgers, barbecued chicken, or pulled pork.
What makes them so easy? It all starts with basic canned pork and beans combined with onions sautéed in bacon fat, and in a few other basic ingredients. That’s it. There’s nothing difficult or fancy about these baked beans, but they are indeed tasty and have delicious barbecue flavor!
You could skip adding the bacon on top, but definitely don’t skip sautéing the onions in real bacon fat. That’s where all the good flavor comes from!
Like any good Southern cook, I save my bacon drippings and store them in a cup in the refrigerator to use in cooking, do you?
Easy Baked Beans
I’ve been serving this tried-and-true baked bean recipe at picnics and family dinners for years. It’s always delicious and makes ordinary canned beans taste great!
When I say tried-and-true, I mean exactly that. My EASY baked beans recipe came straight from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that was given to me as a young bride in 1984.
I’ve even made it in the slow cooker, and it’s always good. Truly, it is a great recipe and one I’ve made so many times that it’s permanently etched in my brain.
- Canned pork and beans in tomato sauce — I always discard that little piece of pork fat that is floating on the top of the beans, but save all the liquid.
- Bacon — cooked crisp to render out the fat.
- Sweet onion — diced and cooked until translucent in a couple tablespoons of the bacon drippings
- Brown sugar — for sweetness
- Ketchup — for just a bit more tomato flavor
- Worcestershire sauce — for some savory flavor and a little bite
- Yellow mustard — a standard barbecue sauce ingredient
How to make easy baked beans
- Fry a few bacon slices until crisp and drain on paper towels. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the pan drippings for cooking the onions. Pour the rest of the bacon grease into a cup and when cool, store it in the refrigerator. You can use a spoonful at a time to fry eggs or to season a pot of beans, Southern style!
- Cook the diced onion until it is just tender and translucent.
- Empty the beans and all the liquid into a large bowl. Stir in the onions and remaining ingredients. Pour into a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 1-1/2 hours. The sauce should be bubbly and slightly thickened.
Instructions for the slow cooker
Mix together the baked beans ingredients, and pour into a lightly greased slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours, until slightly thickened. Stir and top with cooked bacon slices, if desired.
How to make vegetarian baked beans
These beans can be made vegetarian by simply omitting the bacon. Instead, sauté the onions in a tablespoon of olive oil before adding them to bean mixture, then bake as directed.
As these beans bake, the sauce around the edges will begin to thicken more than the middle of the dish. When they are done, remove them from the oven and give them a quick stir before serving. Let the beans stand a few minutes before serving and they will continue to thicken up.
If you like, you can bake the beans with the cooked bacon laying on top or crumbled into the beans for even more flavor. Also, if you like smoky beans, add a teaspoon of liquid smoke before baking.
Easy Baked Beans
- 3 16 oz. can pork-n-beans in tomato sauce
- 4 slices bacon
- 1/2 cup sweet onion chopped
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard
- Fry bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels and reserve drippings.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cook onion in a small amount of reserved bacon fat, about 2 tablespoons, until translucent.
- In a large bowl, mix together beans, sautéed onions, and remaining ingredients. If desired, crumble bacon and add to bean mixture or reserve slices for topping beans later.
- Pour into an 11×7-inch baking dish and bake for 1-1/2 hours.
- Remove from oven and stir; top with bacon slices, if desired. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.
To make in the slow cooker:Mix together the baked beans ingredients, and pour into a lightly greased slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours, until slightly thickened. Stir and top with cooked bacon slices, if desired.
Life Love and Good Food does not claim to be a registered dietician or nutritionist. Nutritional information shared on this site is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.