Jazzed Up Baked Beans

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Take canned beans up a notch with this jazzed up baked beans recipe. Doctored baked beans are semi-homemade, easy, and perfect for a BBQ or potluck!

overhead shot of baked beans with bacon

The draw to any BBQ for me is the sides. ALL THE SIDES. Potato salad, macaroni salad, macaroni & cheese, and baked beans. A plate full of sides makes me happy.

Making all those sides takes a bit of time so I like to take a shortcut with the beans and start with cans of pork & beans as the base. It’s a great starting point.

If you want a vegetarian option, you can start with vegetarian baked beans and skip the bacon. They will be delicious either way.

Equipment you’ll need

  • Vegetable Chopper – This chopper is my new favorite kitchen gadget. You’ll have the onions and peppers finely chopped in no time!
  • Large Skillet – You’ll need a skillet to cook the bacon & veggies. I like this one so much, I bought one for my parents, too.
  • 9×13 Baking Dish – I love that this one has a lid, and it is freezer safe, if you happen to have leftovers.

Ingredients you’ll need

Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.

  • Bacon – gives great flavor. You’ll cook the onions & peppers in the bacon grease.
  • Onion – I like to use a red or white onion.
  • Green Bell Pepper – diced.
  • Pork & Beans – You’ll need two 28 oz cans.
  • BBQ Sauce – Use your favorite premade or try my spicy BBQ sauce.
  • Brown Sugar
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Black Pepper
ingredients laid out to make doctored baked beans

How to make canned beans taste homemade

  1. STEP ONE: Brown the bacon is a large skillet. Remove the bacon, drain most of the grease, then add diced onions & green bell peppers and saute until translucent.
skillet with onion & green peppers
  1. STEP TWO: Add the beans, sauteed veggies, BBQ sauce, brown sugar, mustard, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, and pepper to a large bowl and stir to combine.
bowl of beans & ingredients to jazz them up
  1. STEP THREE: Pour the bean mixture into a 9×13 baking dish and top with the cooked bacon. Bake, uncovered, for 60-90 minutes at 325 degrees.
overhead shot of baked beans topped with bacon in a baking dish

Can I make these beans in the slow cooker?

Yes. If you’d rather use a slow cooker, prepare as directed and then instead of baking the beans, cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 6 hours. 

What kind of beans are in pork & beans?

The beans in pork & beans can vary from brand to brand, but they’re generally navy beans.

What’s the difference between pork & beans and baked beans?

Pork & beans are lighter in color than baked beans because they are generally lacking brown sugar and molasses. Because they are fairly bland, they make a great base to jazz up.

However, I’ve also used vegetarian baked beans as the basis for this recipe. Either will work.

What do you eat with baked beans?

I like to eat baked beans with grilled chicken, Arabic potato salad, feta & artichoke pasta salad, and macaroni and cheese.

My husband always makes a spread of ribs, wings, and various other meats in the smoker to serve with them.

They make a great side for any barbecue or potluck – or with crockpot hot dog chili.

baked beans in vintage pyrex

Can you freeze baked beans?

If you end up with leftover baked beans, yes you can freeze them for the next gathering. To freeze them, you’ll want to make sure they’re fully cooled, put them in a freezer safe container (leaving some room for the beans to expand), cover tightly, and freeze for up to six months.

When you’re ready to use them, take them out of the freezer and move them to the fridge to thaw a bit. Then you can either put them in a pot on the stove to warm up, or throw them in a slow cooker.

Baked Beans

Need more BBQ side dishes? Try these:

baked beans in dish with title text
overhead shot of baked beans with bacon

Jazzed Up Baked Beans

Melissa Williams | Persnickety Plates
Take canned beans up a notch with this jazzed up baked beans recipe. Doctored baked beans are semi-homemade, easy, and perfect for a BBQ or potluck!
4.74 from 30 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 10 servings
Calories 122 kcal


  • 8 slices bacon chopped into small pieces
  • ½ small green bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion finely chopped
  • 56 ounces pork & beans two 28 oz cans
  • ½ cup barbecue sauce
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 325° F.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, add the chopped bacon and cook until crisp.
  • Remove the bacon from the pan and drain off all grease, except for about 1 tablespoon.
  • Add the chopped onions and peppers to the pan with the bacon grease and cook until translucent, stirring frequently.
  • To a large bowl, add the beans, cooked veggies, bbq sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, pepper and worcestershire sauce. Stir until evenly distributed.
  • Pour the beans into a 9×13 baking dish.
  • Top with the cooked bacon.
  • Bake uncovered for 1 to 1 ½ hours, until thickened.
  • Serve!


Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.
SLOW COOKER: If using a slow cooker, prepare as directed and then instead of baking the beans, cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 6 hours. 


Serving: 1gCalories: 122kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 2gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 295mgPotassium: 91mgFiber: 1gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 52IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 11mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  1. Sophiya Efros says

    5 stars
    Great recipe! Very flavourful, complemented our meal so well. My family absolutely loved it!

  2. Lorraine Sann says


    For the recipe Jazzed Up Baked Beans for 10 servings – how much onion?

    • Melissa Williams says

      whoops, fixed it above – 1 small onion (about 1/4-1/2 cup chopped)

  3. rpbert dorgiewicz says

    5 stars
    Love your recipies/

  4. Cindy kool says

    Can u make it in crockpot?

    • Melissa Williams says

      Sure, prepare as directed and then move to the slow cooker on LOW for a couple hours.

  5. Bob Theroux says

    5 stars
    Very good recipe Melissa. Mine is very similar but I use a black, red, white combo of beans and add chourico (Portugese sausage, garlic and Jack Daniels for a little kick.

  6. Marti Mercer says

    I’m planning to make this for Memorial Day. Do I drain the beans?


  7. Mark A Hagedorn says

    Would fine chopping some Devil’s Spit pickles in work, or be a bad idea?

    • Melissa Williams says

      Hmm, I haven’t ever had those so I can’t say for sure. Sounds kinda scary lol

  8. Pamela says

    5 stars
    Now my go to recipe for baked beans!!!

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