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!
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
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Black Pepper
How to make canned beans taste homemade
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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?
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.
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.
Need more BBQ side dishes? Try these:
- Chocolate Lush – Don’t forget dessert! This cool, no bake chocolate lush is perfect for a potluck or BBQ.
- Jack Daniel’s Sauce – This sauce is perfect on grilled meats & veggies.
- Cucumber Salad – A cold salad to go with the hot sides.
- Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad – Another cold option that is great with BBQ.