Favorite Baked Beans

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Summertime gatherings with family and friends are not complete without a big pot of baked beans. Over the years, I’ve tested countless baked bean recipes in search of my absolute favorite. The one I keep coming back to again and again is this semi-homemade version loaded with delicious flavors. The beans come out thick, saucy, sweet, smoky, and utterly addicting every single time. Read on for why this is my go-to favorite baked bean recipe for summer BBQs and how you can make it at home.

Should I Use Canned or Dry Beans?

While I love cooking dry beans from scratch, I find using canned baked beans makes this recipe fast and easy. My beans of choice are Bush’s Grillin’ Beans – specifically the Southern Pit BBQ and Bourbon & Bacon flavors. They create the perfect saucy base. I then load them up with extras like bacon, onion, spices, brown sugar, and more to take them over the top in terms of flavor. The finished beans are syrupy and packed with sweet and smoky BBQ flavor balanced out by mustard, vinegar, and heat.

How Long Does This Baked Bean Recipe Take?

The great thing about this recipe is that it comes together quickly. You just need about 10 minutes of prep time to cook the bacon, onion, garlic, etc. Then everything gets stirred together and baked for 30-35 minutes. So in under an hour you can have these amazing baked beans ready for serving! Rookie move is to forget to take them out of the oven before your guests arrive and letting them sit for a few minutes. I’ve definitely been known to burn my mouth more than once because I couldn’t wait to dig in!

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Can I Make These Beans Ahead of Time?

Yes! This recipe scales up perfectly for a crowd or future meals. You can make a batch ahead of time and let it cool completely before covering and refrigerating. Reheat on the stovetop or in oven before serving. I’ve also frozen baked bean leftovers with great success. Just thaw overnight in fridge and reheat. They keep their delicious flavors and sauce consistency nicely.

What Do I Serve These Smoky Baked Beans With?

Baked beans like these are a classic complement to summer cookouts and BBQs. They pair deliciously with pulled pork, ribs, grilled chicken, hot dogs, burgers, mac and cheese, coleslaw, cornbread, and more. I also love them served over a piece of cornbead as an open-faced sandwich. You really can’t go wrong enjoyed these beans alongside your favorite cookout foods. They even make weekend breakfasts more fun when you put them on top of eggs or toast!

How Can I Customize This Recipe?

While I adore the baked beans as written, you can tweak a few things to your taste. Add more or less heat with the chili powder or chipotle. Stir in a teaspoon of liquid smoke if you want extra smoky flavor. Swap out the bacon for ham if you prefer. And if you really want to gild the lily, scatter extra cooked bacon over the top of the beans before baking. The options are endless once you master the basic recipe, so have fun with it!

Hopefully reading about my journey to baked bean obsession has convinced you to give this easy summer favorite a try soon. Load up a batch for your next cookout or even just a weeknight meal to enjoy all the sweet, smoky, utterly irresistible flavors these beans have to offer. Just be warned – once you start making them, you might get hooked too! Let me know if you have any other questions. Happy baking!

Favorite Baked Beans Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Bacon: 2 slices, diced (plus 2 additional slices for topping, optional)
  • Sweet Onion: 1 small, diced
  • Bell Pepper: 1, diced
  • Garlic Cloves: 2, minced
  • Smoked Paprika: 1 tablespoon
  • Chipotle Chili Powder: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt: ¼ teaspoon
  • Black Pepper: ¼ teaspoon, freshly cracked
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: 2 tablespoons
  • BBQ Sauce: 2 tablespoons
  • Ketchup: 2 tablespoons
  • Dijon Mustard: 1 tablespoon
  • Brown Sugar: 1 tablespoon
  • Baked Beans: 2 cans (22 ounces each, Bush’s Grillin’ Beans recommended)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. In an oven-safe skillet, cook diced bacon over medium-low heat until crisp. Drain excess fat.
  3. Add diced onion, bell pepper, and minced garlic to the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes until softened.
  4. Mix in smoked paprika, chipotle powder, salt, and black pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Stir in apple cider vinegar, BBQ sauce, ketchup, dijon mustard, and brown sugar until well combined.
  6. Add the baked beans from the cans. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Adjust seasoning as needed.
  7. Optionally, place extra bacon slices on top.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until the beans are bubbly and syrupy.
  9. Let it cool slightly before serving.

Make-Ahead Tips:

  • Prepare in advance, let it cool, cover, and refrigerate. Bake when needed.
  • Freezes well for future use.

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