Picnic Baked Beans Recipe
Picnic Baked Beans Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Picnic Baked Beans Recipe

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4.5 13 11
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I loved it when my mom made these classic beans...now I make them for my family. They have great old-fashioned flavor and are a real crowd-pleaser. I like to make them for potlucks, picnics or as part of a summertime dinner.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. + standing Bake: 2 hours
MAKES:16 servings
Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. + standing Bake: 2 hours
MAKES: 16 servings


  • 3 cups dried navy beans
  • 4 quarts cold water, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1/4 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled

Nutritional Facts

1 serving (3/4 cup) equals 224 calories, 2 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 2 mg cholesterol, 670 mg sodium, 44 g carbohydrate, 10 g fiber, 10 g protein.


  1. Place beans in a Dutch oven with 2 qts. water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour.
  2. Drain and rinse. Return beans to Dutch oven; add remaining water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the beans are almost tender. Drain and reserve liquid.
  3. Transfer beans to an ungreased 3-qt. baking dish, add the remaining ingredients and 1-1/2 cups of reserved liquid; stir to combine.
  4. Cover and bake at 300° for 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until beans are tender and reach desired consistency, stirring every 30 minutes. Add reserved liquid as needed. Yield: 16 servings.
Originally published as Picnic Baked Beans in Taste of Home August/September 1993, p37

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Reviewed Sep. 30, 2015

"These were amazing! Made them for a neighborhood. Get together and brought home an empty crockpot."

Reviewed May. 26, 2015

"This is a really good dish - I've been working to translate it to a crockpot recipe - the first two times I've tried to do so, I soaked the beans overnight, then baked in the crockpot for 8 hours on low, then added the other ingredients and cooked in the crockpot until warm - next time I will try placing the other ingredients with the beans right after the initial soak and just cook on low for 10 hours - that should do the trick. Otherwise, this is a really great recipe - I peel the onion and place the whole thing in the pot, removing before serving, just like Grandma did."

Reviewed Mar. 12, 2015

"If you like Bush's baked beans you'll love this! I had never made this before and it was a wonderful surprise at how delicious it is! I had pinto beans instead of navy beans and they were great! This is a 5 star recipe for sure!"

Reviewed Jul. 27, 2014

"very good, I do not measure ingredients for dishes like this very often but thought I would try it this time only changed two things. added some extra dry mustard and some smoked paparika."

Reviewed May. 12, 2013

"In response to fujitanis3: were your dried beans old perhaps? Never use beans that have been sitting in the pantry for who knows how long. I personally use beans within a month of purchase. Also to keep beans tender, I add salt toward the end of the cooking time like this recipe states, never at the beginning during presoaks or the initial cooking. Some people disagree about the salt but I have had consistent success this way.

jfgan, the recipe does start by soaking the beans, but the method used is a quick soak, an alternative to an overnight soak. As indicated, always drain the soaking liquid, as it removes some of the sugars that cause digestive problems. A second quick soak can help even further in this regard.
Keep experimenting and don't give up - beans are so good for body and soul!"

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