Barbecue Baked Beans Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Barbecue Baked Beans

Total Time
Prep: 10 min. Bake: 55 min.
These barbecue baked beans are a meaty twist on everyday baked beans, with a touch of sweetness too. Try this family-friendly recipe for any backyard barbecue or picnic.

Updated: May 31, 2024

Barbecue baked beans are the side dish that helps make many a summer meal. It just isn’t a cookout without them. Beefy and loaded with smoky bacon, this BBQ baked beans recipe is easy to prep and pop in the oven while you finish up the ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket—you get the idea.

Ingredients for Barbecue Baked Beans

  • Ground beef: You’ll include the meat for heft and flavor, but it will also make the dish more filling.
  • Onion: Pungent and sweet, with a little bite, onions give added texture and a spicy sweetness to our BBQ baked beans.
  • Sugar: Refined white sugar blends with brown sugar and molasses to create a rich base, which contrasts well with smoky additions like bacon and seasonings for that just-sweet-enough flavor.
  • Brown sugar: The caramel notes of brown sugar brighten the smoky sweetness of the entire dish.
  • Ketchup: Along with barbecue sauce, the ketchup blends together in a mixture that is both tangy and sweet, the very essence of BBQ baked beans.
  • Barbecue sauce: Choose the one that appeals to your palate. Here are some regional barbecue sauce styles to consider.
  • Yellow mustard: Mustard evens out the sauce and brings out the smoky notes of the bacon.
  • Molasses: Molasses adds that gorgeous dark color and flavorful depth to every bite.
  • Chili powder: This seasoning enhances the flavors of the onion and the ground beef, while also tempering overall sweetness.
  • Beans with tomato sauce: This is a time-saving step and one that also dresses up canned beans for exceptional results.
  • Bacon: There is no substitute. Smoky, meaty, chewy, crunchy nibbles of bacon are scattered generously throughout this dish—the ultimate in savory-sweet goodness.

Directions

Step 1: Prepare the meat and onions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large skillet, cook the beef and onion over medium heat for six to eight minutes, or until beef is no longer pink. Break up the beef into crumbles, and drain.

Step 2: Make the sauce

In the same skillet, add the sugars, ketchup, barbecue sauce, mustard, molasses and chili powder. Then add the beans and crumbled bacon. Stir everything well to incorporate it evenly.

Step 3: Bake the beans

Transfer to a greased 13×9-inch baking dish. These beans will bake twice. First, bake them covered for 45 minutes. Then continue baking them, now uncovered, for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.

Barbecue Baked Beans Variations

  • Skip the ground beef: These beans are just as delicious without the ground beef. If you want to try a different meat, opt for sage pork sausage.
  • Add a little pepper: Green bell peppers are a flavorful addition to BBQ baked beans. They provide heft and texture, as well as a sweet-neutral contrast to the sugary base.
  • Up the smoky spice: If you prefer more savory versus sweet, add a generous amount of smoked paprika and a splash of apple cider vinegar.

How to Store Barbecue Baked Beans

You can store baked beans in the fridge for three to five days. To preserve the taste and shelf life of the dish, make it a priority to refrigerate them within an hour after they have cooled down.

Can you make barbecue baked beans ahead of time?

You have the option to make ahead and freeze this BBQ baked bean recipe (after baking), or to make ahead and refrigerate (before baking). If preparing to freeze, allow the baked beans to cool fully, then portion into freezer-safe containers, leaving room for expansion. Thaw fully before reheating. As you reheat, simmer on low to prevent splitting. If refrigerating, follow the recipe up until baking. Refrigerate for up to three days, then let the beans reach room temperature before baking.

Tips for Barbecue Baked Beans

How can I make my beans more flavorful?

If you like spice, you can easily up the heat factor by adding crushed red pepper flakes. If you want to reduce the sweetness, you can also add a more intensely flavored mustard, like a spicy deli-style or Dijon. Consider what you’re serving the beans with and adjust seasonings to complement the main dish.

What is the secret to soft baked beans?

Proper soaking is key. You can also try adding 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to the cooking water. This creates an alkaline environment, which results in softer beans, due to lower levels of pectin.

How can I add flavor to beans without meat?

Try making a mushroom broth. Mushrooms are a popular mainstay in vegetarian dishes, prized for their meaty flavor. After the broth is made, you can even reserve the mushrooms, chop them up and add them to the BBQ baked bean mixture.

Fourth of July Baked Beans

Prep Time 10 min
Cook Time 55 min
Yield 8 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cans (13.7 ounces each) beans with tomato sauce
  • 1/2 pound bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until beef is no longer pink, breaking up beef into crumbles; drain. Stir in sugars, ketchup, barbecue sauce, mustard, molasses and chili powder. Add beans and bacon.
  2. Transfer to a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Bake, covered, 45 minutes. Bake, uncovered, 10-15 minutes longer or until heated through.

Nutrition Facts

3/4 cup: 323 calories, 8g fat (3g saturated fat), 28mg cholesterol, 970mg sodium, 51g carbohydrate (41g sugars, 4g fiber), 14g protein.

We always choose this family recipe for July Fourth or any picnic because it's a meaty twist on everyday baked beans and it has a nice sweetness. —Wendy Hodorowski, Bellaire, Ohio