These Bacon Brown Sugar Baked Beans start with canned pork and beans, but they’re transformed into the perfect side dish for your summer BBQ! Smoky bacon and sweet and sticky brown sugar make this the best baked bean recipe out there!
There’s something about a big pot of slow cooked baked beans – especially when those beans have a super thick, sweet and savory sauce accented with smoky bacon.
Look, I’m no stranger to opening a can of pre-made baked beans. They’re a great time saver when you need an easy side dish. But if you’re looking to amp up your summer BBQ, potluck, or family dinner, this is the recipe you want to make.
Beginning with canned pork and beans gives you a considerable head start and makes for a pretty easy baked bean recipe. Add in smoky bacon, fresh onion, dark brown sugar, and garlic and you’ve got a baked bean recipe to write home about!
How to Make Homemade Baked Beans with Bacon
(Keep scrolling for the full, printable recipe…)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Use a large, oven-safe dutch oven, to cook the chopped bacon on the stovetop over medium heat until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel. Allow about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat to remain in the pot. (If you don’t have an oven-safe dutch oven, you can use a large, deep oven-safe skillet or you can use whatever for the stovetop part and then transfer the beans to a large baking dish before putting it in the oven.)
- Next, add the onion to the pot with the bacon grease over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Be cautious not to burn the garlic or it can turn bitter. Add the canned pork and beans with the tomato sauce from the can, ketchup, Worcestershire, mustard, vinegar, and brown sugar. Stir to combine.
- Sprinkle the cooked bacon over the top of the beans and place the dish, uncovered, in the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes or until bubbly. Serve warm.
How long should I cook baked beans?
You’ll likely find recipes out there that have cook times that range anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours. The main difference is likely due to the different types of beans actually used. I’ve found, after lots of testing, that the 45 to 60 minute mark is perfect for this recipe. The beans retain some of their shape and texture, but the sauce gets that deep, dark color and develops that sticky, sweet flavor.
Can I make these Bacon Brown Sugar Baked Beans in advance?
Of course you can! You essentially have two options. Make them all the way through, cool them, place them in an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator until reheating them (either in the oven or microwave.)
Or you can prep the beans through the stovetop part, top them with the bacon, refrigerate and then bake before serving. Either method works, but I recommend the second option as they do get pretty soft when cooking. That means they’ll get even softer when reheating and I prefer them to at least hold their shape.
Can I make these baked beans in the slow cooker?
Yes! If the idea of turning your oven on in the middle of the sweltering summer makes you want to scream, you can certainly makes these in the slow cooker.
To do so, simply prepare the baked beans recipe through step 2 and then transfer the mixture to a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker that’s been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle the bacon over the top, cover, and cook for 4 hours on low or 2 to 3 hours on high.
Keep in mind that the moist cooking environment of the slow cooker will likely make the bacon a little soggy, but it will still be delicious! Also, ue to this same fact, you might find the beans too thin after cooking. Simply cook with the lid off on high until they are thick to your liking.
Bacon Brown Sugar Baked Beans
- 6 pieces sliced bacon, coarsely chopped
- 1 small sweet onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 (28-ounce) cans pork and beans in tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large oven-safe dutch oven, cook the chopped bacon on the stovetop over medium heat until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Allow about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat to remain in the pot.
- Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add the pork and beans with the sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire, mustard, vinegar, and brown sugar. Stir to combine.
- Sprinkle the bacon over the top of the beans and place uncovered in the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes or until bubbly. Serve warm.
* If nutritional values are provided, they are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. The values do not include optional ingredients or when ingredients are added to taste. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.