Kicked-Up Canned Baked Beans

4.52 from 632 votes
1 hour 25 minutes
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With just a few ingredients you may already have on hand, you can turn ordinary canned baked beans into extraordinary! Kicked-Up Canned Baked Beans is an easy and delicious way to make canned beans taste like you made them from scratch! Perfect with my BBQ Chicken Thighs!

“The first baked beans I’ve made in 50 years of marriage that my husband has really loved!”

Kicked-Up Canned Baked Beans in white oval baking dish with serving spoon on cooling rack with blue striped towel.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

Short on time or just don’t want to go to the trouble of making baked beans from scratch?

Here’s a recipe you’ll want to file away for all your special occasions like graduations, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, summer barbecuing, potlucks and even the holidays!

If you love the convenience of canned baked beans but find them lacking in homemade flavor, my Kicked-Up Canned Baked Beans are an easy way to dress them up and taste as though you made them from scratch!  This is the best baked beans recipe from canned beans with hundreds of four and five-star reviews!

The flavor base in canned baked beans is already there, but with a bit of help with simple ingredients you may already have on hand, no one will ever know you started with a store-bought convenience item!

This baked beans recipe with canned beans is:

  • Easy!
  • Budget-friendly because not a lot of extra ingredients are needed–just good, flavorful mostly pantry ingredients.
  • Completely make-ahead.
  • A sure crowd-pleaser!
Baked beans on serving spoon.

How to make Canned Baked Beans Taste Homemade:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this baked beans recipe, along with how to prep. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Ingredient Notes:

  • Canned Baked Beans: Use an “original” or simply-flavored style of canned baked beans. Avoid any that have hickory smoke flavor, maple, or other flavorings; they won’t work with these other ingredients and may compete.
  • Bacon: Use your favorite brand but here, too, avoid flavored bacon.
  • Mustard: I like spicy brown mustard for this baked beans recipe, but Dijon mustard or yellow mustard will also work.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Start with four 16.5-ounce or two 28-ounce cans of original recipe canned baked beans such as Bush’s.
  • Cook the bacon until crispy, then transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate.  Reserve the bacon drippings.
Cooked bacon in nonstick skillet.
  • Cook the onion in the reserved drippings until it’s softened.
  • Combine everything in a 4-quart baking dish.  Save a little bacon to sprinkle over the top.
  • MAKE AHEAD: The beans can be assembled up to two days ahead of time.  Refrigerate covered until needed.
Baked beans in white oval baking dish.
  • Bake uncovered for one hour or until hot, bubbling, and the top of the beans are caramelized.  Yessssss…….like this!
Kicked-Up Canned Baked Beans on cooling rack with serving spoon with blue striped towel.
  • Garnish with the reserved bacon…
Baking dish full of baked beans with serving spoon.
  • And let everyone dig in!
  • So easy and they’ll be the hit of your get-together!
Kicked-Up Canned Baked Beans in white oval baking dish with serving spoon on cooling rack.

Slow Cooker Instructions:

  • If you prefer doing this baked bean recipe in a slow cooker, it will work. However, the top won’t get caramelized.  As a reader suggests, place a tea towel over the top of the slow cooker to absorb the steam produced in a slow cooker so it doesn’t water down the beans. Cook for 5 to 6 hours on LOW or 3 to 3.5 hours on HIGH.
Spoonful of Kicked-Up Canned Baked Beans on serving spoon.

Storing Leftovers:

First, ensure the beans didn’t sit out too long at your gathering.  Two hours at room temperature is the max.  Longer than that and you’re flirting with a foodborne illness.

Store any leftovers in the refrigerator or freeze them for later use in an airtight container for 2-3 months.

FREEZER-FRIENDLY: Freeze them for later use in an airtight container for two to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator or microwave and bake as directed.

More great summery side dishes for your next get-together!

Get more great summery side dish ideas at: 30 Best Sides to Take to a Cookout!

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Kicked Up Canned Baked Beans - Overhead shot of the baked beans in white baking dish

Kicked-Up Canned Baked Beans

4.52 from 632 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Kicked-Up Canned Baked Beans is an easy and delicious way to make ordinary canned baked beans taste as though you made them from scratch!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Side Dishes – Beans Rice and Grains
Cuisine American
Servings 10 -12
Calories 199 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • Cooking spray - for pan
  • 6 slices bacon - diced
  • 1 small onion - finely chopped
  • 4 cans (16-ounce) baked beans - or 2 (28-ounce) cans, preferably original recipe such as Bush's, undrained
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2-3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar - optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 4-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Place the bacon in a skillet or saute pan and cook for 4-5 minutes over medium heat until rendered and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Place the onion in the skillet with the bacon drippings and cook for 5-6 minutes or until very soft. If the pan gets dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of water and continue cooking until the onions are cooked to a soft stage.
  • Combine the beans, onions, 3/4 of the bacon and the remaining ingredients using 2 tablespoons of brown sugar to start with in the prepared baking dish.
  • Taste and adjust sweetness with more brown sugar as desired. Add the apple cider vinegar for a little tanginess if you desire.
  • Sprinkle the remaining bacon over the top.
  • Bake uncovered for 1 hour or until bubbling and the top is caramelized.

Recipe Notes

TIPS:
  • Use an “original” or simply-flavored style of canned baked beans. Avoid any with hickory smoke flavor, maple flavor, or artificial flavorings. Likewise, flavored bacon, except peppered bacon, could also affect the result.
SUBSTITUTIONS:
  • Although I prefer to use original or simply-flavored beans, maple syrup can be substituted for the molasses.
MAKE AHEAD:  Beans can be assembled to the point of baking up to 2 days ahead. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking or add additional baking time.
SLOW COOKER:  Can also be made in the slow cooker but you won’t get the caramelized top and the beans could be a bit soupier.  Place a clean kitchen towel over the slow cooker then place the lid on. The kitchen towel will absorb some of the steam which can water down the beans.  Cook for 5 to 6 hours on LOW or 3 to 3.5 hours on HIGH.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY:  Freeze them for later use in an airtight container for two to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator or microwave and bake as directed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 199kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 105mg | Potassium: 106mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 34IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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4.52 from 632 votes (598 ratings without comment)

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111 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Looks outstanding! I have a pellet grill smoker which at 350 F. will not put out a tremendous amount of smoke. I’m a bit tempted to do the “baking” of the beans in it to add a kiss of smoke to the overall flavor. Any thoughts on how that might impact things?

    1. Hi, Bill, Thanks so much for your question. I think it would be great! Sweet AND smoky is always a great combination. Please come back and let me know how it went. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!