Kicked-Up Canned Baked Beans

4.51 from 625 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

4.51 from 625 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.

Notes

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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Recipe Rating




91 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Amazing recipe!!! Made it with 6 slices of thick-cut applewood bacon and stole the show. With the (2) 28oz cans. This was the side show to a 13 lb smoke brisket, sweet corn, and homemade mashed potatoes. It was a party of 9 and the beans were gone…. this recipe is a keeper!! Thank you!

  2. Made these for a birthday cook out and everyone loved em!!! Now I am gonna attempt making for a bbq dinner sale- for 500!! Any tips- at least send me some luck!!

    1. Hi, Karen, Thanks so very much and glad everyone enjoyed! If you can find the food service-sized cans, that would be a great start. Often, there is an aisle at stores like Kroger and Wal-Mart that have the super-sized cans. A quick internet search shows they have 26 servings each. And most certainly, GOOD LUCK! That’s amazing! Thanks again!

  3. Hi Carol, I just ran across this recipe; these sound amazing.

    I would like to take them camping next weekend. I don’t have a cast iron pot – but would these be okay in one of those blue enamelware camping pots?
    If so, I may bake them the night before and reheat over campfire.
    Questions:
    If I don’t prebake, how long should I cook over fire, until the liquid starts to boil?
    Or if I prebake then only reheat over fire – same question – heat until I see the liquid start to boil?

    I’m also going to attempt to make your Yogurt Ranch Cucumber Salad too, that also looks yummy.

    Thanks for these great recipes!!

    1. Hi, Cathy, Wow! Cooking the beans over a campfire sounds GREAT and I can almost taste the smoky flavor! Because the beans and everything in it are already cooked, you really just need to reheat. I think a camping pot would be fine and heated through to a good bubbling simmer. Have a great time and hope everyone enjoys!

  4. I am preparing the beans for our community block picnic tomorrow. Your photos of your beans looks awesome and hope mine turn out as well as yours. (I used maple syrup instead of molasses) I topped the casserole with the crumbled bacon as I didn’t see where you indicated to put any of it into the beans. It’s smelling so good and can hardly wait to sample it! Thank you for your recipe.

    1. Hi, Peggy, Thanks so much and hope you all enjoy! Yeah, that wasn’t clear and thanks so much for pointing that out. I’ve made an adjustment to the recipe that I hope will clarify. Thanks again!

  5. Am fixing this for tomorrow. I will not have time to bake in the oven for one hour. If I bake it tonight, what’s the best way to reheat it quickly? Can it be microwaved?

    If I don’t bake tonight, can I stovetop cook it then reheat it tomorrow?

    1. Hi, Lora, Thanks so much for your question. I would cook the onion a bit more to really soften it up and get it done to the point of baking and then refrigerate overnight. When needed, put it in the microwave and cook in increments, stirring a couple of times until it’s good and hot. You won’t have the nice, caramelized top you’d get from baking. You could bake it tonight and then microwave it, too. However, when heating in the microwave, it’s a good idea to stir several times to get the item heated evenly so that caramelized top is going to go away. Hope this helps!

      1. Hi, Ruth, Thanks so much for your question. No, don’t drain the beans. The sauce will thicken up when you bake the beans. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

    1. Hi, Thanks so much for your question! I’ve clarified the recipe; I can see where that might be confusing. You would add the “remaining ingredients” which includes the molasses. Yes, both brown sugar and molasses are used. Hope it’s clear now! If not, just give me another shout. Thanks so much and hope you enjoy!

  6. Been making these for years and everyone loves them. When there’s a potluck, my beans are always requested. In fact taking them tonight for a 20 person bbq.

  7. Carol…oh my freaking gosh, these were absolutely amazing! I made them for Easter and my very picky husband was blown away! The only thing I left out was the molasses because I didn’t have any and honestly don’t care for the flavor. Anyway, love this recipe! The search is finally over!
    Thank you so much 😛😋

    1. Hi, Carol Jean, First of all, my middle name is Jean! 🙂 Thanks so much for your question. I don’t drain the beans. I use what’s there and then add the ingredients to it per the recipe to jazz them up. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

    1. Hi, Louise, Thanks so much for your question. My recipe feeds about 10-12 people so you’d want to triple the recipe and use six of the 28-ounce cans. Thanks again and hope everyone enjoys!

  8. 5 stars
    Love these beans! In our permanent rotation.
    I make the recipe as is except for combining some steps to simplify the prep.
    I use a cast iron skillet to render the bacon. When it has almost rendered, I add the onion in with the bacon and cook that. The rest of the ingredients are then added per the recipe and the skillet goes in the oven.I serve the beans at the table from the skillet.
    They stay warm and there’s at least one less dish to wash!

  9. I am hosting a few friends around our pool for 4th of July and plan to do my BBQ Pulled Pork in a crockpot and would like to do my Baked Beans in a crockpot, as well. Do you have any suggestions of how to do this so I can make the beans ahead of time and heat them in the crockpot until time for service. Thank you!

    1. Hi, Traci, Thanks so much for your question. You can get it all prepped today and just get it in your slow cooker tomorrow. If you have the room, you can even store it in the insert and refrigerate it. Before you start to heat the beans, let it sit out at room temperature a bit so you don’t crack your insert from any temperature change. When doing them in a slow cooker, you won’t get the nice, caramelized top and they’ll probably be a little more watery. Four hours on HIGH should heat them through. You can always hold them on the warm setting then. Thanks again and hope everyone enjoys!