Kicked-Up Canned Baked Beans

4.51 from 628 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 628 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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4.51 from 628 votes (598 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




98 Comments

    1. Hi, Trudy, Thanks so much for your question. A little calculator on the recipe card indicates 1X, 2X and 3X. Since the original recipe will feed about 10, just hit the 3X and you’ll get the amount for 30 people so you’ll need 12 of the 16.5-ounce cans or 6 of the 28-ounce cans. Some grocery stores carry food service-sized cans but you’ll need to do the math on that; just check the number of servings on the label. Thanks so much and hope everyone enjoys!!

  1. 5 stars
    My husband has always raved about baked beans and occasionally throws a pot of them together. Nothing like this though! I used a smaller ceramic and another pyrex to freeze for another night. We had these with a side of bacon and pancakes as breakfast for dinner tonight and the whole family loved them. Thank you for the recipe and I highly recommend that everyone make these!

    1. Hi, Tiffany, Thanks so very much and so happy you both enjoyed! We had baked beans in Eastern Europe on vacation last fall and it’s a really nice addition! Your comment reminded me of that. Thanks again!

  2. 5 stars
    Delish! Just made these beans to serve with BBQ shredded pork sliders. This recipe is a keeper! I think the onions browned in the bacon drippings really makes it.

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for sharing your delicious doctored baked beans recipe with us! I made it for our 4th of July block party and thought I would have leftovers…I was wrong people were looking for more! Making some again tonight because I was craving them😊

  4. 5 stars
    BEST.BAKED BEANS.EVER!!! So – I had become lazy about making baked beans by just heating up Bush’s beans without “doctoring” them – the lazy method produces okay/bland beans but nothing outstanding. I planned to take baked beans to a Labor Day get-together and couldn’t find my mother’s recipe for doctored beans – a google search revealed quite a few and after reading through several recipes, I chose this one and am so glad I did! I followed the recipe to a T – no substitutions and it turned out a perfect combination of sweet/tangy/slightly gooey beans which received many compliments. People came back for more and some even put them on their hot dogs!

    1. Hi, Janice, Thank you SO VERY MUCH!! I read your review three times to soak it all in because it means so much to me. So happy you and your friends and family enjoyed!!

  5. Wanting to make this recipe ahead of time and travel 6+ hours and serve the next day at my destination. Should I just combine all ingredients and place in dish for travel and then cook day of? Your suggested execution of that scenario would be helpful! Thank You!

    1. Hi, Genie, Thanks so much for your question. Yes, that’s absolutely what you should do. Get it put together in the baking dish or in another container then transfer to a baking dish at your destination. Keep it good and cold during your trip to your destination then bake it there. Thanks so much and hope everyone enjoys!!

  6. 5 stars
    This recipe was a definite 5 star. Everyone loved the beans including my grandson, who is a chef himself. I was roasting ribs in the oven at 250 (finishing on the grill) so I put the beans in with the ribs (instead of at the 350 recommended), and just left them in a little longer. I didn’t have light brown sugar so I used dark brown. I couldn’t have been happier with the results. This recipe is a keeper for sure. Based on the comments of others it is very adaptable.

    1. Hi, Elizabeth, Thank you SO VERY MUCH! That means so much to me that your grandson who is also a chef approved of them! I’m a little nervous at times about sharing recipes with “convenience items” but sometimes they’re necessary and it’s possible to make them better. Thank you again!

  7. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious and easy way to make baked beans. I love this recipe and will be making it for years to come. Thanks for sharing ☺️

  8. 5 stars
    Back in the 90’s I lived in Kansas City and enjoyed the wonderful BBQ available in the area, one place stood out to me though and NOT because of their tasty selection of BBQ meats, they served the most amazing Baked Beans I had ever tasted. That is until I made your recipe today…This is the BEST Baked Bean dish I have ever tasted and considering that there wasn’t one tiny bean left over my family would concur with me. Not having Molasses on hand I substituted a Bourbon flavored Maple Syrup and BAM the taste was superb.

    1. Hi, Jim, Thanks so very much! The substitution of the bourbon-flavored maple syrup sounds amazing!!! So glad you all enjoyed!!

  9. 5 stars
    I needed a recipe to feed a crowd at church. I used two giant cans of Bushes Baked Beans which is approximately 5 times your recipe. I used yellow mustard and bbq sauce instead of ketchup. The rest was the same. Amazing!!

    1. Hi, Nancy, Thanks so very much and glad it was a hit! I’ve used barbecue sauce in place of the ketchup, too and it’s a great variation. Thanks again!

    1. Hi, Elisa, Thanks so much for your question. Yes, you absolutely can do these in the slow cooker. The only thing you probably won’t get is the caramelized top. Also, the beans may not get very thick as slow cookers retain so much liquid (and even make more!). Thanks so much and hope you enjoy!

      1. If using a slow cooker, put a clean dry tea towel over the crock before putting the lid on. The tea towel absorbs the extra liquid leaving your meal intact.

      2. Thanks so much for your question! You can do them on LOW for 4-5 hours or HIGH for 2-3 hours. Everything is already cooked so you’re safe that way–it’s a matter of heating through and getting the flavors to blend. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

  10. 5 stars
    I made these beans for a family get together and everyone commented on how good they were. I have found my go-to easy baked bean recipe 🙂

  11. 5 stars
    I made this without bacon and it still turned out great. Didn’t have spicy brown mustard so just used regular yellow mustard and skipped the apple cider vinegar. Didn’t have molasses and used regular pancake syrup. So many easy subs available to create a splendid recipe.

    Sautéed the onions first until soft. Added the canned beans and then the additional ingredients which I mixed in a separate bowl first. Simmered the mixture for about 45 minutes.

  12. 3 stars
    Made your recipe recently; a definite step up from normal baked beans!

    BUT would you please include METRIC measurements in your recipes? Don’t forget by placing your recipes on the Web you’re catering for a world-wide audience, of which probably 95% don’t use the antiquated US imperial system (I’m from Australia).

    Ounces? Quarts? Oven temperatures in Fahrenheit? What are those? I had to resort to Google to look them up and was surprised to find that your recipe calls for 1.8kg of beans so I had to drastically scale down the quantities.

    1. 5 stars
      Baked beans are a United States dish. Don’t be lazy. Look up the measurements yourself instead of bashing the chef for her amazing United States dish.

  13. 5 stars
    I made these beans for a wedding that I was catering. Everyone loved them! They came back for seconds, thirds, and fourths! Such a big hit I will be making them for more of my events!