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


  • 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


  • 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.


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.


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


  1. 5 stars
    Best beans ever without a doubt, supported by comments from everyone who eats them and everybody who eats them wants the recipe! I have some in the oven right now for my sister’s move this weekend; I know those guys will be some happy movers! Thank you for sharing your recipe!

    1. Hi, Frank, Thank you SO very much and you made my day! I appreciate your taking the time to come back and comment and rate. Happy moving! It’s a big job and honored these beans are a part of someone’s new home.

  2. 5 stars
    Made a double batch today for a Halloween party. Assembled in the morning and baked this evening for around an hour….perfect, everyone them.

      1. These sound wonderful! Im wanting make these, but I don’t have molasses. Is that OK to skip?

  3. 5 stars
    Amazing bean dish! Is it the crispy bacon? Maybe. Or is it the carmelized onions? Maybe. Or is it the molasses and brown sugar? No, wait, it’s all of that and more! I’ve made them a few times now, following the recipe just as shown and they’re perfect every time. Thank you Carol so much for sharing!

    1. 5 stars
      This is the best recipe because of the technique and ingredients. I’m surprised that I didn’t have this in my “only the best” recipe book since I’d made it so many times last year. Luckily, searching images for baked beans I was able to find you, sweet perfectly caramelized bean recipe! That’s how I first came across this recipe- it looked so much better than other similar recipes. Again, it’s the technique of baking it in the oven that sets this apart and makes it deserving of my favorites recipe book.

      1. Hi, Linda, Thank you SO VERY MUCH!! So happy you love this recipe and it totally made my day. Appreciate your taking the time to come back and comment and rate.

  4. Carol, the recipe says you can use either 4 16.5 cans of beans or 2 28 oz cans. That’s a difference of 10 oz. Should the amount of the other ingredients be changed depending on that difference?

    1. Hi, Thanks so much for your great question. I just checked the Bush’s Baked Beans website and see that the cans are now exactly 16 ounces, so they shaved a little off so you’d only be off by a cup. If you were to adjust the other ingredients, it would only be a negligible difference. If you used the two 28-ounce cans, your beans would just be a little more “saucy.” Thanks so much and hope you enjoy!

    1. Hi, Yolanda, Thanks so much for your question. You can do about 5-6 hours on LOW or 3 hours or so on HIGH. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

  5. 5 stars
    Made this for family last night. Big hit! There were only five of us so I cut the recipe in half and used just one 28.5 oz can of Bush’s Original Baked Beans. SOOOOOO good! Maybe one serving left is all!

    1. Hi, Janice, Thanks so very much and so happy everyone enjoyed! These beans freeze and reheat very well, so you could always make the full batch, then freeze half and have it ready to go for another meal. Thanks again!

  6. 5 stars
    Awesome! Made these beans for a relative’s birthday cookout and everyone enjoyed them. It’s exactly what I’ve been searching for. Making them again today, so I had to leave a review so I could say thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi, Lisa, Thanks so very much and I so appreciate hearing from you! So happy everyone enjoyed them and it’s now your go-to recipe! Thanks again!

  7. I want to double the recipe for a larger crowd. But I notice the number of cans for the 28 ounce size remains the same if I select 2x. Why doesn’t that double too?

    1. Hi, Laura, Thanks for your question. I have to put that in another “field” on the recipe card. All the other ingredients double so you shouldn’t have any problem there and just use four cans instead of two. Thanks again and hope everyone enjoys!

  8. 5 stars
    This is my go-to recipe ALL summer long. Not just for BBQ and get-togethers, but an easy snack in the fridge for hubby!

  9. Hey there! This looks SO good! My father in law made amazing baked beans using canned baked and added stuff. He couldn’t tell me what he put in them to make them so delicious, but I’m going to give this a shot. Can I use brown honey mustard as that is what I have on hand? Thank you and can’t wait to try this recipe out!

    1. Hi, Debbie, Thanks so much for your question. Yes, I don’t see why not. You may want to reduce the amount of brown sugar a bit because of the honey in the mustard. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

    2. 5 stars
      We had a ton of generic baked beans from the food pantry that no one cared for. I tried this recipe and it made the beans more palatable for my family. I actually had to sub in real bacon bits (for normal bacon) and syrup (instead of molasses) but it still worked!

    3. Hello,
      My question is if I prepare beans for a later date should I cook and freeze them or prepare recipe, freeze them and only cook when ready to eat?

      1. Hi, Julie, Thanks for your question. You can place in the baking dish and freeze or place in a different container then transfer to a baking dish. I just added the following to the recipe card (it was in the post): 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. Thanks so much and hope you enjoy!

  10. 5 stars
    Made these for a minister’s dinner…got rave reviews…I did add extra brown sugar and some white sugar to taste…I did use the apple cider vinegar. Definitely did not disappoint…tossing my old recipe and making this my go to recipe.

    1. Hi, Tami, Wow! Thanks so very much and so happy everyone enjoyed this recipe! Super honored that it’s replacing your other. Thanks again!

    1. Hi, Makyla, Thanks so much for your question. Yes, I think they’d be just fine with ground beef added. Thanks again and hope everyone enjoys!