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The next time you bring a side dish to those summer cookouts, grab the grocery store can of beans and kick them up a notch. Now you can make the best sweet, sticky, and savory Baked Beans with Bacon and Brown Sugar recipe. These lip-smacking, smoky bacon baked beans are always a hit and are just so easy to make!

A white casserole dish with oven-baked baked beans topped with crispy bacon.

Why our recipe

  • Balanced Flavors: Not too sweet, not too salty, and just the right amount of savory– Yum!
  • Perfect Side Dish: Baked beans are the ultimate hearty side dish for hot dogs, burgers, BBQ chicken, ribs, or whatever you’re grilling or smoking on the barbeque!
  • Easy Classic Recipe: Just toss all the ingredients together, layer the slices of bacon, bake, and enjoy this easy Southern baked beans recipe. Simple, straightforward recipe that people want time and time again!

In the South, you really have to be careful when sending those summer backyard party invites out. Is it a BBQ or Grill Out? Evidently, people get really serious about this. So let me clear it right up for you- BBQ is long, low, slow-cooked meats, and a grill out is when you are doing the hot dogs and hamburgers, ya, know, on the hot grill! If you want to get more information on this, check out landontalks on Instagram. He tells it like it is, and he’s a fellow Dukes Mayo lover, so you will love him too (I’m sure of it).

What I can tell you is no matter which event, you will want to serve up these delicious foolproof baked beans topped with bacon! ‘Cause this side dish will complement any of these occasions!

Since we are talking about bacon- add it to anything, and you know it’ll be absolutely delicious! Sprinkling a bland salad with crumbled bacon turns it into something irresistible, or cooking veggies with savory bacon (like my green beans with bacon) pieces makes them a bit more exciting for your kiddos- let’s blame the kids.

If you’re craving more bacon, try my Stuffed Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger, Chicken And Bacon Pasta With Spinach And Tomatoes, and Mini BBQ Bacon Cheddar Meatloaf recipe.

Ingredient Notes

Labeled ingredients needed to make easy baked beans with bacon and brown sugar.
  • Canned Beans: I use Original Bush’s Baked Beans, some people like to use can of pork and beans, but Bush’s is my tried and true go-to.
  • Onion: Add depth with a sweet onion flavor by dicing a yellow onion for the bean mixture.
  • Bell pepper: Diced green bell pepper brings a peppery sweetness to the recipe.
  • Bacon: Get the most flavor out of this bacon recipe with your favorite brand of bacon. I don’t like to use thick-cut for this recipe as a thinner cut will yield the crispiness you want.
  • Mustard: For a subtle tang, mix in yellow mustard.
  • Ketchup: Ketchup adds to the tangy sweetness of the bacon baked beans.
  • Sugar: Get a rich sweetness with brown sugar. Light or dark brown sugar will do.
  • Molasses: Molasses is already in the brown sugar, but if you want the flavor to be stronger, add a bit more sticky-sweet molasses. Or leave it out for a more subtle taste.
  • Seasonings: Black pepper, kosher salt, garlic powder, and spicy cayenne pepper balance and enhance the flavors.

How to Make this Bacon Brown Sugar Baked Beans Recipe

Be sure to see the recipe card below for exact ingredients and full recipe instructions!

Step 1 | Prep and preheat

Get ready for this goodness by preheating the oven to 350°F and lightly spraying a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Then, pour the canned baked beans into the baking dish. 

Step 2 | Combine the bean mixture

Next, add all the remaining ingredients except for the bacon. Add the onion, green pepper, brown sugar, molasses, ketchup, yellow mustard, paprika, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to the dish and stir until combined. Be sure there are no clumps of brown sugar, and everything is mixed well into the beans.

A collage image of beans in dish adding in ingredients to make baked beans.

Step 3 | Add bacon

Then, cut the bacon with kitchen scissors into bite-sized pieces or about 1 to 1 ½ inches. Line the bacon pieces on top of the beans in rows, covering the entire top and not overlapping the bacon too much. This will make it nice and crispy.

A collage image showing cutting bacon into bite-sized pieces, and topping beans in a 9 X 13 dish, then the baked beans after being cooked.

Step 4 | Bake 

Now, place the beans in the preheated oven and bake uncovered for 1 to 1 ½ hours, until they’re bubbly and the strips of bacon are crispy. If you want crisper bacon, broil the sweet beans for 2-3 minutes until the top is as crisp as you’d like!

Step 5 | Rest and serve!

Finally, let the easy baked beans recipe rest for 10 minutes, then enjoy!

Tips

  • Recipe Prep– Have all the simple ingredients chopped and ready to go for the recipe to run smoothly. This is a great make-ahead dish. Make a day ahead, cover, and refrigerate. Remove 30 minutes before baking to come to room temperature. Then, bake per instructions.
  • Thick Baked Beans– Increase the cooking time until the desired thickness is achieved. You can also bump up the temperature to 375℉ to get that thickness in a shorter cook time. Take a look at about 1 hour, and then cook until the desired thickness is acheived.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Vegetarian Baked Beans: For a delicious vegetarian recipe, omit the bacon and use regular beans instead of a can of pork and beans.
  • Turn Up The Heat!: Add a kick by stirring in diced jalapenos or adding more cayenne pepper. 
  • Smoky Baked Beans: Pick applewood or cherrywood smoked bacon! Some like a little liquid smoke in them, but I usually stay away, and just a dab goes a long way. I prefer an authentic smokiness to my beans. See FAQs for smoking instructions.
  • Optional Ingredients: Other delicious baked beans recipes use Worcestershire sauce, green onions, apple cider vinegar, and tomato sauce. Feel free to adjust and add until they’re just how you like them!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make these baked beans in the slow cooker?

Absolutely! Add all the ingredients to a slow cooker sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle the bacon on top. Cover the beans and cook on low for four hours or on high for two to three hours. 

Should you cook bacon before adding to beans?

It completely depends on the recipe. Because we bake this brown sugar beans recipe for at least an hour, the bacon slices will fully cook. If you use another recipe instructing you to bake the dish for less time, you may need to partially cook the bacon before adding it. 

Do you rinse Bush’s Baked Beans?

I don’t bother rinsing the beans for my recipe because the liquid does not disrupt the texture and adds a bit more flavor. However, you can drain and rinse the beans if you want to reduce the sodium of the dish.

Can I make baked beans in the smoker?

Fire up your favorite smoker and allow it to fully preheat to 250 degrees F. Any hardwood will do just fine for this recipe, pick your favorite! I like to place the beans in a cast iron pan or a disposable tray. Then place the pan in the smoker, close the lid, and smoke for 3 hours.

Two bowls of baked beans with casserole serving dish in background.

Storage and Reheating

Storage:

Refrigerate: Save your leftover baked beans in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week. 

Freeze for Long-term Storage: Once the beans cool completely, store them in a freezer-safe container or bag and enjoy them within three months.

Reheat: To reheat the beans, let them thaw in the fridge first, then bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes.

What to Serve with Brown Sugar Baked Beans with Bacon

Make your favorite family dinner by serving these sweet and savory beans with my quick and easy Honey Chipotle BBQ Wings, done in 30 minutes. Or take your time with Slow Cooker Beef Brisket with a rich homemade BBQ sauce. Then, don’t forget to complete your plate with cheesy Baked Macaroni And Cheese.

A plate with a hot dog in a bun and a side of baked beans.

More Easy and Irresistible Bean Recipes

Hungry for more easy, home-cooked, delicious recipes?

Sign up for my free recipe club to get family-friendly recipes in your inbox each week! Find me sharing daily meal-time inspiration on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Two bowls of baked beans with casserole serving dish in background.
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Easy Baked Beans with Bacon and Brown Sugar

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
Author: Nikki Lee
Baked Beans with Bacon and Brown Sugar are the best sweet, sticky, and savory beans ever. And this lip-smacking dish side dish is easy to make and always a hit!
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Ingredients 

  • 4 -16 ounce cans Bush's Baked Beans – Original, (or pork and beans)
  • ¼ cup diced yellow onion
  • ¼ cup diced green bell pepper
  • ½ lb thick-cut bacon, cut into 2-inch pieces (I use kitchen scissors)
  • ¼ cup yellow mustard
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup molasis, optional
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, (or to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9 X 13 casserole dish.
  • Pour baked beans into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Add onion, green pepper, brown sugar, molasses, ketchup, yellow mustard, paprika, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to the dish and stir until combined (making sure that there are no clumps of brown sugar and everything is mixed well into the beans). 
  • Cut bacon with kitchen scissors into bite-sized pieces (1 to 1 ½ inches). Line bacon pieces on top of the bean mixture in rows, covering the entire top (making sure to not overlap the bacon too much, so that it gets crispy). 
  • Place in preheated oven and bake uncovered for 1 to 1 ½  hours, until bubbly and bacon is crispy. If crisper bacon is desired, with beans on middle rack, broil for 2-3 minutes until desired crispness is reached.
    Note: You can cook longer until the desired thickness is achieved.
  • Allow the beans to rest for 10 minutes and serve warm.

Notes

  • Recipe Prep– Have all the simple ingredients chopped and ready to go for the recipe to run smoothly. This is a great make-ahead dish. Make a day ahead, cover, and refrigerate. Remove 30 minutes before baking to come to room temperature. Then, bake per instructions.
  • Thick Baked Beans– Increase the cooking time until the desired thickness is achieved. You can also bump up the temperature to 375℉ to get that thickness in a shorter cook time. Take a look at about 1 hour, and then cook until the desired thickness is acheived.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1servings Calories: 241kcal (12%) Carbohydrates: 29g (10%) Protein: 8g (16%) Fat: 8g (12%) Saturated Fat: 3g (19%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 17mg (6%) Sodium: 752mg (33%) Potassium: 505mg (14%) Fiber: 7g (29%) Sugar: 15g (17%) Vitamin A: 68IU (1%) Vitamin C: 5mg (6%) Calcium: 84mg (8%) Iron: 2mg (11%)

Nutritional Disclaimer

Soulfully Made is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

©️Soulfully Made

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