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19 Ways to Jazz Up Baked Beans for Your Summer Barbecue

19 Ways to Jazz Up Baked Beans for Your Summer Barbecue

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These simple recipes will elevate your baked beans game

Shutterstock / Aleksandra Kovac

We’re here to help you jazz them up.

There’s one thing at a summer cookout that your guests will miss if it’s absent, even if it’s not always the star of the show: baked beans. However you take your beans, we’re here to help you jazz them up.

19 Ways to Jazz Up Baked Beans for Your Summer Barbecue

I like my baked beans to have a spicy kick, with a little bit of brown sugar to balance them out. However, when you’re hosting guests, be mindful of those who shy away from spicy foods — it’s probably a good idea to keep the heat at a friendly level.

I’ve gathered a few baked beans recipes that your guests will enjoy — including kid-friendly recipes such as the Hamburger Baked Bean Casserole, in case your guests bring their children. It’s best to make these beans ahead, in order to save time to cook some delicious mac and cheese and grill those burgers to perfection.

Baked Beans in Bacon Cups

For parties, we fry the bacon cups one at a time so they get perfectly crisp and irresistible; for a less time-consuming preparation at home, I suggest baking them. Save the leftover habanero honey to add a sweet kick to barbecue sauce or to glaze grilled or roasted pineapple as a sweet side to grilled fish or chicken. — Peter Callahan

Baked Beans with Mustard and Bacon

Coca-Cola has made its way into quite a few recipes, including a Coca-Cola cake and a Coke-glazed baked ham. Here it adds a sweet caramel note to a simple version of baked beans. — Bon Appétit

How To Doctor Up A Can Of Baked Beans

Baked beans are a staple at a summer picnic, barbecue or church potluck. They are the perfect accompaniment to a meal of hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta salad, and watermelon.

Good news: You don’t have to make baked beans from scratch to make really good beans.

Rather, you take an already-decent can of beans and add a few key ingredients to make them really flavorful and delicious.

Here’s how to make canned baked beans taste better.

Doctoring Canned Baked Beans

Shortcut this recipe by draining off the excess liquid from the top of the can and baking for 30 minutes.

  • Author: mollie
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1 x
  • Category: Side
  • Cuisine: American


  • 2 (28 ounce) cans Bush’s Baked Beans, original recipe preferred
  • five to six slices of bacon, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced finely
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard powder (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Have a two-quart casserole at the ready.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, add the bacon, onion, and water. Cook, stirring often until bacon is rendered (but not crisp) and onion nearly tender, and all water evaporated. Add in beans, brown sugar to taste, ketchup, mustard powder, molasses, and apple cider vinegar. Stir and bring to a boil. Add ginger, if desired.

Place beans in casserole, place in oven and bake about 1 hour, uncovered until top has darkened but isn’t burned, watch it at the end, and beans are bubbling and piping hot. Remove and let sit for several minutes before serving.

  • If you don’t have brown sugar on hand, just add white sugar and a 1/2 teaspoon more molasses.
  • Beans will thicken as they cool and become quite thick if refrigerated. Reheat with a little water, if desired.

Keywords: Bacon, Beans, canned beans, hearty sides, ketchup, molasses, Side, Vinegar

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!

I’ll be sharing Doctoring Canned Baked Beans at Fiesta Friday #280. The hosts this week are Angie of Fiesta Friday and Ai @ Ai Made It For You.

19 Ways to Jazz Up Baked Beans for Your Summer Barbecue - Recipes

Doctored Up Canned Baked Beans

  • 28 ounce Baked Beans
  • Generous Squirt Yellow Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Molasses
  • Couple Shakes Dried Minced Onions
  1. Pour beans in saucepan. Add other ingredients. Heat and simmer slow for 5 minutes. Enjoy!


I like them with chopped up bacon and tomatoes.

I usually drain mine a bit and also add bacon!

Yummy! I love molasses in everything!

I grew up in Louisiana and these were our baked beans. We browned Hillshire smoked sausage, green pepper, yellow onion and a little celery. Add a big van of Pork n beans, mustard, brown sugar, Worstersize sauce. Bake show in the oven till all the flavors mix together.

Everyone commented on how good the “baked beans” were! I didn’t tell them it took 5 minutes.

How to cook canned baked beans

That&rsquos simple. You can use any oven proof dish you like and mix your canned baked beans right in there. Then bake until they are hot all the way through and bubbling around the edges.

As they cook the baked beans will thicken and get a little sticky crust around the edges&ndashthat makes them look like they&rsquove had ages in the oven doing their thing.

You can heat them just in a pot on the stove, but&ndashmeh&ndashnot as good. Do give them 20 minutes in the oven and it will be worth it.

Mimic the flavor of barbecue-style beans by adding nice caramel undertones to the can. Slowly caramelize a chopped onion in a bit of oil, then add bacon and cook until crispy. Add the can of beans and stir, making sure to scrape up any tasty bits that have stuck to the pan. To finish, toss in a pinch of espresso powder for an extra hit of earthy flavor.

Give your baked beans a Mexican twist by stirring in a few spoonfuls of chipotle adobo sauce and some crumbled chorizo. Garnish with cilantro and sour cream.

Baked beans are a simple, homey dish that’s surprisingly complex. When I opened my restaurant, East Coast Grill, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I served them on every barbecue platter because their sweet and savory, porky flavor, almost toasty with molasses, complements spicy, smoky meat.

Boston baked beans can be traced to Native Americans, who would dig a hole, burn wood down to coals, bury a cast-iron pot filled with beans, water, fat, and maple syrup, and let everything cook overnight. This practice became a favorite in lumber camps, and then at family gatherings and church suppers. Over time, people began cooking their beans in ovens instead of holes and incorporating regionally popular ingredients, such as salt pork and molasses.

With my barbecue background, I have a great fondness for cooking things in pits, and I actually do have a bean hole in my yard, which is great for when I want to fritter away a day. But as a citizen of the 21st century, I also cook these beans in the oven, and frankly, they taste just as good. I use salt pork, molasses, maple syrup, and brown sugar to flavor and sweeten the beans. First, I bring everything to a simmer on the stovetop, and then I bake it all, low and slow, until the beans are soft, which can be anywhere from 4 to 6 hours, depending on how “fresh” the beans are (older dried beans cook slower). It’s a snap compared to cooking them in a hole, and they’re always well worth the wait.

Need to Know

Use molasses to help the beans keep their shape. Its acidity makes the beans cook slower, so they don’t fall apart during the long baking time that gives them all their flavor. I like to use robust unsulfured molasses, sometimes labeled dark or full body. It is more concentrated and caramelized than mild molasses, yet lighter and less bitter than blackstrap molasses.

Layer pork and onions underneath the beans. As the pork fat melts, the onions will flavor it. This oniony fat infuses the cooking liquid as it floats to the surface. Salt pork—made from the same cut as bacon, but cured only with salt and not smoked—is a New England staple. Bacon can easily be substituted with no noticeable difference in flavor.

Bake uncovered. This allows some of the liquid to evaporate, leaving behind a flavorful sauce.

Test more than one bean for doneness. Sometimes beans cook at different rates, so to avoid under- or overcooking the whole pot, try a few.

Let the beans rest before serving. The sauce will look thin even after the beans are tender, but it will thicken as the beans sit at room temperature. And because they’re in a heavy-duty pot, they’ll stay warm for a long time.

Bacon & Baking

There are two pretty key things about this recipe.

  1. bacon! bacon adds so much flavor and extra texture. Crispy chewy bacon + soft firm beans in that savory sweet sauce its the spot every time. Everyone from kids to men love this dish!
  2. The recipe calls for these baked beans to be baked for 1 hour. I thought it might be a little over kill until I tasted the beans right after combining all ingredients. yup. it definitely needs to sit and marry in that heat and oven. it creates a deep flavor that won’t be matched by just stirring ingredients together, or opening up a can from the grocery store.

I love cooking mine in my Stuab Fry Pan. It can go from frying bacon, simmering sauce, baking in the oven to serving the food all while looking beautiful.

If you are looking for some additional sides and salads to accompany these baked beans we have loads!! Click here for a list, or head to the top of the sidebar and search whatever you’re feeling like! and if we don’t have that recipe send us an email we will find the perfect one for you!

Best 5 Baked Bean Recipes

The unofficial end of summer has come and gone, but there’s still plenty of time for backyard parties and, more importantly, Sunday football gatherings around the big screen. Whether you're serving up burgers or dogs, don't forget hearty sides beyond potato chips. We’ve rounded up Food Network’s top five baked bean recipes — perfect on their own or on top of game-day classics.

5. Baked Beans With Swiss Chard - Green leafy Swiss chard adds color to this brightened-up version of baked beans from Food Network Magazine.

4. Infineon Raceway Baked Beans - Guy's not a huge fan of baked beans because they're so sweet, so he created this dish, which is a hybrid of chili and baked beans — so the beans will still have some texture and they won't be as sweet.

3. Baked Beans With Bacon and Red Onions - Rachael can jazz up baked beans a thousand ways, but here she uses store-bought baked beans with a homemade topping of red onions, bacon, brown sugar and black pepper.

2. Barbeque Baked Beans - The Neelys' beans are flavored with a barbecue seasoning mixture, a cup of homemade barbecue sauce and leftover smoked pork or beef.

1. Southern Baked Beans - For an easy barbecue classic, Paula dresses up canned pork and beans with maple syrup, brown sugar, mustard and, of course, bacon.

Freshers flu detox

Credit (Worcester Sauce): _Libby_ - Flickr

Serves: 1–2 | Total cost: £1.00 – £1.50

Feeling a little rough after a crazy freshers' week (and yes, freshers' flu really is a thing)? It's time to get some veg down you!

This dish is full of vitamins to get you back on track.


  • 1 tin of baked beans
  • Sunflower oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 celery stick
  • 1 carrot
  • 300ml of vegetable stock
  • Tablespoon of tomato puree
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Chilli flakes (optional)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Mixed herbs
  • Teaspoon of paprika
  • 2 rashers of bacon (optional).


    1. Fry the onion, carrots, celery and chopped garlic in sunflower oil. If you're using bacon, chop it up and add it in too. Fry for around 10 minutes.
    2. Add vegetable stock and the tin of beans, and then spoon in the tomato puree.
    3. Add the herbs, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce. Add chilli flakes if you want it hot!
    4. Cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes.
    1. Add salt and pepper and serve with some crusty bread.

    Hopefully, this should spruce up your student cooking repertoire. Be careful not to overdo it though – beans are good for your heart, but the more you eat.

    We don't just cook beans – but our simple bean salad recipe (not baked beans this time!) is too good for you not to try.


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