Semi Homemade Easy Baked Beans
This easy baked beans recipe gives you all of the flavor of slow-cooked beans, but none of the effort. It’s a semi homemade version of the classic barbecue side dish. Guess what my secret is?!
When I was about thirteen, we moved out of the house that we had lived in since I was born. We moved in December to a neighborhood that had all of about five houses, and the day we moved was the first snow storm of a winter filled with ice and snow storms. My mom, sister, and I spent many days stuck in the house feeling quite alone. Gradually the ground thawed and more and more houses went up and families moved in, and we came to love that neighborhood, or “The Village”, as my sister called it when she was little.
There were only two streets that made a circle, so pretty much everyone knew everyone. It was the typical mom, dad, two point five kids, the occasional dog or cat, manicured landscaping, swing sets in the backyards type of neighborhood. It was one of those neighborhoods where the kids would roam from house to house finding where and with whom they wonted to play, the parents would gather on someone’s from porch or back deck to have a glass of wine or a beer and chit chat, and it took at least a half hour to walk around the very small block because you undoubtedly stopped several times to catch up with someone. There were community picnics and yard sales, kickball tournaments and donut fights, and yes, even some shenanigans involving reindeer Christmas decorations in compromising positions and a light-up Santa in someone’s car.
I was literally the only teenager, and basically every house had at lease one kid under eight, so to say that my high school years were quite lucrative is an understatement. Well, the going rate for babysitting was way less back then compared to now, but I did okay. The best part was that my sister, who is ten years younger than me, was friends with all of the kids in the neighborhood. So she accompanied me pretty much every time I had a babysitting job and played with the kids while I watched TV or did my homework (yes, this was ways before the days of smartphones), and I just made sure that nobody got injured. Can you say “easy money”?!
And actually, even though I had made dinner for my family a fair amount since I was in junior high, my real interest in experimenting with recipes and trying to make new things came from our monthly neighborhood dinner parties that I started attending with my parents when I moved back home after college. Every month the hosts chose a theme, and I began making recipes to fit the French and Irish and Mexican and Italian menus, and so much more.
It wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns though. There was gossip and a few mini-feuds, and even some more serious things like affairs, divorces, and yes, even a couple of tragedies where we lost members of the “tribe”. But at the end of the day, it was the closest community I have ever been a part of. I loved living there, and even though I only planned to live at home for a short time after I graduated college, the only thing that could drag me away was getting married. And the only reason I didn’t go back on a regular basis was because my parents moved out of state while I was on my honeymoon. Heck, The Hubby and I actually toyed around with the idea of buying a house there. I’m not sure that where we live now is quite like that, but I hope that many someday my kids will experience that type of neighborhood and sense of community.
One of the other amazing things I got out of living in that neighborhood? These semi homemade easy baked beans…
This baked beans recipe was originally “Laura’s Beans”. In fact, that’s how they are labeled in my mom’s recipe book.
But honestly, I can’t remember the last time I referred to the recipe. I usually just added in a little of this, some of that. If there were vegetarians, I’d leave out the bacon or use liquid smoke. As I made this easy baked beans recipe more and more, they gradually became known as Brianne’s Beans.
Now, they are often requested and rapidly devoured by friends and family alike. Everyone always wants to know my secret. So I’m going to tell you. Shhhh…
How do you make baked beans quickly?
You start with a can of baked beans so that you get all the flavor that’s already there. As a result, you don’t have to deal with the time and labor of cooking dry beans. Then you dump out all the liquid and replace it with something way yummier and thicker and richer. Also, while you could just throw them on the oven or grill until they are hot, my favorite thing is to put them in a low oven for as long as possible to really let the flavors intensify.
Over time I’ve tweaked the easy baked beans recipe quite a bit. In fact, originally, they had less mustard and more brown sugar, but The Hubby prefers his beans less sweet and more mustardy. Since I love him, he wins, and I’m okay with cutting the sugar a bit.
These semi-homemade baked beans are still super flavorful, and the thick, gooey texture is just so much better than that liquidy stuff in the can. And it’s barely any more work than dumping a can of beans in a pot, but totally worth it.
Finish off your barbecue menu with these easy recipes…
Easy Baked Beans Recipe
Keep all of the flavor but lose all of the work in this easy version of the classic barbecue side dish. It’s a gluten free baked beans recipe that’s the hit of every summer cookout!
I hope you’ll leave a comment and give the recipe a FIVE STAR rating. And share a photo of it on this pin, over on Pinterest!
Semi-Homemade Baked Beans
- If you have several hours to bake your beans, preheat the oven to 250°F. If you only have thirty minutes to an hour, set it to 350°F. Additionally, you can also cook the beans on the grill.
- Drain all of the liquid from the can of baked beans into a measuring cup. Make note of the amount of liquid and discard. This is the amount of ketchup you will use.
- Place the beans in the large bowl and add ketchup (an equal amount to the quantity of baked beans liquid you discarded, about 3/4 cup), mustard, molasses, salt, dry mustard, pepper, onion, and bacon, and stir to combine.
- Transfer to a ceramic casserole dish (or disposable aluminum pan for cooking on the grill or bringing to a barbecue where you may not get your dish back), and bake for at least 1-2 hours at 250°F, or at least 30 minutes-1 hour at 350°F or on the grill, until heather through and thick and bubbly. The lower and longer you bake them, the better.