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This Easy Baked Beans recipe will have everyone asking for the recipe. It has all of the flavors of homemade baked beans, but with a semi-homemade secret. You don’t have to tell anyone that it starts with canned baked beans! Plus this classic barbecue side dish is gluten free too!
Originally published on Sep 6, 2015
Semi-Homemade Baked Beans – So Easy!
When I was a teenager, we lived in a wonderful neighborhood that really was kind of idyllic. It was one of those placed where were community picnics and yard sales, kickball tournaments, and even some shenanigans. And of course, neighborhood barbecues. That was where we were first introduced to Laura’s beans.
For years we called them “Laura’s Beans”. But 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 quickly devoured by friends and family alike.
So I finally thought it was time to share it with the world. It’s your call whether you tell what the secret is…
Why this Recipe Works
So the question is, how do you get that cooked-all-day flavor without, you know, cooking all day?
I’ll tell you my secret to easy baked beans that taste like they were made from scratch. Shhhh…
You start with a can of baked beans!
You already have beans that are already soft and tender and have absorbed the seasonings. As a result, you don’t have to deal with the time and labor of cooking dry beans. But then you dump out all the liquid and replace it with something way yummier.
These doctored up baked beans have an even bolder, more intense flavor and a deliciously rich, thick, gooey texture that is just so much better than that liquidy stuff in the can. It’s barely any more work than dumping canned baked beans in a pot, but totally worth the little bit of extra effort. It’s a gluten free side dish recipe that’s the hit of every summer cookout or when you make Instant Pot BBQ Ribs for game day!
You just need a few simple pantry ingredients to improved canned baked beans!
- Can of baked beans: You can choose your favorite. I usually use Bush’s, preferably the Vegetarian ones, but any will work. The trick is to drain and discard all of the liquid.
- Ketchup: Just enough to replace the bean liquid.
- Spicy brown mustard: For just a little kick.
- Molasses: Adds that smoky sweetness.
- Dry mustard: Enough to henhance the mustardy flavor.
- Salt and pepper
- Onion: Just one small one, chopped.
- Bacon: You’ll want it cooked and crumbled. Check out how to cook bacon for six different cooking methods to choose your favorite. You can omit this for vegan or vegetarian baked beans.
- And an optional bit of brown sugar if you want them sweeter
Are baked beans gluten free?
Many brands of canned baked beans are gluten free, including Bush’s Baked Beans, which is the brand I typically use. Since all of the other ingredients are gluten free, you can safely make this recipe for anyone with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
How to Make Canned Baked Beans Better
Doctored up baked beans taste just as good, if not better than homemade. But they are so quick and easy to make, Here’s what you do.
Drain: Pour the canned beans into a wire mesh sieve over a bowl to drain the liquid off the beans. Discard the liquid. You can strain it into a measuring cup so you can replace the exact amount with ketchup, but I do give an approximate amount in the recipe.
Mix: Now add the drained beans and all of the remaining ingredients to a bowl and stir everything together. Transfer the mixture to a ceramic casserole dish or an aluminum pan that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake: You can bake them for 30 minutes to 1 hour at 350°F, or go low and slow for at least 1 to 2 hours at 250°F to make them even more thick and rich. You can also cook them on the grill, until heated through and thick and bubbly.
What kind of baking dish should you use?
Baking them in a casserole dish gives you the best flavor and texture. And while you only need to get them hot and allow the onion to get tender, leaving them in a low oven for as long as possible will really let the flavors intensify.
However, you can cook them in an aluminum pan if you are bringing them to an event and don’t want to worry about retrieving your dish. And then just throw them on the oven or grill until they are hot.
Can I make them in the crockpot or Instant Pot?
Yes, you can cook the beans in the slow cooker on Low for 4-6 hours. Or pour them into your Instant Pot. close the lid and vent, then set it to cook on Manual or High for 4 minutes. Once it comes up to pressure and the cooking time is complete, perform a Quick Release.
Can you make baked beans in advance?
Yes, you can mix all of the ingredients together, then keep them covered in the refrigerator overnight. You’ll either want to let them warm up a bit or add a little extra cooking time to be sure they get nice and hot.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
And leftovers can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Leftover baked beans can be reheated by keeping them in their original baking dish and popping them back into the oven until they are hot. You can also microwave them or transfer to a pot and warm through on the stove.
If tightly wrapped, baked beans can be frozen for up to two months. Just be sure to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating as directed above.
What to Serve with Baked Beans
It’s time to Make it a Meal! Baked beans make a delicious side dish with almost anything you want to serve them with. But some of my favorites are barbecue and picnic classics, especially when you pair the meal with potato salad and coleslaw!
- Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork
- Air Fryer Gluten Free Fried Chicken
- Buffalo Hot Dogs with Bacon and Blue Cheese
- Honey Balsamic Grilled Flat Iron Steak
- Maple Dijon Chicken Foil Packs
Semi-Homemade Baked Beans
- 28 oz canned baked beans (I use Bush's Vegetarian Baked Beans)
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
- 2 Tablespoons molasses
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 small white onion, minced
- 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (optional)
- 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.
Thank you for all you do!
I was wondering if it can be Converted into a instant pot recipe?
I have not tested this, but I just did some research and saw that others have cooked canned baked beans in an Instant Pot for 4 minutes. If you try it, let me know! Maybe I’ll test it this weekend!
These are the only beans I make now. I used to just dump the can in the pot and cook them, but I bring these to cookouts and they are gone fast!!
I’m so happy to hear this! It’s an easy way to make canned beans amazing!!
If we ever have leftover brisket or pulled pork, we freeze and next time we have baked beans, I’ll thaw out frozen brisket or pulled pork meat and add to baked beans ingredients listed above and bake. Almost a meal itself. Always been a hit every time I serve it that way.
Oh that sounds fabulous! I’ll have to do that the next time my husband smokes a brisket!
I know it said you cut back on the brown sugar, but I don’t see brown sugar listed at all in the ingredients. How much should I use? Thank you.
You know, I don’t even use it at all anymore, but if you like a little more sweetness, try 1/4 cup.
Its the last ingredient and says 1/4 cup.
Decent recipe. Not worth scrolling past the 20,000-word life story to get to it.
Which is exactly why I have a Jump to Recipe button at the top of each post for people who feel a fraction of a second of scrolling is too much time out of their day to get to the free recipe that I’ve developed, photographed, written, and published to share with those who might be looking to make something like this and to earn an income, as that is what Google requires of me, and this is my personal business and how I earn a living. Thank you for visiting.
I enjoyed your story. I plan to make this recipe and other items to deliver to a dear family in my church. They just lost a son, and I like to show love and compassion with a good meal. Food for our soul.
I am so sorry, but I do agree with you that fod is a great way to share some love.
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Love Baked Beans and yours looks delicious!Cannot wait to try!
Such a great idea. And I absolutely love your backstory – it’s rare to find communities like that these days.
I know, I really miss that neighborhood!
Some tasty baked beans are always a hit (although quite different form what I grew up with in the UK – in this case, the ones here win!). And love the childhood stories, too.
Yes, I remember your beans from the time I spent in the UK!
I could eat a huge plate of these!
You’d have to fight off my family!
My mom made these when I was growing up and we just loved them! The only thing different, I believe, was mom used yellow mustard instead of brown spicy and bacon was more of a spurge for us when I was little, but we loved these beans so much! Love your story about community –it’s so important! xo
I used to use yellow mustard, but I like the brow mustard now. It was such a great neighborhood!
Perfect for any end-of-summer bbq cookout! Classic!
I can eat whole pots of baked beans by myself. Of course, that usually means spending the REST of the night by myself, but minuscule price to pay!
Baked beans are the best! I love them ever more with onions & bacon:) great recipe!
Nice baked beans recipe and great for a holiday gathering. No need to cook the beans from scratch and I think those canned beans add their own special part to the flavors.
It’s a nice in-the-middle option between totally from scratch and straight from the can.
I make my beans almost the exact same way. There’s something to be said about shortcut beans! 🙂
Absolutely, especially when you have a lot of other cooking to do for a big family barbecue.
This recipe would have me scraping the side of the bowl. Thick. . . rich. . . L.O.V.E.
The gooey spots on the side are my favorite too.
Ohhhh these would be a hit with my family, for sure! I’ll have to make them and see if we can get them to refer to them as, “Nichole’s Beans” 🙂
These are very similar to the beans I grew up with and still serve today. Easy Peasy and Delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe and your memories.
That sounds like the kind of neighborhood I grew up in—and also where we live today. Many of my best friends are just down the street. Bill is the baked beans lover in this house and I need to treat him to your easy recipe! You can’t beat a tried and true recipe 🙂
You are so lucky to still have a neighborhood like that!