Perfect Baked Beans are saucy, flavor packed, and so easy to make from scratch! You can make this baked beans recipe on the stove, oven, or even your slow cooker!
This dish is a true summer time staple! I don’t know anyone who doesn’t hit up the baked beans first at a potluck, and I can say I usually look forward to them more than the main dish! Over the years, I have tried and tested so many different ways of making these beans until they were absolutely perfect. I even tried doctoring up a can of already “baked beans” and it just wasn’t quite the same as from scratch. That’s no big deal considering you can make this recipe with canned or dried beans, and it’s truly really easy either way. If you’re wondering what type of beans to use in baked beans, navy beans or other white beans are traditional. I almost always use dried pinto beans in my recipe, it’s just my preference but any work fine. All of my recipe notes/tips and substitutions are below, as well as good tips in the recipe card. If you’re here looking for more summer salads, try out our Favorite Macaroni Salad and our Family Fave Potato Salad!
Baked Beans Recipe Notes and Tips:
- Types of beans: You can use pinto, navy, or even kidney beans in this recipe. Don’t be tempted to use already made canned baked/pork and beans! The reason this recipe is so good is because we get to make our own sauce!
- Canned Beans: You can use canned beans here, and you will want 3 cans total. This is the easier way, you don’t have do anything except drain your liquid from the beans and get started.
- Dried Beans: Dried beans work fine here too! You will want one pound of dried beans, which is about 2 cups dry and comes out to a little over 5 cups once they are cooked. Keep in mind if using dried beans you will need to soak them over night, then boil for one hour before using them in the recipe.
- Once cooked, you can cool the beans and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I like to reheat them over medium-low heat on the stove until warmed through. You can also place them in a zip top bag and freeze for up to three months, then thaw in the refrigerator overnight before heating.
Perfect Baked Beans
- 8 Slices Bacon Chopped
- 1 Medium Yellow Onion Chopped
- 1 Red Bell Pepper Chopped
- 2 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 1 Pound Dried or Canned Pinto Beans** SEE NOTES
- 1 Cup Water
- 8 Ounces Tomato Sauce
- 3/4 Cup Ketchup
- 1/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Molasses
- 2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Add the chopped bacon to a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Cook, stirring occasionally for about 6-8 minutes until bacon is crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Do not drain the grease.
- Add the chopped onion and bell pepper to the bacon grease in the pan. Cook, stirring constantly for 3-4 minutes until becoming soft. Add the garlic and cook stirring constantly for 1 more minute.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients, including the cooked bacon, and stir to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer and then reduce the heat to medium-low.
STOVE TOP METHOD:
- Simmer on the stove top for 60 minutes, stirring twice during cooking.
OVEN BAKED METHOD:
- Or, preheat the oven to 325 degrees and bake the beans in an oven safe dish for 45 minutes.
SLOW COOKER METHOD:
- Pour the beans into a 6 quart or larger slow cooker. Cook the beans on low for 6-8 hours.
- Taste the beans before serving and add more salt or pepper to taste, stir well before serving.
- Serve immediately. Beans are good in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and can be reheated on the stove top. Beans can also be frozen for up to 3 months, then thawed in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.