Craving something delicious to serve with dinner or to bring to a potluck cookout or barbecue? These old-fashioned baked beans with bacon are the perfect easy recipe!
When I was a kid, my mom always brought her baked beans to cookouts and barbecues.
She may have brought some other dishes too, but these were my favorite!
They’ve got a thick, sweet, and smoky sauce.
Lots and lots of bacon.
They’re delicious with hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, pulled pork barbecue, grilled chicken, steak, pork chops…
They’re basically the perfect side dish for summer!
I faithfully copied all my favorite recipes from my mom in my personal recipe binder, another wedding gift, then had her write in her name so I have that in her handwriting.
Looking back, I wish I’d had her write out the full recipes, but I wasn’t quite as sentimental then.
As you can see by the picture, this recipe is one that’s been made over and over!
It’s not healthy.
It doesn’t fit my Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle.
But sometimes, it’s more important to enjoy a taste of home, don’t you think?
- What are Bean Crocks and Do I Have to Use One?
- Ingredients to Make Bacony Baked Beans
- Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Can These Baked Beans Be Made Ahead?
- Have You Ever Made a Baked Bean Parfait?
- More Delicious Side Dish Recipes for Summer
- Resources and Shopping Links
- Printable Recipe
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What are Bean Crocks and Do I Have to Use One?
For as long as I can remember, when my mom made her famous baked beans she used a classic bean crock like this one.
Bean crocks have been around for centuries and are made from thick pottery that’s been glazed.
The thick pottery worked like a slow cooker, long before there was electricity.
Beans could be soaked and cooked slowly, while the thick crockery protected the content from sticking and burning.
When I got married, I received my very own classic bean crock similar to this!
Do you have to use a bean crock to make baked beans?
Of course not.
You can use any covered casserole dish or Dutch oven.
But I love carrying on this old world tradition, so I always make my mom’s baked bean recipe in a bean crock.
If you get an antique crock, be sure to check that it’s free from lead paint with a swab test like this one.
Ingredients to Make Bacony Baked Beans
One of the things that makes this recipe so delicious is that you make a sauce that ramps up the flavor of canned baked beans.
After you fry the bacon, you use the drippings to make the sauce and whisk in:
- Worcestershire sauce
- brown sugar
- garlic powder
- salt & pepper
The other ingredients to whip up this easy summer side dish are:
- canned baked beans
- whole onions
Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
One thing that gives these baked beans so much flavor is onions.
There’s a trick to preparing the onions that makes them amazing, even if you don’t like onions…
Boiling them in salted water!
Peel the onions and leave them whole, then boil them in salted water for about 20 minutes, while you cook the bacon.
Drain the water and you’re left with soft, mild onions.
Then, don’t chop them up when you add them to the baked beans.
Add the whole onions and they’ll add flavor to the beans.
People who love onions can easily scoop some up on their plates.
And people who don’t like onions can easily avoid them.
While the onions are boiling, fry up the bacon.
Usually, I bake my bacon, but for this recipe, I cook it in a frying pan so it’s easy to use the drippings to make the sauce.
Simply remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, then whisk together the sauce.
By the way, this hexclad frying pan was a complete splurge, but it’s the best pan I’ve ever used!
It’s a blend of cast iron and stainless steel.
You can use metal utensils like my favorite OXO whisks, so whisking together a sauce is super easy.
After the bacon drains on a paper towel, use kitchen shears to easily crumble the bacon without making a mess on your hands!
Also, sometimes I cook a few extra slices of bacon to use as a garnish on top of the beans.
Can you ever have too much bacon?!
Now it’s time to assemble everything.
I cut the recipe in half here because now that we’re essentially empty nesters, we don’t need to make as much food.
The printable recipe below makes enough to serve a crowd.
If you’re using a glazed ceramic pot, there’s no need to spray it with cooking spray, but if your cookware tends to stick, give it a light spritz.
Pop the whole onions in the bottom, then layer the canned baked beans, bacon, and sauce over top.
These beans can cook up in just 20 minutes at 400 degrees F, but if you want the sauce to be thicker, cook them for longer at 350 degrees.
If you’re transporting your baked beans to a cookout, these thermal bags are perfect for a bean crock.
Can These Baked Beans Be Made Ahead?
These simple baked beans are a great recipe to make ahead!
You can completely prepare the beans a day or two in advance and refrigerate them in an airtight container until you’re ready to cook them.
Or, you can cook them, store them in the refrigerator, and then reheat them.
The flavors meld while they’re in the refrigerator, and the sauce actually ends up naturally thicker.
Have You Ever Made a Baked Bean Parfait?
We used to have a local food truck that served up pulled pork barbecue cups.
They layered smoked pulled pork on the bottom, and then topped them with macaroni and cheese, baked beans, and coleslaw.
You could add some of their barbecue sauce on top of it all!
I was a little skeptical the first time I heard about it.
All the side dishes mixed together?
But I try to be adventurous with food, so I ordered one.
After all, I knew I loved pulled pork barbecue with coleslaw on top!
It was so good.
There’s a reason barbecue restaurants serve all those sides: they taste great together.
So the next time you have a cookout, give it a try with these baked beans!
More Delicious Side Dish Recipes for Summer
Whether you’re making dinner at home or going to a cookout, barbecue, or potluck, these side dishes are all delicious and unique twists on classic recipes.
Resources and Shopping Links
Click on any image to shop items from this post
Sources: Heavy Duty Kitchen Shears | Hexclad 12-inch Frying Pan | Natural Linen Fringed Napkins | Wood Cooking Spoons | Silicone Tipped Tongs | Classic Bean Crock | Stainless Steel Dutch Oven | Wood Trivets and Decorative Risers | Not pictured: Thermal Travel Bag
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