Southern Baked Beans – easy to make and packed with smokey- rich and creamy vs. sweet and tangy flavors topped with crispy bacon. That’s definitely a compliment to any dish you side it with! Plus it’s so good you can even eat it on its own! A great addition to your summer cookout!
I’ve always been a BEAN lover ever since I was young. It’s hearty comfort food for me. Growing up in Cameroon has let me explore all types of bean dishes as it is a staple back home and all throughout Africa. Although baked beans aren’t particularly African – it’s one of my favorite comfort foods. And everything is always better with a crispy bite of bacon!
I’ve added one of the most DELECTABLE bean dishes you’ll ever make – homemade baked beans, southern style.
Baked beans is an American quintessential side dish, especially in the Southern part, it often appears at barbecues, potlucks, cookouts, picnics – basically any place you get together with friends. It can be a great side for grilled meats, sandwiches OR even a meal on its own at home. How can you resist a scoopful of these baked beans with bacon?
You’ll love that bacon-y layer of flavor with the sauted veggies all mixed up with a can of navy beans. YES, you read that right – a can of beans!
Don’t get me wrong, I love and do honor recipes made completely from scratch – no premade mixes, boxed or canned. But this recipe here yields so much better when you use a good ‘ol Pork n’ Beans straight off from a can.
A baked beans recipe topped with slices of bacon! Make it a part of your grilling menu or fill them in on sandwiches! ‘Cause, nothing is as comforting as eating a plateful of baked beans served before your eyes. 😉 Dig in!
- Bacon – Frying it creates those lovely brown notes to the bacon, this flavor won’t come out if you put it raw on your baked beans.
- Onion – The default should be “yellow onion” as it holds up extremely well over that process of caramelizing because it is a long, slow heat. Here’s my guide on how to cut onions for this dish.
- Jalapeno Pepper – The flavor of fresh jalapenos as bright, vegetable and very green, with a slight level of heat. Roasted jalapenos peppers are richer, slightly smoky, earthy with good heat.
- Bell Pepper – Green and purple bell peppers have a slightly bitter, grassy flavor, while orange, red and yellow bells are sweeter and fruitier—with red being the sweetest.
- Garlic – A pungent, spicy flavor of garlic that mellows and sweetens considerably with cooking. Learn how to mince garlic here.
- Canned Pork n Beans – Are lighter in color, not as sweet, not as thick, and really cheap ingredient for your baked beans. Besides no one will ever know the difference once they try your finished product. 😎
- BBQ Sauce – This is a sauce used as a marinade, basting, condiment, or topping for meat cooked in the barbecue cooking style, including pork or beef ribs and chicken. Here’s my recipe for barbecue sauce that you can use for this dish.
- Ketchup – This is a sweet and tangy condiment made from tomatoes, sugar, and vinegar, with seasonings and spices.
- Mustard – The taste of mustard condiments ranges from sweet to spicy. Commonly paired with meats, vegetables and cheeses, mustard is also added to sandwiches, hamburgers, corn dogs, and hot dogs. So it’s an ideal picnic/cookout condiment.
- Brown sugar – A deep, caramel or toffee-like flavor due to the added molasses.
- Worcestershire Sauce – Has a powerful umami flavor, which comes from anchovies or soy sauce. It’s sour from tamarind and vinegar, sweet from molasses and sugar, and spicy.
- Molasses – Has a warm, sweet, somewhat smoky flavor.
- Creole seasoning – Savory flavor and one of the best seasonings that you SHOULD add in your baked beans. Here’s my recipe for creole seasoning.
What Beans To Use?
The beans commonly used for baked beans are navy beans, common beans, and French beans. The same and vital species that gives us kidney, cannellini, French, black, pinto, haricot, flageolet, Borlotti, and marrow.
- Navy Canned Beans – can be substituted with almost any kind of beans like butter, or kidney beans, garbanzo beans, cannellini, etc.
- Substitute freshly-cooked beans for canned beans – substitute based on volume. For example, a 15-ounce can of beans gives you slightly less than 2 cups of beans, so substitute 1 3/4 cups of freshly cooked beans for 1 can.
- Canned Baked Beans rather than Pork n Beans – if you want it vegetarian. (take out the other good stuff-bacon and rendered fat if you wish to make it vegan friendly)
- Apple Cider Vinegar – you only need a teaspoon of it for a touch of tanginess (it is optional)
- Spicy Brown Mustard – can be a good substitute for yellow mustard.
- The smokiness of real Spanish chorizo or ham hocks – adds a whole new dimension of flavor as well as a satisfying meatiness.
- Portobello Mushroom – has a memorable chewy, meaty texture and a smoky, earthy flavor, you may substitute it for bacon (but why not just add it in?😏).
How Long Do You Bake Beans In The Oven?
- Bake the beans uncovered: For this recipe, you need to bake the beans uncovered at 350℉ for 35 to 45 minutes.
- Cooking time: Most beans will cook in 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on the variety.
Tips For Perfectly Baked Beans
- Soak for soft skins. Soaking dried beans overnight yields consistently tender cooked beans.
- Test frequently and gently – resist the temptation to stir too often during cooking and don’t try to rush things by boiling or simmering too vigorously as cooking times vary.
- Try a few at a time even in the same pot, beans cook at different rates so it’s best to taste some of the beans when checking for doneness.
- Patience is a virtue. Baked beans act like sponges, just let the finished beans sit overnight to absorb as much flavor as possible.
Making Ahead And Storage Suggestions
- Age and Storage – Depending on the age and storage condition of the beans some can remain hard even after hours of cooking.
- Fridge – Store well in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for 3 – 4 days.
- Freezer – Store in an airtight container and keep in the freezer for 4 – 6 months.
What Goes With Southern Baked Beans?
Baked beans are so versatile that it can be a meal on its own, but of course, you know that there are a lot of dishes that are best paired with our baked beans with bacon, use it as a side for Caribbean Jerk Barbecue Ribs, Grilled Chicken Wings and for some texture and flavor contrast, eat it with coleslaw. I’m sure you’ll love it. Indulge!
How To Make The Best Southern Baked Beans?
Prep the oven
- Preheat oven to 350℉.
- Par-cook bacon. If desired or using bacon, cut into 3-4 strips, then par-cook for about 3 minutes. Do not cook the bacon until crisp because it will continue cooking in the oven. Remove and set aside. (Photos 1-2)
Saute & Mix other ingredients
- Sauteeing. Drain oil and leave about 2 tablespoons bacon fat (replace with cooking oil), then add minced garlic, diced onion, jalapenos, and bell pepper. Saute for about 3-4 minutes until translucent. (Photos 3-4)
- Add and mix other ingredients. Add pork n beans, red kidney beans, pinto beans, bbq sauce, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, Cajun seasoning, and pepper to taste. Quickly stir until all the ingredients have been fully combined. (Photos 5-6)
Bake & Don’t overcook!
- Transfer and bake. Pour the beans into an ungreased 9 x 13 baking dish, then top with par-cooked bacon and bake uncovered, at 350 degrees F about 35 to 45 minutes, or until bubbly. Do not overcook. (Photos 7-8)
Watch How to Make it
Southern Baked Beans with Bacon
- 4-6 thick cut bacon
- 1 medium onion diced chopped
- ½ jalapeno diced
- ½ bell pepper, diced
- 1 can (12 oz) pork and beans no drain
- 1 can (12 oz) red kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1 can (12 oz) pinto beans drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup (4 fl oz) bbq sauce
- 1/2 cup (4 fl oz) ketchup
- ½ tablespoon (7.89 g) mustard
- 2-4 tablespoons (15-30 g) brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons (11.20 g) Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoons (20.12 g) molasses
- 2 teaspoons cajun seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If desired or using bacon, cut into 3-4 strips, then par cook for about 3 minutes. Do not cook the bacon until crisp because it will continue cooking in the oven. Remove and set aside.
- Drain oil and leave about 2 tablespoons bacon fat (replace with cooking oil), then add diced onion, jalapenos and bell pepper.
- Saute for about 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add pork n beans, red kidney beans, pinto beans, bbq sauce, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, Cajun seasoning, minced garlic and pepper to taste .
- Quickly stir until all the ingredients have been fully combined.
- Pour the beans into an ungreased 9 x 13 baking dish, then top with par-cooked bacon and bake uncovered, at 350 degrees F about 35 to 45 minutes, or until bubbly. Do not over cook.