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Sweet and savory, these Doctored Up Baked Beans are easy to make and a fantastic addition to any meal. Store-bought baked beans are flavored with bacon, molasses, onions, garlic and more to make them taste absolutely homemade. Fabulous with Oven Baked Ribs and Deviled Egg Potato Salad.
Why You’ll Love This Doctored Up Baked Beans Recipe
While I can appreciate homemade baked bean recipes made completely from scratch, this is one where I take a little help from the grocery store. These beans are sweet, savory and made using two large 28-ounce cans of baked beans that are added to onions, garlic, bell peppers, bacon, molasses, bbq sauce and a few other simple ingredients to make them customized to taste homemade. No one will know!
This recipe will serve 10 people. If you feel like that will be too much for your crew, consider making a half batch of baked beans instead.
Dried Beans vs Canned Beans
From scratch baked bean recipes are made using dried pinto or navy beans that are soaked in water and cooked initially FIRST before being turned into baked beans (or another recipe). They notoriously take awhile to become soft and edible. While they are extremely cost effective, I like using canned baked beans, like Bush’s Original Baked Beans, that are ready to use with a little flavoring already included. It makes this easy baked beans recipe significantly faster and easier which some days is much more important to me.
Ingredients Needed for Baked Beans
I’ve seen all sorts of ingredients added to lots of baked bean recipes, and while I can appreciate all the differences, I kept this version as classic as possible. It’s all about balancing that flavor!
- canned baked beans– the key ingredient to this recipe!
- yellow onion + garlic – a classic start to any good recipe. A great oniony, savory building block for flavor.
- bacon – meaty and smoky flavor, bacon is always welcome in any recipe.
- brown sugar – baked beans need that sweetness.
- Barbecue sauce – adds a little smoky flavor. I used Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce.
- dry mustard – for a little kick. Dijon mustard can work as a good interchangeable ingredient.
- molasses – adds a classic flavor and color to baked beans.
- white distilled vinegar – this helps cut all those sweet ingredients down and gives a little zing.
Love baked beans? Try my tangy Boston Baked Beans (with optional crock pot directions).
How to Make Doctored Up Baked Beans
This recipe is great because almost everyone loves them, they taste completely homemade (even though we are taking a shortcut from the store), and you can make them start to finish in a heavy bottomed dutch oven. Keep in mind, you can totally transfer this to a 9×13 or other baking dish for the oven. Just remember to cover with aluminum foil.
Preheat Oven + Render Bacon
Preheat oven to 350° F. Place large dutch oven pot (or other heavy bottomed large pot) over medium-low heat on the stove top. Cut slices of bacon into small pieces and render the bacon fat out. You want to cook the bacon until right before it gets browned and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to paper towel lined bowl. Set aside.
What does it mean to render the bacon? Rendering is a method to cook the bacon in a skillet over low heat. The process is slow (10–15 minutes) but it’s the only way to completely extract the fat from the meat without charring it.
Pour off excess bacon grease, leaving 2 tablespoons of grease in the bottom of the dutch oven. Place back on stovetop and increase the heat to a medium to medium-high. Add in onion, garlic and green bell pepper and stir to sauté in bacon grease. Cook 3 minutes or until it starts to brown.
Add Beans & Flavorings
Pour cans of baked beans into the pot with the remaining ingredients (BBQ sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, molasses, dried mustard, salt and black pepper). Stir well and remove from heat.
Bake the Beans
Add tight fitting lid and bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes. Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.
Baked Beans Storing + Make Ahead Directions
I love this recipe because it is so easy to make ahead and reheat as needed. If you want to make these doctored up baked beans ahead of time, I would recommend making them according to recipe directions and storing in the refrigerator BEFORE it is time to bake them. They can last in the fridge for up to 5 days. Then when you are ready to serve, bake at 350° F for 1 hour and enjoy.
If you have any leftover baked beans, allow them to cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat, simply microwave until warm.
What to Serve with Baked Beans
Baked Beans are a delicious staple side dish to any BBQ. They are a crowd pleaser and are the perfect side dish to just about any summer meal. Here are a few other things (besides burgers and hot dogs!) that I love to make and serve alongside these Baked Beans.
- Watermelon Mint Salad
- Simple Macaroni Salad
- Grandma’s Potato Salad
- The BEST Coleslaw
- Easy BBQ Pulled Pork
- Mexican Street Corn
- Homemade Kettle Chips
- Broccoli Salad with Sunflower Seeds
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Smoked Pork Butt
This really is the best baked beans recipe. I’ve doctored them up with the best blend of flavors (you saw the bacon in there) and used canned beans that are already seasoned. Bring these to your next summer bbq or family reunion! The printable recipe card is below. Enjoy, friends!
If you make this recipe, I would really appreciate it if you would give it a star rating and leave your review in the comments! If you have a picture of your finished dish, post it on Instagram using the hashtag #laurenslatest and tagging me @laurens_latest.
Doctored Up Baked Beans
- 1 dutch oven optional
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Place large dutch oven pot over medium-low heat. Cut bacon into small pieces and render fat out. You want to cook the bacon right before it gets browned and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to paper towel lined bowl. Set aside.
- Pour off excess bacon grease, leaving 2 tablespoons in the bottom of the dutch oven. Place back on stovetop and increase the heat to a medium to medium-high. Add in onion, garlic and green bell pepper and stir to sauté in bacon grease. Cook 3 minutes or until it starts to brown.
- Pour in cans of baked beans into the pot with BBQ sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, molasses, dried mustard, salt and pepper. Stir well and remove from heat. Add tight fitting lid and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.