15 Baked Beans Recipes That Hit All the Right Notes

Sweet, smoky and sometimes even a little bit spicy, there’s nothing quite as delicious as a saucy scoop of this homestyle favorite.

June 09, 2022

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Fill Your Plate

From backyard barbecues and tailgate parties to community potlucks and weeknight dinners, we can’t think of a single occasion where a pan of homemade baked beans isn’t welcome. They’re sweet, savory and saucy — the perfect way to round out any meal. And while you probably have your go-to recipe, we’re here to tell you that there are lots of ways to cook up this satisfying side dish. You’ll find variations with fruit, fragrant spices and even root beer — each one as craveworthy as the next. No matter how you choose to make them, everyone needs a reliable recipe for BBQ baked beans; they’re a summertime staple. This shortcut version relies on ordinary canned baked beans, which we dress up with fresh peppers, onions, cider vinegar and barbecue sauce. Best of all, the beans taste even better the next day, so they can be prepared ahead of time and reheated when you’re ready to eat.

Get the Recipe: BBQ Baked Beans

Italian-Style Baked Beans

This clever recipe swaps regular bacon for pancetta and ketchup for tomato sauce. It still calls for a bit of molasses and brown sugar but cooks up with a deeper, more savory flavor than other versions you’ve tried. The secret? Balsamic vinegar.

Get the Recipe: Italian-Style Baked Beans

The Best Baked Beans

If you think baked beans only come from a can, you're in for a treat. Bacon, molasses and bourbon add depth and flavor to our classic recipe that's perfectly spiced with paprika, mustard and Worcestershire. A bit of brown sugar adds just the right amount of sweetness and to keep things easy, the beans require no soaking! They get tender and delicious right in the oven.

Get the Recipe: The Best Baked Beans

Vegan Baked Beans

Shiitake mushrooms are the secret ingredient in these vegan baked beans--even meat lovers won’t miss the bacon! The best part is the beans require no soaking, just a slow cook in the oven until tender, sweet and spicy.

Get the Recipe: Vegan Baked Beans

Easy Baked Beans

Trisha manages to cut the ingredient list down to just 6 things, thanks to a clever hack: she dresses up canned pork and beans. Including bacon, molasses and brown sugar ensures a finished product that’s smoky, savory and sweet — which is exactly the way baked beans should be!

Get the Recipe: Easy Baked Beans

Tropical Baked Beans

Sunny dresses up canned baked beans with mango salsa and red chile flakes for a sweet-and-savory side that’s ready in just 10 minutes — and perfect alongside all your other cookout favorites.

Get the Recipe: Sunny's Nunya Business Tropical Baked Beans

Strawberry Barbecue Sauce Baked Beans

Damaris says, "I like to show up at a potluck with a seemingly common dish that has a surprising twist" — a statement she proves with these irresistibly delicious beans. They include a lot of classic ingredients like garlic, onion and molasses but feature one that’s a little bit unexpected: fresh strawberries. Along with a bit of strawberry jam, they give the sauce just the right amount of sweetness.

Get the Recipe: Strawberry Barbecue Sauce Baked Beans

Baked Beans with Ham

Who knew that a lightened-up version of baked beans could have all the sweetness and flavor of the original? Ellie’s version uses lean ham instead of bacon for smokiness with less fat — and molasses for sweetness, which helps keep the sugar in check.

Get the Recipe: Baked Beans with Ham

Perfectly Baked Beans

Fans rave that Ree’s 5-star recipe lives up to its name calling her Perfectly Baked Beans their “go-to recipe”, “amazzzzzing” and “the best beans on the planet”. Better make a double batch!

Get the Recipe: Perfectly Baked Beans

Sweet Heat Baked Beans

If you haven’t tried Kardea’s take on baked beans, you’re missing out! She baked sliced jalapeños (sprinkled with a brown sugar spice blend) on a sheet pan until they’re crispy — and then uses them as a topping for her finished beans. The result? Sweet, spicy perfection.

Get the Recipe: Sweet Heat Baked Beans

The Ultimate Baked Beans

Chipotle chiles in adobo are a no-brainer for baked beans. They instantly intensify the smoky flavor for almost no work at all — so it’s no surprise that Tyler has included them in his “ultimate” recipe.

Get the Recipe: The Ultimate Baked Beans

Peach, Bourbon and Bacon Baked Beans

There are two reasons Katie’s beans are so flavorful. First, she cooks the beans in a mixture of bourbon and chicken stock instead of water. Second, she amps up the sweetness with a healthy dose of peach preserves. Genius!

Get the Recipe: Peach, Bourbon and Bacon Baked Beans

Pork Lovers Baked Beans

Just when you thought baked beans couldn’t get any better! Ree doubles down on the pork in her recipe by including some chorizo in the mix — and topping the beans with thin slices of bacon.

Get the Recipe: Pork Lovers Baked Beans

Root Beer Baked Beans

Aarti cooks her beans with root beer and a little bit of garam masala for a rich, aromatic twist on the original. If you can’t find garam masala at your local supermarket you can make the spice blend yourself, using Aarti’s easy, 4-ingredient recipe.

Get the Recipe: Root Beer Baked Beans

Maple Baked Beans

You won’t believe the flavor that Ina packs into her baked beans. She swaps molasses for pure maple syrup and adds some freshly grated ginger for subtle change that’s sure to win over even the pickiest eaters.

Get the Recipe: Maple Baked Beans