Homemade Baked Beans


Bring a pan of baked beans to any gathering, and everyone will have a scoop of their favorite side.

Active Time:
15 mins
Bake Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs
6 to 8

A dish of baked beans is a welcome addition to any backyard barbecue, family reunion potluck, or football tailgate. Even though you may not have time to start from dried beans, this recipe allows you to turn out a savory and tasty dish based on canned beans.

Southern Living Homemade Baked Beans in the dish ready to serve

Fred Hardy II; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Christina Brockman

Which Type of Beans Do You Use for Baked Beans?

Traditionally, navy beans are used, either canned or dry. If you have dry beans you want to use, just build in time for cooking them. You'll add them to the other ingredients in step 2.

How Long Do You Cook Baked Beans?

If you're using dried beans, you'll need to plan in advance, as they should soak for at least six hours or overnight in a bowl of water. After the required soaking time, drain the beans. Fill an oven-safe pot with water, and add a teaspoon of salt. Add beans and bring the pot of water to a boil, lowering it to a simmer and cooking for 30 to 40 minutes.

Alternatively, you can use an Instant Pot or pressure cooker to speed up the process. Add dried beans and water, and cook for 25 minutes at high pressure. Remove the water and rinse well with cold water.

Canned navy beans are a superb short-cut and nutritionally equivalent to dried, albeit there can be more salt. In this recipe, add canned beans directly to the rest of the ingredients. No further prep is required. But be sure to drain the salty mixture.

Southern Living Homemade Baked Beans ingredients

Fred Hardy II; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Christina Brockman

How Are Southern Baked Beans Different From Boston Baked Beans?

Boston baked beans and the Southern version are similar, relying on a smoky flavor from bacon, ketchup, and molasses for sweetness, and onion and other seasonings. Southern recipes include more molasses or barbecue sauce to sweeten the baked beans, while Boston baked beans may be sweetened with brown sugar or maple syrup instead.

How Are They Different From British Baked Beans?

The Brits also have a tomato-based baked bean dish, but with two main differences: The British version isn't made with any meat and is much less sweet than the American one. Brits also like to eat their baked beans slathered onto toast in the morning, alongside scrambled eggs, cooked mushrooms, and cooked ham or sausage.

How To Cook Baked Beans

The full recipe is below, but here's a brief recap:

  1. Cook the bacon: Start by frying up some bacon (because we believe that most things taste better with bacon) and sautéing an onion.
  2. Make the bake beans sauce: For a sweet and spicy sauce, combine brown sugar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, and your choice of sorghum syrup, or molasses, two of the South's favorite sweeteners.
  3. Combine ingredients: Stir the sauce and onions into the beans, and top with bacon.
  4. Bake: Put the beans in a 350°F oven for about 45 minutes or until the beans are bubbling.

Can You Make Baked Beans Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can make these baked beans the night before you plan to serve them. Just omit topping the beans with bacon until you are ready to put the dish in the oven. Bake beans for 45 minutes at 350°F.

How To Use Leftover Baked Beans

Need any ideas for leftover baked beans? Serve on top of pulled pork and slaw on a bun, stir in leftover chicken (or ground beef or sausage) with cooked rice or another grain for a quick hash-like dish. You can also add to a soup for extra taste and texture.

Editorial contributions by Alexandra Emanuelli.


  • Cooking spray

  • 4 bacon slices

  • 1 small onion, diced

  • 4 (15-ounce) cans pork and beans in tomato sauce, drain

  • 1/2 cup ketchup

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

  • 1/2 cup sorghum syrup or molasses


  1. Cook bacon and onions:

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 11- x 7-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

    Cook bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat 4 minutes; drain, reserving 1 teaspoon drippings in skillet.

    Southern Living Homemade Baked Beans bacon drippings in skillet

    Fred Hardy II; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Christina Brockman

  2. Sauté onion in hot bacon drippings 7 minutes or until tender.

    Southern Living Homemade Baked Beans cooking the onions in the skillet

    Fred Hardy II; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Christina Brockman

    Stir together pork, onions, beans, and next 5 ingredients in a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Top bean mixture with bacon.

  3. Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes or until bubbly.

    Southern Living Homemade Baked Beans in the dish after baking ready to serve

    Fred Hardy II; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Christina Brockman

Additional reporting by
Alexandra Emanuelli
Alexandra Emanuelli

Alexandra Emanuelli is a professional food editor and writer with nine years of experience. She has been published in HuffPost, Clean Eating, AllRecipes, and other publications.

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