Janie May's Baked Beans

No backyard barbecue is complete without some smoky, sweet baked beans.

Janie May’s Baked Beans
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Ruth Blackburn; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke
Active Time:
20 mins
Bake Time:
50 mins
Stand Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 20 mins

These are not your average baked beans from a can. The recipe comes from our Southern Living Party Cookbook, which was originally published in 1972. Many of the recipes in this storied cookbook are still some of our favorites today—such as Janie May's Baked Beans.

We've updated this recipe for baked beans to make it well-suited for a modern barbecue. These baked beans are sweet and smoky from the spicy sliced sausage. (You could even use Southern-made Conecuh sausage to add even bolder flavor.) Be sure to brown the sausage to add caramelization and render as much fat as possible—cooking the onion and garlic in the sausage drippings carries the spiciness throughout the dish. A little vinegar balances out the sweetness of the brown sugar and molasses, but it's the dry mustard that really seals the deal with these homemade baked beans, adding the final note of tang that takes this dish over the edge.

The beans will be saucy and loose right when they come out of the oven, but they'll thicken up as they cool. Serve with creamy potato salad or sop up with fluffy white sandwich bread. Chill leftovers in an airtight container for up to four days.


  • 2 teaspoons canola oil

  • 1 pound smoked spicy pork sausage, thinly sliced crosswise

  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped (about 1¾ cups)

  • 3 medium garlic cloves, chopped

  • 2 (28-oz.) cans baked beans 

  • ¼ cup light brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses

  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat oil in a skillet over medium. Add sausage; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a paper towel-lined plate. Add onion and garlic to drippings in skillet. Cook over medium, stirring and scraping occasionally to loosen browned bits from bottom of skillet, until softened, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

  2. Add beans, sugar, yellow mustard, vinegar, molasses, dry mustard, salt, and pepper to bowl with onion mixture. Stir in sausage. Transfer to a 2½-quart baking dish. Bake in preheated oven, uncovered, until bubbly and sauce has thickened, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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