The Best Baked Beans EVER

The Best Baked Beans Ever is the perfect combination of sweet and salty. These old-fashioned beans will spice up any cookout or BBQ!

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If you are a regular reader of IGE, you will know that there is only one recipe for baked beans on this website: Judy’s baked beans. They’re the best-baked bean ever. Since I was a child, I have been eating these baked beans. I shared this recipe on the Mothership ten years ago.

This signature recipe, which is almost an heirloom, deserves another chance in the spotlight.

After one bite, you will understand why these baked beans deserve to be called the “best.”The baked beans are the perfect combination of sweet and savory. They also require no cooking on the stove because they are made from canned beans. You could call these baked beans ‘kicked up’ (or simply one of the most delicious things you have ever eaten). These are old-fashioned but in the best way possible.

How can you make baked beans taste better?

This easy recipe for baked beans is a great way to use Bush’s plain canned beans. If you want to make canned beans into an irresistible, thick, syrupy side dish, add diced kielbasa and brown sugar. You can also sprinkle ketchup-slathered, smoky bacon. Awwww yeah. After being baked slowly and low for several hours, the canopy becomes caramelized and lacquered, while the beans beneath become permeated by flavor.

The Best Baked Beans Ever is the perfect combination of sweet and salty. These old-fashioned beans will spice up any cookout or BBQ!

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Judy’s Baked Beans are glowing!

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If you are a regular reader of IGE, you will know that there is only one recipe for baked beans on this website: Judy’s baked beans. They’re the best-baked bean ever. Since I was a child, I have been eating these baked beans. I shared this recipe on the Mothership ten years ago.

This signature recipe, which is almost an heirloom, deserves another chance in the spotlight.

After one bite, you will understand why these baked beans deserve to be called the “best.”The baked beans are the perfect combination of sweet and savory. They also require no cooking on the stove because they are made from canned beans. You could call these baked beans ‘kicked up’ (or simply one of the most delicious things you have ever eaten). These are old-fashioned but in the best way possible.

How can you make baked beans taste better?

This easy recipe for baked beans is a great way to use Bush’s plain canned beans. Add brown sugar, diced kielbasa, and smoky steak sauce to make canned beans into an irresistible, thick, syrupy side dish. Awwww yeah. After baking low and slowly for several hours, the beans become caramelized and lacquered on top.

We make this dish repeatedly in the summer for every holiday or potluck. Serving at a BBQ, birthday party, or other celebration is also great. This dish is easy to prepare, can be made in advance, and will please everyone!

Ingredients Required

  • Baked Beans: canned beans are the basis of this ‘ kick-up’ canned baked beans. Bush’s Vegetarian Baked Beans are my favorite because they have less sugar than other varieties.
  • The addition of diced kielbasa to the mixture, Kielbasa is a nod towards “franks and bean.” It’s my favorite part of this recipe. Johnsonville is gluten-free.
  • Crushed Pineapple: Buy crushed pineapple packed in juice, not heavy syrup. Then, use the lid and push down to drain the fluids. Add them to the beans. I’ve used pineapple tidbits from a can that I’ve minced before.
  • Onion: diced onions add a savory flavor to baked beans.
  • Brown Sugar: brown sugar adds sweetness and depth to flavor due to the molasses in it.
  • Yellow mustard and steak sauce: The mustard and steak sauce adds a savory taste and tang that balances the sweetness of the brown sugar and pineapple.
  • Bacon strips cover the baked beans to infuse them with bacon flavor as they bake. The beans are surprisingly not bacony. It just adds flavor to the dish.
  • Ketchup: I spread ketchup on the bacon, which caramelizes while the beans are slowly baked. This not only enhances the beauty of the dish but also the taste.

You can also freeze them!

Sometimes I want to bake just enough for my immediate family, five people, so I freeze half the recipe and cook the rest again.

Just assemble the beans as per the recipe but stop short of baking. Cover with saran, foil and then freeze. After thawing in the fridge for 24 hours, bake as usual. If you are baking half a batch instead of a whole batch, you may not need to bake for the recommended time.

This perfect side dish will make you happy whether it’s your first time or 100th. !

This recipe is easy to make.

Start with can-baked beans. I recommend Bush’s Vegetarian Baked Beans because they are slightly lower in sugar. Drain off the liquid from the tops of each can after opening the cans. You will not get soupy baked beans if you do this.

Stir the beans with the kielbasa dice, minced pineapple, brown sugar, and steak sauce.

Then, line the top of the baking dish with bacon. Regular or center-cut bacon is best, not thick-cut. I use 3/4 of the complete package of bacon. Then, using the back of a teaspoon, spread ketchup on top of the bacon.

Bake at 250 degrees for 2 to 2-1/2 hours until the bacon has caramelized deeply, and the beans have bubbled. Just looking at this picture makes me happy. This baked bean screams Summer, and I hope that you enjoy it as much as my family does until this beautiful season is over. Enjoy!

The Best Baked Beans Ever

Ingredients

Serves 8-10 people as a side dish

  • Bush’s Vegetarian Baked Beans, 2 28oz cans (see note)
  • I like Johnsonville kielbasa—13.5 oz package, sliced into bite-size pieces.
  • 8oz can crush pineapple in natural juices, drained
  • One small yellow onion minced
  • Half a cup of brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons of gluten-free steak sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon mustard
  • 1lb package of regular or center-cut bacon – not thick-cut
  • 1/4 cup ketchup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Pour the beans into a large bowl and add the kielbasa. Add the pineapple, onions, brown sauce, mustard, sugar, and steak sauce. Stir until everything is well combined. Scoop mixture into prepared baking dish.
  3. Spread ketchup over the beans with a back of a teaspoon. Bake for 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until the bacon top is caramelized. Allow the bacon to cool down for 15 minutes before serving.

NOTES

  • Bush’s Vegetarian Baked Beans are my favorite because they have a lower sugar content than other brands. Use your favorite canned baked beans. Just be aware of how much sugar you want in your baked beans.
  • I updated photos and recipes in 2022—the original recipe called for Bush’s Baked Beans instead of VanCamp’s Pork & Beans.

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