Easy Southern Baked Beans

By Jeri Mobley-Arias
March 17, 2023 | Updated on September 1, 2023

Southern baked beans with bacon are simmered in a sweet, savory, saucy mixture and then baked until perfectly tender. Serve this mouthwatering southern-style side dish at your next summer barbecue or with Sunday dinner.

Looking for more bean recipes? Try this Easy Red Beans and Rice recipe next.

southern-baked-beans

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Southern baked beans are brought to a simmer on the stovetop with ingredients like bacon, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, and molasses. I can’t imagine going to a cookout or barbecue and not seeing a pan of baked beans. This is a summertime essential because it goes with any other food you put on the grill. It’s simple but so satisfying!

Why This Southern Beans Recipe Works

  • Easy to Make – You spend less than 10 minutes at the stove, bringing the ingredients to a simmer and then it’s in the oven the rest of the time. It’s definitely a low effort, high reward recipe!
  • Crowd Pleaser – Serve this, and everyone will have at least a scoop.
  • Budget Friendly – This side dish is made with affordable ingredients that you probably already have stocked in your kitchen. It’s cheap but decadent and super filling.
southern-baked-beans-recipe

Tool You’ll Need

Ingredients You Will Need

This section details what you will need to make this recipe, the use of each ingredient, and substitution options. For the exact measurements, see the recipe card below.

  • Thick cut bacon –  Cut into ½ inch thick slices. This adds a rich, salty (but balanced) taste.
  • Yellow onion – When cooked, diced onions produce a subtle sweet taste.
  • Garlic cloves –  Minced and added to the onion as part of the sauté mixture.
  • Bush’s Baked Beans – Use the Original flavor since we are building our flavor from scratch. These canned baked beans are navy beans. If you plan to cook with dried beans, you will need to start those the day before.
  • Smoked paprika – This adds a subtle smoky flavor.
  • Light brown sugar – This thickens and sweetens the sauce.
  • Ketchup – This enriches the flavor.
  • Barbecue sauce – Use your preferred barbecue sauce or try this homemade Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce recipe.
  • Molasses – This provides that beautiful brown hue and enhances the overall flavor.
  • Mustard – This adds a delightful tang that balances some of the sweetness.
  • Apple cider vinegar – This adds a bright, tangy taste to the dish.
  • Kosher salt and black pepper –  Seasoned to taste.
southern-style-baked-beans

How to Make Southern Baked Beans

Gradually add all of the ingredients to the pot while it’s on the stove. Once the mixture begins to bubble, pop it into the preheated oven so the sauce can thicken and the flavors can develop.

Cook Bacon

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once bacon is crispy, transfer to a bowl and set aside.

bacon-cooking-in-skillet

Sauté Aromatics

Add onion and garlic to rendered fat and sauté over medium heat until onions are translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Careful to not let the mixture brown.

onion-and-garlic-sauteing

Add Baked Beans and Other Ingredients

Add Bush’s beans, smoked paprika, brown sugar, ketchup, barbecue sauce, molasses, mustard, apple cider vinegar to the skillet and stir until evenly combined. Bring the mixture to a simmer then taste and adjust seasoning to with kosher salt and black pepper.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes. The beans should be bubbling and sauce slightly thickened.

Remove from the oven, and leave to cool for 5 minutes before serving enjoy!

Tips and Tricks

  • If the beans look dry, add a splash of water and mix.
  • Baked beans can be made up to 2 days in advance.
  • Don’t leave baked beans at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
southern-baked-beans-with-bacon

Southern Style Baked Beans Recipe Variations

  • Southern Baked Beans with Meat. For an even heartier dish, add cooked ground beef or crumbled sausage.
  • Slow Cooker Southern Baked Beans. Prepare the bacon and sauté the onions in a skillet then add those, along with the other ingredients to a slow cooker or crock pot. Set it to low and cook for 2-3 hours.
  • Vegetarian Southern Baked Beans. For a meatless dish, omit the bacon and replace Bush’s Original Baked Beans with their Vegetarian Baked Beans. The bacon adds a depth of flavor so be sure to caramelize the onions as a replacement.

Leftovers

After the beans have completely cooled, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. For longer storage, place them in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Allow them to thaw overnight in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave, on the stove over low-medium heat, or in the oven 350ºF for about 15 minutes.

baked-beans

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes these beans “southern-style”?

All of the sweet elements; from the brown sugar to the molasses, and even the onion, make this the best southern baked beans recipe. It is that deep, sweet tangy flavor that sets this dish aside from other baked bean recipes.

What goes with Southern baked beans?

Baked beans pair well with grilled food including hot dogs, hamburgers, steak, and chicken. If the meal is indoors, serve these easy southern baked beans with Oven-Baked BBQ Ribs. Serving it as a meatless main course? You can’t beat the soul food trio of baked beans, Cornbread with Honey Butter, and Southern Collard Greens.

Are baked beans healthy?

Beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber but with additions like bacon, and sugar, this meal isn’t the most nutritious. Still, it’s okay to consume on occasion as part of a balanced diet.

Looking for More Side Dish Recipes

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Loving this Recipe?

There’s a reason these Southern Style Baked Beans are loved by all! Leave a comment below and share your love for this recipe on Instagram and Pinterest. We love to see you get down in the kitchen. Thank you for supporting Whisper of Yum and happy eating!

southern baked beans in a skillet scooped with a spoon

Southern Baked Beans

Southern baked beans with bacon are simmered in a sweet, savory, smoky, saucy mixture and then baked until perfectly tender. Serve this mouthwatering southern-style side dish at your next summer barbecue or with Sunday dinner.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 5 people
Author Jeri Mobley-Arias
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • Skillet
  • Cast Iron Pot

Ingredients

  • 4 slices thick cut bacon, cut into ½ inch thick slices
  • ¾ medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 28 ounce cans Bush's Baked Beans, Original Flavor
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • tablespoons barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt and Black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Cook bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once bacon is crispy, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  • Add onion and garlic to rendered fat and sauté over medium heat until onions are translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Careful to not let the mixture brown.
  • Add Bush's beans, smoked paprika, brown sugar, ketchup, barbecue sauce, molasses, mustard, apple cider vinegar to the skillet and stir until evenly combined. Bring the mixture to a simmer then taste and adjust seasoning to with kosher salt and black pepper.
  • Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes. The beans should be bubbling and sauce slightly thickened.
  • Remove from the oven, and leave to cool for 5 minutes before serving enjoy!
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southern baked beans in a skillet scooped with a spoon

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jeri-mobley

Hey, I'm Jeri!

At Whisper of Yum, we explore ALL cuisines - comfort foods, classics, elevated originals. If you love food like me, I invite you to settle in to this place, where swoon-worthy food is attainable + inspo for your next meal awaits.

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