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Slow Cooker Baked Beans with Bacon & Brown Sugar

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Homemade slow cooker baked beans made with delicious bacon and brown sugar is a classic recipe and the perfect side dish for summer cookouts.

This is the best baked beans recipe, and guess what? It’s made with the canned stuff! This is one of the easiest slow cooker recipes, you just set it and forget it. The only work required is to cook the bacon and saute the onion and bell pepper before adding to the slow cooker. It’s a great recipe that the entire family will love! Baked beans are one of our kids favorite foods, they love to pair it with hot dogs and burgers.

I love this slow cooker version because I don’t have to turn on the oven in the summertime. But, we also have a baked beans with ground beef recipe that I love that’s cooked in the oven. It’s made without bacon, so it’s perfect for people who don’t eat pork. It has all the same savory flavor and we serve it family style in a large bowl. 

So, pull out your slow cooker and let’s get cooking! 

What you’ll love about this recipe:


  • EASY – This easy baked beans recipe is simple to make; just throw everything in your slow cooker.
  • BBQ SAUCE – The homemade barbecue sauce is a great addition to these slow cooker baked beans.

Ingredients

  • 1 pack of thick-cut bacon
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 54-ounce can pork and beans

Homemade Barbecue Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup ketchup)
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, loosely packed (or light brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Creole mustard (or dijon mustard, yellow mustard, etc.)

Note: For an extra layer of flavor and juiciness, you can opt to brine the pork chops in a mixture of kosher salt, sugar, water, and ice before cooking. However, if you’re short on time or prefer a different texture, feel free to skip this step – the recipe remains delicious either way!

Baked Beans with Ground Beef

Recipe Variations and Substitutions

  • Ground beef: Adding ground beef to your slow-cooked pork and beans can make it heartier.
  • Different beans: Use navy beans, pinto beans, great northern beans, etc. 
  • Additional ingredients: Use minced garlic cloves, Worcestershire sauce for deeper flavor, or smoked paprika for smoky flavor.

Crock Pot Baked Beans Directions

  • Cook Bacon: In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until it is partially cooked but not crispy. Remove bacon from the skillet and let it cool. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in the skillet. Chop the bacon into bite-sized pieces. Alternatively, cook the bacon until it is crispy to fully render the fat. You can always add the crispy bacon pieces towards the end of cooking to maintain their texture.
  • Sauté Vegetables: In the same skillet with the reserved bacon fat, sauté the diced onion and green bell pepper over medium heat. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.
  • Prepare Slow Cooker: In the slow cooker, combine the remaining ingredients: canned beans, ketchup, molasses, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and Creole mustard. Add the sautéed onions and bell peppers to the mixture and stir well to combine.
  • Add Bacon: Place the chopped bacon on top of the bean mixture in the slow cooker.
  • Cook in Slow Cooker: Cover with slow cooker lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  • Serve: Once cooking time is complete, stir the mixture well. Allow the beans to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

  • Taste the Sauce: Before combining everything in the slow cooker, taste the sauce mixture. Adjust the sweetness with more brown sugar or balance it with more apple cider vinegar according to your preference.
  • Make Ahead: This dish can be made a day ahead and reheated. The flavors often meld and improve overnight.
“BBQ Parfait” with baked beans, pulled pork, mac and cheese, and coleslaw in a jar.

What to Serve with Baked Beans

Baked beans pair well with a variety of dishes. Here are some options:

  • Grilled meats: Serve baked beans alongside grilled chicken, pork chops, ribs, or burgers for a classic barbecue combination.
  • Cornbread: The sweetness of baked beans complements the slightly savory taste of cornbread. It’s a popular combination in many Southern American meals.
  • Potato salad: Potato salad can complement baked beans nicely. The textures and flavors work well together.
  • Macaroni and cheese: Mac and cheese is a classic comfort food that pairs wonderfully with baked beans. The creamy, cheesy pasta provides a nice contrast to the beans’ texture and flavor.

How to Freeze Cooked Beans

Cooked beans typically last about 2-3 months in the freezer.

  1. Allow the beans to cool completely to prevent ice crystals from forming, which can affect their texture.
  2. Divide the beans into portion sizes. This makes it easier to thaw only what you need.
  3. Use airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags to store the beans. Squeeze out as much air as possible from freezer bags to prevent freezer burn.
  4. Thaw beans in the refrigerator overnight or use the defrost setting on your microwave. 
  5. Reheat beans gently over low heat to prevent them from becoming mushy. You can add a little water or broth if needed to help them rehydrate during reheating.
pinto-beans-recipe-soul-food-2

More Bean Recipes

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Bacon and Brown Sugar BBQ Baked Beans

  • Author: cooks with soul
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours on High; 6 hours on Low
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes (High)
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: american, barbecue, southern

Description

Homemade slow cooker baked beans made with delicious bacon is a classic recipe and the perfect side dish for summer cookouts.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 pack of thick-cut bacon
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 54-ounce can pork and beans

BBQ Sauce Recipe

  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup ketchup)
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, loosely packed (or light brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Creole mustard (or dijon mustard, yellow mustard, etc.)

Instructions

  1. Partially cook bacon in a large cast iron skillet or in the oven. Reserve 2 tablespoons bacon grease and set bacon aside, allow to cool. Use a chopping knife to chop bacon in bite sized pieces.
  2. Set oven rack to middle lower position and preheat oven to 325° F.
  3. In a dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons bacon grease over medium heat. Add onion and green bell pepper. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft.
  4. Add pork and beans, ketchup, molasses, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and Creole mustard to the dutch oven. Let mixture come to a simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Lay cooked bacon on top of beans mixture.
  6. Bake in oven for 2 to 3 hours.
  7. Carefully remove from oven and allow the beans to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Keywords: slow cooker baked beans, crockpot baked beans, baked beans recipe, baked beans with brown sugar and bacon

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