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Easy Southern Baked Beans

These Easy Southern Baked Beans is the best authentic recipe perfect for your BBQ or cookout. This classic dish is made with canned beans, bacon, and your favorite BBQ sauce. 

a wooden spoonful of Southern baked beans in a cast iron skillet

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FOR THE FULL LIST OF INGREDIENTS AND COMPREHENSIVE INSTRUCTIONS, PLEASE SEE THE RECIPE CARD AT THE END OF THIS POST. BEFORE YOU SCROLL, THERE’S IMPORTANT INFORMATION IN THIS BLOG POST.

When it comes to Southern-style side dishes, I may love the sides and appetizers more than the main dishes!

This is truly the best soul food baked beans recipe you will find! It’s loaded with hickory smoked flavor, making it perfect for any BBQ or cookout pairing.

canned beans, chili powder, brown sugar, garlic, and liquid smoke in separate bowls

What Type of BBQ Sauce to Use

This is probably the most important ingredient in the recipe! Your baked beans need BBQ flavor. Use your favorite sauce! I like to use our local Kansas City Gates BBQ Sauce or if I’m looking for something unsweetened I use the BBQ sauce from Primal Kitchen.

raw onions and bacon in a cast iron skillet

How to Make Southern Baked Beans

Detailed instructions and serving sizes can be found in the recipe card below.

  1. Heat a skillet on medium-high heat and add bacon and chopped onions. Cook.
  2. Drain any excess fat. Add in garlic and stir.
  3. Add in beans, ketchup, BBQ sauce, liquid smoke, chili powder, and brown sugar or sweetener.
  4. Bake.
cooked bacon and onions in a cast iron skillet

Are They Spicy?

I love to serve mine with a kick because the combination with brown sugar and bacon is just out of this world! I don’t find chili powder spicy, but some people do! So if you don’t want spicy beans omit the chili powder or start with 1/2 teaspoon and continue to adjust to taste.

baked beans, ketchup, BBQ sauce, and brown sugar in a cast iron skillet

Are the Beans Sweet?

I like for a moderate taste of sweetness so I use 3 tablespoons of brown sugar or sweetener. If you want them to be really sweet use 1/4 cup.

What Type of Pan to Use

I love to use a cast iron skillet. That’s the traditional Southern way and you can make everything in one pan since cast irons are oven safe.

You can also use a 9×13 baking dish.

Southern baked beans in a cast iron skillet

How to Make a Large Pan for a Crowd

This recipe will make 8 servings, but you can easily double or triple that by doubling the ingredients used in the recipe. You will need to bake the beans at least 10 minutes longer, but maybe even a little more. Use your judgment and check in on the texture of the beans to determine if they have finished cooking.

Can You Make Them Ahead?

Yes, you can make these ahead. Allow the beans to cool and place them in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. They will last up to 4 days.

Southern baked beans in a cast iron skillet

Can You Add Ground Beef?

Absolutely! This is another common way to make Southern baked beans. You can add in a pound of ground beef at the same time that you add the bacon. If you are omitting the bacon, you can simply add it in it’s place.

How to Make them Vegetarian

Make sure to grab vegetarian baked beans. From there, you can simply omit the bacon used in this recipe.

Freezer Tips

You can freeze these in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight. I love to reheat these in the oven or air fryer on 350 degrees until warm.

How to Reheat

I love to reheat these in the oven or air fryer on 350 degrees until warm.

a wooden spoonful of Southern baked beans in a cast iron skillet

Pair This Dish with These Main Dishes

Air Fryer Ribs
Air Fryer Catfish
Air Fryer Fish Sticks
Instant Pot Ribs
Instant Pot Pulled Pork
Air Fryer Chicken Sandwich
Homemade BBQ Seasoning

More Southern Side Dishes

Southern Coleslaw
Southern Potato Salad
Air Fryer Hush Puppies
Southern Soul Food Baked Mac and Cheese
Instant Pot Southern Green Beans
Instant Pot Collard Greens

Instant Pot Potato Salad
Southern Mustard Greens
Southern Homemade Cornbread

Easy Spaghetti Salad
Southern Macaroni Salad
Instant Pot Corn on the Cob
Air Fryer Corn on the Cob
Avocado Deviled Eggs

If you want to make beans without using canned, check out my Instant Pot Baked Beans.

Check out a listing of all Southern Soul Food Recipes here.

Easy Southern Baked Beans

These Easy Southern Baked Beans is the best authentic recipe perfect for your BBQ or cookout. This classic dish is made with canned beans, bacon, and your favorite BBQ sauce. 
Save this recipe here.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine southern
Keyword baked beans with bacon, best baked beans recipe, Southern baked beans
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 267kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 cup chopped onion I use white onion.
  • 2 garlic cloves Minced.
  • 2 28oz cans baked beans I use vegetarian.
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder This amount will give the beans a kick. If you don't want a dose of spicy omit it or start with 1/2 teaspoon and continue to taste and build.
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 2-4 tablespoons brown sugar or sweetener I typically use 3. See notes.

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • I like to use a cast iron skillet to make everything using one pan. You can use any pan or oven safe baking dish.
  • Heat a skillet on medium high heat and add the bacon and chopped onions. Cook until the bacon is crisp and the onions are translucent and fragrant.
  • Drain any excess fat. Add in the garlic and stir.
  • Add in the beans, ketchup, BBQ sauce, liquid smoke, chili powder, and brown sugar or sweetener. Stir. Taste the mixture repeatedly to ensure the flavor meets your tastes. I don't add any salt because I feel the bacon adds enough. Taste and decide if you want to add salt or any other flavor.
  • (Alternatively, you can cook your bacon separately and simply add all of the ingredients to your baking dish without sauteing them on the stove first. Sauteing the onions and garlic first is done to enhance the flavor).
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes until the beans are bubbly and the sauce has thickened.
  • Bake the beans uncovered. Place a sheet pan under your pan if you fear the mixture will drip over and seep out.
  • Remove from the oven and cool before serving.

Video

Notes

  • Macros noted assume monkfruit sweetener is used.
  • I don’t completely drain the beans, but I do pour off the top layer of liquid that forms in the can.
  • I don’t find chili powder spicy, but some people do! So if you don’t want spicy beans omit the chili powder or start with a 1/2 teaspoon and continue to adjust to taste.
  • I like for a moderate taste of sweetness so I use 3 tablespoons of brown sugar or sweetener. If you want them to be really sweet use 1/4 cup.
  • You can omit the liquid smoke, it’s the secret star that adds flavor.
Recipe Tools Used in this RecipeAs an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition (displayed with net carbs)

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 2g
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