pan of best baked beans with a scoop taken out of the corner

Judy’s Baked Beans got a glow up!

If you’re a long time reader of IGE then you know there’s room for just one baked bean recipe on this site: Judy’s Baked Beans, aka the best baked beans EVER. I’ve been eating these epic, oven baked beans since I was a kid, and shared the dish here on the mothership over a decade ago.

It is HIGH time this signature, practically heirloom recipe got another chance to shine in the spotlight!

Watch How to Make Them

baked beans with bacon in a bowl with a spoon

Why You’ll Love Them

Take one bite and you’ll understand why these baked beans deserve the title of “best ever”.

  • Savory + Sweet: these beans have the perfect balance of savory and sweet.
  • Canned beans: there’s no soaking nor cooking dried beans required, as we utilize canned beans as the base of this easy side dish. I guess you could call them kicked up canned baked beans!
  • Pour and bake: all you need to do is pour the ingredients into a casserole dish, top with bacon and ketchup, then send her into the oven. Prep up to several days ahead of time, if you like!

How Do You Make Baked Beans Taste Better?

Personally I love canned baked beans, especially Bush’s brand, which is what I recommend you use in this easy baked beans recipe. The canned beans are combined with diced kielbasa, smoky steak sauce, brown sugar, and bacon then baked low and slow for a couple of hours.

The top becomes lacquered and caramelized, while the beans below become permeated with flavor. It’s a truly luscious and irresistible side dish that we make over and over again in the summertime. No summer holiday, potluck, birthday, nor BBQ is complete without a pan of these particular baked beans.

Ingredients Needed

  • Baked beans: canned baked beans form the base of these kicked up canned baked beans. I love Bush’s Vegetarian Baked Beans because they’re a little lower in sugar than other varieties.
  • Kielbasa: Diced kielbasa added to the mix is a nod to “franks and beans”. They’re my favorite part of the recipe. Johnsonville brand is gluten free.
  • Crushed pineapple: select the kind packed in its own juices, vs heavy syrup, then use the lid to push down and drain away the juices before adding to the recipe.
  • Onion: a diced onion adds savory spice to the baked bean mixture.
  • Brown sugar: brown sugar adds sweetness and depth of flavor thanks to the molasses inside.
  • Steak sauce and yellow mustard: steak sauce and mustard add savory flavor and tang to balance out the sweetness of the pineapple and brown sugar.
  • Bacon: bacon slices cover the top and permeate the beans with luscious, bacon flavor while the dish bakes. The beans surprisingly don’t taste extremely bacon-y —  it just adds to the overall flavor of the dish.
  • Ketchup: I slather the top of the bacon with ketchup which caramelizes in the oven while the beans bake low and slow. It not only adds to the gorgeousness of the dish, but the flavor too.

They’re Freezer Friendly Too!

Although we usually serve these oven baked beans for family get togethers, sometimes I want to make them just for our immediate family of five, so I’ll bake half the recipe then freeze the other half to make another time.

  • How to freeze: assemble the beans according to the recipe, stopping short of baking, then cover with saran wrap, and then foil, and freeze. Thaw for 24 hours in the refrigerator then bake like normal.
  • FYI: You may not need the entire recommended bake time if you’re baking a half batch vs full batch.

Whether this is your first or 100th time make the best baked beans ever, I know you’ll love each and every bite of this craveable side dish!

pan of best baked beans with caramelized bacon on top

How to Make this Recipe

Step 1: Slightly drain the beans.

Start with canned baked beans — again, I highly recommend Bush’s Vegetarian Baked Beans as they’re a little lower in sugar than other varieties. Open the cans then drain off almost all of the liquid that sits on top of each can. This will ensure your baked beans don’t turn out soupy.

cans of bush's vegetarian baked beans

Step 2: Combine with other ingredients.

Add the beans to a large mixing bowl with diced kielbasa, crushed pineapple, minced onion, brown sugar, steak sauce, and mustard the stir well to combine.

baked beans ingredients in a mixing bowl

Step 3: Top with bacon and ketchup.

Scoop the mixture into a nonstick sprayed 9×13″ baking dish, or two smaller baking dishes, then line the top with bacon. You’ll want regular or center cut, not thick cut, and I usually use about 3/4 of a full pack of bacon.

Finally, slather ketchup over the top of the bacon with the back of a spoon.

bacon slices placed on top of a baking pan of baked beans

Step 4: Bake.

Bake the beans for 2 – 2-1/2 hours at 250 degrees until the bacon is deeply caramelized and the beans are bubbling. Let the beans sit and thicken slightly for up to 30 minutes before scooping and devouring.

Oh my gosh, just looking at this photo makes me so happy. These baked beans screams summer to me, and I hope you, like my family, enjoy them as often as possible until the sun sets on this glorious season. Enjoy!

Bowl of baked beans with bacon with a spoon

More Summer Side Dish Staples

The Best Baked Beans EVER

5/5 (1 REVIEW)


The Best Baked Beans Ever are the perfect mix of sweet and savory. These old fashioned beans will liven up any BBQ or cookout!


Serves 8-10 as a side dish

  • 2, 28oz cans Bush’s Vegetarian Baked Beans (see notes)
  • 13.5oz package kielbasa, chopped into bite-sized pieces (I like Johnsonville)
  • 8oz can crushed pineapple in natural juices, drained
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons gluten free steak sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon mustard
  • 1lb package bacon, regular or center cut - not thick cut
  • 3/4 cup ketchup


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees then spray a 9x13” baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. Drain most of the liquid from the tops of the cans of beans then add beans to a large mixing bowl with kielbasa, pineapple, onions, brown sugar, steak sauce, and mustard then stir until well combined. Scoop mixture into prepared baking dish.
  3. Lay bacon slices across the top of the beans (may not use the entire package) then spread ketchup on top with the back of a spoon. Bake for 2 — 2-1/2 hours or until the top of the bacon is deeply caramelized. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.


  • I like using Bush’s Vegetarian Baked Beans because the sugar content is a little lower than other varieties. You can use your favorite type of canned baked beans, just be mindful of the sugar quantity and how sweet you like your final baked beans to be.
  • Recipe and photos updated in 2022. Original recipe called for 3lbs VanCamp's pork & beans instead of the Bush's Baked Beans.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


photo collage of the best baked beans ever