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

If you attend a cookout at my house in the spring or summertime, there’s one dish you can always count on being served no matter what. Rain or shine, bring your appetite for a scoop (or seven) of The Best Baked Beans recipe EVER.

I’ve been eating these beans since I was a kid — we used to call them “Judy’s Baked Beans” (don’t ask me who Judy was/is?!) — and decades later we still make them all spring and summer long.

That said, no summer holiday, potluck, birthday, nor BBQ is complete without a pan of these luscious baked beans that have the perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors. Quick and easy to assemble, then baked low and slow for several hours, they emerge from the oven bubbling and with a lacquered, caramelized top.

Trust me when I tell you that baked beans do NOT get better than this!

Watch How to Make Them

Why You’ll Love this Baked Beans Recipe

Take one bite and you’ll understand why these baked beans deserve the title of “Best Ever”. They’re the perfect side dish for any warm-weather get together!

  • Savory + sweet: this summery side dish features savory bacon and smoked sausage plus sweet ingredients including crushed pineapple and brown sugar — aka, they’re irresistible.
  • Canned beans: no need to soak and cook dried beans from scratch to make this easy baked bean recipe, as canned beans form the base. I guess you could call them kicked up canned baked beans!
  • Pour and bake: all you need to do is pour a handful of everyday ingredients into a casserole dish then send her into the oven — no extra cooking required. Prep the entire dish up to several days ahead of time, if you like.

bowl of oven baked beans with bacon

Ingredients Needed

Most of the ingredients needed for this easy baked beans recipe are fridge and pantry staples. I usually buy a case of Bush’s Baked Beans from Costco a couple times each year so we always have a can of beans ready and waiting to be doctored up for this recipe. Here’s what else you’ll need:

  • Canned baked beans: are the base of these oven baked beans. I love Bush’s Vegetarian Baked Beans because they’re a little lower in sugar than other varieties, though your favorite flavor will work too. The Costco ones I mentioned are “original” flavor.
  • Kielbasa: is added to the baked bean mixture as a nod to “franks and beans” — they’re my favorite part of the recipe. I like Johnsonville brand pork kielbasa.
  • Crushed pineapple: melts into the baked beans and adds natural sweetness. That said, be sure to purchase pineapple packed in its own juices, vs heavy syrup.
  • Onion: adds savory, cozy flavor to the baked beans.
  • Brown sugar: adds sweetness and depth of flavor thanks to the molasses inside.
  • Steak sauce and yellow mustard: add a savory, tangy balance to the brown sugar and crushed pineapple. Several splashes of worcestershire sauce is a good sub for steak sauce in a pinch.
  • Bacon: sliced bacon covers the top of the beans and permeates each bite with flavor as they bake. Surprisingly, the baked beans don’t taste extremely bacon-y —  it just adds to the overall flavor of the dish. Use regular vs thick-cut bacon for the best results.
  • Ketchup: slathered over the top of the bacon caramelizes in the oven as the beans bake low and slow. The caramelized ketchup not only creates a gorgeous, lacquered top, but a savory, tangy taste, too.

How to Prep Ahead + Store + Freeze

I love how low-fuss this baked beans recipe is — its able to be prepped ahead, reheated, and/or frozen, too!

  1. How to prep-ahead: assemble the beans up to the point of baking up to 3 days ahead of time. Cover with aluminum foil then refrigerate. Let the baking dish sit on the counter for 30 minutes before baking as normal.
  2. How to store: cool leftovers to room temperature then cover the baking dish with foil or transfer to an airtight container with a lid and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Reheat individual portions in the microwave.
  3. How to freeze: assemble the beans up to the point of baking then cover with saran wrap, and then foil, and then place in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw completely in the refrigerator then let the beans sit on the counter for 30 minutes before baking as normal. I like to assemble/freeze the baked beans in disposable aluminum pans.

Alright — let’s get you a scoop of these best ever baked beans!

pan of baked beans with caramelized bacon

How to Make the Best Baked Beans Recipe

Step 1: Slightly drain the canned 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 nearly all the liquid that sits on top of each can. This will ensure your baked beans don’t turn out runny.

cans of bush's vegetarian baked beans

Step 2: Combine with other ingredients.

Add the beans to a large mixing bowl (or directly into the baking pan) then add diced kielbasa, crushed pineapple that’s been drained, minced onion, brown sugar, steak sauce, and mustard then stir well to combine.

baked beans ingredients in a mixing bowl

Step 3: Top with sliced 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 slices. You’ll want regular or center-cut bacon, vs thick-cut bacon. A 9×13″ pan will generally need 3/4 to an entire pack of bacon depending on whether you choose regular or center-cut (center-cut bacon is a little shorter than “regular” bacon).

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

bacon slices spread with ketchup

Step 4: Bake.

Bake the beans uncovered for 2 — 2-1/2 hours at 250 degrees or until the bacon is deeply caramelized and the beans are bubbling. Let the beans sit and thicken for 15-30 minutes before scooping and devouring.

Seriously, just looking at this photo makes me so very happy. These baked beans scream “summer!” to me, and I hope you, like my family, enjoy them as often as possible during the warm spring and summer months!

bowl of beans, bacon, and smoked sausage

More Summer Side Dish Ideas

The Best Baked Beans EVER

4/5 (2 REVIEWS)


The Best Baked Beans Ever are the perfect mix of sweet and savory. This old fashioned baked beans recipe with bacon 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 (or directly into the baking dish) with kielbasa, drained pineapple, onions, brown sugar, steak sauce, and mustard then stir until 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 15-30 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

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin