These saucy baked beans are full of flavor and so easy! This is my favorite baked beans recipe (oven and slow cooker directions included!).

Mmmmm. Baked beans. They’re a summer time staple, and you’re going to love this recipe because it checks all the boxes for what is absolutely necessary with the best baked beans.

Saucy, flavorful, EASY. 

Also, big baked beans bonus: this recipe includes directions for making these in the oven or the slow cooker. There’s basically no reason not to make these amazing beans!

slotted serving spoon scooping baked beans in white dish

Perfect Baked Beans

You might be surprised how long it took me to get this recipe just right. #nerdalert

I wanted the beans as homemade as possible without using dry beans as a starting point. (No offense to dry beans, but I wanted this recipe to be on the quick and easy side of things.)

You could definitely cook your own dry beans and use them in this recipe, for which you will be awarded one million kitchen rock star points. Please do check back in if you choose to do so.   

spoon scooping out spoonful of saucy baked beans in white square dish

The Secret to Perfect Baked Beans

These saucy baked beans are a perfect blend of ease and flavor. 

They start by cooking bacon and onion together until sizzling, and then everything else gets thrown in. 

For the beans, I prefer using pinto beans and navy beans. And here’s the secret: you only drain half the canned beans. 

If you’ve been a “rinse and drain your beans” kind of person forever, this might take you out of your comfort zone, but trust me here! It makes a huge difference in the perfect, syrupy sauce. 

Two cans get rinsed and drained, two cans get thrown in with all the guts and glory. 

white beans, brown sugar, ketchup, broth, dijon mustard in shallow pan with wooden spoon

Saucy Baked Beans

These baked beans are perfectly saucy. And oh, that sauce! It’s got flavor for days. 

The sauce is a combination of several pantry staples:

  • ketchup
  • molasses
  • brown sugar
  • apple cider vinegar
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Mustard
  • And a few seasonings (garlic powder, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika – YUM!)
baked beans in shallow metal pan with wooden spoon

Mix all of the ingredients together in the pan with the bacon and onion and then transfer to a 9X13-inch pan. 

The beans bake for about an hour, covered, and then I like to uncover and bake another 15-20 minutes until bubbling and hot. 

unbaked white pan of baked beans

Let Them Cool

Right after taking them out of the oven, the sauce might appear thin, but let them sit for 15 minutes or so, and the sauce will thicken up nicely.

The tender beans with the sweet and savory syrupy sauce are about the most perfect thing you’ll eat this summer. 

scooping spoon in pan of saucy baked beans

These beans are the perfect accompaniment to so many summer time meals, and they make me so excited for any and all future BBQs. 

One of my kids is a baked bean lover of epic proportions. He helped me test out this recipe and judged each variation until we got them just right.

He has now taken over baked bean making duty forevermore. The reason? He can hoard the leftovers and not feel bad about it. (I wonder where he gets that justification from? Smart kid.)

These truly are some of the best saucy baked beans ever, and it is now a serious staple recipe in our house. I hope you love them!

spoonful of saucy baked beans over white square dish

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The Best Saucy Baked Beans

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
slotted spoon in dish of saucy baked beans

Ingredients

  • 6 slices bacon, regular or thick cut, diced
  • 1 cup small diced onion
  • 2 cans (15-ounces each) pinto beans
  • 2 cans (15-ounces each) navy beans
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (see note)
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dijon or yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon and onion until the bacon is cooked through and starting to crisp and the onions are translucent, 5-7 minutes. Drain excess grease.
  2. Rinse and drain only two cans of the beans. Add the rinsed and drained beans to the skillet along with the two cans of undrained beans.
  3. Stir in the ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and paprika.
  4. Oven Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Transfer the baked beans to an oven-safe 9X13-inch dish and cover with foil. Bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for 15-20 more minutes until bubbling. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. They'll thicken up more as they cool slightly. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  5. Slow Cooker Directions: Transfer the beans to the insert of a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours until bubbling and slightly thickened. They'll thicken up more as they cool slightly. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed.

Notes

Brown Sugar: with the 1/3 cup brown sugar, these are mildly sweet. If you'd like them sweeter, increase the brown sugar to taste.

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Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe