These southern style Homemade Bacon Bourbon & Brown Sugar Baked Beans are jam packed with bold BBQ flavor and taste a billion times better than the stuff from a can! Smoky, spicy, and sweet, these beans are perfect for your next potluck, barbecue or summer soiree! This recipe includes instructions for canned or dried beans, plus directions for the oven, stove top and slow cooker!
This post was originally published in June 2015. I took new photos, updated the recipe and tweaked some of the post below to include more information about this baked bean recipe. Plus, I added a recipe video to show you how easy these homemade baked beans are to make!
Hi-ya all! Happy almost Father’s Day weekend!
I hope all the daughters (or wives) have plans to show the love and provide lots of fantastic food for dad this weekend!
And, I hope all the papas out there bask in the love and laughter!
Today I am sharing a recipe for magical fruit, because really, no summer gathering is really complete without some beans, beans, the magical fruit!
Homemade Bacon Bourbon & Brown Sugar Baked Beans
These homemade beans are the perfect side dish for any BBQ, grill out, or outdoor shindig.
I know everyone has a recipe for baked beans, and everyone claims theirs are the best. I’m not bold (or naïve) enough to stake that claim.
I have not tried every single bean recipe out there.
Plus, I’m not about to hate on everyone else’s recipe just to make mine seem better. That’s kinda lame and I simply don’t roll like that.
I can, however, confidently state that these beans right here, they are pretty freggin’ epic.
Boy has been devouring these melt in your mouth, magically delicious Homemade Bacon Bourbon & Brown Sugar Baked Beans thrice daily for a week and has requested I make more.
These baked bad boys are smoky, boozy, spicy, sweet, meaty and tender. And, they are jam packed with bold, bodacious BBQ flavor.
Not to mention, they are a BILLION times better than that crap in a can.
But, they are made even more amazing with the addition of candied bacon. Because, well… candied bacon! Hello!?
The sweet crispness of the bacon adds that je-ne-sais-quoi to the beans and takes their flavor to a stratospheric level of yum.
What do baked beans go with?
Homemade baked beans are a really versatile side dish and taste delicious with any kind of BBQ main or protein off of the grill.
If you are looking for some options, I highly recommend pairing these easy homemade Bacon Bourbon & Brown Sugar Baked Beans with ribs, pulled pork or brisket. However, the baked bean party doesn’t have to stop there! Burgers, hotdogs, chicken wings, or any variety of grilled chicken (think: grilled chicken breasts, thighs or even kebabs!), or even pork chops are a fantastic pairing as well!
If you are throwing a backyard BBQ and need other side options that pair well with baked beans, this coleslaw and grilled corn are some of my favorites! But macaroni salad and potato salad are also great choices too!
Can baked beans be frozen?
These easy homemade baked beans can absolutely be frozen! In fact, I always make sure I prepare extra baked beans just to have leftovers!
Freezing baked beans is ridiculously easy as long as you follow a couple of rules.
First, prepare the baked beans as directed in the recipe below and then allow the baked beans to cool to room temperature before freezing. If you try to freeze the baked beans while they are still hot, it will cause the container to expand and possibly break in the freezer.
Second, once the beans are completely cooled, transfer the baked beans and their sauce into a sturdy, airtight, freezer safe container. Make sure you leave a little bit of space at the top of the container to account for expansion. Gently push down on any floating pieces of bacon to ensure they are covered by the sauce (this will prevent the meat from drying out). Cover the baked beans with their airtight lid and transfer to the freezer.
Baked beans will keep for up to 6 months in the freezer. Pro-tip – make sure you write the date you prepared the baked beans on the container, plus the 6 month mark, so you know when they expire!
Can you reheat baked beans?
You can absolutely reheat baked beans! In fact, some people (ah-hem, Boy) prefer reheated baked beans and claim they have more flavor.
Reheating homemade baked beans is very easy and there are two ways to do it!
The first reheating method for baked beans is the oven. Remove the baked beans from their storage container and transfer them to an oven-safe container. Cover the container with foil and bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F for 18-20 minutes*, or until their internal temperature is 165 degrees F.
You can also reheat ovens on the stovetop. To do so, remove the prepared baked beans from their storage container, transfer them to a sauce pot and reheat them over medium to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed throughout and an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (about 10-12 minutes*).
*The amount of time listed is a guideline. The exact length of time will depend on the strength of your oven or stove and the amount of beans you are reheating.
If you are looking to reheat frozen baked beans, make sure you remove the baked beans from the freezer and transfer them to the refrigerator at least 8 hours before you plan to reheat them. Then simply follow the instructions as listed above.
These easy, perfect baked beans rock the dang house! Why?
- The recipe bellow includes instructions for utilizing both dry and canned beans.
- You can make these homemade baked beans in the oven, slow cooker (crockpot) OR the on the stove.
- And if that wasn’t reason enough, I have three words. Bacon. Bourbon. Brown sugar.
But, instead of taking my word for it, you should most definitely make these Easy Homemade Bacon Bourbon & Brown Sugar Baked Beans for your next BBQ hoedown. I can guarantee everyone will love them.
Until next time, Cheers and happy cooking!
How to make Homemade Bacon Bourbon & Brown Sugar Baked Beans recipe and video👇
- 12 ounces Bacon , chopped
- 1 medium Sweet Onion , finely diced
- 1 small Green Bell Pepper , finely diced
- 3 large Cloves Garlic , minced
- 2 (28 ounce) cans Navy Beans , drained and rinsed*
- 1 Cup Bourbon
- 1 Cup Ketchup
- ½ Cup Light Brown Sugar , packed
- 1/3 Cup Molasses
- 2 TBS Yellow Mustard (can substitute Dijon)
- 2 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 TBS Worcestershire Sauce
- Kosher Salt and Pepper , to taste
- 1 Cup Hot Water or Broth* (more as needed)
- ½ pound Thick Cut Bacon
- ½ Cup Dark Brown Sugar , packed
- ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1/8 tsp Cinnamon
- Heat a large pot over medium-high heat* and add chopped bacon. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the onion, bell pepper and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant and the bacon is browned, about 1 minute.
- Add in the remaining ingredients (if using slow cooker method, reduce water to ½ cup*), stirring to make sure everything is well combined. Season generously with salt and pepper. Bring everything to a simmer and cover with a tight fitting lid.
- OVEN: Cover pot and transfer it to a preheat 300 degree F oven. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Remove the lid, stir, and continue to bake until the sauce is thickened and sticky, about an additional 30-45 minutes. If needed during baking, add more water to adjust consistency.
- STOVE TOP: Cover pot and reduce heat to maintain a simmer (between medium to medium-low). Cook, stirring at 30 minute intervals, for 1 ½ hours, or until the sauce is thickened and sticky.
- SLOW COOKER: (Make sure you reduced water to ½ cup in step 2) Transfer everything to the slow cooker and cook for 6 hours on LOW.
- Taste beans and adjust for salt and pepper to taste. Top with crumbled candied bacon if using.
- For the candied bacon: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with aluminum foil for easy clean up. Place a wire rack insert into the sheet pan. In a shallow dish combine the sugar, cayenne, cinnamon and a pinch of black pepper. Working one slice of bacon at a time, press and rub the sugar mixture onto the bacon. Transfer to the wire rack. Repeat with remaining slices of bacon. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until bacon is crip and cooked through. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Allow to cool. Cut or crumble bacon into desired sized pieces.
*Yield: Roughly 10 cups
- You can substitute any kind of beans you would like: Northern, Pinto, Red Kidney Beans, or use a mix of two!
- If your bacon is lean, add a small drizzle of oil to the pan before adding the bacon.
- If the beans aren’t thickened and sticky, continue to cook them with the lid OFF until mixture thickens to desired consistency.
- If you want to cook the beans in the oven AND garnish with candied bacon, cook the candied bacon in advance. It will keep in a zip-closure bag, or container with a tight fitting lid, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
*To Use Dried Beans: (You will need 1 pound of dried beans)
1. Soak Beans:
Overnight method: Whisk together 8 cups of water with ½ tsp baking soda and 2 TBS kosher salt in a large pot. Add the beans, cover, and let soak at room temperature overnight (or about 8 hours). Transfer to a colander to drain and rinse well with running water.
Quick soak method: Place beans in a large pot with ½ tsp baking soda and 2 TBS kosher salt. Add enough water to cover the beans by 2-3’’. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 3 minutes. Remove beans from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour. Transfer beans to a colander to drain and rinse well with running water.
2. Cook Beans: Add beans back to the pot and add enough water to cover the beans by 3’’. Bring beans to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 1 hour. Drain and proceed with recipe as instructed.