You’ll love these Southern Baked Beans that are sweet, smoky, and savory! Mouthwatering flavors from bacon, a ton of flavorful spices, brown sugar, maple syrup, and bourbon. This recipe is so easy to make, extra saucy, and the perfect baked beans to serve at cookouts, family gatherings, and more! So delicious!

close up of southern baked beans in pot with wooden spoon

Love that time of year when it’s sunshine nonstop, grilling everything and anything, and the smell of sunscreen. Yes indeed, the magic that is summer, y’all! It’s just around the corner and I’m feeling its warmth already. Aight, I reside in the state of Florida so that’s nearly every day already, ha! However, I’m still hype about all things summertime, and I feel like you are as well.

In my culture, summer is synonymous with cookout season, and I plan on having my take-home plates and containers on ready lol. Listen, I’m so excited to share some of my favorite recipes inspired by this time of year. First up, these southern-inspired baked beans!! Whew, I could devour me a bowl of beans!

Southern goodness: collard greens, creamy black-eyed peas, these shrimp and grits, reader-favorite gouda mac and cheese, my fave chicken po’ boys, and sweets like peach hand pies and this sweet potato pound cake– delicious!

southern baked beans in bowl with cornbread on top and gold spoon

Southern Baked Beans!!! 😛

There are baked beans and then there are southern style (the best!) baked beans. What makes this recipe southern?the addition of extra flavors and oomph! Anything southern and covered is always jazzed up and elevated to add more richness, flavor, and soul to a recipe…my professional opinion, bwahaha.

Nevertheless, these baked beans have so much depth of flavor, the textures are hitting beautifully, and they possess that lip-smacking deliciousness we all love! These beans are such an amazing side item to add to your cookout list or to have on deck in general. They’re sooo saucy, smoky, sweet, and scrumptious!

Ingredients Needed For These Beans

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • Bacon: This ingredient contributes to the smokiness and heartiness in these baked beans. I use thick cut for an even meatier bite. Bacon or bust!
  • Onion: An underrated staple in baked beans, it kicks up the flava.
  • Garlic: Paste or minced garlic, chef’s kiss, #garlicislife.
  • Spices: Smoked paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper.
  • Ketchup: Adds some nice tomato-based notes to the beans.
  • Mustard: Love the bright, pungent earthiness mustard delivers!
  • Vinegar: A touch of acidity to balance the flavors.
  • Brown sugar: Ain’t nothing like that brown suga suga, baby!
  • Molasses: A quintessential southernmost ingredient, molasses brings a richer and more robust taste to these baked beans.
  • Worcestershire: This condiment adds big flavor for soups/stew-like recipes.
  • Maple syrup: Pure maple syrup for an extra touch of sweetness.
  • Bourbon: This adds a subtle nuance and elevates the smoky flavors in these southern baked beans. The bourbon cannot be tasted- totally optional!
  • Baked beans: The main star…2 cans of baked beans (we use Bush’s), yum.
black hand holding wooden spoon with southern baked beans

How To Make Baked Beans

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

There is minimal effort going into the making of these southern baked beans, friends. You’ll find that these beans are so ridiculously easy to make, yay. We love a low-effort/high-reward recipe that doesn’t compromise on taste!

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. On the stovetop, cook the bacon to a crisp and then set aside.
  3. With the rendered bacon fat still in the pot, toss in the onion and sauté until tender and golden. Then add in the garlic and continue cooking.
  4. Add in the smoked paprika, chili powder, salt/pepper- to taste, ketchup, mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, worcestershire, maple syrup, and bourbon, if using. These spices and all the different flavors…whew!
  5. Sprinkle the reserved bacon pieces into the pan. Then add in the beans from the can and stir everything together to fully combine.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil for 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
  7. Bake the beans for 1 hour, or until the beans are super bubbly.
  8. Let the baked beans rest for a bit, and then serve. Enjoy!

⇢ These baked beans are ready to devour in under 1 hour, woo! 🙌🏾

baked beans in large white pot with wooden spoon on the side

Slow Cooker Southern Baked Beans

I love whipping up these baked beans on the stovetop, however, they can surely be made using a trusty slow cooker/crockpot! Here’s how it’ll go down: First, crisp up the bacon on the stovetop as it is written in the recipe card, below. Note: if your slow cooker has a sauté function, then skip this step!

Next, toss in all the remaining ingredients and give everything a good stir to combine. Set the slow cooker to low and cook the baked beans for 6-8 hours.

Baked Beans Variations & Customizations

As with many recipes, you may have additional questions regarding things to do (or change) for these Southern Baked Beans. Like other BBR recipes, I always recommend sticking to the recipe as it is written in the recipe card, below. However, here’s some extra notes to make these baked beans your own:

  • Love bell peppers? Feel free to sauté a diced/sliced bell pepper along with the onion in this recipe. It’ll give these baked beans more color!
  • Like dat spiciness? I get it, I love for my baked beans to have a kick sometimes, too. Add 1-2 diced jalapeños to the mix for heat elevation.
  • Add more tangy, sauciness. Use a tbsp or two of your fave BBQ sauce!
  • Kick up the smokiness! Add a 1/2-1 teaspoon of liquid smoke to the baked beans mixture to get these beans extra smoky. In addition, you can smoke these beans in a smoker. Preheat the smoker to 250°F, place the bean mixture into a large cast-iron pan, and smoke (uncovered) for 2-3 hours.
  • Extra meaty texture? Something that brings back childhood nostalgia is adding hot dog pieces to baked beans. Cut ’em up into little rounds and add them to the mixture if you’d like. It will def add more heartiness!
  • Serving! We love serving these southern-style baked beans right along with buttermilk cornbread to sop up all that saucy goodness, yum. Other great pairings: sweet potato cornbread, my fave honey mustard chicken, and cult-fave gouda mac and cheese. Don’t forget the ribs and burgers as well! ♡
southern baked beans in pink bowl with cornbread on top and gold spoon on the side

Make Ahead, Storing, & Freezing Baked Beans

Make ahead and fridge storing: To make these southern baked beans ahead of time, simply cook as directed in the recipe card, below. Afterwards, allow the baked beans to cool down completely and then transfer them to an airtight container. These beans will keep stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

To reheat: Place the beans into a microwave-safe dish and microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring the beans in between, until warmed through. Alternatively, preheat an oven to 325°F. Add the beans into an oven-safe dish and heat for 15-20 minutes or until warmed through completely.

Make ahead and freezer storing: To make these baked beans ahead of time, cook as directed in the recipe card, below. Afterwards, allow the baked beans to cool down completely and then transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bags. These beans will keep stored in the freezer for about 2 months.

To reheat: First, let the beans thaw overnight in the fridge. Once defrosted, proceed with reheating in the microwave or oven (as earlier noted).

southern baked beans in large white pot with wooden spoon on the side

Trust, you’ll want these Southern Baked Beans on your plate, peeps! They’re flavor-filled and make a perfect side dish! Be sure to tag @butterbeready in your BBR recipe creations, I sure love to see it when you do. Until next time! 🤟🏾

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close up of southern baked beans in pot with wooden spoon

Southern Baked Beans

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  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Side Dishes
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Southern
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Description

You’ll love these Southern Baked Beans that are sweet, smoky, and savory! Mouthwatering flavors from bacon, a ton of flavorful spices, brown sugar, maple syrup, and bourbon. This recipe is so easy to make, extra saucy, and the perfect baked beans to serve at cookouts, family gatherings, and more! So delicious!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste or 5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon, optional
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon unsulphered molasses
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans baked beans (we use Bush’s® original beans)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Note: This recipe starts on the stovetop and then gets transferred into the oven to finish. As such, you can use an oven-safe vessel or just empty the mixture into a casserole baking dish (at step #6).
  2. Heat a large dutch oven or deep skillet (that’s oven-safe) over medium heat. Add in the chopped bacon and cook, stirring often, until the bacon is brown and crispy. Then use a slotted utensil to transfer the crispy bacon pieces to a plate lined with paper towels, set aside. There should be plenty of rendered bacon fat in the pot.
  3. Toss in the chopped onions and sauté until tender and golden, about 3-4 minutes. Then stir in the garlic and continue cooking with the onions until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. 
  4. Add in the smoked paprika, chili powder, salt/pepper- to taste, ketchup, mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, worcestershire, bourbon (if using), maple syrup, and molasses. Sprinkle the reserved bacon pieces into the pan. Then add in the beans from the can and stir everything together to fully combine.
  5. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a slight boil for 5 minutes. Then remove the pot from the heat. Give the beans a taste test and season with more salt/pepper, if desired.
  6. Place the vessel into the oven, uncovered. Bake the beans for 1 hour, or until the beans are super bubbly. 
  7. Stir the beans together and allow them to rest for at least 10 minutes. Then serve the baked beans immediately alongside cornbread or your favorite main entrees. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Please read the blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.