This award-winning southern baked beans recipe is packed with bacon, ground beef and 4 types of beans all swimming in a thick, smoky, salty-sweet sauce.
I don’t know who Jodi is or why these southern baked beans were named after her, but I am sure that you’ll want to save this recipe because it’s a keeper!
Southern Baked Beans Recipe
These are the best baked beans! They’re packed with crispy bacon, ground beef, 4 different types of beans, and good ol’ southern goodness smothered in a thick, smoky, salty-sweet sauce.
My father-in-law has been making this recipe for years and has even won a few awards at local chili cook-offs. This recipe is so popular at our house that we almost always ask him to bring it to family gatherings.
You’ll love that this delicious southern baked beans recipe can stand on its own as a main course thanks to the ground beef; It’s also great served over a warm slice of gluten-free cornbread or a baked potato! Of course, baked beans also make the perfect side dish for your next backyard barbecue.
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Table of contents
Ingredients In This Southern Baked Beans Recipe
You might be wondering what makes southern baked beans southern? Answers will vary depending on where you look, but essentially a southern baked beans recipe will have more of a tangy flavor and deep flavor profile, where other recipes tend to be more simple.
While southern baked beans tend to be more flavorful, they have simple ingredients and are very easy to make. Here’s what you’ll need:
***amounts and full recipe are in the recipe card below
- thick cut bacon You can use any kind of bacon, but thick-cut really is better for this recipe!
- ground beef I recommend 85% lean
- chopped white onion you can use yellow onions, but I prefer the flavor of white
- dry mustard
- vinegar not apple cider vinegar, just plain ol’ vinegar
- brown sugar I always use dark brown sugar
- white sugar
- dark red kidney beans quick note here, you will be draining one can of beans and including the liquid of the others
- pork and beans Be sure you’re using a gluten-free variety
- lima beans not usually stocked by the other beans! Find them by the green beans and corn. If you don’t like lima beans, you can substitute navy beans.
- large butter beans these can be harder to find and there is usually only one brand. Ask an associate if you can’t find them, because the size and texture really add to this recipe!
- Salt and pepper to taste (lots of pepper!)
- liquid smoke totally optional, but you can add a drop or two if you want an extra smoky flavors
How to Make Easy Southern Baked Beans (plus pro tips)
You’re going to love how easy it is to make this southern baked beans recipe! Here are the steps:
Step 1: cook the bacon
You can cook the bacon with whatever method you prefer, but I always make mine in the oven because it turns out great and the clean up is super easy!
To cook bacon in the oven, first line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil to catch the grease. Bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 10 minutes (sprinkle generously with bacon first!), then flip and continue baking another 5-10 minutes until it is browned and crisp.
PRO TIP: To keep bacon crisp after cooking, remove slices of bacon to a paper towel-lined plate right when you take it out of the oven.
PRO TIP 2: Be sure to save the bacon grease! I transfer mine to a glass jar and store in the fridge. I use it for hash browns, scrambled eggs, and lots of other things!
Step 2: start the beans
While the bacon is cooking, brown the ground beef in a medium-large pan. I like to use my ceramic dutch oven. When the meat is almost done add the onion, mustard, salt and pepper and sauté until the hamburger is cooked through and onion is translucent.
Add vinegar, brown sugar, white sugar, ketchup, all the beans, cooked and crumbled bacon, and give it a good stir. Remember to only drain one of the cans of beans, you’ll need the liquid from the others. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Step 3: bake
Bake the beans, covered, at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir and serve!
PRO TIP: If you don’t want to heat your house with the oven, you can pop these in the crock pot on low for an hour or two, or simmer on low on the stove for about 45 minutes. If cooking on the stove, stir every once in a while so the beans don’t stick to the bottom of your pan.
How to Serve Baked Beans
This southern baked beans recipe stands great on its own, and also makes a great hearty side dish for hot dogs, hamburgers, and more.
Try serving a scoop over a warm slice of cornbread or a baked potato. I’ve even been known to eat a bowl for breakfast 😉
This is a great dish to bring to potlucks, BBQs, and family gatherings. Everyone loves it!
Can You Freeze Baked Beans?
Absolutely! Homemade beans actually freeze really well. To freeze, allow baked beans to cool completely before transferring to a Ziploc freezer bag. Be sure to press all the air out before sealing.
Laying the freezer bag flat so it freezes in a thin layer will help it thaw more quickly.
Thaw baked beans in the fridge for a day, then warm in the microwave or on the stove top.
How to Store Baked Beans
Allow leftover southern baked beans to cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can also freeze for longer, see instructions above.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can I reduce or omit the sugar in this recipe?
I tried reducing the sugar in this recipe but was not thrilled with the results and recommend putting the full amount in. It seems like a lot, but it’s a big batch of beans and the protein and fiber balance it out, right?
Do you have a low-sodium baked beans recipe?
This recipe can easily be made low-sodium! I have two kids on reduced-sodium diets, so we often use reduced-sodium bacon (or omit if you need to) and low or no-salt-added canned beans and ketchup. Omit the extra salt or use a salt substitute for extra flavor.
What makes this southern baked beans recipe better than others?
Many baked beans recipes are just canned pork and beans with a few other ingredients to spice things up a little. This recipe is more flavorful and has a better texture while still being super easy to make!
Is this recipe gluten free?
Yes, this southern baked beans recipe is 100% gluten free! Be sure to check the labels of all your ingredients to be sure they’re gluten free. Some baked beans contain some form of malt, which is not gluten free, so be sure to watch for that tricky ingredient or a “gluten free” statement on the label.
What pan should I use for baked beans?
I love using my ceramic dutch oven because I can use it on the stove, then put it in the oven. You can also use a saucepan and transfer the bean mixture to a 9″ by 13″ baking dish.
Can I make this southern baked beans recipe in a slow cooker?
Yes and no. You will need to fry bacon and brown ground beef and onion beforehand. At that point, you can add those and all remaining ingredients into your slow cooker and cook on low for 2-3 hours.
Can I use dry beans?
Yes you can, although it will require a little more effort. Simply substitute 1 1/2 cups drained, cooked, beans for each can of beans called for in the recipe. You may need to add a little water and/or BBQ sauce to compensate for the liquid in the canned beans.
I love green peppers, can I add some to this southern baked beans recipe?
Sure! You can add up to 1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper when you add the onions to the ground beef.
I don’t have mustard powder, can I use regular yellow mustard?
I recommend sticking to the mustard powder as the taste will be different. That being said, if you’re really in a bind then you can swap them out.
I don’t like lima beans, can I use another type of bean?
Yes, you can substitute navy beans or pinto beans for the lima beans if you prefer.
Can I double this recipe?
If you’re catering to a larger crowd, feel free to double the recipe. Keep in mind that you’ll need a very large pot because a double batch will make enough for about 15 guests.
We would love to see what you create! Snap a photo and tag @LifeAfterWheat on social media!
Southern Baked Beans Recipe
This is such an easy recipe, and it has the perfect balance of sweet and salty! I really think you’re going to love it.
- 12 oz thick cut bacon
- 1 pound hamburger
- ⅔ cup chopped white onion
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 teaspoons vinegar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup ketchup
- 1 can dark red kidney beans, undrained
- 1 cup gluten free pork and beans
- 1 can lima beans, undrained
- 1 can large butter beans, drained
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Liquid smoke (optional, also to taste)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- Place bacon on sheet pan in a single layer. If the bacon is thinner, you might need 2 pans.
- Sprinkle generously with pepper.
- Bake for 10 minutes, flip, then bake another 5-10 minutes until crisp and done.
- Remove bacon from the oven and place it in a single layer on a plate lined with paper towels to keep it crispy.
- Meanwhile, in a ceramic dutch oven or medium/large saucepan, brown ground beef.
- When ground beef is almost cooked add chopped white onion, dry mustard, and a little salt and pepper. Cook until fully browned.
- Add vinegar, brown sugar, white sugar, ketchup, and all the beans and stir to combine.
- Bake, covered, at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes until warm through and thickened.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
- These beans freeze well, so feel free to double the batch and put some in the freezer for an easy dinner another night!
- be sure to check the FAQs in the recipe post!
- Check your labels to be sure everything is gluten free!
- Lima beans can be found by the canned green beans and corn. If you don't care for limas, you can substitute navy beans or pinto beans.
- You can easily reduce the sodium in this recipe by using low- or no-sodium-added beans, bacon, and ketchup.
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Crock-Pot Artisan Round Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 7-Quart, Sapphire Blue
Meat Chopper, 5 Curve Blades Ground Beef Masher, Heat Resistant Meat Masher Tool for Hamburger Meat, Ground Beef, Turkey and More, Nylon Hamburger Chopper Utensil Non-scratch Utensils
KitchenAid Universal Bamboo Tools, 12-Inch
Reynolds Kitchens Non-Stick Parchment Paper - 60 Square Feet
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 566Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 1319mgCarbohydrates: 61gFiber: 7gSugar: 30gProtein: 30g