It’s inevitable. Every time there’s a potluck, home bbq, cookout, or any other gathering of family/friends (that’s not, like, Christmas or Thanksgiving…) I’m asked to make my famous baked beans. Now, granted, these homemade baked beans are really tasty, but I’m not sure I like being known as the “bringer of the beans…” but maybe that’s just me. Anyway, I thought I was high time I shared this yummy recipe with the masses (you, of course, being one of the “masses”.).
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Now, keep in mind, I’ve been making these beans for so many years that I had to go out of my way to figure out a “recipe” for y’all. For real. A spoonful of this, a blob of that, and a sprinkle of the other thing does not a repeatable recipe make. So, while I was making my most recent batch, my kitchen looked more like a laboratory, and I was carefully measuring my spoonfuls, blobs, and sprinkles to make it much easier for you. The lengths I go to, I tell ya. 😉
Are baked beans good for you?
The way I make baked beans, you’d better believe they’re both good for you and good for your soul! I know. That’s big talk for a white girl from Iowa. But it’s true! But seriously, there are some pretty great health benefits to a healthy serving of baked beans. Generally speaking, beans are loaded with protein and fiber, and have lots of B vitamins, including folic acid. Add my special ingredients to the batch, and well… you’ll be gobbling them up and getting healthy at the same time! Score!
What are the benefits of baked beans?
Ok, so besides the obvious benefit of being a tasty side dish for your next burger or hot dog, baked beans actually offer some pretty great health benefits. According to Medical News Today, baked beans are an excellent source of protein, are nutrient-dense, help control appetite, and lots more. I highly recommend checking out their article, if you’re looking for a good excuse to add another spoonful to your plate. (As if you needed another excuse!)
Tips & Tricks
First off, baked beans are best slow-cooked. I don’t care if this means you throw them in a slow cooker, bake them at a low temp for a few hours, or whatnot. The low heat and the length of time do two things: helps the beans get a rich, caramelly color & flavor, and it helps to thicken the sauce
Secondly, if you don’t like chopped onions, you can totally use onion powder (I swear by Watkins Organic Onion Powder). It’s a subtle flavor enhancer, nothing more.
Oh, and you don’t HAVE to use bacon. If you have an aversion to pork or meat in general, bacon is just added for extra flavor. Delicious, bacony flavor, that makes my mouth water just thinking about it, but you don’t have to use it. Totally your choice.
For those who are scared of spicy food, the crushed red pepper is totally optional. It just adds the littlest amount of heat to the beans. With the molasses, mustard, and ketchup, it’s a slightly sweet, tangy, itty-bitty bit of heat. If you do go the route of using the crushed red pepper flakes (again, I recommend it!) I really like Watkins Organic Red Pepper Flakes.
In the recipe, I say to use dijon mustard, mostly because that’s most readily available to most people. In real life though, I use an imported Dusseldorf mustard. It’s a German mustard that I get at Cost Plus World Market. The taste, to me at least, is way better than any mustard you can get in the US, but that may be my German roots baring their mustard snob heads.
- 2 cans Bush's Original Baked Beans
- 6 strips bacon crumbled
- ½ cup diced onions or 1 tsp onion powder, see note above
- ¼ cup apple butter
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup molasses
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- Either preheat your oven to 250F, or prepare your slow cooker, depending upon which cooking method you choose. Both will take the allotted four hours of cooking time.
- Fry up your bacon, allow to cool slightly, then chop it up.
- While your bacon is frying, finely dice your onions.
- When those two things are ready, combine all ingredients in a deep casserole dish or your slow cooker, again depending on the cooking method you've chosen.
- Bake (slow cook) for four hours (on low, if slow cooking).
- Serve & enjoy! These get better and better with age. I've been known to use leftovers as chip dip a couple days later. Don't judge me until you try it!
Thanks for stopping by! Lookin’ forward to seeing ya next time! Be sure to follow me on all my Social Media for more fun!