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How to make canned baked beans taste homemade

Do you know how to make canned baked beans taste homemade? It’s one of the easiest adjustments to a store bought side dish you can make and a secret you can keep or share–no one will ever know.

a skillet of baked beans with bacon slices on top

This feels wickedly unfair. Because it’s not really a recipe to me–but I know what the reality is:

I’m not making baked beans from scratch and neither are you. 

But we can make those canned baked means taste more like homemade and fool your guests without a lot of fuss. In fact, I do it with only three simple ingredients and a few minutes in the oven.

I used ketchup, mustard and brown sugar in these canned baked beans–but you could also add a dab of barbecue sauce if you wanted to– and the bacon on the top is totally optional as well. I just think it makes things look and taste like your sneaky side dish never saw the inside of a can.

A skillet of baked beans with dollops of mustard, ketchup and brown sugar before being stirred together

 How to cook canned baked beans

That’s simple. You can use any oven proof dish you like and mix your canned baked beans right in there. Then bake until they are hot all the way through and bubbling around the edges.

As they cook the baked beans will thicken and get a little sticky crust around the edges–that makes them look like they’ve had ages in the oven doing their thing.

You can heat them just in a pot on the stove, but–meh–not as good. Do give them 20 minutes in the oven and it will be worth it.

What to serve with canned baked beans

The sky is the limit here–but grilled food and summer treats should always be on hand when you have baked beans. That means vinegar bbq chicken, tangy broccoli salad, and a big glass of homemade lemonade could round out your meal.

a skillet of baked beans with bacon slices on top

How to make canned baked beans taste homemade

Canned baked beans get a flavor boost and taste a little more like homemade with these simple ingredients. Is it still cheating even if it tastes good? Never! 
4.79 from 23 votes
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 114kcal
Author: Rachel Ballard


  • 1 28 ounce can baked beans I like Bush’s Homestyle
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar packed
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 slices bacon optional


  • Preheat the oven to 375
  • In a 9-inch oven proof skillet or 2.5 quart baking dish, mix the beans, brown sugar, mustard and ketchup. 
  • Top with the bacon slices if you are using it and bake until bubbling around the edges and hot in the center–about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm. 


Calories: 114kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 223mg | Potassium: 68mg | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 40IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Recipe Rating


Wednesday 5th of January 2022

These are really good. Nobody knows the difference between these and the old fashioned grandma style! We use the vegetarian baked beans, don't add the bacon, and the vegetarians in the family can enjoy as well! With the vegetarian beans, I drain them in a strainer for a bit so they don't turn out runny. Delish!

Rachel Ballard

Thursday 6th of January 2022

Oh those grandmas...always making the best food. I'm glad you found a way to adjust these to your family's needs Lori. --Rachel


Wednesday 24th of November 2021

Do I brown the bacon first? And do you put any of the bacon grease in with the beans?

Rachel Ballard

Wednesday 24th of November 2021

That bacon was purely for garnish Rhonda and totally optional. I didn't brown mine first but some people prefer to partially cook it to get off some of the grease. Totally up to you. --Rachel


Monday 8th of November 2021

I want to do this on the stove top with a 16 oz can. Would that work if i reduce by half the ingredients?

Rachel Ballard

Tuesday 9th of November 2021

Yep it sure would Desiree!


Friday 15th of October 2021

The recipe was great! however I substituted the brown sugar with molasses (Grandma's brand). I really didn't measure it, just poured some in to suit my taste and I added some raw chopped yellow onion. I did put in the yellow mustard, ketchup and bacon. Baked it as directed.


Wednesday 7th of July 2021

This came out great. I used a 28 oz can and a 16 oz can of Bush's Country Style baked beans (with brown sugar and bacon). I made the following changes: added about 2 tablespoons of thinly sliced and then chopped onion that I sweated in 3x1 inch pieces of thin bacon. Removed the bacon (it was the all fat end) and added that to the beans. Meanwhile I baked 4 pieces of thin bacon. 2 for 9 minutes and the other 2 for 13 minutes at 375 deg. The 2 less (but technically done) done pieces I cut into small pieces and stirred into the beans. The other two slices (done enough to be crumbled) went on the top of the baked beans before transporting them to the picnic (but didn't put them in the oven with the beans). I also added 1 heaping tablespoon each of Sweet Baby James Honey Barbecue Sauce and brown sugar, and 1 scant tablespoon of ketchup. I didn't do the mustard because the other picnic-goers think they don't like mustard and prefer a sweet baked bean recipe. Stirred it and put it in the oven at 400 for 20 minutes in a 1.5 qt casserole dish, cut the 2 'well done' rashers of bacon in half and laid them side by side across the top of the beans in the casserole dish for transport and to make as pretty a presentation as baked beans will allow, LOL.

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