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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.

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    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

    What’s the best brand of canned baked beans?

    I have always been a fan of Bush’s Homestyle baked beans. There are lots of great brands on the market but I seem to get the most compliments on this recipe when I use Bush’s. Sometimes I’ll even blend a can of Homestyle with one of their “Grillin'” brand beans.

    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.

    Can baked beans be cooked on the stove?

    You can heat them just in a pot on the stove, but–meh–not as good. You won’t get the slow cooked look or flavor the beans take on when they dry out and caramelize a bit in the oven. And you can’t add bacon to the top when you cooke them stovetop. I think the flavor is still basically the same though, so if you’re pressed for time it will work.

    But if you have time, do give them 20 minutes in the oven and it will be worth it.

    Do I need to top baked beans with bacon?

    The bacon is totally optional. Over the years some readers have expressed a bit of frustration with the fact that the bacon doesn’t really crisp up much while cooking and a lot of the rendered fat ends up in the beans. If you want to add bacon, you could cook it about halfway first, then put it on top or stir in chopped cooked bacon before baking to prevent a grease slick on top.

    How to keep baked beans warm or make them ahead

    I don’t think most people mind to eat baked beans that are room temperature. We seem to do a lot of that in the South–but if you want to keep yours really hot, bake them until boiling or really, really bubbling then transfer the whole pan (very carefully!) into an insulated tote.

    I have used this Temp-Tations brand insulated tote for decades and food is still hot or cold inside it for 8 hours or longer.

    I’ve never found anything that compares.

    Your beans don’t have any ingredients that make it risky to leave them out unrefrigerated, so if you want to bake them and then serve them a couple of hours later at room temperature that’s also fine.

    Storing leftover baked beans

    Leftover baked beans will store in your in an air tight container in your fridge for about a week or so. Just rewarm them stove top or in the microwave.

    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 trying some of these favorites:

    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! 
    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Cook Time 20 minutes
    Total Time 25 minutes
    Servings 4 people
    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: 114kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 2gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 223mgPotassium: 68mgSugar: 10gVitamin A: 40IUVitamin C: 0.3mgCalcium: 7mgIron: 0.2mg
    Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @feastandfarm and hashtag it #feastandfarm
    Course Side Dish
    Cuisine American
    Keyword canned baked beans

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    1. 5 stars
      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!

      1. 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

    2. 5 stars
      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.

    3. 5 stars
      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 3×1 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.

    4. Recipe looks delicious. I will be making it this holiday weekend. Does it matter if the Bush’s Homestyle baked beans already comes with bacon and brown sugar? I just don’t want to overdo it with the extra sugar and mess up the flavoring.

      1. @JoAnn e Burba, bacon is so expensive. Cheapest I found was 4.99lb. Too rich for my blood

      1. You could Lori. The liquid won’t simmer down like they do in a pot though. I’ve never made these (nor do I make much of anything in a slow cooker) so it would be a guess, but 3 to 4 hours on low should do it. You should be able to keep the ingredient amounts the same. –Rachel

      2. @Rachel Ballard, Wow you guys reply quickly an I think that’s great! I’ll be using this site for now on. Keep up the great work Rachel ? if I may…
        Thx again!

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