Easy Baked Bean Recipe for Summer Get-togethers and BBQs.

Updated June 2024:  I am still a big fan of baked beans but no one in my household likes this side dish but me, so I always need an occasion to make baked beans.  I went through my archives and found this recipe I originally published in 2016. Summer is perfect for baked beans with hotdogs, burgers, or grilled protein. Baked beans are an American tradition dating back to the 17th century. Colonist adopted the dish from Native Americans, and the beans were cooked for hours over a fire with a complex sauce.

I originally made this recipe for a family reunion around ten years ago, and was assigned to make baked beans for the event. This was when the family matriarchs assigned food they grew up eating and wanted for this reunion.  

Honestly, I grew up eating my baked beans out of a can. It was a dish that my family rarely consumed. No one in my family ever baked beans. I researched hundreds of recipes for this reunion, and many recipes were too complicated and time-consuming for a brand-new mother who was far from a professional chef. 

I was in a pickle because the one thing I was not going to do was show up with just a bunch of baked beans from a can purchased at my local grocer. Also, this was when deli-prepared foods were not as common as they now are in 2024. 

The recipe I used for this event was simple and easy. You can start with BBQ baked beans, but I started with regular baked beans (nothing special about them) and added my own BBQ sauce. Add red onion, brown sugar, and bacon, and bake for 40 minutes or longer. Check often to make sure the beans don't burn. 

Southern Reunions:  Serving up Baked Beans

Southern Baked Beans with a HomemadeTwist 

4 cans of  Organic Baked Beans
3 strips of uncured bacon cut into pieces
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of vinegar-based BBQ sauce or BBQ sauce of your choice.
Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Stir and serve.

The baked beans were a hit. Of course, children always say the most truthful, candid things. One of my little cousins, who was in third grade at the time, said, "I love the baked beans because I love beans from a can." 

Dang, she was on to me with my canned beans!!! This recipe does taste better than just opening a can of beans. I like to say, "It dresses it up a little."