Hearty, sweet, and savory southern baked beans with ground beef, smokey bacon, and brown sugar are super easy to put together! It is a perfect side dish recipe for a holiday, cookout, BBQ, picnic, tailgate, or if you just love baked beans. With over 17,000 shares, this recipe is definitely one of my top fan favorites!
If you've ever wondered how to doctor up canned baked beans, then welcome to my blog! I'm glad you found me 🙂 This recipe not only doctors up canned baked beans, heck, it's a complete makeover. I've been told these are the best baked beans - and I agree!
These baked beans and my Southern Mac and Cheese are always the top two favorites!
Baked beans are a very popular side dish around the holidays. Odds are, if you're viewing this recipe, a holiday is approaching! So if you're also in need of a good appetizer, consider my quick and easy Jalapeno Cheese Ball.
So if you're tired of juggling a thousand tasks while trying to prepare for get-togethers, kids' sports, or holiday meals then these baked beans with ground beef are the superhero side dish you need! With just a few ingredients and a trusty oven, you'll have a satisfying addition to your spread in no time.
Why this Recipe Works
Baked Beans with Ground Beef has all the boxes checked for an easy side dish!
10-minute Prep Time - This recipe is an easy side dish because there isn't a lot of chopping involved. Use your kitchen scissors to cut or slice the green onions and the bacon. Also, there's no need to cook the bacon first since it cooks with the beans!
Canned beans - This recipe using canned baked beans will be your new go-to recipe because it's just so simple. You and your guests will want seconds!
Crowd Pleaser - Just about everyone loves baked beans! They go with just about any kind of meat, and this recipe makes 8 servings. Easily double the recipe for a larger crowd.
Hearty Side Dish - The ground beef gives this side dish a hearty texture, and the bacon gives it a wonderful smokey flavor. And of course, the brown sugar makes it all come together with just the right amount of sweetness.
Ingredients You'll Need
Hamburger and bacon add a savory element, providing a rich and meaty flavor that complements the sweetness of the beans.
Ground Beef - makes for a rich and hearty side dish (or main meal!).
Hickory Smoked Bacon - adds a delicious smoked flavor; so no need to add any liquid smoke. Cut the bacon into small pieces about 1-inch squares. You can use either raw bacon or pre-cooked bacon! I lean more towards the pre-cooked bacon because it crisps up nicely while baking.
Bush's Original Baked Beans - canned baked beans make this recipe so tasty and easy! Use the barbeque flavored beans if barbeque sauce is more your style. I have not tested this recipe using the barbeque sauce flavor, but I'd have to think they would work just fine.
Dark Brown Sugar - adds sweetness and a hint of molasses flavor.
Worcestershire Sauce - gives this recipe a flavor booster.
Green Onions - wash the green onions, hold them tightly together in a bunch, then use scissors to slice them.
Green Bell Pepper - this is an optional ingredient because I know some of you don't like onions at all. So in place of the onions, you can use one small chopped green bell pepper. I recommend cooking them with the ground beef to soften them up.
Yellow Onion - use minced yellow chopped onion instead of green onion if that's all you have.
Light Brown Sugar - if all you have is light brown sugar, you can use it in place of the dark brown sugar. The beans won't have as much molasses flavor, but it will work just fine. You could also make your own dark brown sugar by adding 1 tablespoon of molasses to 1 cup of white granulated sugar.
Ground Sausage - spice it up by using half ground sausage and half ground beef. Thanks for the tip, Jera 🙂
How to Make Southern Baked Beans
(Step 1) Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large pan or iron skillet, cook the ground beef and drain off the fat. Add the dark brown sugar, green onions, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, and salt. Mix well.
(Step 2) Add both cans of beans and gently stir.
(Step 3) Pour the mixture into a large baking dish. Lay the cut bacon strips on top.
(Step 4) Bake in the oven uncovered for about 30 minutes.
Taste and Adjust - before adding any salt to the beans, do a taste test first. Then if salt is needed, add a small amount at a time, stir, and taste again.
Don't Overmix - to avoid soggy or mushy beans, gently stir or fold in the beans. Less is more when it comes to blending beans.
Make Ahead - you can make this dish the day before. Just cook and drain the hamburger meat, mix in the dark brown sugar, sliced green onions, Worcestershire Sauce, and pepper. Let cool, cover, and place in the refrigerator. Then when you're ready to bake them, fold in the beans and top with bacon. Test for salt; add if needed. Bake as directed.
What to Eat with Baked Beans
My husband can make a meal out of baked beans, but most other humans prefer to have the beans as a side to the main course. When served as a main meal, serve with French bread, saltine crackers, or cornbread. As a side dish, baked beans are fantastic with anything you cook on the grill such as hamburgers, steaks, hot dogs, chicken, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
These baked beans are a perfect side dish for all kinds of meats such as hamburgers, hot dogs, or ribs. Every time I make these beans, people compliment them. Try them with my Panko Chicken Tenders, Cast Iron Pork Tenderloin, or Southern Meatloaf.
Keep any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Make sure they are stored in an airtight container. We like to use BPA-free glass food storage containers with locking lids.
Yes, you can! The beans must be completely cooled off before placing them in the freezer. Tip - I like to refrigerate them first, for about 4 hours to get them nice and chilled. Then place them in an airtight, freezer-friendly container (such as the ones I mention above) and store them for up to 4 months.
More delicious side dishes
If you tried this recipe, please let me know by leaving a comment! I'd love to hear from you.
Baked Beans with Ground Beef
- Large Saute Pan
- measuring spoons
- measuring cup
- Kitchen shears
- Casserole dish
- 1 pound Ground beef
- 1 cup Dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup Green onions, sliced approximately 1 bunch
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Black pepper
- 2 28-oz cans baked beans Bush Original
- Dash salt taste test before adding salt!
- 6-8 strips Hickory smoked bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces raw or pre-cooked
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- In a large pan or skillet, cook the ground beef and drain off the fat. Turn off the heat. Add the dark brown sugar, green onions, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper. Mix well.
- Add the canned beans and gently mix. Taste the mixture and add salt if desired; gently stir again. Over mixing will cause the beans to get too soft and/or mushy.
- Pour into a large casserole dish. Lay the cut bacon pieces on top.
- Bake in the oven uncovered for about 30 minutes.
- Taste and Adjust - before adding any salt to the beans, do a taste test first. Then if salt is needed, add a small amount at a time, stir, and taste again.
- Don't Overmix - to avoid soggy or mushy beans, gently stir or fold in the beans. Less is more when it comes to blending beans.
- Storing - keep any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Make sure they are stored in an airtight container.
- Make Ahead - you can make this dish the day before. Just cook and drain the hamburger meat, mix in the dark brown sugar, sliced green onions, Worcestershire Sauce, and pepper. Let cool, cover, and place in the refrigerator. Then when you're ready to bake them, fold in the beans and top with bacon. Test for salt; add if needed. Bake as directed.
This recipe was originally published in 2018 and was updated in 2023.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy to my readers. I'm not a nutritionist and I don't guarantee the accuracy of this data. The data may differ according to the brands I used versus the brands you use. To calculate the data yourself using your brands, try using an online nutrition calculator or app.