Brown Sugar and Bacon Baked Beans

healty meal, low carbs meals, keto meal

Baked beans are a classic side dish, but adding brown sugar and bacon takes them to a whole new level of deliciousness. This recipe for Brown Sugar and Bacon Baked Beans combines the sweetness of brown sugar and the smoky flavor of bacon to create a mouthwatering dish that’s perfect for barbecues, potlucks, or any family gathering. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of making these baked beans, provide helpful cooking notes, and offer variations to suit different tastes and dietary preferences.

Ingredients (Servings 8)

  • 1 (28 oz) can original baked beans (such as Bush’s) – drain half the liquid
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
  • ¼ cup Breckenridge Bourbon (more to taste)
  • 3 slices bacon


Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

  1. Drain the Beans:
    • Drain half the liquid from the can of baked beans and set the beans aside.
  2. Chop the Onion and Bacon:
    • Dice the red onion.
    • Cut the bacon into small pieces.

Step 2: Cook the Bacon and Onion

  1. Cook the Bacon:
    • In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until it becomes crispy.
    • Remove the bacon from the skillet and place it on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
    • Reserve about 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease in the skillet.
  2. Cook the Onion and Garlic:
    • In the same skillet with the reserved bacon grease, add the diced red onion and minced garlic.
    • Sauté for about 3-4 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent.

Step 3: Combine the Ingredients

  1. Mix the Beans and Seasonings:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the baked beans, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, soy sauce (or tamari), and bourbon.
    • Stir in the cooked onions and garlic.
  2. Add the Bacon:
    • Crumble the cooked bacon and add it to the bean mixture, reserving a few pieces for garnish.

Step 4: Bake the Beans

  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Bake:
    • Transfer the bean mixture to a baking dish and spread it out evenly.
    • Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the beans are bubbly and the sauce has thickened.

Step 5: Serve

  1. Garnish and Serve:
    • Remove the beans from the oven and let them cool slightly.
    • Garnish with the reserved bacon pieces.
    • Serve the baked beans hot as a side dish.

Cook Notes and Variations

Cook Notes:

  • Bacon Grease: Using bacon grease to cook the onions and garlic adds extra flavor, but you can use olive oil if you prefer.
  • Bourbon: The bourbon adds a rich depth of flavor, but you can omit it if you prefer or replace it with apple cider or another liquid of your choice.


  • Vegetarian Version:
    • Omit the bacon and use olive oil or a plant-based bacon substitute.
    • Add smoked paprika for a hint of smokiness.
  • Spicy Version:
    • Add 1-2 teaspoons of hot sauce or a pinch of cayenne pepper to the bean mixture for a spicy kick.
  • Maple Bacon Baked Beans:
    • Replace the brown sugar with maple syrup for a different sweet flavor.
    • Use maple-flavored bacon for an extra touch of maple goodness.
  • Applewood Smoked Bacon Beans:
    • Use applewood smoked bacon and add a splash of liquid smoke for a deeper smoky flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I use a different type of beans?

Yes, you can use other types of beans such as pinto beans, black beans, or navy beans. Adjust the seasonings as needed to suit the flavor profile.

2. How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftover baked beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove before serving.

3. Can I make this dish ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the bean mixture ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours before baking. Allow the dish to come to room temperature before baking.

4. What can I serve with baked beans?

Baked beans pair well with grilled meats, burgers, hot dogs, cornbread, and coleslaw.

5. Can I cook these baked beans in a slow cooker?

Yes, you can cook the beans in a slow cooker. Cook the bacon and sauté the onions and garlic as directed, then combine all ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours.

Brown Sugar and Bacon Baked Beans are a sweet and savory side dish that’s perfect for any occasion. With the rich flavors of brown sugar, bacon, and bourbon, these beans are sure to be a hit at your next gathering. Whether you’re making them for a barbecue, potluck, or family dinner, this recipe is easy to follow and sure to impress. Give these baked beans a try and enjoy the delicious combination of flavors. Happy cooking!

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