One of my favorite summer recipes is BBQ baked beans. Savory, creamy, and packed with sweet flavor, these beans are the perfect side dish recipe to bring to your next backyard cookout, picnic, or barbeque.
These simple ingredients have the perfect balance of sweetness and spice, and the long cook time tenderizes the beans and melds all the flavors beautifully.
And the secret? Use canned beans to make the BEST cookout beans ever!
That’s right – no soaking, no all-day cooking, no driving yourself nuts the night before prepping these beans. Canned beans can be the ULTIMATE cookout side dish in the easiest way, which are sure to become your favorite beans recipe!
Why you will love making Slow Cooker Baked Beans Using Canned Beans
- Using canned Great Northern Beans works because it takes out the hours and hours of soaking beans before even using them and makes it simple and easy.
- Baked beans are one of the most common side dishes and can easily be altered with extra ingredients and a variety of great-tasting substitutions.
- Because the crock pot is used, this dish is as low effort as it gets while still tasting homemade.
- great northern beans – drained and rinsed.
- Canned tomato sauce
- diced ham – diced ham comes packaged in the store near deli meat.
- Molasses – please note that molasses and maple syrup are not the same ingredient.
- White vinegar
- seasonings – dry mustard, ground black pepper, ground ginger.
- Optional: Green pepper, sweet onion, bacon pieces, and bacon drippings.
How to make Crockpot Baked Beans with Canned Beans
- Remove the lids from 4 cans of great northern beans, pour them into a colander and rinse the cans of beans off. Place rinsed and drained beans into a crockpot.
- Add a can of tomato sauce.
- Add diced ham pieces.
- Pour in measured molasses.
- Continue adding all spices and seasonings, combine with bean mixture and cover the crockpot. Serve beans with a side of hot sauce.
How to avoid mushy molasses beans
- Wait until the end of the cooking process to add salt: You’ll notice this recipe doesn’t call for salt or kosher salt, and that’s for good reason. Salt can interact with the skin of the beans, breaking it down and causing your finished dish to be mushy.
- Calcium and Sugar: Both calcium and sugar will make beans take a long time to tenderize, and molasses contains both. This is why Boston Baked Beans, which traditionally use molasses, ALWAYS have to cook for a long time. Brown sugar contains much less calcium per gram than molasses, so beans can become mushy if cooked for the same length of time. Maple syrup contains a bit more calcium than brown sugar but still only about half the same amount of molasses.
Cook time in Crock Pots
Cooking fresh beans takes a lot of time, and the traditional way to make baked beans was, well, to bake them in the oven for hours and hours. It’s not only more labor intensive, but also makes for a very hot kitchen! Lucky for us, cooking with canned beans is super easy, and the beans taste just as good as pan-fried Southern fare.
Because slow cookers can vary in strength, it’s important to check your beans towards the end of the cooking process to be sure there is still enough liquid remaining that the beans won’t burn.
Once done, the slow cooker can be programmed to the warm setting for up to 2 hours before serving.
What is the difference between Boston Baked Beans and Cowboy Beans?
While Boston Baked Beans and Cowboy Beans may seem similar, there are a few distinct differences. Boston Baked Beans usually utilize only a single type of bean, whereas Cowboy Beans usually contain many different types of beans mixed together.
While Boston Baked Beans use ham (or traditionally salt pork), cowboy beans are made with a mixture of beef and pork, usually sausage or bacon.
What are traditional baked bean flavors?
Baked beans have been sweetened with everything from honey, brown sugar, and maple syrup; arguably, the most famous iteration is Boston Baked Beans, which uses molasses.
Early versions of baked beans used salt pork; later variations tend to use bacon or, in this recipe, ham. Since the end of the Revolutionary War, baked beans have been a favorite dish at Independence Day celebrations.
Molasses Baked Beans often have varying ingredients, and you could certainly try adding yellow mustard, yellow onion, additional slices of bacon, or barbecue sauce to get the perfect smoky flavor and summer side dish you are after in a baked bean recipe.
Are molasses and maple syrup the same thing?
They are not the same ingredient as molasses comes from the sugar cane plant and maple syrup comes from a maple tree.
However, they are often used interchangeably. The biggest difference is that maple syrup can burn easier and needs less time to cook.
What summer side dish recipes go best with baked beans?
BBQ Chicken dinners, ribs, and pulled-pork sandwiches contain delicious rich flavors, and molasses beans are a beautiful paper plate worth of food for summer barbecues.
Any of these Simple Salad recipes go hand in hand with lazy summer days.
Side dishes like Mexican Street Corn on the cob, the best Watergate salad recipe, and dessert Grape salad are great with a baked beans recipe.
Fresh-from-the-oven cornbread or American biscuits are perfect top-rated recipes for summer dinners.
Related Crockpot Recipes
- If you love beans in a slow cooker, this spicy baked beans with ground beef recipe is another canned beans recipe that is incredibly amazing for the long days of summer.
- These maple bacon Brussels Sprouts are not just for holiday meals!
- If you need a filling side dish, try this crockpot ham, green beans, and potatoes recipe. Total comfort food!
- Frozen cocktail meatballs with preserves are a deliciously approved appetizer.
- Move over traditional green bean casserole! Did you know you can make green bean casserole with FRESH greens beans in a crockpot? Set it and forget it!
- Easy and totally cheesy, this is the ultimate shortcut to crockpot cheesy potatoes recipe!
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