This dish, Crock Pot Baked Beans with Bacon, is simple to make and bursting with flavor! The sweetness of the beans pairs perfectly with the smoky bacon, making them a great side dish for any barbeque or main course, all with the help of your slow cooker!
Summer parties are in full swing, which means lots of BBQs and celebrations. If you've been tasked to make a side dish that everyone will enjoy, then you'll love making the best crock pot baked beans!
Baked beans are a dish traditionally containing different types of beans that are parboiled or canned and then baked in a sauce. The sauce for baked beans is usually made from molasses, sugar, tomato paste, and spices like mustard powder or onion powder.
Instead of simmering this dish on the stove, you can use the help of your slow cooker! You'll cook up the base of this dish by sauteing the bacon and vegetables until they are soft and flavorful.
Then, dump everything into the crock pot, including the beans and sweet and smoky sauce components. Let it simmer until flavorful, and you've got a side dish that pairs well with any main BBQ course like hot dogs, burgers, or grilled chicken!
Crock pot baked beans are a dish that's perfect for any party because they can be made ahead of time and only gets better as they sit. The crock pot does all the work for you so you can enjoy the party!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- This easy side dish can be made ahead of time and warmed through when you're ready.
- The slow cooker does all the work for you so you can enjoy the celebration!
- Make it as sweet, smoky, or as spicy as you enjoy by adjusting the ingredients.
- This side is budget-friendly, and the ingredients can be found in any grocery store!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Thick Cut Bacon - Helps add texture to the dish along with a layer of smoky flavor that pairs well with the beans.
- White Onion & Garlic - Gives these beans a mild onion and garlic flavor that gets slow-cooked into the dish.
- Green Bell Pepper - Adds a hint of garden-fresh taste along with a pop of green color.
- Canned Beans - A mix of pinto beans and kidney beans is the perfect combination of hearty and flavorful packed with lots of protein and fiber. They also soak up the flavor of the seasonings well.
- BBQ Sauce - Use your favorite jar of BBQ sauce to help create a sweet and smoky classic flavor.
- Ketchup - Adds a natural sweetness to this side dish along with acidity from the tomatoes.
- Brown Sugar - Adds additional sweetness to the beans along with a complementary molasses flavor.
- Paprika - Gives this crock pot side dish a beautiful reddish hue along with a touch of smoky flavor.
- Yellow Mustard - Adds a tangy layer of flavor that compliments the sweetness.
- Worcestershire Sauce - Adds salt along with an umami flavor that's perfect for crock pot baked beans.
- Black Pepper - Used to taste, this classic seasoning helps balance and enhance the flavors.
How To Make Slow Cooker Baked Beans with Bacon
Prepare the bacon: Add the bacon to a large skillet over medium heat and saute until crispy. Remove from the pan and place onto a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Drain most of the grease in the skillet.
Prepare the vegetables: Dice up the vegetables into small dice and finely mince the garlic. Add the pepper and onion back into the skillet and cook in the leftover bacon grease for 5-7 minutes or until they are softened.
Add ingredients to slow cooker: Chop up the cooked bacon, then add it to the bottom of the crockpot along with the cooked vegetables, minced garlic, beans, seasonings, and the rest of the sauce ingredients. Stir until well combined.
Slow cook the baked beans: Cover and cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours and on LOW for 6-7 hours.
Taste, adjust, and enjoy: Give the beans a stir and give them a taste. Adjust seasonings if necessary and serve while hot.
- When chopping the vegetables, make sure you chop them all roughly the same size. This will help create an even cook.
- Thick-cut bacon is best to use for this recipe as it doesn't shrink as much and creates large chunks of bacon throughout that help make the dish smoky.
- If you want to make this recipe vegetarian, you can omit the bacon altogether or use a vegetarian bacon alternative.
- Make sure the canned beans are drained properly, as the liquid can make the crock pot baked beans too thick and heavy.
- If you want to thicken the sauce, add a little bit of cornstarch mixed with water and stir it into the beans in the last 30 minutes of cooking.
- Add a kick of spice: Add a diced jalapeno or serrano pepper into the mix when cooking the vegetables.
- Make it smokier: Swap out paprika for smoked paprika or add in a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce.
- Use dry beans: Soak the beans overnight, then cook them in the crockpot with chicken broth or water.
- Use other types of beans: Try using black beans, cannellini beans, or great northern beans in place of the pinto and kidney beans.
- Add in different vegetables: Try adding in diced carrots, celery, or zucchini, along with the onions and peppers.
Storing: Cooled leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
Freezing: Freeze crock pot baked beans in freezer-safe containers or bags for up to three months. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
Reheating: Reheat on the stove over low heat until warmed through or reheat in the microwave in 30-second intervals. You may need to add a little water or broth to thin it out as it reheats.
You can, but the texture will be soft and rubbery, which is not great for a dish with baked beans. For best results, cook your bacon in a skillet until crispy.
Yes, you can. Just make sure you drain them properly first, as the liquid can make the crock pot baked beans too thick and heavy.
The best beans for crock pot baked beans are pinto, kidney, black, cannellini, or great northern beans.
More Easy Slow Cooker Side Dish Recipes
- The Best Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese
- Easy, NO Foil Slow Cooker Baked Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Cheesy Ranch Potatoes (With Bacon)
- Easy, Cheesy Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes
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Crock Pot Baked Beans with Bacon
- 8 slices thick-cut bacon
- 1 cup white onion (diced)
- ½ cup green bell pepper (diced)
- 2 (15 oz) cans pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
- 2 (15 oz) cans kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
- ½ cup bbq sauce
- ½ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp garlic (minced)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tbsp yellow mustard
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp black pepper
- In a large skillet over medium heat. Cook bacon until it is crispy and golden brown. Drain off grease and saute onions and green peppers until they are soft. About 5-6 minutes. Then add to the Crockpot.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the Crockpot and mix until well combined.
- Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours and on low for 6-7 hours.
- Serve while hot and enjoy!
*All nutrition information provided is automatically calculated and is an estimate and will vary based on ingredients, brands, and changes in cooking methods listed in the recipe. If you need exact numbers on your ingredients, I would recommend calculating them with your prefered nutrition calculator.