Three Bean Baked Beans

EASY baked beans recipe with kidney, black, and cannellini beans, baked with bacon in a molasses-based sauce

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

When it comes to baked beans, you can go the full monty starting with dry beans and cook them completely from scratch (like Boston Baked Beans), which takes all day. Or you can start with already cooked canned beans which reduces the cooking time to a little over an hour.

This recipe is for the latter, a “quick” version of baked beans using three different types of beans—kidney beans, black beans, and cannellini beans. My father adapted this recipe from one in an old issue of Bon Appétit magazine years ago.

It has a tangy, rich flavor from the vinegar, molasses, and bacon and is a cinch to put together. A great side for pork or steak.

Three Bean Baked Beans Recipe

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  • Prep time: 7 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound sliced bacon
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoons dry thyme)
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method

1 Preheat oven to 350°F.

2 Cook and crumble the bacon: Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until browned and crisp. Remove bacon and place on paper towels to soak up excess fat. Crumble up the bacon and set aside.

3 Sauté the onions: Remove all but a tablespoon of the bacon drippings from the pot. Add the chopped onions and cook on medium high heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.

4 Add the rest of the ingredients: Sprinkle the onions with dry mustard and thyme. Stir in the ketchup, vinegar, molasses, bay leaf, beans, Tabasco, and water. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5 Cover and bake: Cover the pot and put into a 350°F oven. Bake for 1 hour, checking every 15 minutes to stir and add more water if needed. Stir in the bacon the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Alternatively, cook in a slow cooker 4 hours on high, or 8 on low.

Discard bay leaf before serving.

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Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit magazine.

3 Bean Baked Beans

Showing 4 of 10 Comments

  • Helen Wylde

    I used braggs apple cider vinegar. The taste was really strong. Next time I’d cut back on that and add a bit more sweetness like maple syrup.

  • AJ

    I would definitely recommend reducing the ACV. It was a bit overbearing. I also added brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce.

  • lydia

    For those who don’t eat pork, try a squirt of barbecue sauce in bean dishes, to give the flavor of the smoke without the bacon fat.

  • Christy

    These look great. Do you have any advice for those vegetarians among us who intend not to include bacon (or meat) in the recipe? Any substitutions/adjustments? Thanks!

  • Dawn

    I just came across this recipe, and I am going to have to try it. An idea for Christie and other vegetarians – how about substituting the water with 1/3 cup vegetable stock, and adding a few drops of liquid smoke? That should add some extra flavor and a little BBQ smokiness if you can’t use bacon.

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