Three-Bean Baked Beans

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

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


  • 1/4 pound sliced bacon
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp dry mustard
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dry thyme)
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 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


1 Preheat oven to 350°F. 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.

2 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.

3 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.

4 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.

Discard bay leaf before serving.

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  • Rebecca

    I’ve eaten baked beans made like these and they really are delicious, extra tangy with all that vinegar in them; sometimes they are called “barbecued baked beans”. They are lots better than the traditional recipe to make in the summer because they bake so much more quickly and don’t turn your whole kitchen into an oven.

  • jonathan

    Looks delish.

    “Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart. The more you eat ’em, the more you…”

    Never mind. I am SO juvenile. :p

  • 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!

  • lobstersquad

    All the baked beans recipes I´ve seen start with dried beans, and I´ve had bad experiences with those, always hard. Will be trying this soon. Congrats on the nomination, well deserved.

  • Danielle

    So I’m kind of new to cooking and I made this recipe with rubbed thyme. Is that different from dried thyme? It was good but VERY thymey. I didn’t notice I bought rubbed thyme until after i dumped the 1.5 teaspoons in. The smell was overwhelming though and I had to look into it.

  • 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.

  • Sue

    Wonderful recipe, pantry friendly, beautiful presentation-even more yummy the next day! Especially liked the fact that I can control the preservatives-vs-brand name canned baked beans. Gluten free is special bonus :) I made simple adjustment, vinegar much too strong for our table. Will make again, over and over, husband loved them, would be very confident serving this dish to company. Thx much!

  • Valerie

    Far too much dried thyme for us. I added a can of northern beans, a large can of Bush’s baked beans, more ketchup, another onion, a pound of fried summer sausage and about a cup of bbq sauce and the thyme was STILL overpowering. Not sure how the rest of you ate the original product. I will try again with 1/2 tsp thyme which my research shows is about the standard amount using 4 cans of beans, which I will also do next time.

  • Ewa

    Hi Elise,

    Thank you for posting this recipe. I just wondered, is there any way to fix it, considering I added to much vinegar? I made 1/3 of the recipe, but I added 1/1 of vinegar. I tried adding fresh milk and sweet apple sauce to fix this mistake.That does not work. Does anybody has an idea?

  • Christine

    Delightful recipe! Sweet and tangy all at the same time. Thank you for sharing!

  • lauren

    Thanks for the great recipe. I used a combo of garbanzo beans and black beans since that’s what I had in the pantry. This was my first time making baked beans and everyone loved them.

  • Rhonda

    Yummy! I used leftover lentils,black beans, turkey bacon, and a good pinch of ground pasilla chili powder. Turned out great!
    Hubby loved ’em!!!!

  • Andrea

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I made it yesterday as a “dish to pass” at a birthday party. It received great reveiws. VERY delicious and pretty easy to make. Was my first attempt ever at homemade baked beans and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I’ll make this over and over and likely won’t change a thing!

  • Karen Hemmingson

    Made this recipe for the first time today. Followed the instructions exactly and it is so bitter had to throw it away! What a waste!

  • Sarah

    I just made these! I must have done something wrong. The sauce is very bitter tasting and has an extremely gritty texture. I’m not sure what I did wrong? Did anyone else end up with a gritty or bitter tasting dish?

  • 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.

  • Haley

    The vinegar is really bad. I did a little research and found lots of people use apple cider vinegar or baking soda to soak their beans and then they rinse them after. I think the purpose is to stop them from being so gassy, for lack of a better word…

    I think next time I will go for a more traditional boston baked beans style…