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Southern Style Brown Sugar Baked Beans


Southern Style Brown Sugar Baked Beans are a classic side dish that combines tender beans with a sweet and savory sauce, enhanced by the smoky flavor of bacon. This recipe is perfect for barbecues, family gatherings, or as a comforting addition to any meal. Let’s dive into the step-by-step process of making these delicious baked beans.



  • ½ onion, diced
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans white beans (such as navy beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon or other spicy mustard
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 to 8 slices thick cut bacon, diced


Step 1: Preheat the Oven

  1. Preheat Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).

Step 2: Prepare the Bacon and Onion

  1. Cook the Bacon:
    • In a large skillet, cook the diced bacon over medium heat until it is crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the skillet and set it aside, leaving the bacon fat in the skillet.
  2. Sauté the Onion:
    • Add the diced onion to the skillet with the bacon fat. Cook over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

Step 3: Combine the Ingredients

  1. Mix the Sauce:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, molasses, Dijon mustard, a pinch of kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Stir well to combine.
  2. Add the Beans and Onion:
    • Add the drained and rinsed white beans to the mixing bowl. Add the sautéed onions and half of the cooked bacon. Stir gently to combine, ensuring the beans are well coated with the sauce.

Step 4: Bake the Beans

  1. Transfer to Baking Dish:
    • Transfer the bean mixture to a baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining bacon on top.
  2. Bake:
    • Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour, or until the sauce is bubbly and thickened and the beans are heated through.

Step 5: Serve

  1. Garnish and Serve:
    • Remove the baked beans from the oven and let them cool slightly before serving. Garnish with additional freshly ground black pepper if desired. Serve hot and enjoy!

Cook Notes and Variations

Cook Notes:

  • Beans: Navy beans are a classic choice, but you can also use Great Northern beans or cannellini beans.
  • Bacon: For the best flavor, use thick-cut bacon. If you prefer a leaner dish, you can reduce the amount of bacon or omit it entirely.


  • Spicy Baked Beans:
    • Add a chopped jalapeño or a pinch of red pepper flakes for a spicy kick.
  • Vegetarian Option:
    • Omit the bacon and sauté the onion in olive oil or butter. Add a teaspoon of smoked paprika to mimic the smoky flavor of bacon.
  • Maple Baked Beans:
    • Replace the molasses with pure maple syrup for a different flavor profile.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I use dried beans instead of canned beans?

Yes, you can use dried beans. Soak 1 cup of dried navy beans overnight, then cook them until tender before using them in the recipe. This will yield about the same amount as the canned beans.

2. How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftover baked beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop before serving.

3. Can I freeze baked beans?

Yes, you can freeze baked beans. Allow them to cool completely, then transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat before serving.


4. What can I serve with baked beans?

Baked beans are a versatile side dish that pairs well with grilled meats, hamburgers, hot dogs, cornbread, or a fresh green salad.

5. Can I make this dish ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the beans and sauce ahead of time and refrigerate them until ready to bake. This can be done up to a day in advance.

The Comfort of Southern Style Brown Sugar Baked Beans

Southern Style Brown Sugar Baked Beans are a comforting and flavorful side dish that brings warmth and satisfaction with every bite. The combination of sweet brown sugar, savory molasses, and smoky bacon creates a dish that is both hearty and delicious. This recipe is perfect for barbecues, family gatherings, or any time you crave a comforting and flavorful side dish.

Tips for Success

  1. Use Quality Ingredients: Using high-quality bacon and fresh onions will enhance the overall flavor of the dish.
  2. Adjust Sweetness: Taste the sauce before baking and adjust the sweetness to your preference by adding more or less brown sugar and molasses.
  3. Bake Until Thickened: Ensure the beans bake long enough for the sauce to thicken and the flavors to meld together.

Southern Style Brown Sugar Baked Beans are a classic and comforting dish that is perfect for any occasion. With their combination of tender beans, sweet and savory sauce, and smoky bacon, these baked beans are sure to be a hit with family and friends. Whether you’re making them for a barbecue, a family gathering, or just a comforting side dish, this recipe is simple to prepare and full of delicious flavors. Give these Southern Style Brown Sugar Baked Beans a try and enjoy a satisfying and hearty meal. Happy cooking!