Sprucing up a can of pork and beans with your favorite zesty ingredients provides an easy way to serve an exciting side dish. These spicy baked beans are savory, spicy, sweet and smoky. Perfect easy recipe for any casual backyard BBQ or potluck.
About This Recipe and Why it Works
If you’re reading this smack dab in the middle of backyard BBQ season, you’re most certainly browsing Google for side dishes. And there are so many choices aren’t there?
This is a very tasty and very easy big flavored spicy baked beans recipe. This isn’t a recipe for soak beans overnight and bake them for hours until done. These are open a can and throw in some might fine flavors – the good stuff. Old fashioned baked beans using canned beans.
Why am I calling these old fashioned? One of the first things I learned to make when I was a kid were baked beans using a can of pork and beans and then adding more flavors to jazz them up. Like ketchup, mustard and brown sugar. And that was a long time ago.
This recipe takes that theory a step further. Using a large can of pork and beans this recipe kicks things by adding Worcestershire and chile powder for starters. Making them spicy and feisty.
Which turns simple baked beans into a masterpiece of a side dish. Baked until bubbly and caramelized, you’re going to love every bite.
This is a baked beans recipe from the the Oklahoma Jr. League Cookbook, that I found over at Elliot’s Eats. Where ever there’s a Junior League Cookbook, you can be guaranteed good reliable recipes.
Let’s take a look and make these spicy beans.
Ingredients to make baked beans with pork and beans
- Onion: Dice a yellow or sweet onion.
- Liquid Smoke: Available on the condiment aisle of your grocery store, just a few drops will add a smoky flavor to any dish. Liquid smoke is a natural by-product of smoked wood. A great condiment to have on hand.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Worcestershire sauce is a powerhouse umami condiment. Tangier than soy sauce, it’s rich with flavor from fish sauce, vinegar and molasses. It’s wonderful in this baked bean recipe.
- Ketchup and Mustard: Key ingredients to make these baked beans sweet and tangy. For the mustard, use prepared yellow mustard.
- Brown Sugar: Using brown sugar rather than granulated white sugar brings more of a caramel toffee like flavor. I used light brown sugar for this recipe. You can also use dark brown sugar.
- Chile Powder: How to spice up baked beans? Bring on the heat .. or not. There are many types of pure chile powders, and they all have different heat levels. I use New Mexico Chimayo Chile Powder, which is medium hot on the heat scale. You can use Ancho chile powder, which is milder. Cayenne pepper works great in this recipe.
- Green Bell Pepper: The somewhat bitter grassy flavor of a green bell pepper works well to balance the overall sweet and spicy flavor of this baked bean casserole. You can also use milder and sweet varieties such a red bell pepper or orange bell pepper.
How to make spicy baked beans
It’s easy. With just a little slicing and dicing you’re on your way to a great little big-time baked bean side dish.
- Step 1: In a 2 quart mixing bowl, combine ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, chile powder, Liquid Smoke, mustard and brown sugar. Whisk until smooth.
- Step 2: Add the beans and gently mix with a spoon.
- Step 3: Add the chopped parsley, sauteed bell pepper and onions to the bean mixture. Gently combine.
- Step 4: Pour the mixture into your favorite 2 quart casserole dish. Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees.
FAQ’s and Tips for Success
I drain about half of the liquid from the can of pork and beans. You’re adding a lot of flavor and liquid to this recipe, so draining the beans a bit will make the end dish a little thicker.
The beans inside that can of pork and beans are navy beans. If you have dried navy beans, soak a cup of them overnight in enough water to cover by an inch. The next morning, boil the beans for two minutes and then simmer than for two hours. Drain and proceed with the recipe.
I’ve never tried it, but black beans would be a good substitute for this recipe.
The beans inside that can have been cooked to a very soft stage. During anytime during the preparation process, stir the beans gently to combine ingredients. If you over-stir the beans can become mushy.
Absolutely yes. You can prepare the casserole ahead of time, refrigerate and then bake just before serving. Or you can bake ahead of time then gently reheat in the oven at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes. Or until nice and steamy.
Yes. The sauce around the beans protects them. Let them cool down and then grab a freezer friendly container and seal well. They’ll keep for a couple of months.
Just remove the container from the freezer and place in the refrigerator overnight. Then reheat either using the microwave or oven.
The heat level is easy to control here. Simply omit the spicy chile powder. Use a milder chile powder like ancho or even chili powder (with an “i”) which is a blend of spices used in your favorite chili soup recipe.
The more shallow the baking dish, the more caramelized the end result will be. I’ve tried this with both shallow and deep dishes and prefer the more shallow dish.
Yes. If you’re hosting a gathering and need oven space, feel free to use the slow cooker for this recipe. Just follow the recipe and instead of placing the ingredients in a baking dish for the oven, add it to the slow cooker, that’s been sprayed with non-stick spray. Cook on low around 6 hours and on high for 3 – 4 hours. Check on them every couple of hours so they don’t burn, as every crock pot is a little different.
Recipe for Spicy Baked Beans
With Chili Powder, Worcestershire Sauce and Liquid Smoke, you won’t even notice that there’s no bacon in the recipe.
Next time you’re thinking about baked beans for a side dish, take the easy route, and take canned beans to the next level.
A zippy flavorful take on this classic Summer pot-luck dish.
I hope you give this easy baked beans recipe a try, and if you do, please come back and give the recipe a star rating and leave a comment about your experience with the recipe.
And if you have a recipe for baked beans with pork and beans, or have favorite spices for baked beans, let me know, I’d love to give it a try.
What To Serve With Baked Beans
- Oven Spare Ribs With Mustard Beer Sauce
- Silver Spur Ranch Blue Cheese Burgers
- The Best Grilled Chicken Recipe … ever!
- Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Chile Glaze
Spicy Baked Beans with Pork and Beans
- 2 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 large green bell pepper chopped
- 1/2 Cup Ketchup
- 1/4 Cup Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 teaspoon chile powder New Mexico Red or ancho
- 1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
- 1 Tablespoon mustard prepared yellow
- 1/4 Cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 28 oz pork and beans half of the liquid drained
- 2 Tablespoon flat leaf parsley chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat olive oil in skillet and sauté onions for 4 minutes. (Onions should be transparent.) Add peppers and sauté another 2 minutes or until vegetables are just turning tender.
- In a 2 quart mixing bowl, combine ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, Liquid Smoke, mustard and brown sugar. Whisk until blended.
- Add the beans and gently stir with a spoon.
- Add onions and peppers to bean mixture. Add parsley and gently stir.
- Prepare a 2 quart casserole dish by spraying with non-stick spray. Pour bean mixture into dish and bake for 45 minutes.
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Baked Beans with Pork and Beans … it’s what’s for a BBQ side dish
This recipe was first published in 2015 and updated in 2021 to add step by step instructions and new photos.