Chock-full of bacon and beef, sweetened with molasses, and simmered until thick and sweet, Cowboy Baked Beans are sure to impress!
Calico Baked Beans
This recipe has been my favorite way to make baked beans for years. I hope that one day I will experience some version of baked beans that knocks it down a peg to second place. But, only because the recipe that can beat this one has to be life-changing.
Before meeting these beans, which some people call calico baked beans because of their many colors, I never added meat to any baked bean recipes. There was always meat in our chili, sure, but not in baked beans.
Slow Cooker Cowboy Beans
Let me tell you, the savory ground beef and bacon in this dish make a huge difference. Baked calico beans are delicious, whether you do them in the oven or the slow cooker.
My go-to is the slow cooker, but if I’m going to be home, the oven is every bit as easy and there’s the added benefit of being able to cook the beans in the same pan that I use to cook the meats.
Recipe for Cowboy Baked Beans
- ground beef and bacon
- canned kidney beans
- canned white beans
- canned Pork & Beans
- yellow onions
- light brown sugar
- molasses, ketchup, and yellow mustard
Note: lima beans and butter beans are often used in baked beans. We aren’t the biggest fans of those beans at my house, so I make ours with white beans, black beans, and kidney beans most of the time.
Cowboy Baked Beans
To make this cowboy baked beans recipe in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F. Start by draining all the beans first, except for one can of Pork & Beans.
Combine all the ingredients in an oven-safe, 5-6 quart Dutch oven, and stir to combine. Then, cover with a lid and bake for 1½-2 hours. Stir and serve.
For the crockpot version, combine everything in the crockpot and give it a stir. Cook on HIGH for at least 4 hours or on LOW for 8 hours. Stir before serving.
These beans freeze perfectly if you don’t need the full recipe for a crowd. I typically freeze half of the beans for a later meal when making them just for my family.
The best accompaniment to a bowl full of cowboy baked beans, in my opinion, is a slice of Cornbread with Maple Pecan Butter. This fluffy and slightly sweet cornbread is great for soaking up the flavors in the beans.
The same goes for the irresistibly tangy flavor of Dr Pepper Pulled Pork. Or, if you’re already hunting for your next bean dish, look no further than this Three Bean Chili, packed with savory flavors and a lingering heat.
Cowboy Baked Beans
- 1 pound ground beef cooked and crumbled
- 1 pound bacon cooked and chopped into ½-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons bacon drippings
- 3 14-ounce cans kidney beans
- 3 14-ounce cans white beans
- 3 14-ounce cans Pork & Beans
- 2 yellow onions chopped into ½″ pieces, about 2 cups
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup ketchup
- ½ cup molasses
- 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Drain all the beans, except for one can of Pork & Beans. Combine all ingredients in an oven-safe Dutch oven (5-6 quart size is perfect) and stir to combine. Cover with a lid and bake for 1½-2 hours. Stir before serving.
- Drain all the beans, except for one can of Pork & Beans. Combine all ingredients in the crockpot and stir to combine. Cook on HIGH for at least 4 hours or on LOW for 8 hours.