Brown Sugar Baked Beans
Old-fashioned Brown Sugar Baked Beans are one of the most popular summer side dishes. For years, I would look for the healthiest canned baked beans. The idea of making baked beans from scratch with all the added sugars and calories was overwhelming. Then I started experimenting and finally found the right balance of sweetness. With less sugar and ketchup, these vegetarian baked beans aren’t too sweet but just sweet enough to satisfy all the cravings for the nostalgic flavors you love. Serve them with burgers, hot dog and onions, ribs, Slow Cooker Pulled Pork, Grilled Chicken Breast, Grilled Bourbon Chicken, or Grilled Pork Tenderloin.
Are Baked Beans Good For You?
This healthy baked bean recipe is much lighter than most recipes loaded with sugar. Instead of molasses, I use dark brown sugar, which is slightly lower in calories, and I use less of it. If you cook them in the Instant Pot or slow cooker, you don’t even have to precook the onions in oil. It’s as easy as adding the ingredients and letting the machine do all the work!
Baked Bean Ingredients
- Onion: Finely dice one yellow onion.
- Canned Beans: Rinse and drain canned kidney, pinto, and northern beans.
- Ketchup adds tomato flavor and a little sweetness.
- Water for the beans to cook in
- Brown Sugar: Dark brown sugar is best for baked beans – it gives a richer flavor.
- Yellow Mustard for some tang
- Chili Powder for spice
How to Make Baked Beans
- In a cast iron skillet, add two teaspoons of canola oil and the onions. Cook them on medium heat for four to five minutes until translucent.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir.
- Cover tightly and bake for 45 minutes at 350°F
Crock Pot Baked Beans or Instant Pot Method:
- Add the ingredients to the Instant Pot or Crockpot and stir them together.
- Instant Pot: Lock the lid and set the machine to “manual high pressure” for eight minutes. Once finished, let the IP release naturally for 10 to 15 minutes, and then do a quick release.
- Slow Cook on low for six to seven hours.
- Stir before serving.
- Canned Beans: If you don’t like one of the beans, you can swap them with navy beans or use all of one kind of bean.
- Dry Beans: If you prefer dry beans, soak them the night before and then cook them in the Instant Pot for 35 minutes on high.
- Low Sugar: If you’re trying to reduce your sugar intake, you can decrease the brown sugar. They won’t take like sweet baked beans, but I’m sure they’ll still be tasty.
- Heat: Add some spice with diced canned chilis or freshly chopped jalapeños.
- Smoke: Add smokiness with some chopped bacon. Sauté bacon before mixing it with the other ingredients.
- Sweetener: Swap the brown sugar for 1/4 cup of maple syrup or honey.
- Serving a crowd? Double the recipe and cook for the same amount of time.
What to serve with baked beans:
- BBQ Meat: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork or ribs
- Grilled Protein: Grilled Chicken Breast, Grilled Bourbon Chicken, Grilled Pork Tenderloin
- Burgers: Beef Burgers,Stuffed Turkey Burgers, or Spicy Black Bean Burgers
- Hot Dogs with hot dog onions
- Potato Salad: Rainbow Potato Salad or Baby Red Potato Salad
- Pasta Salad: Macaroni Salad or Tortellini Salad
- Summer Salads: Grilled Corn Salad, Creamy Cucumber Salad, BBQ Chicken Salad
How To Freeze
Leftover baked beans will keep for up to five days refrigerated. To freeze, let them cool. Then transfer them to a freezer-safe container, and freeze them for up to three months. To reheat, thaw them in the fridge first or microwave them straight from frozen until warm.
Oven Baked Brown Sugar Baked Beans:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a cast iron skillet add 2 teaspoons of canola oil and the onions. Cook them until translucent on medium heat, about 4-5 minutes. Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir. Cover tightly and bake for 45 minutes.
More Bean Recipes You’ll Love:
- Puerto Rican Beans
- Brazilian Black Beans
- Instant Pot Black Beans
- Arroz Congri (Cuban Rice and Black Beans)
- Dominican Beans
Instant Pot Brown Sugar Baked Beans
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 15.5 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained (roughy 1 3/4 cups)
- 15.5 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained (roughy 1 3/4 cups)
- 15.5 ounce can northern beans, rinsed and drained (roughy 1 3/4 cups)
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup dark brown brown sugar, unpacked
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
Instant Pot Directions:
- Add the ingredients to the insert and stir them together well.
- Place the lid and lock. Set to Manual, High pressure, and set for 8 minutes.
- Once finished, natural pressure for about 10-15 minutes, then quick release.
- Stir before serving.
Slow Cooker Directions:
- Add the ingredients to the slow cooker and stir them together well.
- Cover and cook low 6 to 7 hours. Stir before serving.
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- Pictured is a double recipe, but the ingredients are exactly the same ratio.
- If using dried beans, cook for 35 minutes.
Recipe is from Sabrina from Cooking with Points, a healthy recipe blog.