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How to Improve Canned Baked Beans

Homemade baked beans using canned baked beans is the smartest side dish you've ever made.

How to Improve Canned Baked Beans
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We love the flavor of homemade foods like baked beans. The rich, sweet-and-savory sauce develops hints of spice and smoke as it slow cooks. There's nothing better!

However, we also love to take advantage of semi-homemade solutions when we can. We know you're busy (we are, too). So we're always looking for ways to turn time-consuming favorites into a dish you can cook on any weeknight.

In this case, we're talking about baked beans!

We've found some simple ways that you can make canned baked beans taste even better. With a few ingredients you can take your regular canned baked beans from ordinary to extraordinary.

Then be sure to tell us in the comments about your own tips for how to improve canned baked beans.

What can I add to canned baked beans?

Here are some delicious ingredients that you can add to canned baked beans --

Chopped onion
Copped bell pepper
Chopped jalapeno pepper
Ground Beef
Brown Sugar
BBQ Sauce

There are so many possibilities here! You can easily add ingredients to suit the tastes of your family and create a dish that everyone will love. There are lots of add-in options for vegetarian baked beans here, as well.

This list basically breaks down into 4 main types of ingredients: sweet, sour, savory, and vegetables/spices.


When we sat down to build our perfect baked beans, we wanted to keep these types of flavors in balance. For example, you probably don't need to add BBQ sauce and brown sugar (unless you want some seriously sugary baked beans!).

We also decided that canned baked beans are plenty sugary on their own (so we don't need to add much). However, they could probably use some help in terms of rich flavor (so, add some seasoning!). Finally, adding a little more zip (sour) and a little more savory (bacon) is never a bad thing.

With that in mind, we chose to add: a little dark brown sugar (slightly sweet with lots of flavor); smoked paprika and onion powder (rich flavor!); yellow mustard (zip!); and bacon (bacon!). 

We found that this combination added a great depth of flavor, plus some added smokiness, while keeping the sweetness in check. It's a really way to kick up a can of baked beans!


How to Adapt This Recipe to Your Own Taste

This recipe is far from the only way to adapt canned baked beans. We shared the information above so that you can make your own choices and develop your own best recipe ever!

As you work on your own recipe, try to think of what you want to change or improve about canned baked beans. Do you wish they had more spice? More rich savory flavor? More sweetness? More smokiness? Come up with a baked bean wish list and make it happen using the tips above.

The great thing about cooking canned baked beans is that they are already cooked in the can. So, it is perfectly safe to taste as you cook and adjust the seasonings however you want!


Semi-Homemade Baked Beans Recipe

How can you make canned baked beans taste better? Try this delicious (and easy) recipe.


Preparation Time10 min

Cooking Time20 min



  • 1 (28-ounce) can baked beans
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine molasses, mustard, paprika, cumin, and onion powder. Add baked beans and stir to combine. Fold in chopped bacon.

  3. Transfer baked beans to a baking dish and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until beans are bubbling and sauce has thickened.

  4. Serve and enjoy!

What's your favorite canned baked beans recipe? Let us know in the comments!

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