Easy Spicy Baked Beans Recipe

On Thursdays, Andrea Lynn, associate editor of Chile Pepper Magazine drops by with Serious Heat.

I grew up loving canned baked beans, which my younger siblings affectionately referred to as "sweet beans." Due to whatever reason, for many years it had never occurred to me to make them from scratch. Until Julia Child, that is. Her 16-hour baked beans are outstanding but sometimes I just don't have 16 hours to dedicate to the bean-making process. So I assumed I couldn't make good, homemade baked beans without the massive process. That was, until Chile Pepper columnist Elizabeth Karmel's recipe in our May issue, where I learned that baked beans can be made in a lot less time and still be almost as good as Julia's. Adapted from barbecue king Mike Mills, the recipe incorporates a variety of beans from kidney to navy to lima. The different bean sizes and textures make for a delicious assortment.

Canned pork and beans start things off right and the recipe also gets a kick of spice from Mills' Magic Dust, a blend of spices that doubles as a rub for ribs. Strips of bacon are the crowning glory of the dish. I mixed them into the beans when serving, and loved the reaction of my guests when they fished out an entire strip of bacon.

These spiced baked beans is a must-have accompaniment to barbecue or any other outdoor food. I even enjoy a throwback to my childhood with hot dog slices in the beans. This recipe is a great way to get the glory without all the work.

Recipe Facts

Active: 10 mins
Total: 45 mins
Serves: 10 to 12 servings

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  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 3 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup diced onion (about 1 medium)
  • 1 medium green or red bell pepper, diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sorghum or honey
  • 1 (28 ounce) can pork and beans
  • 1 (19 ounce) can kidney beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can butter beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can navy beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 to 5 uncooked bacon strips, a few cooked ribs, or 1/4 cup pulled pork


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, mix the mustard, ketchup, onion, bell pepper, brown sugar, sorghum or honey, beans, paprika, salt, mustard, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, garlic, and cayenne, stirring gently with clean hands or a large spatula just enough to evenly distribute the mixture without overmixing the beans into a mushy consistency.

  2. Pour bean mixture into a 9-inch by 12- inch pan. Lay bacon strips, or sprinkle rib or pulled pork meat across the top. Cover with foil, and bake for 45 minutes.

  3. Remove foil, and bake until bubble, about 15 minutes longer. Serve, keep in refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze for 1 month.

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