The Best BBQ Baked Beans

The best BBQ Baked Beans I’ve ever tasted – ultra rich, tangy, sweet and smoky. A summer barbecue essential! 

BBQ Baked Beans . The best I've ever tasted - ultra rich, tangy, sweet and smoky. A summer barbecue essential!  |

I’m cutting right to the chase. These are the BEST. BBQ. BAKED. BEANS. EVER. I’m not one to use the word “best” casually, I only use it when I really mean it. I would be shocked if I met baked beans I liked more than these. You don’t need any other recipe, this is it. Send the others back where they came from.

I first came across this recipe in Adam Perry Lang’s Serious Barbecue cookbook. I’m pretty sure I almost fainted after the first spoonful. These beans are so flavorsome and rich. You can practically taste the richness with your eyes just by looking at that dark burgundy color. The barbecue flavor is very concentrated, equally sweet, tangy and smoky.

This must be what real BBQ baked beans are supposed to taste like. You see, growing up we only ever ate Bush’s canned baked beans. I’ve also eaten an alarmingly large amount of Heinz baked beans since making my way across the pond. The contrast between those and these is drastic, to say the least.

Of course, me being me, I can’t let well enough alone. I made a few changes to Adam’s fantastic recipe to make it even more fantastic. For me. Hopefully for you too. I will admit that the original recipe is a bit too sharp and rich for my liking. I’ve made a few changes to correct this, but have in no way shape or form sacrificed that immense barbecue flavor.

I will give you three solid reasons why you will love this recipe as much as I do:

The best homemade BBQ sauce for BBQ Baked Beans |

1. Homemade BBQ Sauce. Please see my previous post. Have you tried this yet? If you haven’t, please do. I mean look at it. Luscious. I could eat it with a spoon.

Yes, of course you can use your favorite store-bought sauce if you don’t have time to make a BBQ sauce.

Treacle - the secret to the best BBQ Baked Beans |

2. Treacle. Treacle is very similar to molasses, but more syrupy and not as sweet. I adore it. You can listen to me rant on about the virtues of treacle in this post about a Dark & Sticky Gingerbread.

The treacle is what gives the BBQ baked beans depth. Please use molasses if you can’t find treacle, but it’s worth giving it a try if you can get it. A little goes a long way and it lasts a very long time. You’ll have plenty leftover to make gingerbread this winter. Go for it.

BBQ Baked Beans . The best I've ever tasted - ultra rich, tangy, sweet and smoky. A summer barbecue essential!  |

3. This recipe is easy peasy to prepare. A teeny, tiny bit of chopping in a food processor, mix all the ingredients in one bowl, transfer to a baking dish then load up the bacon. Job done, super simple.  All you have to do is put it in the oven and forget about it.


BBQ Baked Bean - the best I've ever tasted |

The beans need to cook low and slow for about an hour. They will look like this when they’re done – the sauce will be nice and thick and slighty charred around the edges . The bacon will be cooked through and caramelized.

Hmmm, maybe bacon fat is yet another reason why these taste so good?

BBQ Baked Beans - the best I've ever tasted |

Have I done enough to convince you? Are you having a barbecue soon? Can you make these and then please, pretty please invite me over?

5.0 from 4 reviews
The Best BBQ Baked Beans
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 white onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1¾ cups (400 ml) Homemade BBQ Sauce or your favorite store-bought BBQ Sauce
  • ⅓ cup (60 grams) light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) treacle or molasses
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 14 ounce (400 grams) can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14 ounce (400 grams) can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14 ounce (400 grams) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 rashers of good quality smoked streaky bacon
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius or 140 degrees for a fan oven)
  2. Roughly chop the red pepper, removing the seeds and the bitter white parts. Peel the onion and roughly chop. Remove the peel on the garlic cloves by smashing with the back of a knife (blade facing away from you!). Roughly chop the garlic.
  3. Add the chopped red pepper, onion and garlic to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse about 8 to 10 times until the vegetables are very finely minced. Set aside while you make the sauce. If you don't have a food processor, the next best option is to grate the vegetables on a box grater using the largest holes.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the BBQ sauce, light brown sugar, treacle or molasses, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce and salt. Whisk to combine.
  5. Add the minced vegetables and all of the beans. Stir well until thoroughly mixed.
  6. Pour the mixture into a shallow, oven proof baking dish. I use a glazed, cast iron round pan measuring 11½ inches in width.
  7. Chop the bacon into 1 inch pieces and gently place on top of the bean mixture.
  8. Bake the beans for about an hour. The mixture should be nice and thick and slighty charred around the edges when done. The bacon will be cooked through and caramelized.
  9. Give the beans a good stir before serving.




16 thoughts on “The Best BBQ Baked Beans

  1. I’ve just made the barbecue sauce with a view to making the beans later and I just wanted to say how amazing it is. My house smells fantastic!! So lovely thank you. I live in Knaresborough so were practically neighbours. Im very fascinated by American cuisine so cant wait to read more.

    1. Hi Louise!
      Thank you so much for visiting my blog and trying out some of the recipes! I really hope the sauce and baked beans turned out well for you – they’re some of my favourite recipes. Great to hear you are in Yorkshire as well! I’ve loved living here over the past 7 1/2 years. I’m working on re-vamping my blog at the minute, which is why I haven’t posted anything recently. I’m also pregnant and the morning sickness has hit me very hard, so I must admit it’s been tough working on recipes and getting in the kitchen. I’m hoping to re-launch in January/February next year. Thanks again for your comment, I really appreciate it!

  2. I made these for the family the other day. They are amazing , my entire family loved them. Thank you for a really nice recipe and the home made BBQ sauce is really good too.

  3. Hello,

    I’ve been on the search for a great bbq baked beans recipe… Your recipe from top to bottom looks incredible!! I can’t wait to make this for my guests this weekend. Pairing them with Babyback ribs and bbq tri-tip as my main dishes, and of course a few locally brewed blood orange wit beers to wash it all down :-)


    Thank you so much for the recipe, many well wishes to you and yours!

  4. These are amazing! Can they be baked day before & rewarmed ? If I were to freeze some should it be before cooking or after? thanks!

    1. Hi Chrissy,
      Thanks so much for the comment! Yes, you can bake them the day before and then re-heat in a moderate oven. I would freeze the beans after cooking. When you want to use them, just defrost overnight in the fridge and then reheat. Hope you enjoy them!

  5. Should the baked beans be covered in the casserole dish? Half the recipes say to cover, the other half say uncovered. Which is it?

    1. Hi Kathy,
      Apologies for not specifying in the recipe. I bake my beans uncovered in this recipe so the liquid has a chance to reduce well and the bacon caramelizes nicely. Hope that helps!

  6. Hi Jennifer, sorry to rub it in but our tomatoes are ripening this week right on schedule! Just wanted to let you know I love your baked beans recipe and those Angles are so lucky to have you over there! I made your beans for our family Memorial Day bbq and they’re in the oven now as I write. They’ll be my beans for Labor Day, too! Love the bbq sauce! We’re having that and a jack Daniels glaze on our 4th of July ribs tonight!

    1. Thank you so much! I really love this BBQ sauce. I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe and my apologies for taking so long to get back you. I’ve taken a little break from blogging, but this is a great reminder that I really need to get back to it!

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