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Easy Brown Sugar Baked Beans

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Quick + easy brown sugar baked beans that you make on the stove top or in a slow cooker! Full of flavor and so adaptable, this is the ultimate summer side dish. 

This recipe is one of my favorite side dishes to take to summer potlucks, barbecues, family reunions, and more. These brown sugar baked beans with bacon are so easy to make with simple ingredients. 

Baked beans are a classic recipe that are easier to make than you think, plus, you can customize the flavors for your family. Make them vegetarian or vegan, omit the mustard with a mustard allergy, or add extra bacon crumbled on top. The options are endless!

Free From: wheat, gluten, dairy, casein, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, fish, shellfish, crustaceans, mollusks, celery, corn, sesame, mustard, lupin, sulfites, and more

two small bowls overflowing with brown sugar baked beans with sauce dripping down the side on a wood table

This perfect BBQ side dish consists of beans, brown sugar, and a few extra spices in your kitchen. These beans are sweet, salty, and packed full of flavor. 

They are the perfect thing to eat with burgers, chicken, or whatever you’re grilling! I’s awesome with a refreshing cucumber salad

This recipe was updated with additional text and new photos May 2022 but the recipe remains the same. 


Beans are the most important ingredient here, obviously. Navy beans, northern beans, and pinto beans will all work. My personal favorite are cannellini beans for their sweet taste. 

ingredients for baked beans in various glass bowls on the wood table

You will also need:

  • Beans
  • Brown sugar
  • Tomato paste
  • Mustard powder
  • Molasses
  • Soy sauce
  • Garlic and onion powder
  • Ham / bacon 
  • Water 

Allergy variations 

If allergic to mustard, omit the mustard powder. Add a half a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to give this a bit of tang. 

If avoiding wheat, make sure that the soy sauce you use is gluten free. Make sure it says “Tamari” and gluten free on the bottle! 

If you are avoiding soy, you can use coconut amino acids, or omit entirely. Add an additional ½ teaspoon of salt. 

If you are avoiding nightshades, you don’t have to use the tomato paste and can either swap out for a nightshade free ketchup or sauce or omit the ingredient entirely. If not using tomato paste or substitute, I would increase the meat and molasses by 50% each. 

overhead view of two bowls filled with brown sugar baked beans

Flavor variations 

Vegetarian / Vegan baked beans 

To make this a vegetarian and vegan friendly dish, simply omit the meat! If you want to give a bit of that umami flavor to your beans, consider adding a few chopped shiitake mushrooms about halfway through cooking. You could also add chopped red bell peppers to deepen the flavor. 


Add some kick to your baked beans with the addition of peppers. Fresh red and green bell peppers can be chopped and diced and added. You can also add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper or chipotle pepper powder for a rich smoky spice. 


Add about ½ teaspoon of liquid smoke to the recipe to get a rich smoky flavor. 

Different Meats

Try making these beans with different meats. Ham, ham hocks, bacon, sausages, chorizo, or even sliced lunch meat all taste amazing in this dish. 

Baked beans instructions 

For the full instructions with recipe measurements, please see the recipe card below. 

Making these beans is a piece of cake! (Piece of beans?) 

Start by cooking your bacon. I like to use the microwave kind of bacon that cooks up in 60 seconds, but using fresh bacon is also great. No matter which method you use, make sure that the bacon is fully cooked and set it aside. 

baked bean ingredients in a blue cooking pot before cooking
overhead view of baked beans in a blue cooking pot after cooking

Next, drain and rinse the beans. Add them to a large pot. Place the remaining ingredients in the pot and give it a good stir. Add the water, using your best judgment to know how much to add. I typically add about 2 cups of water, but you want the beans to be only just covered with water. 

Finally, add the bacon.

Pop this on the stove over medium heat and cook for 60-75 minutes. Make sure you give them a stir every 5 minutes or so to keep things from burning on the bottom of the pan. 

To make in a slow cooker

While this recipe is intended for a stove top, you can for sure make these in a slow cooker! Add all the ingredients same as the recipe is written and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. 

If the beans are too thin after time, remove the lid and continue cooking on high until they are thickened to your liking. 

However, if they are too thin at any point in cooking, feel free to turn down the heat and add a little bit more water, as needed. 

a spoon reaching into a bowl overflowing with brown sugar baked beans

How to store 

These beans can be made ahead of time and make for great leftovers. 

Fridge: Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 

Transport these beans in a slow cooker or a crock pot to keep them warm if you are bringing them to a potluck or party. 

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brown sugar baked beans in a small bowl with sauce dripping down the side

Easy Baked Beans

Quick + easy brown sugar baked beans that you make on the stove top or in a slow cooker! Full of flavor and so adaptable, this is the ultimate summer side dish.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Keyword: allergy friendly, coconut free, dairy free, dinner, easy, egg free, gluten free, nightshade free, nut free, sesame free, soy free, tomato free, vegan, wheat free
Yield: 5 cups


  • 5 cups Beans, drained and rinsed I use 3 cans of beans, about 45 oz
  • 5 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 cup bacon see variations in notes
  • 2 cups water


  • Cook your bacon according to package directions. Set aside.
  • Add beans, sugar, spices, tomato paste, soy sauce, molasses, and water to a large pot. Give a stir to combine. Add the bacon.
  • Cook on medium heat for about 60 to 75 minutes or until beans have thickened.
  • Can be served immediately or saved for later. Enjoy!


Allergy Variations:
Mustard Seed Allergy-  you can omit this ingredient and have no difference in the final product! They taste just as delicious. 
Avoiding nightshades- you don’t have to use the tomato paste and can either swap out for a nightshade free sauce or omit the ingredient entirely. If not using tomato paste at all, I would increase the meat and molasses by 50%. 
Soy Allergy-  you can swap for a soy free soy sauce (coconut aminos for example) or omit entirely.
Other variations:
Vegetarian/vegan, omit the meat.
Spicy, add chopped red and green bell peppers as well as cayenne pepper.
Smoky, add 1/2 tsp liquid smoke.
To make in slow cooker, add all ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 hours and high for 3-4, depending on desired consistency.

The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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  1. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe!! My family loved these beans very much. The flavour is fantastic! I cannot eat mustard or garlic, but even without those two ingredients, the beans were lovely!! Thanks for coming up with such great recipes, and even providing ways to adapt them to the various dietary needs!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that you loved this recipe! It’s a family favorite so your kind words are extra appreciated. And you are so welcome. I love making these recipes that are adaptable because everyone is different but good food is always the goal. 🙂 Thank you!

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