Delicious Southern Baked Beans Recipe for BBQ Lovers

Have you ever indulged in the delectable goodness of true southern-style baked beans? The rich, smoky flavor that lingers on your palate, leaving you wanting more? Well, get ready to be swept away by the tantalizing aroma and mouth-watering flavor of my Parker’s Must-Have Southern Baked Beans Recipe.

As a southern chef, I have perfected this recipe over the years with its secret ingredients and cooking techniques. From backyard barbecues to holiday gatherings, these beans have become a staple in many households. Even my out-of-state friends and family beg me to bring a large pot of these to every occasion.

Every bite delivers an explosion of flavors from bacon, honey, Dijon mustard, ketchup, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, yellow onion and apple cider vinegar. Not only is it delicious but it also pairs well with almost anything- barbecue pulled pork or chicken, grilled hot dogs or hamburgers, mac and cheese or even enjoyed on their own.

I guarantee that this recipe is going to be a hit at your next gathering with family and friends. So fire up those ovens and let’s get cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

The Parker's Must-Have Southern Baked Beans
The Parker’s Must-Have Southern Baked Beans

Picture this: it’s summertime, you’re with your family and friends, the sun is shining, and BBQ season is in full swing. What do you need to make that perfect barbecue experience? That’s right – my Parker’s Must-Have Southern Baked Beans Recipe.

This recipe takes baked beans to a whole new level. Imagine rich and smoky flavors, paired with sweet honey and tangy Dijon mustard, all blended together to create a mouth-watering dish. The addition of crispy bacon adds a salty crunch, while Worcestershire sauce intensifies the savory flavors.

And let’s not forget about the texture – tender navy beans cooked just right, with a perfectly caramelized onion on top. These southern baked beans are sure to be a hit at any backyard cookout or family gathering.

But what makes this recipe truly special is its versatility. With a few simple substitutions or additions, you can customize it to your liking. Add some ground beef or smoked paprika for an extra kick or swap out the bacon for beef bacon if that’s more your style. This recipe is perfect for all BBQ enthusiasts who love experimenting with different flavors and textures.

Another great thing about this recipe is that it’s easy to make! All you need are some basic pantry ingredients such as ketchup, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar, and you’re set. In under an hour, these Southern baked beans will be ready to serve up hot and fresh and will certainly leave your guests asking for seconds.

In summary: If you want to take your summer barbecues to the next level with an unbeatable side dish that everyone will love, then look no further than my Parker’s Must-Have Southern Baked Beans Recipe. The combination of smoky flavors with sweet honey and tangy mustard creates a deliciously complex flavor profile that will impress even the pickiest eaters. So gather your ingredients, fire up the grill, and get ready to enjoy some seriously delicious soul food at your next BBQ feast!

Ingredient List

 A spoonful of comfort in every bowl.
A spoonful of comfort in every bowl.

Let’s start with the core ingredient of this dish – the baked beans. For this recipe, you can use either canned baked beans or make your own using dried navy or pinto beans. I prefer to use canned baked beans for convenience.

Here’s a rundown of everything you’ll need:

Baked Beans

  • 4 cans (15 oz.) of baked beans


  • 6 slices of beef bacon (you can use pork bacon too)


  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

Sweeteners and Sauces

  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar


  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Salt and Pepper

  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Black pepper

Make sure to have all the ingredients on hand before you start cooking. With everything in place, you’ll be able to cook more efficiently and have better results with minimal stress.

The Recipe How-To

 Sweet and tangy flavors in perfect harmony.
Sweet and tangy flavors in perfect harmony.

Now, let me break down the steps to make this scrumptious Southern Baked Beans recipe for you.

Step 1: Soak the Navy Beans

The first thing we need to do is to soak the Navy beans in water for at least 6 hours or overnight. This will soften and rehydrate the beans, allowing them to cook more evenly and tenderly.

Step 2: Preheat Your Oven

Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).

Step 3: Cook the Bacon and Onion

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, fry beef bacon until crisp. Remove from the pot and set aside. In the same pot, sauté chopped yellow onion until translucent and fragrant.

Step 4: Combine all Ingredients

Add in the soaked beans, crispy bacon, cooked onions, molasses, Dijon mustard, brown sugar, honey, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and kosher salt. Pour enough water to just cover the beans.

Step 5: Bake the Beans

Cover the pot with its lid and bake for about 4-6 hours or until the beans are tender and fully cooked. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching at the bottom of the pot.

Step 6: Adjust Seasonings

Taste the baked beans and adjust the seasoning to your preference. You can add more brown sugar or honey for sweetness, ketchup or barbecue sauce for tanginess or spiciness, salt for seasoning, or Worcestershire sauce for umami.

Step 7: Serve Warm

Serve these delicious Southern Baked Beans hot alongside some classic soul food dishes such as mac n’ cheese, cornbread or creamy coleslaw. Enjoy!

Follow these easy steps and you’ll have the perfect side dish for any barbecue or potluck. Don’t forget to make enough Southern Baked Beans to go around since they will be the star of the show!

Substitutions and Variations

 A classic southern side that never goes out of style.
A classic southern side that never goes out of style.

If you are feeling a bit adventurous, there are a few ways to adjust this recipe to make it uniquely yours. Firstly, if you don’t eat pork, you can swap out the beef bacon for turkey bacon or simply omit it entirely.

You can also experiment with different types of beans to add depth and texture to your southern baked beans. Try mixing navy beans with pinto beans for a heartier flavor or adding black beans for an unexpected twist.

For those with a sweet tooth, adding a touch more honey or brown sugar can make the dish more indulgent while retaining the traditional southern flavor. To balance out the sweetness, consider using a slightly spicier barbecue sauce or upping the cayenne pepper content.

If you’re looking for a tangy twist on the classic recipe, try replacing the ketchup with tomato sauce and adding apple cider vinegar instead of Worcestershire sauce. This will give your baked beans that Carolina-style kick.

For those looking for a creamier texture, add some cream cheese or sour cream to your baked bean mixture before baking. This will give your dish an added richness that pairs well with mac and cheese or cornbread.

Lastly, you can experiment with different types of protein substitutes to suit your specific dietary requirements. Ground beef or salt pork can be replaced with vegan options such as tempeh or tofu crumbles.

Any changes you make should keep in mind that southern baked beans are a soul food staple and should pay respect to its origins. So try something new but always keep in mind that respecting tradition is an essential ingredient when making any variation of this famous dish.

Serving and Pairing

 A hearty and filling dish that's perfect for potlucks and barbecues.
A hearty and filling dish that’s perfect for potlucks and barbecues.

When it comes to serving Southern baked beans, there are a lot of options. Personally, I like to pair them with some classic barbeque dishes such as smoked ribs or pulled pork. The savory sweetness of the beans can help balance out the smokiness of the meat.

Another great pairing is cornbread. The soft texture of the cornbread works well with the hearty texture of the beans. Plus, you can drizzle some honey on top for an extra touch of sweetness.

If you’re looking for a lighter option, consider pairing the baked beans with a simple green salad. The crispness of the greens and fresh vegetables contrast nicely with the richness of the beans. A sprinkle of feta cheese and a tangy vinaigrette can really take it up a notch.

Lastly, if you’re in the mood for something truly indulgent, go ahead and serve those beans alongside a creamy mac and cheese dish, or even a soul food classic like black-eyed peas and collard greens.

No matter what you choose to serve your Southern baked beans with, be prepared for your guests to ask for seconds (and maybe even thirds!).

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 These baked beans are so tasty, you won't be able to stop at just one serving!
These baked beans are so tasty, you won’t be able to stop at just one serving!

As an experienced chef, I know how important it is to have dishes that are not only delicious, but also easy to prepare ahead of time. That’s why this Parker’s Must-Have Southern Baked Beans recipe is perfect for those who want to prepare in advance.

To make-ahead, simply follow the recipe instructions and let the baked beans cool completely before storing them in an airtight container. They can be kept in the refrigerator for up to three days or frozen for up to one month. For best results, reheat the beans in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes or until they are warmed through.

When it comes to reheating these baked beans, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. First and foremost, never microwave them! This can lead to uneven heating and result in a soupy mess. Instead, use a cast-iron skillet or saucepan on medium-low heat with a splash of water until heated through.

If you’re planning on serving these baked beans at a party or gathering, you can easily double or triple the recipe and store them in large catering trays. To reheat, simply place the trays in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes or until they are warmed through.

Whether you’re reheating leftovers or planning ahead for a big event, this Parker’s Must-Have Southern Baked Beans recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser!

Tips for Perfect Results

 The ultimate crowd-pleaser for any occasion.
The ultimate crowd-pleaser for any occasion.

When it comes to making southern-style baked beans, it’s all about getting the perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors. As a chef who specializes in this cuisine, I’ve got a few tips up my sleeve for ensuring your Parker’s Must-Have Southern Baked Beans turn out absolutely delicious every time.

Tip #1: Use high-quality bacon

My first tip is to use high-quality bacon. The smoky flavor of the bacon adds depth to the dish and brings out the natural sweetness of the beans. I recommend using beef bacon if you can find it as it provides a richer flavor.

Tip #2: Adjust sweet and savory flavors

Finding the perfect balance between sweet and savory flavors is crucial when making baked beans. If your beans end up too sweet, try adding a bit more Worcestershire sauce and reducing the brown sugar measurement. Conversely, if your beans are not sweet enough for your liking, try adding more brown sugar, honey or even molasses.

Tip #3: Experiment with spices

Another tip is to play around with different spices to add depth to your baked beans. Try using smoked paprika or cayenne pepper for a rich smoky flavor and a spicy kick. I also recommend adding a touch of Dijon mustard or yellow mustard for an acidic bite that will balance out the sweetness of the sauce.

Tip #4: Let your baked beans cook slowly

Baked beans are meant to be cooked slowly to allow all the flavors to meld together perfectly. For best results, cook them on low heat for at least 4 hours until they reach the ideal texture and have developed their signature flavors.

Tip #5: Don’t forget salt and vinegar

Lastly, don’t forget to season with some kosher salt and apple cider vinegar towards the end of cooking time. This will enhance both sweetness and acidity while reducing any bitterness.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to achieve that perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors that make these baked beans so irresistible. Try them out at your next barbecue or pairing with mac and cheese or Carolina-style barbecue sauce.


As with any recipe, questions may arise during the preparation and cooking process. In this section, I’ll be answering some frequently asked questions that often come up when making my Parker’s Must-Have Southern Baked Beans Recipe. So, let’s dive in and tackle some of those burning questions together!

Why do people put vinegar in baked beans?

Once the beans have simmered to a point of approaching tenderness, wait until this precise moment to introduce apple cider vinegar and a moderate amount of salt. Utilizing apple cider vinegar at this stage serves to break down indigestible sugars, promoting healthier digestion, while also adding a unique brightness to the dish’s flavor. As a result, an excess of sodium isn’t necessary for enhancing the dish’s taste.

What can you add to baked beans to make them tastier?

For this recipe, we’ll need some hearty bacon, diced onions, sweet molasses, tangy spicy brown mustard (or yellow mustard as a substitute), savory Worcestershire sauce, rich brown sugar, and some classic ketchup. Additionally, a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar can be added for a slight tang if desired.

What goes with Southern baked beans?

As a chef who specializes in Southern-style cuisine, I’ve got a plethora of mouth-watering dishes up my sleeve that are sure to leave you and your loved ones satisfied. From juicy BBQ ribs and brisket to creamy mac and cheese and savory Shepherd’s Pie, I’ve got your cravings covered. And let’s not forget about classic favorites like hot dogs, hamburgers, baked ham, and pulled pork or pulled chicken. No matter what your taste buds are calling for, I’ve got the expertise to make it happen. So sit back and get ready to indulge in some of the finest Southern grub around.

What is the popular Boston baked beans sauce typically made of that makes it different than the common baked beans in the US?

Baked beans, with a sauce made of molasses and salt pork, have become a signature dish in Boston, earning it the nickname “Beantown”. This popular dish has now spread throughout the United States and is commonly served at BBQs and picnics.

Bottom Line

Now that you have learned how to make my Parker’s Must-Have Southern Baked Beans recipe, it’s time to put your culinary skills to the test. From backyard barbecues to family gatherings and everything in between, these baked beans are sure to add a touch of southern charm to any occasion.

But don’t just take my word for it – try this recipe out for yourself and taste the savory flavors of bacon, honey, Dijon mustard, and smoked paprika complemented by the subtle sweetness of brown sugar and molasses. You will see why this dish is one of the most popular soul foods in the South.

Not only is this dish delicious, but it is also versatile. You can use canned or dried beans, substitute kosher salt for regular salt, beef bacon for pork bacon, or even add ground beef or cheese to make it even more satisfying. The possibilities are endless!

So the next time you’re preparing for a get-together or just craving some delicious home-cooked food, give my Parker’s Must-Have Southern Baked Beans recipe a try. It is sure to become a staple in your kitchen and an instant crowd pleaser.

Remember, the key to perfecting this recipe is taking your time and following the instructions carefully. But with some patience and practice, you’ll soon be on your way to making perfectly baked beans every time.

Happy cooking!

The Parker's Must-Have Southern Baked Beans

The Parker’s Must-Have Southern Baked Beans Recipe

This recipe has been adapted by me from spending many years in the family recipe vault. Yes, I stole it from the family vault. It's everyone's favorite: kids, adults, wandering animals- and it's easy to see why by looking at the ingredient list! Add hotdogs to leftover baked beans the next day! Recipe can easily be made on a larger scale for grill-outs.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 12 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern American
Calories 407.9 kcal


  • 1 (28 ounce) can bush's baked beans, any kind
  • 1/4 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less, to your liking)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and cut into 1/2 inch pieces


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • In a medium pot, over medium heat, saute onions, 4 minutes.
  • Add all other ingredients, cook 6 minutes.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, covered. Cook for another 15 minutes, uncovered.
  • Remove from oven and keep covered until serving.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 169gCalories: 407.9kcalCarbohydrates: 58.6gProtein: 14gFat: 16.4gSaturated Fat: 5.3gCholesterol: 23.1mgSodium: 1220mgFiber: 8.6gSugar: 33g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Beans, Easy, Healthy, Low Cholesterol
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recommended Recipes Just For You