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The BEST Homemade Cowboy Baked Beans Recipe

The BEST Homemade Cowboy baked beans recipe with step by step instructions for baking in the oven, in your crock pot, or over the campfire.

The BEST Homemade Cowboy baked beans recipe with step by step instructions for baking in the oven, in your crock pot, or over the campfire.

Cowboy beans are baked beans with an addition of ground beef and bacon that make this side dish hearty enough to eat for dinner!

They are a summer essential side dish perfect for a summer cookout, barbecues and potlucks.

Most cowboy bean recipes you will find are based on pre-made, store-bought canned baked beans.

None of that here! This cowboy bean recipe is made completely from scratch.

Making your own homemade cowboy baked beans from scratch is easier to make than you may think! As long as you have the time, this is an easy recipe to follow that will be a new family favorite.

This is absolutely the best cowboy baked beans recipe you will find. The sauce is thick, rich, and glossy with meaty beans and a perfect balance of sweet and savoury goodness.

It’s a great recipe for a hearty side dish.

The BEST Homemade Cowboy baked beans recipe with step by step instructions for baking in the oven, in your crock pot, or over the campfire.
The BEST Homemade Cowboy baked beans recipe with step by step instructions for baking in the oven, in your crock pot, or over the campfire.

How to Store Cowboy Baked Beans

Leftover cowboy beans are good in the fridge for up to 4-5 days when stored in an airtight container. Reheat the beans in the microwave for individual portions or over low heat on the stove top for larger portions.

Because they store so well, you can easily make this cowboy baked beans recipe a day or two in advance. They even taste a little better the next day after sitting in the refrigerator.

Cowboy beans can be stored frozen for up to 4 months. Cool the beans, then place in freezer bags or an airtight container.

Thaw in the fridge overnight, then reheat on the stove top or in the microwave.

The BEST Homemade Cowboy baked beans recipe with step by step instructions for baking in the oven, in your crock pot, or over the campfire.

Crock Pot Cowboy Baked Beans

If you need to free up your oven, you can make the cowboy beans in your slow cooker instead!

Instead of popping your beans in the oven to bake after browning your meat and cooking your onions, simply throw everything at that point into your slow-cooker and cook on low for 4-5 hours.

I do think cowboy beans taste a little better in the oven, but slow cooker cowboy beans are still quite delicious!

The BEST Homemade Cowboy baked beans recipe with step by step instructions for baking in the oven, in your crock pot, or over the campfire.

Ingredients for the Cowboy Beans

Beans – You can use any kind of dry bean you like here. I used Navy beans because they are pretty flavour neutral and take on the flavours of the sauce and the bacon perfectly.

You can use Kidney beans, butter beans (these are mature lima beans), pinto beans, garbanzo beans, or even black beans. Just use your favourite type of beans here! You can even combine a variety of beans and make calico beans!

If you need to cut down on prep time, start with canned beans. Dry beans will give you the best results though.

Ground Beef – I use a pound of lean ground for baked beans.

Bacon – You want some really nice thick cut bacon here. Anything else will kind of disappear into the beans. It helps to add a load of flavour.

Onion & Garlic – Just regular white onion and garlic.

BBQ Sauce – Use your favourite Barbecue sauce here, it’s the flavour base here so much sure it’s good!

Molasses – Sweetens, darkens and makes the whole thing nice and glossy. You can skip on it though and replace with brown sugar or leave out entirely depending on how sweet you like your beans. I used Fancy molasses, because that is what I usually have in my pantry.

Brown Sugar – Adds a nice deep sweetness to the sauce, you can omit and use only the molasses depending on how sweet you like your beans.

Worcestershire sauce – Adds just a little more kick to the sauce.

Smoked Paprika – Adds a little smokey zing.

Salt – Brings everything together, don’t skip it!

Bean Water – Bean water is mildly flavoured and starchy. You do not want to replace it with regular water. You will notice the difference. If you are using canned beans, try using coffee in place of the bean water, you won’t regret it!

Note – If you like some smokiness to your beans, you can definitely add in a little liquid smoke.

The BEST Homemade Cowboy baked beans recipe with step by step instructions for baking in the oven, in your crock pot, or over the campfire.

What to Serve with Cowboy Beans

Serve Cowboy Beans as a main dish with cornbread muffins or topped with shredded cheese, sour cream, or fritos.

Cowboy Beans are also a great side dish for grilled mains. Try serving them up with Smoked Tri-Tip, or my easy to make corned beef brisket.

You can also serve them as a side for lighter dishes like Buffalo Chicken Sliders or Tuna Casserole to make a full meal.

Cowboy beans can also work wonderfully as a dip for a large crowd. Serve with tortilla chips alongside your other favourite appetizers.

The BEST Homemade Cowboy baked beans recipe with step by step instructions for baking in the oven, in your crock pot, or over the campfire.

How to Make Cowboy Beans

Yields: 12 Servings | Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 3 hrs | Soaking Time: 7 hrs

Ingredients:

3 Cups Dry navy beans
1 lb lean ground Beef
1 lb Thick cut bacon, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup BBQ Sauce
1/4 cup Molasses
1/4 cup Brown sugar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Smoked paprika
2 tsp salt

Instructions:

Place the dried navy beans in a large pot covered by a few inches of water and leave to soak overnight.

Drain the beans then place them back in the pot with fresh water and bring to a boil. Simmer the beans for one hour, or until tender, then drain, reserving all the liquid.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

In a 6 qt Dutch oven fry the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, stirring often.

Add the garlic and cook for one minute.

Stir in ground beef and cook until the beef is no longer pink. Drain the fat from the pan.

Pour in the BBQ sauce, molasses, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, and salt.

Add 2 cups of the reserved bean water and all the beans.

Transfer the Dutch oven with the lid on to the middle rack of the oven. 

Bake for 2 to 3 hours or until the sauce has thickened, removing the lid during the last 20-30 minutes to help the sauce thicken more. If at any point the sauce gets too thick, add a little more bean water until you get the right consistency.

Add more salt and pepper to taste.

The BEST Homemade Cowboy Beans Recipe
Yield: 12 Servings

The BEST Homemade Cowboy Beans Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes

The BEST Homemade Cowboy beans recipe with step by step instructions for baking in the oven, cooking in your crock pot, or over the campfire.

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Dry navy beans
  • Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 lb Thick cut bacon, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup BBQ Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Molasses
  • 1/4 cup Brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp salt

Instructions

Place the dried navy beans in a large pot covered by a few inches of water and leave to soak overnight.

Drain the beans then place them back in the pot with fresh water and bring to a boil. Simmer the beans for one hour, or until tender, then drain, reserving all the liquid.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

In a 6 qt Dutch oven fry the bacon until crispy. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, stirring often.

Add the garlic and cook for one minute.

Add ground beef and cook until the beef is no longer pink. Drain the fat from the pan.

Stir in the BBQ sauce, molasses, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, and salt.

Add 2 cups of the reserved bean water and all the beans.

Transfer the Dutch oven with the lid on to the middle rack of the oven. 

Bake for 2 to 3 hours or until the sauce has thickened, removing the lid during the last 20-30 minutes to help the sauce thicken more. 

Add more salt and pepper to taste.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 450Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 1288mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 8gSugar: 19gProtein: 27g

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The BEST Homemade Cowboy baked beans recipe with step by step instructions for baking in the oven, in your crock pot, or over the campfire.

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