Serve these easy Slow Cooker Baked Beans with Bacon at your next backyard BBQ and watch the sparks fly.
You can interpret that however you’d like.
I really just wanted to give you an opening to start singing ‘Beans, beans the magical fruit…’ if you felt moved to do so because I wasn’t going to make that the headline of this post even if it’s true! But really, these slow cooker baked beans with bacon are so easy and so delicious that they themselves are worthy of a small fireworks show. And there’s just something magical about smokey, sweet and sticky that’s hard to resist, don’t you think? Put these on the table at your next barbecue and watch the sparks of attraction fly.
Baked beans are the ultimate year-round comfort food.
In the winter, there’s nothing better than baking a pot of sweet and saucy beans in the oven to warm the house. Their smell is intoxicating thanks to the bacon and maple syrup. But in the summer, the last thing I want to do is heat up the oven so I’ve adapted my favorite baked bean recipe to use the slow cooker instead. And I’m so glad I did because these are now my go-to set-it-and-forget-it picnic and potluck offering. And my kids beg for them everytime I fire up the grill so having an never-ending pot of these Slow Cooker Baked Beans might have to become a reality around here because I grill several nights a week when the weather is nice.
Worth the (little extra) effort.
Cooking the bacon and onions before adding them to the slow cooker may seem fussy but trust me, you get a much better flavor because the onions mellow out when cooked in the reserved bacon fat and you get a thicker sauce. Cooking the bacon first also means you won’t have any pale rubbery blobs of bacon in your beans like you do when you open a can of pork of beans from the store. Yeah, just no.
And really, this only adds about 10 minutes to your life. If you’re really pressed for time, do this step up to 3 days in advance, storing the cooked onions and bacon separately in covered containers in the fridge before adding them to the slow cooker with the beans and sauce ingredients.
Keep cool and eat well this summer
Summer is all about eating well and kicking back to enjoy the good things in life so be sure to make room on the table for these slow cooker baked beans with bacon. And don’t forget the watermelon, potato salad, slaw, burgers, brownies, and cocktails too!
- 2 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed (yields about 3 ½ cups beans)
- 3 slices bacon, chopped
- ½ medium onion, diced
- ½ cup ketchup (such as Tessemae’s or Primal Kitchen made without added sugar)
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup (or less if your ketchup has added sugar)
- 1 Tbsp. molasses
- 2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
- 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- Cook chopped bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 7-8 minutes until almost crisp. Add onion to the pan with the bacon and cook an additional 4-5 minutes until the onion starts to soften. Remove from heat.
- Transfer bacon and onion mixture to slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients and stir gently to combine.
- Set slow cooker temperature to LOW and cook 4 hours, stirring a few times during cooking time.
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- Serving Size: ½ cup
- Calories: 179
- Sugar: 8g
- Sodium: 628mg
- Fat: 4g
- Carbohydrates: 25g
- Fiber: 6g
- Protein: 7g
What’s your favorite party-worthy summer side dish? Tell us about it in the comments below.
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Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Jess of Plays Well with Butter.
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