How to doctor up a can of baked beans: Adding a few ingredients can make a plain can of beans into something delicious!

Who loves baked beans?

Baked beans are a staple at a summer picnic, barbecue or church potluck. They are the perfect accompaniment to a meal of hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta salad, and watermelon.

Good news: You don’t have to make baked beans from scratch to make really good beans.

Rather, you take an already-decent can of beans and add a few key ingredients to make them really flavorful and delicious.

Here’s how to make canned baked beans taste better.

How To Improve On A Can Of Baked Beans

What kind of beans should you use? I used a can of Bush’s Maple Cured Bacon, but you can use pretty much any variety/flavor of baked beans. Just make sure to taste the beans before you start messing with them. You may like the flavor as-is!

But if you want to make a can of baked beans taste better, here are some potential add-ins to consider:

  • Fresh vegetables: I like to add some onion, fresh garlic, and red bell pepper to canned beans. Simply saute onion and/or garlic and/or bell pepper in a bit of olive oil for a few minutes to soften, then add the canned beans.
  • Sweetener: If you like your baked beans on the sweet side, add a pinch of brown sugar, some maple syrup or honey. Start with a couple of teaspoons and go from there.
  • Heat: I like my baked beans spicy. If you do too, add some sriracha sauce, hot sauce, chopped hot pepper or cayenne pepper. Add slowly – you can’t take heat away!
  • Spices: For a more robust pot of beans, add some dry mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, paprika or smoked paprika.
  • Miscellaneous add-ins: Raid your fridge, and consider adding some barbecue sauce, dijon mustard or Worcestershire sauce.
  • Meat: Adding meat to baked beans makes them more hearty and meal-worthy. Add some brisket, pulled pork, sausage or bacon. To save money, purchase the bacon off the grocery store salad bar.

How much to add? The trick is to keep tasting as you go. You don’t want to add too much sweetener or spice, because you can’t take it away.

Heating the beans: I typically heat beans on the stove top, adding extra ingredients as I go. However, you can heat the beans in the oven or Crock Pot. Just add ingredients before baking/heating.

This three-bean hotdish is a great potluck recipe!

Three bean hotdish recipe, from Cheap Recipe Blog

Check out this baked bean recipe (below) – the perfect crowd-pleasing recipe for a potluck.

Perfect potluck baked beans: A real crowd-pleaser!

Money-saving tip: Before running to the grocery store, inventory your fridge and cupboards. Use what you already have instead of buying more.