Perfect potluck baked beans: With lots of meat and flavor, this is a real crowd-pleaser!

There are a million ways to make baked beans. 

But this is the perfect baked bean recipe to bring to a potluck or a picnic.


  • It’s meaty: Let’s be honest: Most people are all about the meat when dishing up at a potluck or picnic. This recipe has both ring bologna and bacon. You’re welcome. 
  • It’s just classic enough: At a potluck, you want crowd-pleasing, but you don’t want boring. This recipe is flavorful and tasty without being too spicy, sweet, smoky, etc.
  • It’s affordable: Baked beans are generally not expensive to make. The only pricier ingredients here are ring bologna and bacon (consider purchasing the bacon from the grocery store salad bar). The rest of the ingredients are pantry staples – or are budget-friendly.

Serving tip: To keep the beans warm for serving at a potluck or picnic, transfer to a slow cooker. Turn heat to low or keep warm temperature setting.

Perfect potluck baked beans: When you need a crowd-pleasing recipe for a potluck or picnic, this is it!

Homemade Baked Beans: What You’ll Need

Ingredients for potluck baked beans: Click through for recipe.

To make a batch of perfect baked beans, you’ll need a variety of budget-friendly pantry staples:

  • Beans: I like great northern beans for baked beans. You can buy a jar, or cook your own.
  • Meat: I used 2 kinds of meat: Ring bologna and bacon.
  • Tomato: I used a combination of tomato sauce and tomato paste for the base of these baked beans.
  • Brown sugar: An essential ingredient for homemade baked beans.
  • Spices and flavorings: Garlic powder, smoked paprika, apple cider vinegar, and molasses give these beans great flavor. Once you have everything mixed up, feel free to add more of a particular spice or ingredient per your liking.

The ingredient list looks long, but you might have a lot of these ingredients on hand in your pantry.

Potluck (or picnic) baked beans recipe: Click through for this meaty baked bean recipe!

Affordable Potluck Ideas

Going to a potluck, trying to save money, and wanting to bring a crowd-pleasing dish?

  • Raid your fridge and pantry: Instead of going to the grocery store and buying all new ingredients, consider scouring your fridge and pantry for food items you already have on hand: Pasta, canned soups, canned or frozen vegetables, etc.
  • Stick to one dish: If you love to cook like I do, it can be tempting to bring several of your favorite dishes to share at a potluck. But this isn’t the most budget-friendly option. Stick to one dish and make it the star of the show.
  • Choose budget-friendly ingredients: Find a recipe with pasta, potatoes, beans or rice as the base of your dish. These are all budget-friendly food items that can be prepared in many different ways. 
Perfect potluck baked beans: A real crowd-pleaser!

Perfect Potluck Baked Beans

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Transfer beans to a slow cooker for easy serving at a picnic or potluck.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 14-ounce package ring bologna, casing removed and chopped
  • 48-ounce jar great northern beans (reserve 2/3 cup liquid)
  • 6 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup canned tomato sauce
  • 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon molasses


  1. In a large frying pan, sauté onion in olive oil until the onion begins to soften. Add the chopped ring bologna and cook for about 4 minutes, until the meat begins to brown.
  2. Transfer onions and ring bologna to a casserole dish. Mix in the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Bake beans in 350F oven for 50 to 55 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

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