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Best Baked Bean Casserole (Cowboy Beans)

Baked Bean Casse­role (aka Cal­i­co Beans or Cow­boy Beans) is a crowd-pleas­er for any potluck, gath­er­ing or for a hearty, com­fort food sup­per. It’s nat­u­ral­ly gluten and dairy free, so it can be enjoyed by everyone.

Baked Bean casserole in a white, low side ceramic bowl
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This casse­role has lots of dif­fer­ent names. You may have heard it called Baked Bean Casse­role or Cow­boy Beans or even Cal­i­co Beans depend­ing on where you live. 

You and your fam­i­ly will love the smoky fla­vor of bacon and bar­be­cue sauce blend­ing beau­ti­ful­ly with the tang of stone ground mus­tard and Worces­ter­shire sauce. Caramel­ly dark brown sug­ar adds that under­tone of sweet­ness that rounds every­thing out to a beau­ti­ful blend of scrump­tious flavors.

My Baked Bean Casse­role (Cal­i­co Beans) recipe is so easy to put togeth­er. 15 to 20 min­utes of your time and then you’ll leave the rest to the oven. I love sim­ple to make sup­pers like this one.

Baked Bean Casserole in a white bowl.

Possible Variations

Baked Bean Casse­role (Cow­boy Beans) is a very ver­sa­tile and hearty dish. 

I mix and match the beans to what­ev­er is in the pantry at the time. My favorites are black beans, red beans and can­nelli­ni or great north­ern beans. 

I’ve also used gar­ban­zo beans (chick­peas) or pork and beans. Kid­ney beans, but­ter beans and even pin­to beans would also be good options. Cal­i­co Beans are stu­pen­dous­ly deli­cious no mat­ter which beans you choose.

How to Make Baked Beans Vegan

You could also make this yum­my baked beans casse­role with­out the ground beef and serve it as a tasty side dish or a veg­an main. 

To make the Baked Bean Casse­role veg­an, use your favorite veg­an ground beef and bacon sub­sti­tutes or omit the bacon and ground beef alto­geth­er. Also be sure to sub extra soy sauce (or even a small amount of miso paste) to replace the Worces­ter­shire. This Cal­i­co Beans (Cow­boy Beans) recipe will be a scrump­tious veg­an main, too. 

What­ev­er cre­ative spin you decide to put on it, Baked Bean Casse­role will become one of your favorite easy to make sup­pers! Enjoy!

Baked Bean Casserole in Blue Ceramic Baking Dish

The Ingredients

  • Ground Beef: I use an 85/15 blend. Lean is good, but you need a lit­tle fat for the best flavor.
  • The Aro­mat­ics: Begin build­ing lay­ers of savory fla­vor with stan­dard aro­mat­ic veg­eta­bles and herbs — onion, bell pep­pers and garlic.
  • Beans: I have used many vari­eties suc­cess­ful­ly in Baked Bean Casse­role (Cow­boy Beans). I typ­i­cal­ly mix and match from what’s in my pantry. You can use black beans, red beans, can­nelli­ni beans, Great North­ern, chick­peas, pin­to beans or even pork & beans.
  • Sauces and Fla­vor­ings: Ketchup, bar­be­cue sauce, Worces­ter­shire Sauce, stone ground mus­tard and soy sauce.
  • Dark Brown Sugar
  • Bacon: The smoky, savory fin­ish to this com­fort food sup­per. I use thick cut bacon, but your usu­al brand should work beautifully.
Baked Bean Casserole in a white bowl.

How to Make Baked Bean Casserole (Calico Beans)

  1. Cook the bacon.  I bake mine in the oven, but use your pre­ferred method.  Drain and set aside. 
  2. Pre­heat the oven to 350° F and spray a 9x13 bak­ing dish with cook­ing spray. 
  3. Mince the onions, gar­lic and bell peppers.
  4. Brown the ground beef, onions, pep­pers and gar­lic in a very large pan or a stock pot while the bacon cooks. 

Con­tin­ue cook­ing until the beef is cooked through (no pink remains). 

Drain the beef mix­ture and add it back to the pan. 

Add the beans, bar­be­cue sauce, ketchup, mus­tard, Worces­ter­shire sauce, soy sauce and brown sug­ar to the mix­ture. Sim­mer it all togeth­er for 5 min­utes. Pour it into your pre­pared casse­role dish. 

Sprin­kle the cooked and drained bacon pieces over the top of the casse­role. Cov­er the dish with alu­minum foil and bake the Cal­i­co Beans for 40–45 min­utes.  Remove the foil and con­tin­ue to bake for an addi­tion­al 10 min­utes.  Let dish sit for 10 min­utes before serving

The Recipe

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Baked Bean Casserole in a white bowl.

Best Baked Bean Casserole


  • Author: Glen­da Embree
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 12 serv­ings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Best Baked Bean Casse­role, aka Cow­boy Beans or Cal­i­co Beans, takes the ulti­mate baked beans and makes them a full meal by adding ground beef and bacon! Com­fort food heav­en!  Such an easy and sat­is­fy­ing recipe.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 lbs. ground beef (I use 85/15)
  • 1 lg. red onion, minced
  • 1 red bell pep­per, minced
  • 1 Table­spoon minced garlic
  • salt and pep­per, to taste
  • 4 (15-oz cans) beans, rinsed and drained (Mix and match what you have. Black beans, red beans, can­nelli­ni, Great North­ern, chick­peas, or pork & beans all work well.)
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup 
  • 1 cup bar­be­cue sauce 
  • 1 cup dark brown sug­ar, packed
  • 2 Table­spoons stone ground mustard
  • 1 Table­spoon soy sauce 
  • 1 Table­spoon Worces­ter­shire sauce 
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked, drained and bro­ken into 1-inch pieces

Instructions

  1. Cook the bacon.  I bake mine in the oven, but use your pre­ferred method.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Pre­heat the oven to 350° F and spray a 9x13 bak­ing dish with cook­ing spray. 
  3. Mince the onions, gar­lic and bell peppers.
  4. Brown the ground beef, onions, pep­pers and gar­lic in a very large pan or a stock pot while the bacon cooks.
  5. Con­tin­ue cook­ing until the beef is cooked through (no pink remains).  Drain the beef mix­ture and add it back to the pan. 
  6. Add the beans, bar­be­cue sauce, ketchup, mus­tard, Worces­ter­shire sauce, soy sauce and brown sug­ar to the mix­ture. Sim­mer it all togeth­er for 5 min­utes. Pour it into your pre­pared casse­role dish. 
  7. Sprin­kle the cooked and drained bacon pieces over the top of the casse­role. Cov­er the dish with alu­minum foil and bake for 40–45 min­utes.  Remove the foil and con­tin­ue to bake for an addi­tion­al 10 min­utes.  Let dish sit for 10 min­utes before serv­ing your Cal­i­co Beans (Baked Bean Casserole).
  • Prep Time: 20 min­utes
  • Cook Time: 45 min­utes
  • Cat­e­go­ry: Main Dish, Casserole
  • Method: Baked
  • Cui­sine: Amer­i­can

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27 thoughts on “Best Baked Bean Casserole (Cowboy Beans)”

  1. Thank you so much for shar­ing this amaz­ing recipe! Will sure­ly have this again! It’s real­ly easy to make and it tast­ed so deli­cious! High­ly recommended!

    Reply

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