These homemade Dr. Pepper baked beans with bacon start with simple canned beans and turn into a sweet, salty, glazy, delicious side dish. Easy stovetop-to-oven preparation, all in one skillet.
One long term goal I’ve had for this blog is to fill in any recipe “gaps” so that this site is a useful resource for as many occasions and meals as possible.
Even after eight years of blogging full time, my recipe library is still missing things like an Easter ham (although I have crockpot green bean casserole to go with it!) and prime rib (although I have the blue cheese mashed potatoes to go with it!).
A gap that I’m filling in today is baked beans, with this Dr. Pepper baked beans recipe.
After a lot of time spent researching how to make baked beans, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s three main ways to make them:
1.) Buy the ready-to-eat canned kind and heat them up. Personally, I don’t prefer these. There’s also a 1a.) where people will buy canned prepared baked beans and then “doctor them up” by adding bacon and other things, but I’ll pass.
2.) Make them completely from scratch, using dried beans. To be honest, I don’t have much experience cooking with dried beans, as I prefer using canned beans for things like leftover turkey chili and crockpot taco soup.
3.) Start with plain, canned beans and add all of the ingredients to make them into sweet, salty, glazy, delicious baked beans. This is what I’m doing with these Dr. Pepper baked beans!
What is in this Dr. Pepper baked beans recipe?
- canned beans – I used Great Northern beans, but just about any canned bean can be a blank slate for baked beans, including cannellini, pinto and navy beans.
- bacon – no need to cook the bacon in the oven first for these Dr. pepper beans, we’ll be cooking it right in the skillet!
- onion – half of an onion; yellow or white is best. But red onion would also work if you have it.
- garlic – two cloves, mince them up!
- Dr. Pepper – or any type of cola, like root beer or Coca Cola.
- molasses – this adds sweetness and make the beans glazy.
- ketchup – this adds a bit of acidity and umami.
- light brown sugar – you can’t have baked beans without brown sugar!
- apple cider vinegar – the acidity helps balance the sweetness in this Dr. Pepper baked beans recipe.
- Worcestershire sauce – this adds a distinct umami flavor that really can’t be replicated!
- spices – you’ll need ground mustard, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper.
How to make Dr. Pepper beans:
Grab a skillet (I like to use cast iron for baked beans) and cook some chopped bacon until it crisps up, then transfer the bacon to a paper towel to drain.
Use some of the bacon drippings to cook chopped onion, and then a little garlic.
Then, you’ll be stirring in everything that makes the sauce for these Dr. Pepper beans – Dr. Pepper, molasses, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, ground mustard, Worcestershire, salt, pepper and cayenne.
You’ll also be adding the beans at this step. Simmer the mixture on the stovetop until everything is reduced by about a third. This gives the beans a head start on getting tender, and the liquid starts to reduce to a sauce.
Stir in the cooked bacon, then transfer the skillet to the oven and bake 1 hour. You can stir the Dr. Pepper baked beans once, halfway through, if you remember, but it’s not necessary! At the end of the hour, the sauce should be thick, glazy and delicious.
What main dish should I serve with these easy baked beans with bacon?
- 4 slices bacon, diced
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) Great Northern beans (rinse and drain one can, leave other can with all liquid in it)
- 3/4 cup Dr. pepper
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons ground mustard
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In medium cast iron or other oven-proof skillet, cook bacon over medium heat 4 to 6 minutes or until crisp, stirring frequently.
- Use slotted spoon to transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate. Leave 1 tablespoon bacon drippings in skillet; remove and discard remaining drippings.
- Add onion to skillet and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until softened, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Stir in all beans (and the liquid from the one can), Dr. Pepper, molasses, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, ground mustard, Worcestershire, salt, pepper and cayenne.
- Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 5 to 7 minutes or until mixture is reduced by about a third.
- Stir in reserved bacon. Transfer skillet to oven and bake 1 hour or until sauce is thickened and glazy, stirring once halfway through, if possible.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 214Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 304mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 4gSugar: 22gProtein: 8g