While I like to assume that my husband married me for my irresistible charm, girlish good looks, and sparkling personality, I know better: he married me for the Easy Baked Beans.

Easy Baked Beans. Healthy recipe that's ready to go in less than 30 minutes and almost completely hands free!

Broadly speaking, he actually married me for Kansas City barbecue, of which  baked beans are a critical component. I’m not sure which it was that finally lead him to say, “I do”—a lifetime of putting up with my antics enjoying my company or the KC pulled pork, but ever since we stopped for lunch at this legendary establishment, he’s been very very enthusiastic about being a part of a Kansas family. Whenever we head back to my hometown, at least two barbecue runs are a mandatory part of our travel agenda.

In between trips to Kansas, we’ve tried to alleviate our ‘cue cravings at two local barbecue joints here in Milwaukee. Neither came close to what we can find in KC, so I’ve come up with a few imitator recipes of my own, my favorite of which thus far is today’s healthy, easy “baked” beans.

Easy Baked Beans made of healthy, real ingredients that are ready to go in only 30 minutes!

The best easy baked beans! So simple, healthy, and perfect for a summer picnic or barbecue

How to Make Easy Baked Beans from Scratch

Although I might lack the proper equipment, meat supply, and beard to be a serious barbecue contender, these barbecue beans still scratch our barbecue itch, and they are a sure hit at summer potlucks too. Unlike most traditional baked bean recipes, which can take hours to prepare and are on the heavy side, these easy baked beans are ready in 30 minutes, don’t require you to turn on the oven, and are much, much healthier for you too!

To create a baked bean recipe that was reasonably healthy, took only minutes instead of hours, and didn’t involve heating up my kitchen, I knew I’d need an outstanding barbecue sauce and ketchup to build their flavor. Unfortunately, most brands of both contain conspicuous levels of high fructose corn syrup, and when combined with the gobs of brown sugar present in most of the “quick and easy” baked bean recipes I found, I felt like I was making a dessert, not a respectable side dish. Thus, I nearly did a happy cartwheel when the folks at Tessemae’s reached out to me to try their line of all-natural condiments.

Don't have hours to make baked beans? Make this easy baked beans recipe instead!

I don’t ordinarily geek out over bottled sauces, but friends, I am hooked. Lately, I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of artificial sweeteners in our diets where I can (a commitment which inspired this week’s healthy blender banana oatmeal muffins), and honestly, I’ve been surprised and disappointed by just how many store-bought items contain artificial sweeteners, including savory products. Condiments are one of the biggest offenders, so when I flipped over my bottle of Tessemae’s BQQ Sauce and ketchup and saw that both are sweetened with date puree instead of high fructose corn syrup, I did a little leap of joy. I don’t even usually like ketchup, and I caught myself licking the spoon. (Spoiler: I’m so smitten, I and Tessemae’s are offering everyone 10% off their total purchase at Tessemaes.com. Details below!)

Back to the beans. In addition to our stellar, better sauces, the secret to building big barbecue bean flavor without the extra heft is spice. I flavored these babies with smoked paprika, a little dry mustard, and cumin. Instead of brown sugar, I swapped pure maple syrup, which adds natural sweetness and a bit of extra smokiness too.

Making these easy baked beans is as simple as sautéing onions, stirring everything together, then letting it simmer on the stove. In 20 minutes, the ingredients transform from barbeque Jacuzzi into a sweet, smoky, savory pot of healthy barbecue bean satisfaction that’s ready for a summer party.

Easy baked beans. A recipe that's healthier than most, uses only natural sugar, and is ready to go in less than 30 minutes

Baked Beans Storage Tips

  • To Store. Place baked beans in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm beans in a Dutch oven on the stove over medium-low heat until hot. You can also reheat this dish in the microwave.
  • To Freeze. Store leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

More Crowd-Pleasing Side Dish Recipes

Clean eating easy baked beans. Simple, healthy, and great for a simple barbecue side dish

While I won’t be smoking a rack of ribs in our backyard anytime soon (unless you have a smoker and a burly man to operate it that you’d like to send over?), I’ll happily supply the sides for any summer gathering, starting with the barbecue baked beans.

{Shipments of KC pulled pork are also eternally welcome and guaranteed a warm, enthusiastic reception. I’ll even share with Ben—as soon as I’ve conducted proper quality control, of course!}

Easy Baked Beans. Healthy recipe that's ready to go in less than 30 minutes and almost completely hands free!
Print Review
5 from 1 vote

Easy Baked Beans

A recipe for easy baked beans that uses natural ingredients like maple syrup and is ready in 30 minutes. A healthy baked bean recipe with big time flavor!
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 4 servings


  • 2 cans Great Northern Beans - (15-ounce cans)
  • 1/4 cup Tessemae’s Barbecue Sauce - plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup Tessemae’s Ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce - (omit, adding extra salt to taste, to make vegetarian)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion - finely diced


  • Rinse and drain beans. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the barbecue sauce, ketchup, maple syrup, tomato paste, Worcestershire, paprika, mustard, cumin, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium high. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and sauté until fragrant and soft, about 2 minutes. Add the barbecue sauce mixture and bring to a boil. Add the drained beans, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve warm.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
All text and images ©Erin Clarke / Well Plated
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