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.

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.

  • For the barbecue sauce, the best way to control what is in it is to make it from scratch! My easy homemade Barbecue Sauce is naturally sweet, smoky, and prefect for these easy baked beans.
  • For the ketchup, look for a product that uses natural sweeteners and is free of high fructose corn syrup.

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

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.

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!

Easy Baked Beans

5 from 2 votes
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: 30 mins

Servings: 4 servings


  • 2 cans Great Northern Beans (15-ounce cans)
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce recommended: Homemade Barbecue Sauce
  • 1/4 cup 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.

Join today and start saving your favorite recipes

Create an account to easily save your favorite projects and tutorials.


Did you try this recipe?

I want to see!

Follow @wellplated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

Share this Article


This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

You May Also Like

Free Email Series
5 Secrets for Cooking Tasty and Healthy
My secrets for making wholesome meals you'll WANT to eat.

Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

Learn more about Erin

Leave a Comment

Did you make this recipe?

Don't forget to leave a review!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


Leave a comment

    1. Hi Judy! Just for presentation, though it’s nice to add a bit of freshness if you like. Green onions are another lovely option.

  1. I am on a low sodium diet and am always looking for healthy options.  Not only are these beans  full of flavor, even with low sodium ingredients, but they are so fast and easy!  That doesn’t happen often when making low sodium foods.   This recipe is a keeper for me!5 stars

    1. Donna, I’m so glad to hear the recipe is a winner for you! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave this awesome feedback!

  2. My family loved these beans! We paired them with smoked brisket. I used 1 tablespoon of molasses and 2 of maple syrup to get the taste of Erin’s homemade BBQ sauce since I used a store bought barbecue sauce. I also added 1 jalapeño for some spice. Will definitely make again!5 stars

Load More Comments