This easy recipe uses canned beans and adds hamburger, bacon and brown sugar for a premium recipe for Baked Beans for a Crowd of 100.
Baked Beans in a Roaster
Baked beans are one of the best warm side dishes to serve at a graduation party or large potluck because cooked ingredients can be stirred together and warmed in a roaster.
Using a roaster to allow all of the delicious bean flavors and enhancements to cook together makes a big party or potluck so easy! The flavors can continue to meld together for a few hours on low while you enjoy the party.
My mom has made these Meaty Baked Beans for years and everyone LOVES them! She uses Bushes Beans and adds quality meat and ingredients to make the best baked beans. I adjusted this recipe by adding more beans to the ratio to help a friend out for a big graduation party.
A great cold side and economical way to feed people is our Macaroni Salad for a Crowd.
How Many Baked Beans to Make for a Crowd?
We prepared about 200 ounces or about 13 pounds of beans with an additional 6 pounds of meat (hamburger and bacon) mixed in to make small servings for a crowd of 150 – 200 people.
For a big party with hearty portions this recipe easily feeds 100 people. For a party with lots of kids, people grazing or fewer bean eaters this recipe feeds about twice as many.
Another important consideration is thinking about how much other food will be at the party? If there’s a big selection the beans will likely go farther than if there are just a couple options.
When determining how many people to feed it is important to determine the size of the portion. When we make food for farmers who do a lot of manual labor they eat much bigger portions than friends who have office jobs.
A friend asked me to make baked beans for 150 – 200 people for a graduation party. We went to two parties that night. At one party everyone was eating a full meal, at the other party lots of kids were coming and going and about half of the people seemed to be eating light meals. These crowds would require very different quantities of food for the same amount of guests.
Tips & Tricks for Using a Roaster
- Baked beans cook in about 3 – 4 hours in a roaster at 300°F and should be stirred every 45 minutes to an hour.
- Baked beans will hold on low or 200°F for about 3 hours – be sure to stir them often, about every 30 – 45 minutes.
- While the beans are cooking stir at least once every 45 minutes to an hour, but keep the lid on because the lid holds in heat and helps the beans cook.
- There are a variety of sizes and types of roasters that all vary in actual temperature and cooking times.
- Beans hold well, so I would plan to have them done cooking about an hour before serving. Just in case they are not you can put some in the oven or crock pots so some beans can heat quicker and be ready to serve when the party starts.
- The edges of the roaster should be simmering gently within the first hour, if they are not turn up the heat and leave the lid on until you hear some simmering.
- Keeping the lid on the roaster will help the beans cook more quickly and hold in that precious heat.
- Smaller batches of this recipe heat in 90 minutes at 350°F in the oven or 3 hours on low in a crock pot.
- We use a 20 quart roaster for this recipe for 100+ so there is plenty of room to stir and transport.
- The recipe can be cut in half to make baked beans for 50 people and an 18 quart roaster can be used.
Traveling With Baked Beans
If you need to travel with the cooked baked beans ensure there is plenty of room for the beans to slosh around a little bit in the roaster.
I like to travel with the roaster on a large rubber mat surrounded by blanket or towels just in case some beans spill. I tried to set my roaster in a laundry basket but I didn’t have one large enough.
Plan ahead and make sure you have help to move a large roaster full of liquid beans. After going to all of the work of making beans for 100 people you don’t want to spill them anywhere, especially in your house or car.
You’ll also want to take care that no one gets burned. I could physically lift the roaster, but when it’s hot I can’t carry a heavy roaster far enough away from my body to prevent getting burned. So, I always have someone with so one of us can be on each side of the roaster.
Be sure to explain to the helper the importance of keeping the roaster level as they may not know what’s inside.
Things to Think About
- Hamburger and onions can be browned 2 – 3 days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or browned in advance and frozen. If cold meat is added to the roaster it will increase cooking times.
- Hamburger should be well drained before chilling or adding to the roaster.
- Baby butter beans are best because they are more similar in size to the kidney beans, but often all that can be found are large butter beans. Large butter beans are disproportionate and dominate each bite, but they are still delicious, so using them is a personal choice.
- If baby butter beans can’t be found Cannellini beans which are white kidney beans or great northern beans can be used.
- When the weather gets nice, graduation party season begins and Memorial Day approaches beans can be difficult to find at some grocery stores, so plan ahead and buy those beans in advance.
- Opening all of these cans may take quite a while, so have a good can opener ready and start opening cans about 30 minutes before you plan to start cooking in case your hand gets tired and needs a break.
- For a more budget friendly side the meat can be cut in half or a couple extra cans of baked beans can be added.
Recipe for Baked Beans for a Crowd
Brown hamburger and onions and drain well before pouring in the roaster, refrigerating or freezing. I use a big skillet and make two pounds of hamburger at a time. A strainer helps ensure the meat is well drained.
I like to bake the bacon and then set on paper towels to absorb excess fat. Then I chop bacon into small pieces. I prefer making my own bacon ahead of time. If my schedule is really full pre-cooked bacon bits save time.
Coat the roaster VERY well with non-stick cooking spray. And then coat it again really focusing on all of the corners.
Pour meat and beans into well greased roaster.
Add remaining ingredients on top and using a long handled wooden spoon stir very well.
Place lid on roaster and set to 300°F. Stir every hour taking care to run spoon down every edge and corner. Cook for 3 – 4 hours and then turn to 200°F or 250°F to keep warm until done serving.
Leftover beans can be frozen for up to 3 months or refrigerated for 3 to 5 days.
More Great Recipes for a Crowd
Homemade Burger Sauce only uses 4 simple ingredients and makes burgers taste so much better!
Crock Pot Mac & Cheese is a classic side dish for all ages. Macaroni and cheese is simple to make in a slow cooker.
Oreo Dirt Cake is one of the all-time most popular desserts. Using a 9×13 pan helps feed bigger groups.
Cola Sloppy Joes make great sandwiches that are super flavorful!
Baked Beans for a Crowd
- 7 pounds Bush's original baked beans
- 1 3/4 pound Bush's maple bacon baked beans
- 4 pounds Red kidney beans
- 4 pounds Baby butter beans
- 4 pounds hamburger browned
- 2 cups onion chopped
- 2 pounds bacon about 3 cups cooked & chopped
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 2 cups ketchup or a 20 ounce bottle
- 1/4 cup mustard
- Brown hamburger and onions, drain well.
- Cook bacon, drain well and chop.
- Grease a 20 quart roaster very well, apply extra coats to the corners.
- Pour meat and beans into roaster. Add remaining ingredients on top and stir well with a long handled wooden spoon.
- Set to 300°F and bake in the roaster for 3 to 4 hours. Stir every hour and keep the lid on as much as possible. Turn to keep warm when the flavors have baked together well. Enjoy!
- Cooking times in a roaster can vary greatly based on the appliance and amount of food in it, a trial in your own appliance is the best way to test this recipe
- Amount of meat can be decreased and/or beans can be increased and the recipe will still taste great
- Recipe feeds 100 fairly generous servings, this big batch will feed 150 – 200 light eaters
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