Sweet with just the right balance of meat and a salty undertone these Meaty Crock Pot Baked Beans create a premium side dish.
This ultimate meaty recipe is also called Calico Baked Beans and makes one of the best recipes to show up at our family parties regularly!
Crock Pot Baked Beans Recipe
These are good hearty beans that make a great side dish, but there’s enough meat to make a main course out of. A slow cooker makes transporting and serving beans over a longer period of time so much more convenient.
We’ve all heard that bacon makes everything better and baked beans are no exception to that rule! We’re farmers that raise pigs and cows, so this is a recipe that just makes sense because it has a pound of hamburger and some bacon!
You won’t be shocked to hear that I might put more than a quarter-pound of bacon in this crock pot baked beans recipe on occasion. That is if others don’t eat all the bacon before it makes it in the beans.
Also Called Calico Baked Beans
My mom often doubles this recipe for parties because it’s so popular. People don’t take just one serving. And if they didn’t they come back for more after the first serving.
The combination of so many different and delicious beans is also called calico baked beans.
These are actually so popular friends asked us to make these for 100 people at their graduation party. So here is our Big Batch of Baked Beans Recipe.
We do have another delicious recipe that has fewer ingredients and is a little bit easier to make – Cowboy Baked Beans. Both of these recipes can be made in the crock pot, skillet or oven. We are a big fan of versatile recipes!
Why This Recipe Works:
- Bacon adds a salty, fatty, smoky flavor that sets these apart from your run of the mill baked beans.
- If there are any leftovers they freeze and reheat wonderfully!
- A double batch fits in a 7 or 8-quart slow cooker.
- Meat can be cooked a couple days ahead so the recipe comes together in about 10 minutes the day you need to make the beans.
- Ground Beef – sausage or venison also work, but cooked hamburger is our favorite meat to compliment beans.
- Bacon – we usually bake or fry and crumble our bacon, but quality bacon bits are a great way to save time.
- Onion – chopped into small pieces makes a nice compliment to the other ingredients
- Can of Baked Beans – Bush’s baked beans are the most popular option, but other brands of flavored beans work fine too.
- Baby butter beans – my mom loves these, but they can be tricky to find, so sometimes I use white northern beans, or another smaller, white bean.
- Red pinto beans – since there’s no seasoning, so a generic brand is fine.
- Brown sugar – adds a sweetness to the recipe that helps make the beans so delicious.
- Vinegar – an acidic ingredient to help balance out and brighten the flavor of the beans.
- Ketchup – a touch of tomato is a nice compliment
- Mustard – your favorite type of mustard will work fine and add a bit of an earthiness flavor
How to Make Meaty Slow Cooker Baked Beans
Step By Step Instructions
Brown the ground beef and drain.
Bake or fry the bacon, set on paper towels and then crumble. I like how regular bacon crumbles much easier than thick cut bacon.
Grease or line a crock pot.
Open the cans of beans and pour in. Do not drain the beans as the liquid is needed in the recipe.
Add the vinegar, ketchup and mustard.
Then add the onions.
I usually like to chop onions much smaller than this, but I was so glad my husband helped with meal prep too.
Then add the layers of meat.
Finally sprinkle the brown sugar on top before covering. Set crock pot to high.
Cook on high for three hours. Stir well and cook on low for another hour.
Turn to keep warm while serving and enjoy!
Meaty Baked Beans Recipe Tips & Tricks
- The amount of meat used can be adjusted if you need to stretch the recipe on a budget, just add more beans.
- A double batch doesn’t quite fit in my 6-quart slow cooker, but here’s a very economical 7-quart Crock Pot on Amazon.
- I also love that making the meat can be done a day or two ahead of time, then everything can just be dumped in the crock pot and stirred when you need the beans. This is a big make ahead tip for parties.
Other Great Potluck Recipes
- Loaded Smashed Potato Casserole
- Twice Baked Potato Casserole
- Farmhouse Style Chili
- Crock Pot Bacon Buffalo Cauliflower
- Red Potato Ranch Casserole
- Crock Pot Loaded Red Potatoes
We hope that you enjoy these great potluck recipes as much as we do!
Meaty Crock Pot Baked Beans
- 1 pound can baby butter beans regular butter beans also work
- 1 pound can baked beans
- 1 pound can red pinto beans
- 1 pound hamburger cooked & crumbled
- 1/4 pound bacon crumbled
- 1/2 cup onion chopped
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
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Originally published on October 3, 2018 with updates made on April 12, 2023.