The Inspired Cook

Best Baked Beans

With family reunions, picnics, and Independence Day fast approaching, I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite recipes, which would be perfect to serve at any of these occasions.

I created it 38 years ago. Simply called my best baked beans, they are the best I’ve ever eaten. Everyone who has eaten them has loved them, too. No brag, just fact.

My inspiration for creating it came from a recipe an old cookbook. The original recipe called for using dried beans, which was too time-consuming in my opinion. Therefore, I chose to use canned pork and beans instead. By the way, Van Camps is the only brand that I recommend using.

Several years ago, my sister Beckie asked for the recipe, so I gave it to her. Later on, she confessed that her beans were too juicy and never tasted like mine.

After much discussion, I concluded that she was cooking them in the wrong type of pan. I always cook them uncovered in a 9- by 13-inch glass baking pan. She was using a bowl-type of glass casserole, which prevented the beans from cooking down and getting thick. Problem solved.

My Best Baked Beans


4 (15-oz.) cans Van Camp’s pork and beans (It must be this brand.)

4 T. Prepared yellow mustard (I use French’s.)

4 slices Bacon, thinly sliced

4 T. Dehydrated minced onion flakes

1/2 c. Light-brown sugar, packed

1/2 c. Grandma’s original unsulphured molasses


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a 9- by 13-inch glass baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.

Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut the bacon slices across the narrow edges into 1/4-inch wide strips. Separate each strip and place on a plate; set aside.

Into a large mixing bowl, mix the beans, onion flakes, and sugar together. Coat a tablespoon measure with cooking spray and then use it to measure the mustard. This will allow the mustard to slide off the spoon. Add the mustard to the bean mixture; stir.

Coat a 1-cup glass measure with cooking spray before pouring in the molasses. This will allow it to pour easier, getting out the last drop. Add the molasses to the bean mixture, stirring well.

Pour the bean mixture into the prepared pan. Lay the bacon strips on top. Using a spoon, press each strip of bacon into the bean mixture so that it is completely submerged but not lying on the bottom of the pan.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until the mixture has thickened and is dark brown around the edges. If you’d prefer to bake the beans at 350 degrees, then do so for 50-60 minutes.

Note: This recipe is easily halved as I’ve done so many times. Bake it in either a 7- by 11-inch or an 8-inch-square glass baking pan at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

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