Whether you’re looking for a flavorful main course for dinner or a hearty side dish for your next backyard barbeque, you’ll love this quick and easy make ahead recipe! This freezer friendly cowboy baked beans recipe is made with ground beef and bacon, making it perfect for any occasion. And since you can prepare all the ingredients ahead of time, it’s a great option for meal planning, too!
This past year, these became my go-to for bringing to potlucks. It’s easy because all I need to do is take the bag out of the freezer and heat in the slow cooker. And they are so popular because, well… bacon!
Cowboy Baked Beans Recipe
- 1 pound ground beef, browned
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 56 ounce can baked beans
- ½ cup BBQ sauce
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- Combine the ground beef, onion, bell pepper, garlic, onion powder, bacon, brown sugar, baked beans, BBQ sauce, and Dijon mustard in a large freezer bag. Squeeze the ingredients together to combine the ground beef and beans with the sauce.
- Remove excess air from the bag and seal to close. Freeze the ingredients until you’re ready to prepare the baked beans.
- Transfer the baked beans ingredients to the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
- To prepare in the oven, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Transfer the ingredients to a baking dish and bake for one hour.
- To make in the crockpot, pour the ingredients from the freezer bag into your slow cooker and set the crockpot to cook on high for two to four hours and low for three to five hours.
How Do You Store Cowboy Baked Beans?
This flavorful recipe makes a big batch of baked beans, which means you may have some leftovers when the party is over. Simply transfer your beans to an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator. They’ll stay good for up to four days when refrigerated.
You can reheat your beans in the microwave or cook them in a sauce pan over medium heat until warmed through.
How Long are Frozen Baked Beans Good For?
Combining the ingredients for your baked beans in a freezer friendly container is a great way to prep this side dish ahead of time. After adding all the ingredients to a freezer bag, make sure to remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Then, write the name of the recipe, date of freezing, and expected expiration date on the front of the bag. The beans will stay good for up to six months when stored properly.
What to Serve with Cowboy Baked Beans
Since this delicious recipe is packed with meat and beans, it makes a great main course. Or serve it as a side dish along with your favorite BBQ meats. Whether you’re serving your cowboy baked beans for dinner or at a party, it will taste amazing along with these other dishes:
- Southern Potato Salad
- Grilled corn
- Spicy Caesar Chicken Pasta Salad
- Hot dogs
- Hamburgers or cheeseburgers
- BBQ chicken sandwiches
- Grilled meat, like ribs, chicken, or pork chops
Recipe Variations and Ideas
This baked beans recipe really is the best. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon! Try these variation and substitution ideas to make your cowboy baked beans even better.
- Adjust the sweetness. If you prefer your baked beans to be on the sweeter side, simply increase the amount of brown sugar in the sauce. Or if you want your beans to be less sweet, try reducing or leaving out the brown sugar all together.
- Try different bean varieties. You can easily change up the flavor of your baked beans by using different types of beans in your recipe. While baked beans are typically made with navy beans, you can mix in a variety of different types of beans in this recipe. Mixing in some kidney, black, pinto, or cannellini beans will add different textures and flavors to your baked beans recipe.
- Use different meats. Ground beef and bacon are great options for meal prepping because they’re quick and easy to prepare. But if you want to change up the recipe to include different flavors, you can substitute other meats in place of the beef or bacon. Try mixing in some pulled pork, ground or shredded chicken, ground turkey, or stew meat.
Can Baked Beans Be Frozen?
Freezing the ingredients for your cowboy beans is a great way to speed up the prep work of your dinner. But you can also freeze the cooked beans to enjoy later! After preparing your baked beans, allow them to cool completely. After that, you can transfer the cooked beans to a freezer bag or storage container and place them in the freezer for long term storage. The beans will stay good for up to six months.
When you’re ready to reheat your beans, transfer the frozen side dish to the refrigerator to thaw. Then reheat the beans in the microwave or on the stovetop.
- 1 lb. ground beef browned
- 1 cup onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ tsp onion powder
- 8 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 56 oz. baked beans
- ½ cup BBQ sauce
- 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
Combine the ground beef, onion, bell pepper, garlic, onion powder, bacon, brown sugar, baked beans, BBQ sauce, and Dijon mustard in a large freezer bag. Squeeze the ingredients together to combine.
Remove excess air from the bag, seal, and freeze.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Transfer the ingredients to a baking dish and bake for one hour.
Pour the ingredients from the freezer bag into your slow cooker and cook on high for two to four hours and low for three to five hours.