This Root Beer Baked Beans recipe is summer picnic ready. They're filled with ground beef, bacon, onion, peppers and a blend of flavorful seasonings all smothered in a root beer infused barbecue sauce. Serve them as a main dish or a side dish, either way they're certain to become a family favorite.
Easy Root Beer Baked Beans Recipe
We often think of baked beans as only a side dish. That's how I most often serve them, too. Because there's both ground beef and bacon in these hearty root beer baked beans they're filling enough to be served as a main dish. When serving them as an entrée, my pick would be ladled over a piece of fresh from the oven buttered cornbread. I can't imagine a summer picnic or holiday weekend when we're grilling without barbecue baked beans. The "secret" ingredient is always a great conversation starter leaving people a bit in awe of the flavor it lends to the dish overall.
How to Make the Best Root Beer Baked Beans Recipe
Why root beer? The root beer gives the base a pop of flavor without making them overly sweet. I love to prepare these baked beans in my cast iron skillet but, a 13 x 9-inch baking dish will work as well. The root beer base isn't overpowering. In fact, it gives just an edge and hint of flavor to the barbecue sauce. It's a fun twist on a classic dish and tends to spark conversation. That's always a good thing.
- Ingredients you'll need to make this recipe for homemade Root Beer Baked Beans: Diced onion, bacon, poblano pepper, salt and black pepper, garlic, root beer, honey barbecue sauce, two cans baked beans, one can pinto beans, one pound lean ground beef, dark chili powder, ground cumin and green onions for garnishing.
- Kitchen gadgets you'll need: A 12 inch cast iron skillet or similar size baking dish, measuring cups and spoons a sharp knife and chopping board and a large spoon for stirring the ingredients together.
- You can bake these root beer baked beans in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish if you don't have a cast iron skillet.
- It's perfectly acceptable to adapt these baked beans using your favorite brand of barbecue sauce. A thicker sauce does best so pick one that you already enjoy for the most tasty end result.
- You could also use ground chorizo, ground chicken or ground turkey in these beans in place of ground beef.
- Store leftover baked beans for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat or in the microwave in single serving portions.
- You can also freeze fully cooked baked beans for up to 2 months.
- I like to top these beans with green onion for color and a little crunch. You can serve onions on the side or omit them altogether.
Southern Style Recipes to Serve with Root Beer Baked Beans
These beans are practically a meal themselves when paired with cornbread muffins or a skillet of honey cornbread. The combination of sarsaparilla and sassafras root bark gives root beer its unique flavor and it shines in this recipe. More main dish recipes you may like to try:
- Baked beans and chili dogs topped with Easy Hot Dog Chili makes a perfect pairing.
- Delicious Southern Meatloaf paired with coleslaw and baked beans is a family friendly meal.
- Finger licking Sticky Maple Barbecue Chicken is another delicious option.
- Serve these beans with grilled Smokehouse Bacon Cheeseburgers.
- Applewood Cider Slow Cooker Chicken bakes in your crockpot freeing up the oven on busy days.
- Bacon Wrapped Sirloin Medallions and a baked potato is a summertime feast.
- See how to make your own Root Beer here on Serious Eats.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Root Beer Baked Beans
- 6 slices bacon
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 small poblano or green bell pepper seeded and diced
- 2 clove garlic minced
- seasoned salt and black pepper
- 1 lb extra lean ground beef
- 2 16 oz cans baked beans
- 1 16 oz can pinto beans drained
- 1 cup root beer
- ¾ cup honey barbecue sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon or brown mustard
- 1 tablespoon dark chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- dash ground cinnamon
- 3 green onion sliced
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a 12-inch cast iron skillet or spritz a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Discard all but 3 tablespoon drippings from the pan.
- Add the diced onion and pepper to the pan. Season with seasoned salt and black pepper to your taste.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes until beginning to brown then add the minced garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add the ground beef, and continue to cook until no pink remains. Drain any excess fat from the pan.
- Mix the cooked beef with the remaining ingredients. Add half of the crumbled bacon reserving ½ for garnishing. Stir well.
- Pour into the skillet and bake for 1 hour. After baking, stir well and rest for 10 minutes on the counter before serving to allow the sauce to thicken.
- Garnish with chopped green onion and remaining bacon.