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Skillet Barbecue “Baked” Beans

These easy Skillet Barbecue “Baked” Beans are bursting with flavor, ready in just 30 minutes, and a must-have summer picnic side dish!

A combination of canned black beans and pinto beans are simmered in a sweet and tangy homemade barbecue sauce that has a hint of smokiness and a little (optional) spicy heat. So delicious!

Now, technically, these are not baked beans because they’re cooked on the stove rather than in the oven…but just go with me on this.

To me, they’re essentially the same as baked beans. Give me a spoonful of these stove top barbecue beans and the same beans baked in the oven, and I can’t tell the difference (yep, I tried it).

And I always think of any kind of saucy beans like this as baked beans. Plus, you absolutely can bake them if you’d rather.

I prefer making stove top baked beans, especially in the summer, because I don’t want to heat up the kitchen by turning the oven on.

It’s incredible how tasty these skillet baked beans are for how fast and simple they are to make. And the secret to all the deliciousness is the sauce.

I use my Homemade No-Cook Barbecue Sauce as the base, which takes less than 5 minutes to make and is packed with flavor right out of the gate, so you don’t have to cook it for hours to make it taste good. A 20-minute simmer on the stove top is all you need.

Prepare your taste buds, because these are most definitely not boring, wimpy beans!

top-down view of barbecue baked beans in a skillet with a serving spoon on the side

Ingredients you need:

Note: Ingredient amounts are in the recipe card below.

  • Ketchup
  • Dark brown sugar
  • Molasses (unsulphured)
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Smoked paprika
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Ground dry mustard
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Tomato paste
  • Olive oil
  • Onion
  • Bell pepper (any color; I use red)
  • Black beans (canned or homecooked)
  • Pinto beans (canned or homecooked)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Here’s a look at how to make Skillet Barbecue “Baked” Beans:

2 images; one of the sauce being whisked together in a bowl with text that says whisk together the sauce ingredients in a bowl, set aside; the other of onions and peppers being sautéed in a skillet with text that says sauté the onions and peppers in olive oil until softened
2 images; one of the beans and sauce added being mixed into the skillet with the onions and peppers with text that says add the sauce and beans, stir, bring to a boil, reduce heat; the other of the finished beans in the skillet being stirred with a wooden spoon with text that says and simmer for 20 minutes, enjoy

Tips & Tidbits:

  • Like bacon in your baked beans? Chop 4 slices of bacon into ½-inch pieces. Cook them in the skillet over medium-low heat until almost crisp. Use 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease to cook the onions and peppers (omit the olive oil) and proceed with the recipe.
  • Want to bake the beans instead? Use an oven-safe skillet (a cast-iron skillet works great for this). Follow the recipe to the point of bringing the beans to a simmer, then transfer the skillet to a preheated 350°F oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and bubbly.
    • If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, transfer the beans to a 1½-quart baking dish before putting them in the oven.
  • You could use all pinto beans or all black beans. Great northern beans are also delicious in this recipe.
  • Canned beans make this dish super quick and easy, but if you want to cook your own beans, go right ahead! You’ll need about 1¾ cups of each type of bean (3½ cups total).
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days. Reheat in a small pot on the stove over low heat just until warmed through or reheat in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave.
  • Yes, you can freeze baked beans! Let them cool completely first, then put them in a freezer bag, remove as much air as possible, seal, and freeze for up to 2 to 3 months. Thaw completely before reheating.
skillet barbecue baked beans with a serving spoon in the pan

These delicious beans go with just about any grilled meat – burgers, hot dogs, sausages, steaks, chicken, pork chops – and no summer picnic or potluck is complete without them.

If you’re serving a crowd, just double the recipe and use a larger pan!

I hope you try this recipe for Skillet Barbecue “Baked” Beans and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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More Summer Picnic Side Dish Recipes You Might Like…

If you make this recipe, I’d love to know how it went! Please leave a star rating and comment below. Thanks!

close up of a spoonful of skillet barbecue baked beans being lifted out of the pan

Skillet Barbecue “Baked” Beans

These easy Skillet Barbecue "Baked" Beans are bursting with flavor, ready in just 30 minutes, and a must-have summer picnic side dish!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 (about a heaping ½ cup each)
Estimated Calories: 286

Ingredients

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons molasses (unsulphured)
  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry ground mustard
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional (add more or less to taste depending on the heat level you want)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion, about ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers, any color (I use red), about ½-inch pieces
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, make the sauce by whisking together the ketchup, dark brown sugar, molasses, distilled white vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, dry ground mustard, cayenne pepper (if using), and tomato paste until well-combined; set aside.
  • In a medium to large skillet (I use a 10" skillet with 2" sides), heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and bell peppers; sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add the sauce and beans; stir to combine.
  • Increase the heat, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat a simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Notes

  • Like bacon in your baked beans? Chop 4 slices of bacon into ½-inch pieces. Cook them in the skillet over medium-low heat until almost crisp. Use 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease to cook the onions and peppers (omit the olive oil) and proceed with the recipe.
  • Want to bake the beans instead? Use an oven-safe skillet (a cast-iron skillet works great for this). Follow the recipe to the point of bringing the beans to a simmer, then transfer the skillet to a preheated 350°F oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and bubbly.
    • If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, transfer the beans to a 1½-quart baking dish before putting them in the oven.
    • You might want to put a baking sheet under the skillet or baking dish, just in case of any sauce splatters.
  • Canned beans make this dish super quick and easy, but if you want to use your own homecooked beans, go right ahead! You’ll need about 1¾ cups of each type of bean (3½ cups total).
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days. Reheat in a small pot on the stove over low heat just until warmed through or reheat in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave.
  • Yes, you can freeze baked beans! Let them cool completely first, then put them in a freezer bag, remove as much air as possible, seal, and freeze for up to 2 to 3 months. Thaw completely before reheating.
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