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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!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings: 6 (about a heaping ½ cup each)
Calories: 286kcal
Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!


  • 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


  • 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.

Recipe 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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