These calico beans are an easy, hearty side dish that comes together effortlessly. Tender beans simmer with crispy bacon, juicy ground beef, caramelized onions, and a sweet, tangy sauce. Every bite explodes with flavor!
When I'm in need of a warm, hearty, comforting side dish, this calico beans recipe fits the bill.
Also called cowboy beans, it's made up of three types of beans simmered with cooked ground beef, bacon, and tender onions. Everything's piled in a baking dish along with a sweet and tangy mustard sauce and baked to perfection.
Table of Contents
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Makes great leftovers. As good as these beans taste fresh out of the oven, I'd argue they taste even better the next day! And did someone say meal prep?!
Customizable. There's plenty of room to customize this recipe to suit your tastes. You can switch up the kind of beans you use, add extra meat like sliced sausages or chorizo, or serve them with toppings like sour cream and green onions. The options are endless!
Ingredients You'll Need
- Ground beef- I use lean ground beef for less fat in the final dish. This can be swapped for ground turkey or ground chicken if desired.
- Bacon- for that extra layer of savory, meaty flavor.
- Onions- for more flavor.
- Brown sugar- subtle sweetness and molasses flavor that perfectly compliments the flavors of this dish.
- Mustard- any mustard will work, though I'm partial to yellow mustard.
- Vinegar- apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar works best.
- Pork and beans- canned beans, usually navy beans, cooked with ground pork. You'll want to use these undrained.
- Kidney beans- canned kidney beans that have been rinsed and drained.
- Butter beans- canned and rinsed and drained as well.
How To Make Calico Beans In The Oven
1. Prep work: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and grease a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Cook ground meat and onions: In a large skillet, cook ground beef and bacon until browned. Once the meat is cooked, add the onions and sauté until tender.
3. Bake and serve: In a large bowl, stir together the meat, onion, beans, brown sugar, mustard, and vinegar. Transfer everything to the prepared baking dish and bake for 1 ½ hours or until the top is slightly caramelized. Then, serve and enjoy!
How To Make Slow Cooker Calico Beans
You also have the option to make this recipe using the slow cooker! Cook the ground beef, bacon, and onions in a skillet. Then, transfer the beef mixture to the slow cooker, add the rest of the ingredients, and mix to combine. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
How To Store and Reheat Leftovers
In the fridge: Transfer any leftovers to an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days.
In the freezer: Transfer the cooled leftover calico beans into a freezer-safe airtight container and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow frozen beans to thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
Reheating: I like to heat the beans in a pot over medium heat with a splash of water, stirring occasionally, until they're fully reheated. You can also microwave the beans in 30-second intervals until they're warmed through.
More Recipes To Try Next
- Cowboy soup
- Crustless chicken pot pie
- Turkey noodle soup
- Chicken enchilada casserole
- Szechuan chicken
- 1lb.. ground beef
- ½ lb. bacon
- ½ cup onions, diced
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp. mustard
- 3 tbsp. vinegar
- 2 cups cans pork and beans (undrained)
- 1 cup can kidney beans, rinse and drained
- 1 cup can butter beans, rinse and drained
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180ºC).
- In a large skillet, brown ground beef and bacon.
- Once the meat is cooked, add onions and saute until tender.
- In a large bowl, stir together cooked meats and onions and remaining ingredients.
- Pour into a 9x13 baking dish and bake for about 1 ½ hours or until top is a little caramelized.
Slow Cooker Option:
- Cook the ground beef, bacon, and onions in a skillet.
- Transfer the beef mixture to the slow cooker, add the rest of the ingredients, and mix to combine.
- Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
Nutrition Information:Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 656Total Fat: 32.6gSaturated Fat: 12.6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 1555mgCarbohydrates: 49.8gFiber: 9gSugar: 1.8gProtein: 36.7g