These addicting, hearty Slow Cooker Baked Beans are loaded with ground beef and bacon, simmered in a tangy and sweet BBQ sauce.
Slow Cooker Baked Beans (AKA Cowboy Beans)
We’ve always called these beans Buddha’s Baked Beans, a nickname of my mom’s – and no baked beans recipe will ever compare. Buddha is a nickname that my dad gave my mom when she was pregnant and it stuck with her for her whole life. In fact, I don’t think I ever hear my dad call my mom by her real name.
Another name for a loaded baked beans recipe with ground beef and bacon is Cowboy Beans. But we’ve only ever known these beans to be called Buddha’s Beans, so that’s what we call them.
These Slow Cooker Baked Beans are hands down the best you’ll ever taste. We prefer making these baked beans in a slow cooker to make it easy, especially for BBQs or parties. It’s a true dump and go slow cooker recipe.
Another bonus to using a slow cooker, once these beans are done cooking you can set your slow cooker to warm and use it to serve the beans. This way the beans will stay warm all night during your party!
Ingredients For Loaded Baked Beans
- Ground Beef: Brown the beef and drain any dripping before adding it to the slow cooker.
- Dry Onion Soup Mix: Those little packets that you have shoved back in your pantry…break one out for these beans!
- Baked Beans: Start with canned baked beans in your favorite flavor. We like the brown sugar variety.
- Bacon: Lots of crispy, cooked bacon for tons of crunch and flavor.
- BBQ Sauce: You can use your favorite brand here. We stick to a regular flavored sauce.
- Brown Sugar: Of course to add lots of sweet flavor to these beans.
How Can You Tell When Baked Beans Are Done?
Since we’re using canned beans for this recipe, really all you need to do is warm the ingredients up. However, flavor will get better and better as these beans slow cook together with the beef and bacon.
So let them go low and slow for the coziest, most wonderful flavor. Alternately, you can check out different methods for cooking these beans further down in the post.
Can These Beans Be Made Ahead Of Time For Parties?
Yes! These baked beans get even better as they sit in the refrigerator to let the flavors blend. If you’re making this recipe ahead of time for a party, cook per the recipe card below and then let cool completely.
Warm the beans back up the say of your party in the slow cooker, oven or on the stove top. Since the beans have already been slow cooked and gotten delicious, all you need to do is warm them back up.
Stove Top Instructions
This is the most flexible side dish recipe ever! So depending on your party needs, we’ll tell you how to make these slow cooker baked beans three different ways!
Add all the ingredients (ground beef already browned) to a large pot or Dutch oven. Stir together to combine and let the beans simmer for at least an hour until warmed though.
Keeping the beans on low heat until you’re ready or even during your party will only make them taste better!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add all the ingredients (ground beef already browned) to a large oven-proof pot or Dutch oven and stir to combine.
Cover the pot with a lid or tightly with foil and place in the oven for 1-2 hours, stirring during cooking. Keep the baked beans in the oven on low (200-250) to keep warm until ready to serve and/or during your party.
What Goes With Baked Beans?
These slow cooker beans are so hearty and delicious, you really will want them for your whole meal. However, here are some dinner ideas to go along with these baked beans!
- Whiskey Burgers
- Dan’s Double Down Flank Steak
- BBQ Party Ribs
- Root Beer Sticky Ribs
- BBQ Bacon Turkey Burgers
Variations For Slow Cooker Baked Beans
There’s lots of different ways that you can adjust this baked beans recipe to your liking. This recipe is the way my mom made them, and we think it’s pretty perfect. But let’s get into some variations on the recipe!
Instead of ground beef you can use ground pork or even sausage. Try different flavors of barbecue sauce, maybe a Hawaiian flavor or a maple flavored sauce.
There are also, of course many different flavors of the canned baked beans that you can start with. Our preference has always been the brown sugar flavor but you can play around with the flavors that you like, too.
Like in cowboy beans, some recipes add diced onion and/or green pepper to the beef while it’s browning. To spice it up you can add a diced jalapeño, too!
Looking For More Side Dish Recipes?
- Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob
- Classic Potato Salad
- 15 Minute Creamed Corn
- Twice Baked Potato Casserole
- Italian Pasta Salad
Buddha’s Beans (AKA Loaded Slow Cooker Baked Beans) are a staple at any party or BBQ. These beans have a whole pound of ground beef and a whole pound of bacon, slow cooked in a sweet and tangy sauce that’s absolutely irresistible.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
- 4 – 28 ounce cans brown sugar baked beans
- 2 – 15 ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup barbecue sauce (your favorite kind)
- 2.6 ounce package dry onion soup mix
- Spray a skillet with non-stick cooking spray and set over medium heat. Add the ground beef and cooking while breaking up into crumbles. When the meat is no longer pink, drain the grease and set aside.
- Pour the baked beans and the kidney beans into a large 8 quart slow cooker. Stir in the brown sugar, barbecue sauce and the onion soup mix.
- Add the cooked, drained ground beef along with the crumbled bacon and stir.
- Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Slow Cooker
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: mantitlement, baked beans recipe, slow cooker baked beans, loaded baked beans, cowboy beans, ground beef recipes, party food