This gluten-free baked beans recipe is filled with hearty navy beans, a simultaneously sweet and slightly spicy sauce, and plenty of crispy bacon. Once you try it, you may never reach for a canned version again.
Whether you suffer from celiac disease or you have gluten sensitivity, if you're abiding by a gluten-free diet and love the heartiness of BBQ baked beans, you may agree with us that these could be the best gluten-free beans ever. It’s an equally perfect side dish for gatherings as it is for a weeknight meal -- you can even pack these beans for lunch.
Speaking of side dishes... While we're totally in love with these baked beans with bacon to go with all of the goodness at a cookout, you might want to check out more of our BBQ sides. And for mains, don't sleep on trying Instant Pot Pulled BBQ Chicken that could feed a crowd.
Why You’ll Love These Easy Gluten-Free Baked Beans
- Easy - This super simple recipe uses basic ingredients that are easy to find at your local grocery store. It also requires no special equipment or techniques, so you can quickly whip it up, whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or an experienced pro.
- Customizable - There are a ton of twists you can use to transform this dish and make it your own.
- Versatile - While baked beans are a classic side dish, they’re also great for an easy lunch. They also pair beautifully with a wide variety of main dishes.
- Make-ahead - These beans are even better the next day after the flavors have had a chance to come together, making them great for meal prep and for parties.
This simple ingredient list is full of foods that are easy to find at grocery stores -- or you may already have many on hand.
- Bacon - Use your favorite style of bacon, cut into pieces before cooking. And if you're following a gluten free diet make sure to buy gluten free bacon.
- Onion - Diced onion adds both flavor and texture to the dish. Dice the onions as uniformly as possible for even cooking.
- Green Pepper - Green peppers add color and a slight crunch.
- Light Brown Sugar - Brown sugar imparts warm, slightly molasses-style sweetness.
- Garlic Powder - Using garlic powder instead of fresh garlic cloves speeds up prep time and helps to more easily incorporate the flavor throughout the sauce.
- Salt - Salt balances the ingredients and enhances the flavors of all of the other ingredients.
- Mustard Powder - This further enhances the flavor of the sauce.
- Red Pepper Flakes - These add just a bit of heat to the sauce, balancing the sweeter flavors.
- BBQ Sauce - You can make your own if you have a preferred recipe. Otherwise, use your favorite store-bought version of gluten free BBQ sauce. My family loves Sweet Baby Rays.
- Ketchup - This pantry staple is a simple way to add a bit of tomato flavor and slight sweetness. You can also use tomato puree or tomato paste, though you may need to experiment with the quantities to achieve the same consistency.
- Apple Cider Vinegar - Vinegar’s acidity balances out the sweetness and heat in the sauce.
- Canned Navy Beans - Be sure to drain the can before adding them to the dish. If you have time, you can also hydrate dry beans overnight. I always use Bush's canned beans, which are gluten free.
See recipe card for full ingredient list and quantities.
Substitutions & Variations
- Vegetarian baked beans - Simply leave out the bacon or add ½ cup of vegan bacon bits just before baking - just saute the onion and green peppers in olive oil or another neutral oil. You can also add more veggies by increasing the number of peppers or adding mushrooms.
- Smoky baked beans - Add liquid smoke or smoked paprika for a smoky flavor. Or you can make them in your smoker instead of the oven.
- Baked beans with ground beef - Make this version, known as cowboy baked beans, by browning a pound of ground beef and adding it to the bean mixture just before baking.
- Pineapple beans - Add diced pineapple, which pairs perfectly with the rich flavors of the beans’ sauce.
- Spicy baked beans - To spice up your beans, pour in a splash of hot sauce or add a few dashes of cayenne pepper or even more crushed red pepper flakes.
- Beans - Try swapping out some or all of the navy beans for other types of beans like kidney beans, black beans, or pinto beans. You can even use white beans (like cannellini beans or great northern beans).
- Slow cooking - Instead of baking the beans, place them in a crock pot to slowly cook until you're ready to serve. This is particularly helpful when you need to free up valuable oven space when you're hosting a gathering.
- Sweetness - For more molasses flavor, swap the light brown sugar for dark brown sugar. Or, change the sweet part of the flavor profile with a drizzle of maple syrup.
How to Make Gluten-Free BBQ Baked Beans
It couldn’t be easier to make these simple baked beans, full of bacon flavor. I like to use a cast iron skillet so the stovetop and oven cooking can be done in one pan for easy cleanup.
For the full details on how to make these, be sure to check out the recipe card.
STEP 1: In a large skillet, cook bacon until crispy. Then, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to minimize grease and drain the pan, reserving a small portion of the grease.
STEP 2: Place the onion and green pepper in the skillet with the remaining bacon grease and cook briefly.
STEP 3: Reduce the heat to low. Then add the brown sugar, spices, ketchup and bbq sauce. Cook until it thickens just a little bit.
STEP 4: Once thickened, remove from heat and add the beans and crispy bacon. Mix until completely combined.
STEP 5: Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake as directed.
If your sauce is too thick, stir in a few tablespoons of water until it reaches your desired consistency.
How to Store & Reheat Homemade Baked Beans
Once the beans have cooled to room temperature, store transfer them to an airtight container and refrigerate them for up to 4 days.
Reheat the beans on the stovetop or in the microwave. If they’ve thickened significantly, gradually add water to achieve the desired consistency.
There are several brands that have gluten-free bean products. Bush’s, B&M, Amy’s Kitchen, and Heinz all make styles of canned baked beans that are gluten-free.
You can eat BBQ baked beans as a side for nearly any protein or vegetable. They’re especially great for cookouts with burgers, hot dogs, and brats, and they go particularly well with smoked meats like pulled pork or brisket.
They also pair well with traditional cold salads like coleslaw and potato salad. You can also soak up the extra sauce with a quality piece of cornbread.
Baked beans are full of fiber and are packed with plant-based protein making them a healthy choice for a hearty side dish. If you’re watching your sugar or carb intake, you may want to eat them in moderation.
Other savory recipes to consider:
If you try this recipe, please leave a 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the comments below.
Gluten Free Baked Beans
- 8 ounce Bacon cut into ½” pieces
- ¼ cup Onion diced
- ¼ cup Green Pepper diced
- 1 tablespoon Light Brown Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Mustard Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Red pepper flakes
- ⅓ cup BBQ sauce
- ⅓ cup Ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- 32 ounce Navy Beans 2 x 16 ounce cans
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Add the bacon pieces to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until crispy, about 15 minutes. Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Pour off all but 2 Tablespoons of the bacon grease and return the skillet to heat.8 ounce Bacon
- Add the onion and green pepper to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally.¼ cup Onion, ¼ cup Green Pepper
- Turn the skillet to low heat and add the brown sugar, garlic powder, salt, mustard powder, red pepper flakes, bbq sauce, ketchup and apple cider vinegar. Stir occasionally until the mixture is warmed and a little thickened, about 5 minutes.1 tablespoon Light Brown Sugar, 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder, ½ teaspoon Salt, ¼ teaspoon Mustard Powder, ¼ teaspoon Red pepper flakes, ⅓ cup BBQ sauce, ⅓ cup Ketchup, 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- Remove from heat. Stir in the beans and the cooked bacon. Transfer the beans to a 9x9 casserole dish (2 ½ quart).32 ounce Navy Beans
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake another 15-20 minutes.
Tiffany is the recipe developer, stylist and food photographer behind Well Fed Baker. As a lifelong baker who had to go gluten free and dairy free in 2016, Tiffany strives to share allergen friendly recipes that never feel like they are free from anything.