Dutch Oven Baked Beans are the perfect side dish for large family dinners and potluck summer cookouts. This cast iron 5 bean baked bean recipe features hamburger, bacon and five different beans. It’s one of our tasty side Dutch oven camping recipes that is almost a meal in itself.
Prepare In Advance
I’ve created this easy baked beans recipe so you can prep and cook everything in rugged conditions in the great outdoors. But, it is a great recipe if you want to make the entire thing at home and just reheat it at camp.
To prepare as one of our make ahead camping meals, do this:
At home: Prep and cook according to directions using a conventional stove and oven.
- This recipe for baked beans with hamburger and bacon makes a large quantity that serves 12 people so you may want to store it in a few batches.
- Let it cool then store in airtight containers in the refrigerator.
At camp: Re-heat bean mixture using your preferred method:
- over a camp stove, RV stovetop or campfire using a cast iron skillet or cast iron Dutch oven,
- in a slow cooker crock pot if you have the equipment and access to electricity, or
- using a propane camp oven or RV oven using a baking dish covered in aluminum foil.
When you are making a from-scratch, five-bean bake casserole at the campsite, you probably don’t want to carry and fuss with the fresh water required as the soaking liquid to use dry beans. Plus, it takes a long time to soak the beans, minimally 4 hours!
So, my simple recipe uses canned beans, 5 different types of beans!, that are cooked in the liquid from the can.
- So, your can opener will be doing most of the prep work for you here.
- You’ll also need to chop some onion, garlic cloves and bacon slices.
Cooking Methods & Equipment
An 8 quart Dutch oven is preferred:
- A deep-depth 12-inch cast iron Dutch oven with and 8 quart capacity is best
- A standard-depth 12-inch cast iron Dutch oven with a 6 quart capacity will be pretty full until the liquids begin to reduce as the beans cook. Stirring with be tight at first, but do-able.
Make sure you have enough fuel for the lengthy cooking time of about 1.5-2 hours for this bean casserole. You’ll start by frying with bottom-only heat then convert to baking with top, bottom and sidewall heat.
I like making this delicious recipe at the campsite using charcoal briquettes but campfire coals work well too if you want to make this as one of our easy campfire recipes.
Fuel management with a propane stove is easy but this recipe is baked so you’ll need a Dutch oven dome with heat diffuser plate if you want to make it as one of our camp stove recipes.
If you’ve never used one before, check out how to cook with a Dutch oven dome, it’s a full blog post with a VIDEO.
If making in a conventional or RV oven, you can use a large skillet to fry the bacon and ground beef, then mix in the sauce and beans on your stove then just transfer beans into a casserole dish or other large pot to bake in your oven.
Step 1. Prepare your ingredients, heat source and equipment as directed.
- Pre-heat oven with bottom-only heat for frying. Later you’ll add coals to the top for the baking process. This is a large recipe so you’ll want to use a deep-depth 12-inch cast iron Dutch oven or standard-depth 14-inch cast iron Dutch oven if you have one. If you only have a standard-depth 12-inch oven, stirring the ingredients will be slightly challenging until the liquids begin to reduce during the cooking process.
Step 2. Brown the bacon. It is not necessary to add olive oil to the pot because there is enough fat from the bacon drippings. Use medium-high heat to fully brown the bacon. If it isn’t browning quickly enough, place the lid on the oven to maintain the heat. You’ll want the bacon nicely browned before adding additional ingredients, it will take about 15 minutes.
Step 3. Cook beef. Add the ground beef to the pot with the bacon and use a spoon to break it up as it browns, about 10 minutes. If there is an excessive about of hamburger and bacon grease in the pan, use a paper towel to soak up some of the hot drippings. If you have lean enough bacon and ground beef, this won’t be necessary.
Step 4. Soften veggies. Stir the chopped onion and garlic into the pot with the bacon and ground beef mixture.
Step 5. Add remaining ingredients. After the onion and garlic are softened, add the dark brown sugar, ketchup, yellow mustard, molasses, vinegar, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and the beans. Remember, you don’t drain the beans, it is the liquid in the cans that provides a flavorful ingredient rather than just using water.
- I like using a combination of butter beans, red kidney beans, great northern beans, pinto beans and lima beans. I love the flavor, texture and color combination of red, green and white beans in this mixed baked beans recipe. If you have particular favorites, you can swap out any variety of beans you desire.
Step 6. Bake the beans. Place the lid on the Dutch oven and arrange hot coals for baking at 325 degrees F (23 charcoals total = 16 on top of the lid / 7 below the bottom of the oven).
- Camp Cooking Tip: Be prepared with a second set of coals because you’ll need them about halfway through the cooking process.
- If you are using a different oven size, check our Dutch oven temperature chart to see how many coals you will need.
Step 7. Thicken and serve. While the beans are baking, stir the pot every 20 minutes or so. Most of the liquid will be absorbed after about 60-90 minutes. The sauce should be thick and have a deep golden-brown color. If there is too much liquid and the sauce is too thin, remove the lid and place all of the coals under the oven. Let the pot cook at a low boil until the sauce thickens to your likeness, occasionally stirring to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot.
What To Serve With This Recipe
Baked beans in cast iron Dutch ovens are classic summer cookout pairings for simple hot dogs and burgers along with a cold Polish Potato Salad.
We fell in love with these Smoked Chicken Legs On A Pellet Grill the first time we ate them. Our spicy dry rub recipe is amazing and makes BBQ sauce totally optional.
If you like carrying similar flavors throughout your winter camping recipes, you should pair this baked bean with ground beef recipe with a classic comfort food. My Dutch Oven Meatloaf uses ground beef and ground pork to create a savory flavor then you add a simple homemade glaze and combine bacon in a lattice pattern to top it off with a touch of sweetness. Check out all of my ground beef camping recipes.
This Grilled Flat Iron Camping Steak Recipe takes 6 hours to marinate but only 5 minutes to prep and 8 minutes to cook.
My favorite dish to serve with Camping Dutch Oven BBQ Ribs is this beans casserole. The next time you have a lazy day of slow cooking at camp, try this combination!
Make this simple Chuckwagon Sandwich more substantial by serving it with a bowl of baked beans.
These beans are GF. Get more ideas for gluten free camping food.
Use my camping menu planner to stay organized when planning meals for your next trip. It’s FREE and you’ll get it delivered instantly to your inbox!
If 12 servings are not enough, you can make multiple batches of these beans. It is one of our easy camping meals for large groups that can be made and held warm for long periods of time.
Try some similar camping side dishes too.
- What kind of beans go in a Mexican Three Bean Salad? This one uses garbanzo beans, black beans, pinto beans and uses only shelf-stable pantry ingredients that don’t need to be cooked. It is a great side dish when you need camping food recipes no refrigeration required.
- This Southwest Camping Salad is an easy no-cook side salad that is served cold or at room temperature.
- If you want to serve a green salad that isn’t lettuce, try this Broccoli Sunshine Salad that combines bacon, raw broccoli, red onion and sweet raisins with a simple homemade dressing.
- If you enjoy this bean and meat combo but want it in a main dish, try my Campfire Chili. You’ll simmer the mixture for 2 hours in a large Dutch oven, allowing the flavors to intensify. I serve it in a large bowl topped with cheddar cheese, sliced jalapenos and a dollop of sour cream. There’s a reason this one wins awards!
Print This Recipe
Dutch Oven Baked Beans Recipe
- 1 pound bacon chopped in 1-inch pieces
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup yellow mustard
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 (16 oz) can butter beans (undrained)
- 1 (16 oz) can red kidney beans (undrained)
- 1 (16 oz) can great northern beans (undrained)
- 1 (16 oz) can pinto beans (undrained)
- 1 (16 oz) can lima beans (undrained)
- Prepare ingredients as directed.
- Pre-heat a deep-depth 12-inch cast iron Dutch oven or standard-depth 14-inch cast iron Dutch oven.
- Using bottom-only medium-high heat, brown the bacon in the pot, about 15 minutes. If the bacon is not browning quickly enough, place the lid on the oven to maintain the heat.
- When the bacon is fully browned, add the ground beef to the pot. Use a spoon to break up the hamburger as it browns, about 10 minutes.
- When the meat is still slightly pink, use a paper towel to soak up a good portion (but not all) of the grease.
- Add the onion and garlic to the pot, stirring to combine with the meat.
- When the vegetables are softened, pour remaining ingredients into the pot and stir to combine. Remember, do not drain the beans, you’ll get flavor and liquid out of them so you shouldn’t have to add broth or water.
- Place the lid on the oven and arrange the coals for baking at 325 degrees F (23 charcoals total = 16 on top of the lid / 7 below the bottom of the oven). (see * Note)
- Stir the pot every 20 minutes or so while the beans bake.
- The beans are done when most of the liquid is absorbed and you have a thick sauce with a deep golden-brown color, about 60-90 minutes. If the sauce is too thin, remove the lid and place all of the coals under the oven. Let the pot cook at a low boil until the sauce thickens to your likeness, occasionally stirring to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot.
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