Skip to Content

Calico Beans

Calico beans are a perfect side dish for hamburgers, hot dogs, BBQ’s and potlucks, revved up baked beans with ground beef and bacon, brown sugar and three kinds of canned beans.

Hamburger baked beans in white serving dish.

It’s getting to be that time of year for graduation parties, family reunions, Memorial Day and 4th of July picnics, just to mention a few occasions where feeding a crowd is in order.  When we lived in Minnesota, my aunt often had her Calico Beans on the table at family gatherings.  A hearty baked bean dish with three kinds of beans, ground beef and bacon ~ it disappeared fast!

Calico beans side dish close up.

Twenty years later and I recently pulled out my handwritten recipe from my aunt, on a very small sheet of note paper.  I made a batch the other day, and man, so good ~ just like my Aunt Jean’s.  And Meathead, well, what do you think he thought of Calico Beans?!?!  That’s a no-brainer.

Calico Beans, ingredients photo.

It’s so simple to make on the stovetop, all in one pot.  I suppose you could bake in the oven, like baked beans, but I like my aunt’s way best, on the stovetop.  And, like so many dishes, this tastes even better the next day, making it a perfect dish to make ahead for a crowd.

I hope you’re enjoying the warm weather.  If you’re looking for a great side dish for your next big gathering, these Calico Beans are a crowd pleaser.  Everyone loves them and will be asking you for the recipe ~ just like I asked my Aunt Jean, years ago.  Enjoy, Kelly

Calico ground beef beans in serving dish.

Two other crowd pleasing sides you might like are Honey’s Potato Salad and Napa Cabbage Salad

HUNGRY FOR MORE? Subscribe to my Newsletter and come hang out with me on INSTAGRAM, or give me a follow on FACEBOOK or see what I’m pinning on PINTEREST.

Hamburger baked beans in white serving dish.

Calico Beans

Calico beans are a perfect side dish for hamburgers, hot dogs, BBQ's and potlucks, revved up baked beans with ground beef and bacon, brown sugar and three kinds of canned beans.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 513kcal
Author: Kelly Wildenhaus | the hungry bluebird


  • 1 lb ground beef (any kind will do, I used ground sirloin)
  • ½ cup diced yellow onion (about half a large onion)
  • ½ cup diced bacon (about 3-4 pieces thick-cut bacon)
  • 1 (15½-oz) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (16-oz) can butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (16- to 18-oz) jars or cans of B&M brick oven baked beans
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar (can use white vinegar instead)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp dry mustard


  • Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add bacon, onion and ground beef.  Cook and brown, breaking up ground beef with wooden spoon, until beef is cooked and onion is soft and translucent, about 10 - 12 minutes.  Drain grease.
  • Add the beans, brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar, salt and mustard; stir to combine and bring to a simmer.  Turn heat down, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring often.  Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

My Aunt used a specific brand of baked beans and I follow her advice. If desired, substitute with a plain version of canned pork and beans.


Calories: 513kcal Carbohydrates: 65g Protein: 23g Fat: 19g Saturated Fat: 7g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g Monounsaturated Fat: 8g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 58mg Sodium: 1365mg Potassium: 883mg Fiber: 12g Sugar: 25g Vitamin A: 83IU Vitamin C: 4mg Calcium: 121mg Iron: 5mg
Keyword: baked beans, beef and beans, calico beans
Did you make this recipe? Please comment, rate it and share! And mention me on Instagram @thehungrybluebird or tag #thehungrybluebird so I can see!
Recipe Rating


Friday 12th of May 2017

Crowd pleaser!