Slow Cooker Calico Beans

Calico Beans

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 3 hrs 12 mins
Total: 3 hrs 27 mins
Servings: 10 to 12 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
403 Calories
14g Fat
41g Carbs
27g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 403
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 5g 24%
Cholesterol 63mg 21%
Sodium 770mg 33%
Total Carbohydrate 41g 15%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Protein 27g
Calcium 66mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

These hearty and flavorful beans make a fabulous dish to serve at a barbecue. You can even take them along to a party or potluck, right in the slow cooker. This is a great dish to accompany pulled pork or pulled chicken

The canned baked beans are an important component of this dish because of the flavor they add, but you can change up the other types of canned beans. See the tips for some substitution ideas.

These beans can be a side dish as well. Add more beef for a hearty dinner and serve them with coleslaw and hot baked cornbread or biscuits. 


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  • 8 ounces bacon, about 10 to 12 slices
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (85 percent or better)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans baked beans
  • 1 can lima beans or butter beans (drained)
  • 1 can kidney beans (drained)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup or barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for calico beans
    The Spruce
  2. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, cook the bacon until just crisp. You can either cook the bacon whole or cut the bacon into chunks before cooking. Once crisp, remove the bacon to paper towels to drain. Leave about 2 teaspoons of bacon drippings in the skillet and discard the remaining drippings.

    Bacon frying in pan
    The Spruce
  3. Place the skillet back over medium heat and add the ground beef and chopped onions. Cook until the beef is no longer pink, stirring and breaking up larger chunks. With a slotted spoon or spatula, transfer the ground beef to the crockery insert of the slow cooker.

    Onions and beef in frying pan
    The Spruce
  4. Add the brown sugar, dry mustard, baked beans, two cans of drained beans, ketchup or barbecue sauce, and vinegar. Taste and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

    Ingredients added to slow cooker
    The Spruce
  5. Cover and cook on low for 3 to 5 hours. 


  • There are two great ways to cook bacon: baked or fried. For baked bacon, heat the oven to 375 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Arrange the bacon in the pan and bake for 22 to 26 minutes, or until crisp.
  • For fried bacon, lay the bacon strips in a pan and place over medium-low heat. When you notice the bacon is curling slightly, turn it over. Continue cooking, turning occasionally, until browned. Depending on the amount of bacon you are cooking, you might have to fry it in batches. Remove the bacon to paper towels to drain.

Recipe Variations

  • If you have baked beans but don't have kidney beans or lima beans in your pantry, use pinto beans, great northern beans, black beans, or navy beans. Even canned black-eyed peas would work in this dish.
  • Use part ground pork or sausage, along with the ground beef.
  • Add 1/2 cup of diced green bell pepper or a combination of red and green bell peppers to the skillet with the onions and ground beef.