Dr Pepper Baked Beans — Not just any baked beans, these EASY baked beans with bacon, onions, and peppers also have Dr Pepper to give them FANTASTIC depth of flavor! Sweet-and-tangy, savory, hearty, and your NEW favorite baked beans recipe! Great side dish to serve at backyard barbecues, summer holidays, tailgating and game day parties, or anytime you need a comfort food recipe!
Table of contents
- Easy Dr Pepper Baked Beans Recipe
- Ingredients in Dr. Pepper Baked Beans with Bacon
- How to Make Dr Pepper Baked Beans
- What Kind of Skillet Should I Use?
- What Kind of Beans to Use for Baked Beans?
- Do I Have to Use Dr Pepper in Baked Beans?
- Serving Suggestions for Dr Pepper Beans
- Storing Leftover Baked Beans with Dr Pepper
- Dr Pepper Baked Beans FAQs
Easy Dr Pepper Baked Beans Recipe
I have always been a huge baked beans fan. I think it’s because I love sauce and really saucy foods and there’s nothing saucier than baked beans!
But these aren’t just any baked beans.
The beans themselves are hearty and meaty, there’s bacon, bell peppers, onions, ketchup, and mustard to really add both layers of flavor and texture.
The sauce the easy baked beans simmers in is both savory yet sweet and tangy from molasses, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar.
And one special ingredient: Dr Pepper soda. That’s right, Dr Pepper and it’s 23 flavors amps up the flavor of this comfort food recipe and there’s a subtle fruity sweetness. As the beans bake in the oven, and the sauce thickens and the sugars in the soda caramelize, the flavors concentrate, marry and meld together, and it’s all a fantastic combination.
Whether you want to make these for Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, summer barbecues, tailgating, or a wintertime comfort food, there’s no wrong season for these Dr Pepper and bacon baked beans.
Ingredients in Dr. Pepper Baked Beans with Bacon
To make these easy baked beans with Dr Pepper, you’ll need the following easy to find and very common fridge and pantry ingredients including the following:
- Thick cut bacon
- Yellow onion
- Red or green bell peppers
- Black Pepper
- Canned baked beans
- Light brown sugar
- Prepared yellow mustard
- Apple cider vinegar
- Dr Pepper
Note: All ingredients amounts are listed in the recipe card section when you keep scrolling down.
How to Make Dr Pepper Baked Beans
Making baked beans is easier than you think. Especially since I start out with canned baked beans to save a ton of time.
Follow these straightforward and easy steps:
Step 1: In an oven-safe cast iron skillet, add the bacon and cook over medium heat until crispy. Remove it from the skillet and drain off all but 2 tablespoons bacon grease.
What Kind of Skillet Should I Use?
It’s important to use an oven-safe skillet since these beans are going to bake for 75 to 90 minutes. I suggest cast iron because it’s simply the best material for the job.
I don’t recommend anything that’s “nonstick” or Teflon-coated if you can avoid it since you’re baking these baked beans for a good while.
Step 2: Add the onions, bell peppers, salt, pepper, and saute until softened.
Step 3: Add the cooked bacon back into the pan, the beans, ketchup, light brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, Dr Pepper, and stir to combine.
Step 4: Baked in a preheated oven for about 75 to 90 minutes before serving!
What Kind of Beans to Use for Baked Beans?
Beans are such an instrumental element to this recipe so it’s important to use the right kind!
- Canned Baked Beans – I used Bush’s Original Canned Baked Beans that I drain. Quick, easy, no planning!
- Canned Beans – We are taking the “baked” element out and simply used prepared canned beans. Drain and rinse them. I suggest using navy beans like Bush’s Navy Beans, pinto beans, or cannellini beans. Again, quick, easy, no planning, and you may already have 3 cans of beans in your pantry.
- Dry Beans – You can make beans from scratch and then use those beans in the baked beans recipe. If you want a guide for how to make beans from scratch, my Instant Pot Black Beans recipe is great. Don’t make black beans for this recipe. Use dry “white beans” such as navy beans, cannellini beans, or pinto beans. This is a more labor intensive and longer process but certainly is an option.
Do I Have to Use Dr Pepper in Baked Beans?
In order to have Dr. Pepper Baked Beans, you actually do need to use Dr Pepper soda. All you need is one 12-ounce can.
If you’re not a Dr Pepper fan, you can also use Coca-Cola, Pepsi, or Root Beer.
Can I Use Diet Dr Pepper?
No, not really. And I suggest using regular Dr Pepper. Those 23 original flavors of Dr Pepper really are the key! You could say that Dr Pepper is the not-so-secret “secret ingredient”
Part of the reason that the skillet Dr Pepper beans are so good is because as they bake, the sugars caramelize and the flavors deepen and intensify. You simply won’t get the same result if you use diet soda.
However, if you know going in that by using Diet Dr Pepper you’re going to get an inferior tasting result (in my opinion) but the recipe will still “work” but it won’t taste the same.
Also, I am not a fan of baking with artificial sweeteners like Splenda or Nutrasweet. They tend to take on a very odd taste when exposed to heat. However, to each their own.
Serving Suggestions for Dr Pepper Beans
Believe it or not, I could make a meal practically out of baked beans. I just love the sweet-and-tangy beans and all their saucy goodness.
However, I’ve got a variety of ideas for you:
Perfect Side Dish Ideas
- Angel Biscuits – To soak up all that lovely baked beans sauce! The lightest, fluffiest, flakiest, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits you’ll ever eat! Thanks to a trio of leavening agents, plenty of butter, and buttermilk, these EASY biscuits will become a family FAVORITE in no time!
- Texas Roadhouse Rolls – Soft, buttery, fluffy, and light this easy COPYCAT recipe for Texas Roadhouse rolls! A real crowd pleaser!
- Bacon Cheddar Loaded Mashed Potatoes — If you like loaded baked potatoes, you’ll LOVE the amazing flavor of these mashed potatoes with bacon, cheddar cheese, butter, sour cream, and more!
- Bacon Potato Salad – This no mayo Potato Salad with Bacon is ready in just 30 minutes! It’s a vinegar potato salad the whole family will love and great for your next potluck.
- Warm German Potato Salad — A classic potato salad made with tender red potatoes, bacon, onions, and a tangy vinegar dressing! This no-mayo potato salad is a family favorite side dish that’s perfect for parties, picnics, and cookouts!
- Grilled Avocado Corn Salad — An EASY and HEALTHY salad with unique flavors that’s ready in 10 minutes and you won’t be able to stop eating it!! Juicy corn, creamy avocado, cilantro, and fresh lime juice is a FIESTA in your mouth!
Main Dishes to Serve with Baked Beans
- Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs – Tender, juicy, fall-off-the-bone baby back pork ribs that are finger-lickin’ good! With just 5 minutes of active prep, your slow cooker does all the work in creating a batch of ribs that your friends and family will beg you to make over and over!
- Pork Belly Burnt Ends — Crispy, sticky, sweet-and-savory pieces of pork belly are grilled to burnt ends “perfection”! The pork is moist, tender, and everyone goes crazy for it so double the recipe!
- Spicy Garlic Grilled Chicken – An EASY homemade marinade made with everyday ingredients that produces super FLAVORFUL, juicy chicken!! If you’re looking for a NEW marinade to jazz up grilled chicken, this is the one!
- Honey Barbecue Grilled Chicken — Tender, juicy, full of FLAVOR, and a great recipe to jazz up grilled bbq chicken. EASY, healthy, ready in 10 minutes, zero cleanup, perfect for backyard barbecues or easy weeknight dinners!
- Easy Carne Asada Tacos — EASY carne asada at home that rivals your favorite restaurant!! Tender juicy beef that’s seasoned to perfection and topped with pico de gallo and salsa make these carne asada tacos INCREDIBLE!
- Black Bean Burgers — This will be your new FAVORITE black bean burger recipe! EASY, full of great texture, flavor, and tastes just like a great burger – minus the meat! Can be GRILLED or BAKED!
Storing Leftover Baked Beans with Dr Pepper
Baked beans will keep in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 5 days or in your freezer for up to 3 months.
Reheat gently in the microwave.
Dr Pepper Baked Beans FAQs
I did not design this particular recipe per se to be made in the slow cooker and instead I bake them in the oven for true baked beans.
However, if you want to turn this recipe into a slow cooker option, I would prep the recipe on the stove top by cooking the bacon, peppers and onions, adding the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, and transfer that all into your Crock Pot. Cook on low for about 4-5 hours or on high for about 3-4 hours, although I have not tested it. All slow cookers cook differently so just let it simmer away until the sauce has thickened nicely and as desired.
I also have an amazing 100% from-scratch recipe for Bourbon Maple Slow Cooker Baked Beans that’s to-die-for if you want to give that one a try.
Yes you can subtly taste it, but not like you were drinking a can of Dr. Pepper or anything!
The flavor is not overwhelmingly strong because of all the other flavors going on like bacon, onions, and bell peppers, but it’s there but more in a subtle fruity sweetness kind of way. If you have a Dr. Pepper lover in your life, they’ll love these easy beans.
I use four slices of thick-cut bacon and recommend a thick cut bacon although regular bacon is fine. You can use hickory smoked, applewood, or whatever you love.
I won’t lie, these beans are pretty sweet for an overall savory dish. We love the juxtaposition of sweet with savory flavors but if you don’t, I recommend omitting the brown sugar.
Even “regular” unsulphured molasses such as a brand like Grandma’s Original Molasses is pretty intense. This is what I use and recommend.
I do not recommend going with blackstrap molasses as that’s even stronger and more potent tasting.
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Dr Pepper Baked Beans
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced into bite-sized pieces
- 1 medium/large yellow onion, diced small
- 1 medium/large red or green bell pepper, diced small
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- three 15-ounce cans baked beans, drained*
- ½ cup ketchup
- ⅓ cup unsulphured molasses
- ¼ cup light or dark brown sugar, packed; optional and to taste**
- 2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- one 12-ounce can Dr Pepper soda
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- To a large cast iron skillet or an oven-safe skillet, add the bacon and cook over medium heat until crispy; stir intermittently. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels and set aside. Tips – I recommend a 12-inch cast iron skillet, although a 9-inch skillet will work, although it'll be fuller. I do not recommend using a nonstick skillet or Teflon-coated skillets because these beans will bake for 75-90 minutes and a heavy duty cast iron skillet is ideal, although use what you have that's oven-safe.
- Drain all but 2 to 3 tablespoons of the bacon grease.
- Add the onions, bell peppers, and saute over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes; stir intermittently.
- Add the cooked bacon, the canned baked beans, ketchup, molasses (use unsulphured and not blackstrap), optional brown sugar to taste, mustard, apple cider vinegar, Dr Pepper, and stir to combine. Tip – If you wanted to turn this into a slow cooker baked beans recipes, transfer it into your Crock-Pot right now, and cook on low for about 4-5 hours on low OR about 3-4 hours on high, or until desired consistency has been reached. All slow cookers vary so keep an eye on yours and cook as needed.
- Bake for 75 to 90 minutes, uncovered, or until the sauce has thickened and desired consistency has been reached. Stir every 30 minutes or so and check on how they look as they're baking.
- Serve immediately. Extra beans will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat gently in the microwave.
- Canned Baked Beans – I used Bush's Original Canned Baked Beans that I drain. Quick, easy, no planning!
- Canned Beans – We are taking the "baked" element out and simply used prepared canned beans. Drain and rinse them. I suggest using navy beans like Bush's Navy Beans, pinto beans, or cannellini beans. Again, quick, easy, no planning, and you may already have 3 cans of beans in your pantry.
- Dry Beans – You can make beans from scratch and then use those beans in the baked beans recipe. If you want a guide for how to make beans from scratch, my Instant Pot Black Beans recipe is great. Don't make black beans for this recipe. Use dry "white beans" such as navy beans, cannellini beans, or pinto beans. This is a more labor intensive and longer process but certainly is an option.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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