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Barb's Easy Stove-top Beans Recipe

Updated on January 16, 2013

My Favorite Easy Stove-Top Beans

I love bean dishes -- especially if they are easy. This is, like most of the recipes I use regularly, not always the same. It took me a long time to realize that many recipes are just jumping off places. I use what I have in the house. I think of this recipe as both quick and easy, but in reality it tastes better if it can simmer for at least 20-30 minutes. The preparation goes quickly, though, and you can do other tasks while the beans simmer. You can even do the preparation hours before you want to eat and let the beans simmer safely in a slow cooker as you go about the rest of your day.

Many variations of this recipe are possible. Consider your own diet preferences and what's on hand. I have added a variation of this bean recipe that I've adapted to fit a recently adopted Eat for Your Blood Type Diet. The intro picture here shows a bowl of beans from that adapted recipe. I took the other pictures when I first published this lens a couple of years ago.

Ingredients for Stove-Top Beans
Ingredients for Stove-Top Beans

Ingredients for my Favorite Stove-Top Beans

  • 4-6 pieces of bacon, depending on whether it's your only meat
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 T cooking oil, or enough to cover surface if not using non-stick pan
  • About 3 cans (14.5 oz cans) baked beans of your choice. I use at least 2 Bush's Original and maybe a can of generic or other pork and beans, depending upon what's on hand.
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) dark red kidney beans.
  • About 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (I use Roma or paste tomatoes) or 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes. I use whatever I have on hand. I normally find tomatoes which need to be used fast and use those.
  • 2 T. molasses (Use more or less to taste.)
  • 2-4 T Brown sugar, according to taste
  • 1 t. brown mustard, according to taste

In addition to this you can add any cooked leftover chicken or pork you might have on hand. When I made this batch, I had grilled two boneless pork chops and saved them for this. So when you grill, make a little extra to add to the beans. It's not necessary, but it's yummy.

One thing you will notice in my recipes is that since they are in my head, not on paper, I often leave an ingredient out of the picture of ingredients because I don't remember it until it's time to add it. This time I left the Dijon mustard out.


You will also need a large (12-inch), heavy skillet with a cover (preferably a glass cover). I prefer a good quality non-stick surface. You will also need a cutting board, a sharp vegetable knife for slicing tomatoes and onion. I like to use a crock pot at the end to finish up, but this is not necessary.

Is it time to replace your skillet? - I'm thinking of replacing mine.

I'm still using the skillet you see in the picture. It has a non-stick surface that has worn off and sticks a bit now. I need to replace it. But I always seem to think about it when I'm all ready to cook with the ingredients prepared to go into the pan. I know I want a new cast iron skillet with a glass lid. I use glass lids for all my pans that did not come with their own lids. I like being able to see what's happening in the pan without taking the lid off to look.

If you need a new skillet, or know someone who's about to set up housekeeping, this is the time to order. Now! While you're thinking about it. All you need to do is click.

Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet - 12 Inch Ergonomic Frying Pan with Assist Handle
Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet - 12 Inch Ergonomic Frying Pan with Assist Handle

One of the best features of this cast iron skillet is that it comes already seasoned. Cast iron heats evenly and I have always loved the cast iron pans I've used. Read the reviews for all the rave reviews.

Lodge GC12 Tempered Glass Lid, 12-inch
Lodge GC12 Tempered Glass Lid, 12-inch

I have glass lids for every lidless pan I've ever bought. I think every pan should have a lid that fits it. Many pans come with one, but many don't. It's easy to pick up the glass lids separately. It's nice to be able to see what's happening in your pan without having to lift the lid. Glass is also heavy enough to stay put. They are easy to store in a rack. I keep my rack right on my stove.

Better Houseware Large Multi-purpose Kitchen and Office Organizer, White
Better Houseware Large Multi-purpose Kitchen and Office Organizer, White

This is similar to the rack I keep on my stove, which has four burners. I never use the two burners on the left, so I have a burner cover over them and put the rack on top of that.


Here's How to Make My Favorite Quick and Easy Beans - First cook bacon crisp and put on paper towel to drain. Set aside.

Drain bacon grease from pan and add 1 T oil or enough to cover surface if pan is not non-stick.

Then dice fresh tomatoes and onion.

Heat oil for about a minute so it's hot but not smoking.

Sauté onions and tomatoes in the hot oil.

Onions and tomatoes are finished.

You know they are finished because the onions are translucent. You should almost be able to see through them. Now add the brown sugar, molasses, and mustard. Stir well. Heat through until bubbly, stirring often to prevent burning on bottom.

Stir in beans.

You will want to drain the kidney beans before adding, but go ahead and add the sauce with the baked beans. Sometimes I will drain a little of the liquid off if a particular brand has a lot of excess juice. Stir well until seasonings are thoroughly mixed.

Heat through until bubbly again. Keep stirring as it heats.

Cut pork or other leftover meat, if you have any, into bite sized pieces to give the beans more flavor. - Crumble bacon into small pieces.

I normally add available leftovers when I prepare these beans. Most frequently I add leftover chicken or beef. Small amounts of leftover vegetables such as tomatoes and onions can be added to what's already in the recipe, if you have some you want to use right away. I've thought of adding some carrots, but so far haven't. Other offbeat ideas might be leftover applesauce (but not more than a cup) or maybe even small chunks of winter squash, if you're using white beans instead of red kidney beans. Don't be afraid to experiment with different herbs or spices, either. I've sometimes added a dash of cinnamon when I include apples. Just keep your own family's likes and dislikes in mind when being creative.

Stir the bacon and /or pork or other left-over cooked meat into the bean mixture. - Mix well .

Heat, while continuing to stir over medium heat, until bubbly.

When bubbly, turn heat down as low as you can and simmer uncovered for about thirty minutes or until a lot of the liquid has evaporated.

Variation for Eat-for-Your-Blood-Type Diet

We are blood types A and O

When we started the Eat Right for Your Type Blood Type Diet, we discovered that both of us were supposed to avoid pork and kidney beans and I was supposed to avoid tomatoes. Peter D'Adamo, who wrote the book linked to above which describes the diet, does say that you can eat a "forbidden" food if it's only a small percentage of the ingredients in a given dish. I decided that I would leave out the bacon and the kidney beans (for which I substituted white beans.) I also cut out the added brown sugar, but kept the molasses to taste. Instead I introduced more sweetness by adding one chopped Fuji apple and I cooked it with the onions. I kept the tomatoes, since the tartness was needed, and the tomatoes composed only a small percentage of the total recipe. As I write this I have a skillet of this modified version simmering. I choose to add some chunks of grilled chicken to the mix for more protein.

If I had Type O blood, as my husband does, I probably would have added a chopped bell pepper, red or green, with the onions and apple. It would have added another vegetable and a slightly different flavor. Variations keep things interesting.

Put beans in crockpot if desired. - This is not necessary.

You have a choice. You can either continue to simmer, stirring every few minutes to prevent burning for as long as possible, or you can put the hot bean mixture into a crockpot (4 quarts, minimum) and leave it for hours until you are ready to eat.

Cover and put crockpot back on heating element.

I made this the night before an estate sale and put it in the crock pot and left it on all night and most of the next day. That way, it was there waiting whenever anyone had a break to eat. The crock pot is also a great idea if you are having a buffet or open house.

This is also very good cold to take on a picnic.

Please let me know you stopped by. - I always appreciate feedback from my visitors.

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    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      It's made my mouth water - especially seeing the lovely photos of tomatoes and onions! Here are some Angel Blessings

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great! I love this sort of bean recipe where you just open up a few tins and throw them in to a pot with a bunch of other stuff. Soaking beans overnight seems such a tisky task.

    • BarbRad profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      8 years ago from Templeton, CA

      @thesuccess2: It's great for improvising. You can put in any kind of meat you want, vary the type of beans you use, or put in either fresh or canned tomatoes. I often use cherry type tomatoes if I have them. Sometimes I simmer the veggies and meats in the liquid ingredients and flavorings for about an hour before adding the other things -- if I have the extra time and will be hanging around the kitchen to stir it.

    • thesuccess2 profile image


      8 years ago

      As somebody else commented "I never met a bean that I didn't like" also this is my kind of recipe as I guess you can improvise

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 

      9 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Yummy sounding recipe! My husband loves beans, so I will make this soon. Anything in the crock pot is on my good list :-)

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      9 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Thanks for adding this to Recipes, Reviews and Food Collection. This recipe looks good.

    • blue22d profile image


      9 years ago

      I can hardly wait to try this. I love beans and so does my husband. As he is known for saying, "I never met a bean that I didn't like". ***** and a favorite and lensroll. Thanks.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      You've made your stove-top beans look like a meal -- I think hubby would love this recipe.

    • GramaBarb profile image


      9 years ago from Vancouver

      I love baked beans - and these stove top beans look so yummy!

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      9 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      My husband would love this recipe. Well done lens 5*


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