Crock-Pot Calico Beans

Crock-Pot Calico Beans

Crock-Pot Calico Beans

Last weekend was my second oldest daughter’s 17th birthday and for her birthday she wanted to have a cook-out  at the park with friends and family. She was adamant that she wanted her dad’s famous BBQ ribs. As far as sides she wanted pasta salad, chips and dip and something else…but she wasn’t sure what that something else should be.

So I suggested that she let me make some calico beans.

“What are calico beans?” she asked

And I told her that they are sort of like BBQ beans or baked beans but not quite as sweet and more savory. But still…delicious.

And they were. Seriously they were a huge hit and I think I may have eaten 3 or 4 bowls of them myself.

There is a tad bit of prep work involved in that you will need to cook up some bacon and brown up some hamburger. Oh and chop an onion.

And then you just open up some cans, measure out some ketchup, brown sugar and seasonings and let it cook…low and slow all day.

The prep work isn’t too bad and the results are totally worth it.

These beans are sweet.

But not TOO sweet.

They are savory too and there is a hint of smokiness from the bacon. They are the perfect side dish for any summer cookout.

Calico beans go well with hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, chicken, steak and just about anything you can toss on the grill.

The name calico beans comes from the different colors of beans in the dish. I used some pork and beans (just your plain pork and beans and those are usually cooked from navy beans. Then we toss in some butter beans (which are dried lima beans, cooked…I detest lima beans but cooked butter beans are different, they have a nice texture) and then some red kidney beans. You can substitute other beans like pinto beans if you want.

Oh..and this is a great recipe to take to a potluck or get-together where you are asked to bring a dish.

You won’t be disappointed. I promise!

Crock-Pot Calico Beans

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 20 + servings

Crock-Pot Calico Beans

This recipe for Crock-Pot Calico beans is a delicious side dish perfect for your next BBQ or cookout. The beans are savory and sweet, without them being too sweet.


1 lb. bacon
1 lb ground beef
1 (53 oz.) can pork and beans
2 (16 oz.) cans butter beans
2 (16 oz.) cans red kidney beans
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a large skillet cook the bacon until crisp.
  2. Set the cooked bacon aside on paper towels to cool.
  3. Once cooked crumble the bacon and add to the bottom of a 6 quart crock-pot.
  4. Drain off bacon grease from skillet (save it if you like to save your bacon grease!) and add the ground beef to the same skillet and brown and crumble hamburger meat.
  5. Drain excess fat from meat and add to the crock-pot.
  6. Dump the rest of the ingredients (beans, onion, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard and pepper) into the slow cooker and stir to combine.
  7. Cover and cook on LOW 8 hours or on HIGH 4 hours (see note below)


While you can cook these beans on high for only 4 hours I feel the flavor is better brought out when you cook them on low for the longer cooking time. If your BBQ or cookout is earlier in the day, Go ahead and cook these beans the day before your party, toss them in the fridge and warm them up on the day of your party. They taste just as good (maybe even better) the next day!

Gluten Free Notes
This recipe is gluten free diet friendly. We do caution our readers to read labels on all ingredients before using to ensure they are all indeed gluten free.

Click here for more Gluten Free Crock-Pot Recipes

If you give this recipe a try, come on back and leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

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    • says

      Hi Claire,

      I explained what Butter Beans are in the intro above the recipe. But to sum it up they are lima beans which have been dried (like a any other dried bean) and then cooked.

      So basically Lima beans are the fresh bean straight out of the pod and cooked.

      Butter beans are Lima beans that have been dried like other beans. I found the cans of butter beans at my local Walmart – Bush’s brand. But there are other brands of butter beans too and you should be able to find them at just about any supermarket in the canned bean aisle. If you really cannot find canned butter beans you can substitute other beans such as canned pinto beans, white kidney beans, navy beans etc.

  1. Dorene says

    This sounds wonderful. I was wondering if you drained the butter beans and the kidney beans before putting them in the crockpot?

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