This recipe for Crock-Pot Calico Beans is the perfect side to make for your next BBQ or cookout. The beans are sweet (but not TOO sweet), savory & yum! Ground beef, bacon, a variety of beans are simmered away for hours in this sweet and savory recipe!
Slow Cooker Calico Beans
Last weekend was my oldest son’s 17th birthday and for his birthday he wanted to have a cook-out at the park with friends and family. He 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 he wasn’t sure what that something else should be.
So I suggested that she let me make some calico beans.
“What are calico beans?” he asked.
And I told him 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
The name calico beans comes from the different colors of beans in the dish. The word “calico” is a type of fabric that is usually pretty colorful with prints of small flowers.
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.
Absolutely! I make these beans and take them to all sorts of get togethers…summer BBQ’s (think 4th of July or Memorial Day) and potlucks are a given. But they are also great for birthday parties, baby showers, and office parties too! Any occasion where you are asked to bring a dish!
Try These Slow Cooker Side Dishes Too!
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Crock-Pot Spinach Casserole
This recipe for Slow Cooker Spinach Casserole is a fantastic side dish that is creamy and full of spinach. Serve with your favorite entrée!
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Crock-Pot Macaroni and Cheese
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Crock-Pot Calico Beans Recipe
- 6 Quart Crock-Pot or larger slow cooker
- 1 Pound Center Cut Bacon
- 1 Pound Extra Lean Ground Beef
- 53 Ounces Canned Pork & Beans
- 32 Ounces Canned Butter Beans (drained)
- 32 Ounces Canned Red Kidney Beans (drained)
- 1 Medium Yellow Onion (peeled and finely diced)
- 1 Cup Ketchup
- ⅓ Cup Brown Sugar (light or dark)
- 1 Tablespoon Ground Mustard
- 1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- In a large skillet cook the bacon until crisp.1 Pound Center Cut Bacon
- Set the cooked bacon aside on paper towels to cool.
- Once cooked crumble the bacon and add to the bottom of a 6 quart or larger slow cooker.
- 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 ground beef.1 Pound Extra Lean Ground Beef
- Drain excess fat from meat and add to the slow cooker.
- Dump the rest of the ingredients (beans, onion, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard and pepper) into the slow cooker and stir to combine.53 Ounces Canned Pork & Beans –32 Ounces Canned Butter Beans –32 Ounces Canned Red Kidney Beans –1 Medium Yellow Onion –1 Cup Ketchup –⅓ Cup Brown Sugar –1 Tablespoon Ground Mustard –1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Cover and cook on LOW 8 hours or on HIGH 4 hours (see note below).
What are can butter beans in the calico crockpot beans.? they sound delicous.
Lady Heidi says
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.
Mary Shore says
the amount of Pork ‘n Beans – 53 oz – is this the correct amount?
Lady Heidi says
Yes this is the correct amount. You use a large 53 oz can of pork & beans. I found my can at Walmart but you can use multiple smaller cans to get to (or really close to) that amount.
I would like to make this ahead for a hunting trip. Can I freeze it then?
This sounds wonderful. I was wondering if you drained the butter beans and the kidney beans before putting them in the crockpot?
Lady Heidi says
Nope I just dumped them in, juices and all.
Karen Washam says
Maybe I missed it, but how many people does this feed? Seems like a LOT of beans!!
Lady Heidi says
Hi Karen, We had a change in how we display our recipes a while back ago and the serving information did not transfer over properly on some of our recipes. I have gone ahead and edited the recipe to include serving information. This is a recipe designed for a crowd of 20 (or more people). Great for taking to potlucks. You can half the recipe of course. You can also freeze the beans just fine in freezer bags or containers and save for later.
Michelle O'Loughlin says
I just made these today for our family reunion and they are cooking. I drained the kidney and butter beans. Should I add any additional liquid?
Lady Heidi says
No other additional liquid is needed. The pork and beans should be enough. However, if you like things a little more saucy you can add some water, BBQ sauce or tomato sauce.
States “serves 20” but what is the serving size? Some would have two spoons, others a cup or more. This is an important factor to track nutrition values for those who need to.
Crock-Pot Ladies says
Hi JoJo, because we are not a diet food site and the nutritional information is added to our recipes to just help our readers out. We don’t measure out how big a serving size is. We figure common sense says if a recipe serves 20 that a serving size is 1/20th of the recipe. If you are on a diet we suggest that you either portion out 20 servings or weigh the finished recipe, divide that number by 20 and calculate the serving size.