The Best Cowboy-Calico Beans

"These are the BEST! I've been making this recipe for over 20 years now, and it's always a HIT with my family and friends! Great for BBQ's, potlucks, camping etc. Can be made in the oven or in the crockpot, and it freezes and reheats well."
photo by BecR2400 photo by BecR2400
photo by BecR2400
photo by internetnut photo by internetnut
Ready In:
1hr 20mins




  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Brown beef, bacon and onion in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat.
  • Add beans and remaining ingredients, stirring to combine.
  • Pour into two (1 1/2- quart each) buttered baking dishes.
  • Bake uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until beans reach desired thickness (do not stir---a nice chewy, crispy crust will form, which is my favorite part--yum!).
  • Alternatively, place in a buttered crock pot and heat on low for about 4 hours, uncover during the last hour of cooking if you like your beans thick.
  • Freezes/reheats well.

Questions & Replies

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  1. NYAmy
    I made these for a Fourth of July BBQ. They were a big hit! SO DELICIOUS! I only used 1/4 cup of each of the sugars and they were still very sweet. This has become a family favorite. Thank you BecR!
  2. Marie
    This goes directly into my "WOW" cookbook. Made these as part our July 4 cookout and everyone loved them, especially me! I would use a little more ground beef next time and the only other change I made was to exclude the mustard. Also, cooked these in a slow cooker on low for four hours. Would decrease this time a little in the future because my crockpot cooks a little hot. This is a fabulous recipe and one I will make many many more times. Thank you so much for sharing it.
  3. carolinespa
    This recipe is the Best! I don't change the recipe at all. I've made them in the oven and in the crock pot. I've made them in my roaster for large gatherings using the multiplier for the ingredients. (50 servings fit in my roaster, but probably serves more like 75 people as a side dish) They are a perfect balance of sweet, thick, and have lots of flavor. This is my go to bean recipe!
  4. internetnut
    I gave this recipe 4 stars. I made these beans for a gathering at my future mom-inlaws. I got several raves on these beans. I had a lady even ask for the recipe. When I made these beans I made a couple minor changes to the recipe. I used 1 pound ground beef, 5 slices of bacon, 1/2 cup Splenda sugar blend, 1/2 cup Splenda brown sugar, bulk pantry dry mustard and I added 1 package chili powder (trying to reinvent a tried dish). Overall I'll make these beans again! Thanks for posting a yummy recipe! Christine (internetnut)


<p>Married to my sweetheart for almost forty years and we have two wonderful children who are grown and have flown the coop. Also, we have been blessed with a wonderful son-in-law and beautiful daughter-in-law, plus FIVE grandchildren: two beautiful granddaughters ages five and eight, and three sweet adorable little grandsons ages 2 months, 2 years and 3 years. My husband and I share a combination of English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Dutch, Swiss, Polish, Austrian, German and French heritage, and our son-in-law and daughter-in-law are both Hispanic. We've traveled extensively to many countries abroad (we lived in Germany), and have traveled and lived in several states here in the U.S.A. Many of the recipes I post here are influenced by our combined heritage or from our travels, or they are old family favorites that I want to share with you. I hope you enjoy! Have been to culinary school with many years of cooking (mostly for my family) under my belt, so know my way around a kitchen. And I'm very lucky to have the best sous chef in the world, dddddh! One of my favorite chefs of all time is Jacques Pepin! I have several of his cookbooks, and enjoy watching his television cooking show Fast Food My Way. Another top favorite is Julia Child (of course!). A few other chefs I read/enjoy watching on t.v. are: Giada At Home, Ina Garten's The Barefoot Contessa, Nigella Lawson's Nigella Bites, and Patti's Mexican Kitchen, and many more. On my bucket list is dining at Thomas Keller's establishment The French Laundry in Napa Valley, California... as well as Alice Waters' Chez Panisse in Berkeley, and the James Beard award winning Tartine Bakery and Cafe in San Francisco. One day!! &nbsp; Hobbies/Interests: Decorating with fresh flowers and herbs from the garden is my passion, and brings me deep joy! It's really hard to beat!! I love connecting with others who enjoy the same. Gardening, decorating, sewing, music, dancing, film, and reading are also up there. Spending quality time with my grandchildren, family, and friends (and cooking holiday meals!). Currently, a newfound passion has been so richly rewarding for me: genealogical research. I heart ancestry dot com. And last but certainly not least, I absolutely LOVE cats--we have two half-Siamese fur babies (cats) that allow us to live here!!&nbsp; &nbsp; A Note of Thanks~ I try to personally thank everyone who kindly makes and reviews my recipes, but sometimes I am busy, late, or may forget. Please know that I am always humbled that you would try one of my recipes, and I enjoy reading the reviews and seeing all the pretty photographs. Thanks so much!&nbsp;</p>
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