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Cranberry Baked Beans

This fall, why not try a new side dish at your table with these cranberry baked beans!  Made with tart cranberries, salty bacon, spicy habanero, and classic sweeteners – you’ll love the incredible blend of flavors in this recipe. 

A cast iron pot of cranberry baked beans.

Ingredients

Here’s a photo of all the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe, with some selected ingredient notes below.

All of the ingredients for the recipe - cranberries, bacon, sugar, maple syrup, mustard, worcestershire, broth, onion, habanero, beans, and tomato paste.
  • Cranberries – You can use fresh or frozen cranberries for this recipe.  You don’t need to defrost the frozen cranberries prior to using; just add them in directly from the freezer.
  • Beans – I use Great Northern Beans whenever I make baked beans – they have a great size and texture to them.  But you can also use navy beans or small white beans to make this recipe.
  • Habanero – One small habanero adds the perfect amount of heat to balance the sweet.  To give perspective, my six-year-old enjoyed these beans, so they weren’t overly spicy for our family – but obviously, individual tolerance varies.  For less spice, use a jalapeno instead.

Step by Step Instructions

You’ll find full recipe ingredients and amounts in the recipe card at the bottom of the post, but here’s a helpful step-by-step overview with photos.

This recipe uses a Dutch oven that is both stove-top and oven-safe  I use a cast-iron one that I grabbed at ALDI for super cheap. 😉 But if you don’t have one that you can use on both, just use a pan on the stovetop for the initial steps, then transfer to an oven-safe casserole dish when you bake it.

You’ll start by cooking your bacon on the stovetop in the uncovered dutch oven.  Let it get slightly crisp (but it doesn’t need to be fully crisp yet).

Bacon cooking in a dutch oven.

Add the onions and habanero.  Cook for a few minutes until those start to get tender and your bacon is nice and crisp.

Onions, habanero, and bacon in a pot.

Then add your cranberries and cook for another minute.

Cranberries, onions, habanero, and bacon in a pot.

The last step is to mix in all your remaining ingredients, cover the pot, and transfer it to the oven. This is what it will look like before cooking:

The pot of baked beans before being cooked.

You’ll bake it for about 40 minutes.  When you pull it out, give everything a good stir then let it cool for a few minutes.  Here’s what it’ll look like after cooking:

The pot of cranberry baked beans after being cooked.

Now dig in!

Recipe FAQ

Here are some common questions that may come up as you prepare this recipe:

What do you do if the baked beans look dry or too thick?

This shouldn’t happen as long as you are using a covered dutch oven – but if you notice that they are too dry/thick, just add a few splashes of vegetable broth to reach the right texture.

Should you add salt to this recipe? 

You shouldn’t need to add any salt, as the bacon, canned beans, and tomato paste already add a considerable amount of sodium to season the recipe.  However, feel free to season to taste afterwards if you prefer (or if you are using lower-sodium canned varieties).

Can you freeze baked beans?

Yes.  The texture will be slightly different upon reheating, but still delicious.  For best quality, allow to cool, then freeze in an airtight container and use within 6 months.  You can reheat in the microwave.

Can you make vegetarian baked beans?

Sure – just leave out the bacon at the beginning and instead use a little olive oil to sauté the onion and pepper.  You’ll also need to skip the Worcestershire, as it typically contains fish (anchovies).  You can substitute soy sauce for the Worcestershire to add that savory, umami aspect.  The rest of the ingredients are vegetarian, so those should be the only changes you need to make.

A bowl of cranberry baked beans with a spoon in it.

More Cranberry Side Dishes

Enjoy even more delicious cranberry flavors with these side dishes:

  • Cranberry pumpkin risotto – How delicious would this be in the fall?!  I love this savory pumpkin and cranberry side dish.
  • Millionaire cranberry salad – If you love ambrosia, this is a great recipe for you to try.  Cranberry sauce is mixed with pecans, coconut, marshmallows, and pineapple.

I hope you enjoy these cranberry baked beans!  If you get a chance to try them, please feel free to leave a recipe rating or comment below.

Close-up of a cast iron pot filled with cranberry baked beans.

Cranberry Baked Beans

OnlyCrans
These cranberry baked beans have the perfect blend of sweet, salty, and spicy flavors!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 221 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 slices bacon chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (or ½ large onion)
  • 1 habanero, minced
  • ¾ cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cans (15.5-oz each) Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Heat a stovetop-safe and oven-safe Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook for 3-4 minutes, uncovered, until it starts to get slightly crisp.
  • Add the onion and habanero and cook for 3 minutes, uncovered, then add the cranberries and cook for another minute.
  • Add all the remaining ingredients – the Great Northern Beans, tomato paste, brown sugar, maple syrup, Worcestershire, mustard, and stock. Turn off heat, cover, and transfer the Dutch oven to the preheated oven. Bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees F. Let cool for a few minutes the enjoy!

Notes

  • You do not have to defrost the cranberries if using frozen.
  • If you do not have a habanero, substitute with a jalapeno or serrano pepper.
  • This recipe makes 4-6 side dish servings. The nutrition analysis below is based on 6 smaller servings.
 
Nutrition analysis (approximate per serving): 221 calories, 2.5 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 480 mg sodium, 39.5 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 13.5 g sugar, 11.5 g protein, Vitamin D: 0%, Calcium: 8%, Iron: 22%, Potassium: 15%
Keyword cranberry baked beans

Share:  What’s your favorite fall side dish?  If you tried these cranberry baked beans, what did you think?

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A pot of cranberry baked beans with a text overlay for Pinterest.

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