Calico Beans

Calico Beans

Calico Beans

You’ve never had beans like these! This “side dish” is hearty enough to be an entire meal!

Are you looking for a last minute dish to cook this week? This is our favorite holiday recipe yet! 

To be honest, I was never a fan of baked beans… until my grandma introduced these! They have the perfect amount of sweetness! Whether you like baked beans or not, this WILL be a fan favorite at Thanksgiving dinner.


Before cooking this recipe, please allow plenty of time for thawing your beef! We recommend thawing 1 of 2 ways. Beef thaws best in the refrigerator! For a pound of ground beef, we suggest at least 6 hours of defrost time. Second best option would be thawing in cold water. If your beef is vacuum sealed, you are probably safe to soak the package straight in the water. Otherwise, place your frozen beef in a sealed Ziploc bag for its defrost bath! Change the water out every 20-30 minutes until the meat is fully thawed.

First we are going to cook the ground beef. In a large skillet with a large splash of olive oil, fry the hamburger meat until it is browned. Once cooked, strain the grease from the meat and set it aside for later. 

Next, we fry the bacon, onion & garlic! Before cooking, chop your raw bacon into small pieces & finely chop the onion. We typically chop pieces off the slice that are about 1cm thick. In your same large skillet, fry the bacon until tender. After cooking, spoon the cooked bacon out of the skillet and add it to the ground beef & reserve the bacon grease in the skillet. Using the bacon grease, fry the chopped onion for a few minutes, then add in minced garlic and cook until fragrant and onions are transparent. Once cooked, drain from the grease and add to the bowl with the beef and bacon.

Next, we make the sauce. In the same large skillet, add ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar & dry mustard. Mix well until fully combined, then simmer for 15 minutes to thicken. Once the sauce is thickened, transfer the sauce to a large pot.

In the large pot with the sauce, we are going to add all the beans. Dump your can of pork and beans & can of butter beans (with the juice) into the pot. Before adding the remainder of the beans, dump the green Lima beans, red kidney beans & black beans in a colander and rinse well with water. After they’re rinsed, add them to the large pot as well. Stir the beans until they are mixed and coated completely with the sauce. Once the beans and sauce are mixed, stir in the beef, bacon, onion & garlic. 

Now that all the ingredients are combined, simmer the pot on low heat for 30-45 minutes. After time is up, your calico beans are complete!

Like I said before, we believe these beans could be their own meal, so definitely try them for dinner one night… BUT, we think they will be a STAR side dish at your family holiday dinners this year!


Calico Beans

Defrost Time: ~6 hours in refrigerator

Preparation Time: 20-30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Servings: 6-8


  • 1 lb Hickok Hamburger ground beef
  • Olive oil
  • 12 oz bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • ¾ C ketchup
  • ¼ C white vinegar
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • ⅓ tsp dry mustard
  • 1 21oz can Bush’s Original pork & beans (with juice)
  • 1 16oz can butter beans (with juice)
  • 1 16oz can red kidney beans (drained & rinsed)
  • 1 16oz can green Lima beans (drained & rinsed)
  • 1 16oz can black beans (drained & rinsed)


  1. DEFROST MEAT - please make sure you leave enough time to defrost your ground beef completely before starting.
  2. In a large skillet with a large splash of olive oil, fry hamburger until browned, then strain from grease and set aside.
  3. Chop your bacon into small ~1cm pieces & chop your onion finely.
  4. In the same large skillet, fry bacon until tender, then spoon out the cooked bacon & add it to the cooked beef. Reserve the bacon grease.
  5. In the bacon grease, cook the chopped onion until almost cooked through and transparent, then add in the minced garlic and cook until fragrant. Drain the grease from the onion and garlic, then add it to the beef and bacon.
  6. In the same skillet, add ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar and dry mustard. Mix until completely combined, then simmer for 15 minutes until the sauce is thickened. 
  7. Transfer the sauce into a large pot. In the pot, add in Bush’s Original pork & beans and butter beans, both with the juice from the can. 
  8. In a colander, dump in the green Lima beans, red kidney beans & black beans, rinse with water, then add to the pot with the sauce. 
  9. Stir the beans and sauce mixture until combined & beans are fully coated in the sauce. Add in the beef, bacon, onion & garlic, then stir together until mixed well.
  10. Simmer the beans on low heat for 30-45 minutes.
  11. Serve as a side dish, or as a meal & ENJOY!


If you try this recipe...


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