If you’re in the mood for some sweet beans, similar to baked beans but with a twist, this is the recipe for you. This recipe is packed full of flavor and texture everyone will love.
Are Southwest Beans the Same as Baked Beans?
These beans are similar to a traditional baked beans dish, but they’re elevated–both in texture and taste. The best part about this recipe is you won’t need to heat up your oven. That’s especially good on a hot day in the Texas heat.
Traditional baked beans start with simple canned pork and beans. You add onion, bacon, brown sugar, and usually a little ketchup or mustard.
Lots of times people put the bacon across the top to decorate the beans.
Southwest Beans are Set Apart
What makes my recipe so special is that it starts with five different kinds of beans. Yep, you read that right. Five kinds: light red kidney beans, dark red kidney beans, pinto beans, Ranch Style Beans, and canned baked beans.
That’s a lot of beans.
Instead of bacon, this recipe calls for Jimmy Dean sausage and onion. And it’s not baked in a casserole dish. I make my Southwest Beans on the stovetop and they come together perfectly every time. This is a very forgiving recipe.
By the way, I got the recipe from a family member who always brings this dish to family get-togethers. It’s always a big hit.
Little kids, teens, and adults. . .everyone seems to love these beans.
Southwest Beans Ingredients
You will find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick look at what you’ll need. These are simple ingredients you can find at any grocery store.
You will find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick peek at what you’ll need. These are simple ingredients you might already have in your pantry and refrigerator.
- Jimmy Dean sausage
- chopped yellow onion
- brown sugar
- barbecue sauce (sweet or spicy, your choice)
- Canned Light red kidney beans, drained
- Canned Dark red kidney beans, drained
- Canned Pinto beans, drained
- Canned Ranch style beans, with sauce
- Canned Bush’s baked beans, with sauce
- tablespoon vegetable oil
How to Make Sweet and Savory Southwest Beans
These come together so easily. And like I said above, they’re hard to mess up!
Chop onions and set aside.
Place tube of meat in a large saucepan with vegetable oil. Chop up. (I use a Pampered Chef meat chopper.)
Add the onions.
Cook ground sausage and onion together over medium heat, stirring frequently.
After it browns, drain and set aside.
Drain and rinse the kidney beans and pinto beans.
Dump the drained beans into the saucepan with the meat and onions.
Add the canned beans, (including sauce/juice).
Stir in the brown sugar and barbecue sauce.
Stir well. Bring to a simmer and lower heat.
Cook until all of the flavors merge together, stirring frequently so they don’t stick. (I usually cook mine for about 10 – 15 minutes.)
Alternatively, you can place bean mixture, spices, and cooked sausage and onions in a 9×13-inch casserole dish and bake at 350 until bubbly. (Probably about 30 minutes or so.) They could even be cooked on the grill in a heat-safe casserole dish.
Store leftovers in refrigerator in an airtight container or covered in plastic wrap. They will stay good for 4 – 5 days. You can freeze them up to two months.
What to Expect from this Dish
These beans are loaded with texture and flavor. The brown sugar adds a layer of sweetness that balances well with the spice in the barbecue sauce.
I loved the crisp bite of the kidney beans. They were the perfect complement to the baked beans, which were softer. The combination of beans is what sets this dish apart.
The sausage was perfect in this dish. So were the onions. All in all, I’d say we have a real winner here.
Looking for food pairing ideas? These beans would be perfect with (literally) any barbecue dish–from our Reverse Seared Steaks to our Drunken Chicken to our St. Louis Ribs, to our Breakfast Fatty (which is great for lunch or dinner, not just breakfast).
You could serve these beans at a BBQ, on game day, or even as a main course for a family dinner. They’re that kind of good. (Trust me when I say I ate enough of them to call it a complete meal!)
No matter what you serve them with, these beans are going to be a big hit because they’re a tasty side dish filled with flavor!
Make it Your Own
There are so many ways you could make this dish your own. Here are a few suggestions:
Bacon in place of Sausage. This is an easy swap. Just add a pound of cooked (chopped) bacon in place of the Jimmy Dean sausage.
Baked instead of cooked on the stove. As I mentioned above, this is a fun way to change up this dish. Cook it in the oven or on the grill.
Maple sausage in place of regular. Since this dish has a sweet side you can easily swap out maple sausage for the regular. (You could even go spicy, if you like!)
Bell pepper: Add diced bell pepper to this dish to add more spice to the dish.
Ground beef in place of sausage. No sausage? No problem! Just use a pound of ground beef in its place! You probably won’t even notice the difference. This would also make an easy chicken dish if you want to use ground chicken (or turkey).
Make them in the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker: Your method of cooking can change. These could also be made in a cast iron skillet (a deep one) on the grill.
Garlic powder: You can always add a teaspoon or two, or add minced garlic.
Southwestern Black Beans: You could make black beans using this recipe. (Or add a can of black beans to this recipe, along with the others.)
Chili Beans: Wanting traditional spicy beans? Add one teaspoon chili powder to the mix to spice things up and give these the best southwestern flavors. Black pepper is good, too. You could also add a bit of salsa or tabasco if you’re really feeling brave.
Go Spanish! Cut back on the sweetness. Add more spice, as well as lime juice, fresh cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream. Serve with tortilla chips. (Sounds great!) You could even turn this into a burrito bowl (or a traditional burrito). We love our Mexican food and this would be a great option.
Healthy Eating: If you’re trying to eat clean, cut the sugar and add honey or maple syrup. You can also swap out the sausage with ground turkey.
Questions People are Asking
Can I use dry beans?
You can, but obviously it will be a time-consuming method. Merge the different beans together to slow cook in water until they are almost (but not quite) done. Then proceed as usual. You might have to adjust your spices if you’re not using Ranch style beans or canned baked beans (both of which are packed full of sweetness and spice from their flavorful sauce).
What else can I add to give this dish more savory flavors?
Other types of peppers would be good: green peppers, red peppers, green onion, and so on. You could also add canned or fresh tomatoes if you want to make this more chili-like. Add a garlic clove if you really want to amp up the flavors.
Can I use white beans in this dish?
I’m not sure white beans would merge well with the others. Some white beans are softer in texture. It’s your call, though!
Can I make these beans Italian? If you love italian recipes you can totally tip this recipe in that direction. Pull back on the sugar, add garlic and other Italian seasonings (like Basil, Thyme, Rosemary and Oregano), swap out the Jimmy Dean with some savory Italian sausage, and throw in a can of Cannelloni beans.
Thanks for Stopping By!
That’s it for this post, friends! We hope you enjoy the sweet and spicy southwest flavors in these beans! This is a brand-new recipe and we happen to love it!
See this recipe at
Wondering what to make for dessert? Try out these Pecan Toffee Cookies with Salted Caramel from Out of the Box Baking! (They’re delicious and perfect with a grilled meal.)
About the Man Behind the Grill
Zach Morrow was born and raised in Texas and has always had a passion for great barbecue. He’s at home behind the grill and loves to feed his friends and family home-cooked favorites as often as he can. He especially loves trying new things and is excited to produce recipes like this one for Backyard Texas Grill.
- 1 package (1 pound) Jimmy Dean sausage
- 1 finely chopped yellow onion
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup barbecue sauce (sweet or spicy, your choice)
- 1 can each:
- Canned Light red kidney beans (15.5 - 16 oz) drained
- Canned Dark red kidney beans (15.5 - 16 oz) drained
- Canned Pinto beans (16 ounce) drained
- Canned Ranch style beans (15 oz) with sauce
- Canned Bush’s baked beans, (28 oz) with sauce
- tablespoon vegetable oil
- Add vegetable oil to the bottom of a large saucepan. Add ground sausage and onion and cook over medium heat until meat is done.
- Drain and set aside.
- Drain and rinse the kidney beans and pinto beans.
- Place all five cans of beans together in the pan with the cooked sausage and onion.
- Stir in the brown sugar and barbecue sauce.
- Stir well and place on the stove.
- Bring to a simmer and lower heat.
- Cook until all of the flavors merge together, stirring frequently so they don’t stick. (I usually cook mine for about 10 - 15 minutes.)
- Alternatively, you can place beans, spices, and cooked sausage and onions in a 9x13-inch casserole dish and bake at 350 until bubbly. (Probably about 30 minutes or so.)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 155Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 106mgSodium: 423mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 2gSugar: 17gProtein: 6g