Hamburger Baked Bean Casserole

It may seem spur of the moment but it’s been on my mind for some time so a move to a new home is now imminent. Yes, I LOVE my home and I’ve shed many tears at the thought of leaving it but leaving it I am. It’s simply too big and too much work and without my kids living here anymore, it’s simply more than one person needs. I will probably howl at the moon a bit because I’m so torn but I’m moving forward at the same time.

One thing I vowed to myself this week was to make a super conscientious effort to prepare everything I can using goods from my pantry and my freezer. I had some thawed ground beef and went to pull some diced tomatoes out of the pantry…but no, say it ain’t so… there weren’t any! By the way; I have a feeling that vow will be broken; I need my tomatoes.

Still, I did spy two cans of Bush’s Baked Beans and I was quickly transported to those years of making casseroles and quick meals for two young girls. I honestly think versions of this recipe have been around for a gazillion years. If I’m not mistaken my mom made it for us as kids too; dishes like this were our idea of ‘Hamburger Helper.’ It’s funny; I’ve always loved this dish but never think of making it without a young family to feed. Well, I corrected that faux pas today…and I still loved it. It is requisite that it be served with corn muffins and in keeping with my trip down memory lane I made some from a box of Jiffy mix. No judging!


I did mix it up just a bit; substituting barbecue sauce for ketchup and kicking it up a notch with the addition of some chili powder and a dash or two of liquid smoke. Who says you can’t go home again? I did but just did a bit of renovating in the process!

I can’t deny that the sweet element is what I’ve always found appealing; something about that mixture of molasses and brown sugar with a touch of mustard and a hint of smokiness that transports this dish far beyond mere baked beans; the addition of ground beef makes it a whole meal in a bowl. I garnished them last night with some caramelized onions but it can be bare or even topped with a dollop of sour cream. Perfect right?

Hamburger Baked Bean Casserole
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A very old family recipe that we still love today.
Serves: 8-10 servings
  • ½ lb thick bacon, fried crisp, break into small pieces
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cans (28 oz) pork & beans
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 3 Tbsp molasses
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 2-3 dashes of liquid smoke (optional)
  1. In oven proof dish, cook bacon, drain off grease.
  2. Cook hamburger and onion in same dish until meat is brown and onion is tender.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. (Can refrigerate overnight before baking to meld flavors)
  4. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove lid, turn off oven and bake additional 15 minutes.
  5. Serve in bowls with corn muffins or biscuits.


    • Creative Culinary says

      I guess to be fair, isn’t everything better with brown sugar and bacon Stacy? It is a great little casserole; tasty and filled with memories to boot.

    • Creative Culinary says

      So often my pantry is my inspiration Betsy; leaving home for ingredients is not something I ever want to do so I try to keep it well stocked which makes a dish like this so easy!

    • Creative Culinary says

      This was often the no time to cook type meal; too often the case for a single mom with two kids. Homework, Girl Scouts, soccer practice. I often wonder how I did all that by myself; maybe why some of those years are a blur?

  1. says

    Hi Barb! Ok, confession time… I’ve NEVER had this dish… but of course now I am intrigued and will have to try it ( I know, I know, I had a deprived childhood!) Looks like the perfect dish to have during La Crosse season! Wow, I don’t envy you with the moving process – the thought of having to do that sends shivers up my spine… but how liberating and freeing!! Will you be staying in the same area??? Details, details!!!
    Nancy@acommunaltable Most Recent Post: Rice with Caramelized onions and Lentils

  2. says

    Oh wow, this is indeed a nostalgic dish! And one I know my family will devour – I can’t wait to make it for them. Love these pantry meals. I have fond memories of the Jiffy box of corn muffins, too! That’s what my mom always baked.

    I wish you well as you prepare to move. I can imagine it’s an emotional, exhausting process, but hopefully it leads to a bright new chapter for you.

    • Creative Culinary says

      I think this whole moving thing has me feeling a bit nostalgic and don’t doubt it will inspire more dishes I made for my kids…while also cleaning out my pantry! Thanks Hannah, it is all those things; ready for that exciting part when I can start looking for a new space…SO over cleaning at this moment. :)

  3. says

    Mmmm this looks so damn good, Barb, and just what we need for the weather! It is also my kind of home and homey cooking – start with something canned and super good and cook it up into a great casserole. Yum! And I am assuming that is cornbread? Oh perfect. I wish i had Bush’s baked beans here.

    • Creative Culinary says

      It’s not fancy but it really is a great, hearty family meal and I’m determined to use up any canned goods I have. There will be more. :)

    • Creative Culinary says

      You never know…one day I might have a casserole with navy and white beans with some greens beans thrown in for good measure! I don’t use canned stuff a lot but want to work through them and not pack them for a move…so that casserole might even have some jalapeno peppers. :)

    • Creative Culinary says

      It is emotional…that I have no idea where I’m moving doesn’t help. I need to sell before I can buy so right now just getting the space in tiptop shape. Although we are deep cleaning for sure, it’s not the cleaning that is work…it’s is sorting through 20 years of stuff and deciding…take, leave, sell, swap? Daunting task and my oldest daughter and I have just about killed ourselves in the process. :)

  4. says

    I love this old recipe! It just feels like a family meal, doesn’t it? And you’ll find no judgment here about using boxes and cans! The vast majority of people depend on a few conveniences even if they cook from scratch most of the time.

    I didn’t know you were planning a move. Sounds exciting, thrilling, and exhausting all at the same time. Wish I was closer…I’d be right over to help.
    Lana @ Never Enough Thyme Most Recent Post: Beans and Greens Soup

    • Creative Culinary says

      It’s been on my mind and with news that Denver real estate values are high right now and there aren’t enough homes on the market, I decided to do it now when I might normally have waited until spring. I don’t live in a huge house but it’s pretty huge for one person. I’m pretty mobile but my leg will always be an issue so moving to a ranch will make life simpler I’m sure; not to mention the idea of having far less to clean has a certain appeal!

  5. says

    No judgment here Barb. I keep all of those items in my pantry too because they’re just plain good! This looks delicious!!!
    Best wishes on the move! I’m sure it’s difficult leaving your old place but think of the excitement and new memories you’ll build in the new place. Plus, a new kitchen to cook in!!!!
    Renee – Kudos Kitchen Most Recent Post: Whole Wheat Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

    • Creative Culinary says

      Thanks Renee; no doubt right now all I can feel is loss; I’m sure when I have less to clean and less steps and NO mortgage, the benefits will kick in. Right now it’s just a feeling of both loss and total exhaustion at the effort it’s taking to organize, pack, store, pitch and sell a whole lot of stuff!

  6. says

    I know that turning your life upside down is difficult at best but I can’t help but feel that this is going to be a wonderful much needed adventure for you. I hope that your next home is your favorite yet. The next chapter in you life is all yours to write.

    I make a kinda, sorta similar recipe and boy do people love it. This looks like a delicious quick meal. I hope you got to share this with your daughters during one of your breaks from packing.
    Karen Harris Most Recent Post: Celebrating National Soup Month: Cream of Sun Dried Tomato Soup with Bacon and Fried Onions

    • Creative Culinary says

      I thought of you when I made this dish…it’s one of those ‘something from nothing’ dishes that you highlight on your blog. I’ll be doing a fair number of these in the coming weeks I imagine. :)


  1. […] It may seem spur of the moment but it’s been on my mind for some time so a move to a new home is now imminent. Yes, I LOVE my home and I’ve shed many tears at the thought of leaving it but leaving it I am. It’s simply too big and too much work and without my kids living here anymore, it’s simply more than one person needs. I will probably howl at the moon a bit because I’m so torn but I’m moving forward at the same time. [more] […]

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