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Slow Cooker Calico Beans Recipe

Site Index Beans Ground beef Instant Pot

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These Slow Cooker Calico Beans are a fast, frugal and delicious dinner that the entire family will love! The best part? They can be cooked in the Instant Pot or the oven as well. I finally got around to making this calico beans recipe ( what the heck kind of name is calico beans?) which Mike has literally been bugging me to make all summer long.

Calico Beans in a white bowl
Calico Beans

How to Make Calico Beans

Preparing calico beans is pretty simple, other than cooking the bacon and the beef separately, you essentially just combine all of the ingredients into a pot and cook until it’s done. See the instructions below for how easy this is and if you love bean based recipes, try my Chili Recipe too!

Ingredients

  • 4 slices thick cut bacon diced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 can 28 ounces molasses pork and beans
  • 1 can 16 ounces kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can 16 ounces lima beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. In a large skillet or in the bottom of your Instant Pot using the “saute” button, cook the bacon for 2-3 minutes. Add in the beef and onion and cook until the meat is no longer pink, then drain.
  2. Combine the beef mixture, bacon, beans, brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar, mustard and salt in a slow cooker or in the Instant Pot.
  3. For the slow cooker, you can cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 6-8 hours.
  4. For the Instant Pot, you can also cook on low all day OR use the chili/stew button and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
  5. If you want to cook in the oven you can also spoon the mixture into a greased 2-qt. baking dish.
  6. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 45-60 minutes.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

 

Zoomed in shot of calico beans in a white bowl

Recipe Video

Calico beans are sweet, they are tangy. They are hearty, filling, frugal, cheerful and freaking delicious. Where have calico beans been all of my life? Mike says that his Mom made them all the time when he was younger ( thus he knew how delicious they were already) but I don’t remember this dish from my childhood in the slightest. I could have eaten them, but I don’t recall them at all.

The kids LOVED them. The kind of love that had them asking, no, they actually were begging me for seconds. The kind of love that had them taking leftover calico beans steaming hot in a Thermos the next day to school for lunch. That’s a lot of serious dinner love from my kids. They also love my Kitchen Sink Chili Recipe, which is a sure fire winner if you want another easy recipe to try.

Slow Cooker Calico Beans Recipe, just like Mom used to make! Perfect for those chilly nights!Recipe from @kitchenmagpie. #crockpot #slowcooker #recipe #beans

Myself? I am totally obsessed with them. For something that I hadn’t ever heard of, I quickly fell in love with them. There is something SO right about how all the flavors meld together in the pot. Molasses, ketchup, mustard, all the fabulous base flavors that the best dishes are made of and then you add in beans, bacon and meat.

So good.

Slow Cooker Calico Beans Recipe, just like Mom used to make! Perfect for those chilly nights!Recipe from @kitchenmagpie. #crockpot #slowcooker #recipe #beansI honestly had to stop myself from making calico beans right away, again, as I don’t want the kids to get sick of them but you guys for real, as soon as I finished my one measly bowl (yes, I’m sad, I saved the rest for the kids for school. You can’t say that I don’t sacrifice for my kids! Right!!??)  I was ready to make them the next day. And eat them with a fresh, carbo-licious buttered bun.

No really. I am THAT obsessed with these.

Make them, please. You will thank me Mike’s Mom for it and if you do like them, try these Slow Cooker Cowboy Beans (with Instant Pot version) which are very similar.

Has anyone else tried these? Were they a childhood staple for you?

Happy cooking!

Love,

Karlynn

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These Slow Cooker Calico Beans are a fast, frugal and delicious dinner that the entire family will love! They can be cooked in the Instant Pot or the oven as well! #recipe #slowcooker #beans #instantpot

Learn to cook like the Kitchen Magpie

Slow Cooker Calico Beans

These Slow Cooker Calico Beans are a fast, frugal and delicious dinner that the entire family will love! They can be cooked in the Instant Pot or the oven as well!
4.84 from 6 votes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Course
Main Course
Cuisine
American
Servings
6
Calories
302
Author
Karlynn Johnston

Ingredients

  • 4 slices thick cut bacon diced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef 
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 can 28 ounces molasses pork and beans
  • 1 can 16 ounces kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can 16 ounces lima beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet or in the bottom of your Instant Pot using the "saute" button, cook the bacon for 2-3 minutes. Add in the beef and onion and cook until the meat is no longer pink, then drain.
  2. Combine the beef mixture, bacon, beans, brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar, mustard and salt in a slow cooker or in the Instant Pot.
  3. For the slow cooker, you can cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 6-8 hours.
  4. For the Instant Pot, you can also cook on low all day OR use the chili/stew button and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
  5. If you want to cook in the oven you can also spoon the mixture into a greased 2-qt. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 45-60 minutes.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Nutritional values may vary.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 302kcal, Carbohydrates: 24g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 62mg, Sodium: 796mg, Potassium: 415mg, Sugar: 22g, Vitamin A: 110IU, Vitamin C: 1.8mg, Calcium: 28mg, Iron: 2.1mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

Site Index Beans Ground beef Instant Pot

Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Jennie says

    Karlynn, I’ve made this recipe before and LOVED it – thanks!.
    I have no lima beans right now, though, and really want to make this for tomorrow. Do you think great northern beans would serve as an ok sub for the limas?
    Beany cheers 🙂

    • Karlynn says

      Those would work great! Any beans should work as long as you don’t skip the sweet sauced ones!5 stars

  2. Rhonda says

    I got a burn notice with this recipe, only time I’ve ever gotten one, how can I prevent this? I had to finish them in the oven, so lots of dishes now:(

  3. Jan says

    I think the name Calico comes from the tricolor beans, like a Calico cat is tricolored.

  4. Kaceylynn says

    I have been making these for such a long time however I havent made them since last winter so when I thought of them I panicked a little bit because my son was diagnosed this year with type 1 diabetes which means carb counting is now my whole life!!!! I was looking for a recipe and dreading trying to figure out the carb count for this huge mix of different carbs!!! Fell apon yours and could cry I’m so excited the nutrition info is here GOD BLESS YOUR LIFE !!!!

  5. KimfromNH says

    Denise – it’s supposed to be the consistency of a pot of baked beans. A little bit of thick liquid, but not broth. 🙂

  6. KimfromNH says

    Had these growing up. My Mom never used the dry mustard, but might try that.

    Hubby and I have tweaked the recipe to:
    1 lb. ground beef, 1 large onion, 1 lb. bacon, 2 28oz. cans baked beans, 3/4 cup ketchup, 3/4 cup brown sugar, and
    one 14oz. can each of: dark red kidney beans and light red kidney beans (drain half the liquid), and
    one 14oz. can each, drained, of: white (kidney, cannellini or great northern), pink beans, lima beans

    Always a hit at potlucks and great hot or cold.5 stars

  7. DENISE BROWN says

    This is my time hearing about this recipe. I had to cook it on my job. My question is: Is it suppose to be like soup or not? Seems like it didn’t have enough or no liquid in it but didn’t know if it was right or not. Thanks.

  8. Denise says

    I haven’t had thesenfor years! My mom made them all the time and LOVED them! I’m going to make these soon!

  9. Kathy says

    Is there something that could be substituted in for the meat? Would lentils work?

        • Christina says

          It doesn’t have enough liquid to cook in the Instant pot. You will get a burn notice. Had to finish in the oven which meant more dishes and dinner was later than we like. It was easy and good though. It could probably be cooked in the Instant pot if it were cooked in a separate bowl inside and using the trivet.4 stars

    • Jeff Johnson says

      Or frozen soy crumbles. And then you might add some liquid smoke to compensate for the missing bacon flavor.

  10. April says

    Just like from my childhood!! Thanks for the reminder!5 stars

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