Calico Beans

Oh, this recipe! Sort of a chili, kind of baked beans, maybe a sloppy Joe, but always completely delicious. It’s just the kind of thing to make when the weather takes a chilly turn and you’re hungry for something that really sticks to the ribs.

Calico Beans can also go by the name Cowboy Beans, probably because this meaty one-pot meal was a campfire favorite under the starry skies for generations. And if you haven’t tried it before, you’re in for quite a treat.

Making Calico Beans for 100? Calico Bean casserole for 50? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.

What are Calico Beans?

Just like a calico cat with so many colors, “calico” just refers to the hodge-podge of beans used in the recipe: pork and beans, kidney beans, and butter beans. The beans are all cooked with bacon and ground beef in a tangy, sweet sauce.

Ingredient Checklist
½ cup bacon, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
1 (15 ounce) can pork and beans
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can butter beans
1 (15 ounce) can lima beans, drained
½ cup ketchup
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard powder
½ cup chopped celery
Instructions Checklist
Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C).

Step 2
Place bacon and ground beef in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain and set aside.

Step 3
In a four quart casserole dish, mix together the bacon, ground beef, pork and beans, kidney beans, butter beans, lima beans, ketchup, onion, vinegar, dry mustard and celery.

Step 4
Cover and bake for 1 hour.