Air Fryer Baked Beans: The Perfect BBQ Side Dish!

When summertime rolls around and backyard barbecues fill the air, you know it’s baked beans season. No one wants to fire up the oven during the heat to make them, though! That’s why you’re going to love this recipe for air fryer baked beans as an alternative.

air fryer baked beans recipe dinners done quick

Why You Want This Recipe

Take your classic baked beans and cook them right in your air fryer! This eliminates needing to heat up the house with the oven, or take up precious space on your grill.

It’s easy to portion for a smaller number of people instead of making a giant pan (which I feel like I always do otherwise) so you can adjust for how many you’re feeding.

You’ll want to use previously cooked beans for this recipe, as the air fryer isn’t a great choice for dried beans. However, you can just grab canned, or cook and store your dried beans ahead of time for a jump start.

closeup of air fryer baked beans in a bowl

It only takes about 20 minutes to cook up a delicious pan of baked beans in your air fryer! I love that you can also easily adjust this recipe to suit a variety of dietary needs and tastes, giving it a leg up over canned options.

What You’ll Need: Ingredients

ingredients to make air fryer baked beans
  • 2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed (approx 15-16 ounces each) or equivalent amount of canned baked beans (such as Bush’s)
  • ¼ medium yellow onion, diced (about ¼ to ⅓ cup)
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • ¼ cup prepared barbecue sauce
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • ½ tsp salt (or to taste)
  • ¼ tsp pepper (or to taste)

Special Equipment Note: You’ll need an oven safe pan that fits in your air fryer’s basket for this recipe. This could be a cake pan, casserole dish, or a loaf pan. I use two mini loaf pans because I have a two basket Ninja air fryer. However, it works fine with one larger pan in other setups

Ingredient Tips and Substitutions

  • You can substitute other types of beans if you like, with black beans and navy beans being other good choices. If you use dried beans, make sure to soak overnight and then pressure cook them for 45 minutes or boil them on the stove for around an hour ahead of time. Note that using plain beans here will give you a firmer, more bean intact texture
  • Alternatively, you can use canned baked beans as a base instead of the plain beans. It will add flavor and give you the more classic “mushier” texture if that’s what you like. I recommend using one that’s a more neutral flavor and then adding the rest of the ingredients as written
  • The onion can also be white or sweet if preferred (or use Bush’s onion baked beans as a base and omit entirely)
  • Bacon may be swapped for ham, turkey bacon, hot dogs, or sausages if preferred. Omit entirely for a vegetarian option
  • The type of barbecue sauce you use isn’t super important. I try to stick to “classic” varieties that aren’t overly sweet or vinegary since we’re adding other ingredients to it
  • Honey may be used in place of molasses
  • You can swap in yellow mustard or 1 tsp dried mustard for the Dijon

How to Make Baked Beans in an Air Fryer

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 380°F (or the closest setting your specific air fryer has)
  2. To your oven safe dish, add the diced bacon and onions
add bacon and onions to oven safe dish
  1. Place the dish into the preheated air fryer basket
cook bacon and onion in air fryer basket
  1. Cook on the air fry setting for 5 minutes at 380°F
  2. While that is cooking, in a medium bowl combine all remaining ingredients and mix well
mix ingredients and beans in a bowl
  1. When the bacon has finished, add the bean mixture to the dish with the bacon and onions, and stir to incorporate
add coated baked beans to bacon in air fryer basket
  1. Return to the air fryer and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes at 380°F, pausing every 5 minutes to stir, until sauce is bubbly and thickened 
  2. Serve warm alongside your favorite main courses
overhead view of air fryer bbq baked beans with bacon

What to Serve With Baked Beans

  • Hot dogs
  • Hamburgers
  • Smoked sausage
  • Pulled pork
  • Ribs
  • Smoked ham
  • Barbecue chicken
  • Brisket
  • Coleslaw
  • Potato salad
  • Macaroni salad
  • Deviled eggs
  • Corn on the cob
  • Broccoli salad
  • Cornbread
  • Fruit salad
  • Fruit pizza
  • Strawberry shortcake
  • Lemonade
  • Sangria

There are so many great foods to serve with baked beans, from main dishes to other sides, desserts and even drinks!

Try your air fryer baked beans with my Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs in the Air Fryer, quick Frozen Corn on the Cob in the Air Fryer, with a side of Air Fryer Jiffy Cornbread, and finish off the meal with Air Fryer Lemon Pound Cake or Air Fryer Sugar Cookie Fruit Pizza topped with fresh strawberries!

You can even sit back and sip on some cool and refreshing Ginger Peach Sangria!

Recipe FAQs

Can You Cook Baked Beans in an Air Fryer?

Yes, you can cook baked beans in an air fryer. You’ll just need an oven safe pan that fits in the air fryer basket to contain them during cooking.

You can actually make homemade baked beans, or simply heat up a can of baked beans in your air fryer.

How Long to Cook Baked Beans in an Air Fryer?

You should cook baked beans in an air fryer for 15-20 minutes on average, until the sauce thickens and bubbles.

If you are using premade canned baked beans, then you only need 5-10 minutes to simply warm them through.

Can You Cook Dry Beans in an Air Fryer?

While you technically could cook dry beans in an air fryer, it is not the easiest or best method for doing so. Boiling dry beans on the stovetop or using a pressure cooker are both better options.

This is because the air fryer isn’t really designed to hold foods at a boiling temperature for sustained times, so it actually takes longer than just using a traditional cooking method.

Can You Heat Canned Baked Beans in an Air Fryer?

Yes, you can heat canned baked beans in an air fryer. Place them in an oven safe dish and cook for 5-10 minutes at 350°F, or until heated through.

Feel free to add in additional seasonings before cooking if desired.

Can You Reheat Baked Beans in an Air Fryer?

Yes, you can reheat baked beans in an air fryer. Just place them in an oven safe dish and heat them for 5-10 minutes, stirring halfway through, until fully reheated.

This applies to both homemade and canned leftover baked beans.

Recipe Pro Tips

  • The stirring is important to keep the tops from burning in the air fryer, as the sugars will caramelize as everything cooks
  • Note that these baked beans still have some texture to them (they’re not totally mushy) – if you prefer mush, I recommend using canned baked beans instead of just canned beans as a base
spoonful of air fryer baked beans

Storage and Reheating

  • Store leftover baked beans in the refrigerator and consume within 5 days, or freeze for up to 6 months
  • To reheat baked beans, place in an oven safe container in the air fryer for 5-10 minutes at 350°F or until heated through. Alternatively, you may microwave them on high for about 1 minute. In both cases, you should stir at least once halfway through to promote even heating

More Barbecue Favorites For Your Air Fryer

Final Thoughts

These air fryer baked beans are the perfect summer side dish! They’re easily scalable to many different quantities of guests, and modifiable to satisfy many different palettes.

I love making them in the air fryer because it keeps the house cooler, while also not taking up premium space on the grill.

Plus, you’ll never have to worry about getting rained out! You can make your baked beans year round inside for a delicious side for any meal.

air fryer baked beans recipe dinners done quick featured image

Homemade Air Fryer Baked Beans (Southern Style)

Make some delicious homemade baked beans in your air fryer! Use canned beans or baked beans as a base for this classic barbecue side dish.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 199 kcal

Equipment

  • Measuring cups & spoons
  • Spoon or spatula (for stirring)
  • Oven safe dish that fits in your air fryer

Ingredients
  

  • 2 15 Oz cans pinto beans or baked beans (drained and rinsed if not baked)
  • ¼ Medium yellow onion (diced)
  • 4 Slices bacon (diced)
  • ¼ Cup prepared barbecue sauce (original)
  • ¼ Cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • ½ Tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • ¼ Tsp black pepper (or more to taste)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your air fryer to 380°F (or the closest setting your specific air fryer has)
  • To your oven safe dish, add the diced bacon and onion
    4 Slices bacon, ¼ Medium yellow onion
  • Place the dish into the preheated air fryer basket
  • Cook on the air fry setting for 5 minutes at 380°F
  • While that is cooking, in a medium bowl combine all remaining ingredients and mix well
    2 15 Oz cans pinto beans or baked beans, ¼ Cup prepared barbecue sauce, ¼ Cup brown sugar, 1 Tsp paprika, 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbsp molasses, ½ Tsp salt, ¼ Tsp black pepper
  • When the bacon has finished, add the bean mixture to the dish with the bacon and onions, and stir to incorporate
  • Return to the air fryer and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes at 380°F, pausing every 5 minutes to stir, until sauce is bubbly and thickened
  • Serve warm alongside your favorite main courses

Notes

  • You can substitute other types of beans if you like, with black beans and navy beans being other good choices – plain beans here will give you a firmer, more bean intact texture
  • Alternatively, you can use canned baked beans as a base instead of the plain beans. It will add flavor and give you the more classic “mushier” texture if that’s what you like. I recommend using one that’s a more neutral flavor and then adding the rest of the ingredients as written
  • The onion can also be white or sweet if preferred (or use Bush’s onion baked beans as a base and omit entirely)
  • Bacon may be swapped for ham, turkey bacon, hot dogs, or sausages if preferred. Omit entirely for a vegetarian option
  • The type of barbecue sauce you use isn’t super important. I try to stick to “classic” varieties that aren’t overly sweet or vinegary since we’re adding other ingredients to it
  • Honey may be used in place of molasses
  • You can swap in yellow mustard or 1 tsp dried mustard for the Dijon
  • The stirring is important to keep the tops from burning in the air fryer, as the sugars will caramelize as everything cooks
  • Store leftover baked beans in the refrigerator and consume within 5 days, or freeze for up to 6 months
  • To reheat baked beans, place in an oven safe container in the air fryer for 5-10 minutes at 350°F or until heated through. Alternatively, you may microwave them on high for about 1 minute. In both cases, you should stir at least once halfway through to promote even heating
  • Exact nutritional values will vary based on brand and flavor of ingredients, as well as total quantity consumed, so please consider this a guideline only

Nutrition

Serving: 137gCalories: 199kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 8gFat: 3.2gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 696mgPotassium: 339mgFiber: 5.4gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 31.5IUVitamin C: 0.8mgCalcium: 76mgIron: 1.6mg
Keyword air fryer baked beans, air fryer baked beans recipe, baked beans, baked beans in air fryer, baked beans with canned beans, ninja air fryer baked beans
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Katie Vine