Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Calico Beans

on June 19, 2015

The recipe for today comes from a cookbook that was made by a company that my sister-in-law worked for years ago. It’s kind of like the old church cookbooks, where everyone sends in their favorite and best recipes. This is one of my favorites from the book. There are a million recipes for Calico Beans, and everyone has their own way of doing it. I follow the basic recipe, but I still add a couple of different things to make it my own. Because this Sunday is Father’s Day, and we’re making something that has bacon in it, and since bacon reminds me of how much my dad loved it (and me!), I’ll share this photo of me and my dad. I don’t know why, but this one just cracks me up!! He was notorious for pretending he was a water monster and holding us under water when swimming with us, and that was NOT pleasant. Here we both seem to be having a lot of fun!


The looks on our faces are just so funny! Me and my sister were “water babies” and we practically grew up UNDER water. It might have something to do with the fact that we grew up on the lake and were in the water EVERY DAY!!!! Dad passed away 26 years ago at the age of 49, and I miss him all the time, but especially in the summer when I miss the lake and those days of playing water monster in the lake.

I’ll just type this one out instead of photo copying the recipe out of the cookbook.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Calico Beans

Mix all together:

1/2 pound bacon, cooked, drained, and chopped

1/2 pound ground beef, cooked and drained

1 small onion, chopped

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup ketchup

1 Tablespoon yellow mustard

2 Tablespoons vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)

1/4 cup molasses

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 15-ounce can kidney beans

1 15-ounce can lima beans

1 21-ounce can pork and beans

(I usually use a large can of Bush’s Original Beans and then mix and match 3 or 4 cans of other kinds of beans: Black beans, pinto beans, butter beans, etc. – whatever you have on hand.)

Pour into a 2-quart casserole.

Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 30 minutes, lower heat to 300 degrees and bake for 1 1/2 hours more (I always just put this in a crockpot 8 hours or so).


I like to bake the bacon on a rack in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or so. All of the fat drips down onto the baking sheet.


The great thing is that all of the ingredients can just be put into the crockpot.


Mix it all up, turn it on, and leave it to cook away for the day.


I probably make this bean recipe 10 times over the course of the summer. You can use this for Father’s Day, 4th of July, or any other picnics you’re taking a side dish to. It’s easy, it’s tasty, and the whole family loves it!



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