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This recipe for Homemade Healthy Baked Beans with Ground Turkey makes the best baked beans I’ve ever had! It’s an old family recipe that I’ve lightened up a bit with ground turkey, turkey bacon, and a homemade pork and beans recipe instead of the canned stuff.
This recipe is a family favorite, and if we’re being honest it’s the only baked beans recipe I’ll eat. I love that the ingredients minimally processed, that it contains several styles of beans (which are super nutritious), and while this is a perfect side dish, the addition of ground turkey makes these more like a meal.
During the summer, I love making a double batch of these healthy homemade baked beans and freeze half of the beans at Step 4 for another day. Thaw completely before cooking and impressing your friends at the next BBQ.
Where’s the recipe?
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If you’re new to cooking, go ahead and read the post below before heading to the printable recipe. It will give you ingredient substitutions and information, detailed cooking instructions, and even recipe tips. If you’re a pro in the kitchen, you might want to scroll down to the printable recipe for this Healthy Baked Beans Recipe with Ground Turkey. There you’ll find the ingredient amounts as well as the to-the-point cooking instructions.
Ingredients in Healthy Baked Beans
- Pork & Beans You can use this homemade pork and beans recipe or a can from your grocery store.
- Kidney beans A great source of fiber and protein
- Black beans Black beans are high in magnesium and folate
- Ground turkey I use turkey that has a low amount of fat
- Brown sugar or honey Either works in this recipe
- Dry mustard If you don’t have dry mustard, you can use regular or dijon mustard
- Vinegar The type doesn’t matter much – either apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
- Ketchup I prefer the no added sugar variety. In a pinch you can use some tomato paste.
How to make Healthy Baked Beans with Ground Turkey
Note: I drain the liquid out of one can of beans, then set the liquid aside in case the beans look dry after cooking. If you choose to use more than 2 cans of beans, save all of the liquid just in case.
- Dice and cook the onions in a large pan over low heat. I’ve been buying frozen diced onions, and I have to tell you that they are a game changer!
- Add the ground turkey to the onions in the pan and saute over medium-high heat until cooked through and there is no more pink left.
- While the turkey is cooking, add the remaining ingredients: beans, brown sugar or honey, dry mustard, vinegar, pork and beans, and ketchup to a large baking dish or dutch oven.
- When the meat and onions are cooked, add the mixture to your baking dish and mix well. Add a bit of liquid from the beans if it looks dry.
- Cook at 350 degrees for an hour. You could also smoke these for an hour – the smoky flavor is delicious!
How to make these beans in the Instant Pot
- Sauté the meat and onions, then turn the pot off and add 1/2 cup water to the pot.
- Add the other ingredients to the Instant Pot.
- Close the lid and set the valve to Sealing.
- Set on high pressure (or manual) for 8 minutes.
- Quick release (turn the valve to Venting quickly and allow the steam to shoot out) and enjoy!
- You can use any ground meat in place of turkey – including ground beef or ground chicken. If using ground beef, you’ll want to strain the grease after cooking and before adding to your baked beans.
- You can swap out the types of beans in this recipe based on your preferences or what you have in the pantry. I love using white beans (you can use navy beans, great northern beans, or cannellini beans), pinto beans, and even chickpeas or garbanzo beans. This recipe is very easily adaptable. Adding red beans, white beans, and black beans makes this recipe so colorful.
- This easy baked beans recipe uses cans of beans, not dry beans. If you’d like to use dry beans, you must cook them first.
- Looking to add some veggies to this recipe? My article on how to stretch ground beef is helpful if you’re looking to save money but also helpful on how to use less meat in your meals (and use veggies instead!).
- These are easy to meal prep and freeze in single serving containers.
Why are these baked beans a healthy option?
When focusing on a healthy lifestyle, small tweaks make big peaks. You can still enjoy your favorite meals by making small tweaks to them. Use ground turkey instead of beef, use honey or maple syrup instead of white sugar, add veggies where you can. Use this homemade baked beans recipe instead of traditional baked beans in a can. Every little bit helps.
- I’ve reduced the amount of brown sugar in this recipe and also added the option to replace it with honey. Also, kidney beans and black beans are two of the healthiest beans you can eat–both have more then 10 grams of protein per serving, and more than 10 grams of fiber! Kidney and black beans contain almost 20% of the recommended daily allowance of iron, too.
- Beans are a slow burning carb that will keep you full for a bit. The sugar in this recipe isn’t the best choice, but baked beans are baked beans–they need to be a little sweet.
- Using the homemade pork and beans recipe instead of canned beans is another way to make this recipe healthier. No additives or extra sugars, no bacon that has been sitting in a can on a shelf for a year.
Healthy Eating Plans
4 Blue Plan Points | 6 Green Plan Points | 4 Purple Plan Points | 3 2023 Points when using 99% fat free ground turkey and unpacked brown sugar instead of honey.
21 Day Fix / Portion Fix
Each serving contains 1 1/4 yellow containers, 1/2 red container, and 3 teaspoons per serving. The onions end up being such a small amount of the total recipe that I do not count them.
More Backyard BBQ Recipes
- Sweet Refrigerator Pickles
- Rosemary Lemon Salmon
- Portobello Mushroom Fajitas
- Avocado Stuffed Chicken
Healthy Baked Beans Recipe with Ground Turkey
- Enameled Cast Iron Pan
- Kitchen Knife
- Cutting Board
- ¾ cup onions
- 1 pound ground turkey or hamburger
- 1 can baked beans or homemade, 14 ounces
- 1 can dark red kidney beans 14 oz can
- 1 can black beans 14 oz can
- ½ cup brown sugar or honey
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 2 teaspoons vinegar apple cider or white
- ⅓ cup ketchup low sugar
Stove and Oven Directions
- Dice and cook the onions in a large pan. ¾ cup onions
- Add ground turkey to the onions in the pan. 1 pound ground turkey
- While they turkey and onions are cooking, add all of the other ingredients to a large baking dish. 1 can baked beans, 1 can dark red kidney beans, 1 can black beans, ½ cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon dry mustard, 2 teaspoons vinegar, ⅓ cup ketchupI drain the liquid out of the beans, then set the liquid aside in case beans look dry after cooking.
- When meat and onions are cooked, drain if necessary and add the mixture to your baking dish and mix well.
- Cook at 350 degrees for an hour. If using a smoker, you can cook them in there for an hour–the flavor is delicious!
Instant Pot Instructions
- Sauté the meat and onions using the sauté function. Add 1/2 cup water. 1 pound ground turkey, ¾ cup onions
- Add all of the other ingredients to the Instant Pot. 1 can baked beans, 1 can dark red kidney beans, 1 can black beans, ½ cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon dry mustard, 2 teaspoons vinegar, ⅓ cup ketchup
- Set on high pressure (or manual) for 8 minutes. Quick release and enjoy!