Difference Between Baked Beans and Pork and Beans

Standing in the canned goods aisle of your local grocery store, you're likely to see the terms "baked beans" and "pork and beans" used interchangeably to refer to a bean stew with a sweet tomato-based sauce -- those are baked beans, by the way. If you're looking through recipes for your next summer gathering, make sure you know the difference between the two dishes. Otherwise, you may not get what you expected when you open the lid of the bean pot.

Baked Beans

Baked beans are the more common of the two foods in the U.S. They are typically sold in cans, although many home cooks prepare them from scratch for large summer gatherings.

Flavors and Textures

Baked beans come in various flavors, but they are all built on base of tomato and some type of sweetener. Brown sugar, maple syrup and molasses are common ingredients. Most baked bean recipes include bacon, onions and bell peppers. Some also include chilis to add heat. The flavor profile is savory and sweet.

The texture of baked beans is thick and sticky, with the sauce taking center stage.

Cooking Time

Depending on cooking method, homemade baked beans can take anywhere from 90 minutes to 16 hours. Canned varieties are quite good, and a convenient option for a quick side dish.


Prepare baked beans in a slow cooker. This allows you to safely walk away from the dish while it cooks overnight -- and slow cooking creates deeper flavor.

Pork and Beans

Canned pork and beans are popular in the U.K. and may be derived from French Cassoulet.

Flavors and Textures

Pork and beans are meatier, with a thinner broth than baked beans. Ham hock provides the basis of the flavor, accented by aromatic vegetables. Pork and beans is a distinctly savory dish.

Cooking Time

This dish is traditionally made with dried beans, which must be soaked overnight to soften. Some cooks use canned beans as a shortcut. After the beans are softened, cooking them takes between 2 and 3 hours.