These best-tasting Root Beer Baked Beans are hearty and thick, sweet and savory; the BEST potluck, barbecue, or holiday dish for any party!

a big pot of root beer beans with ground turkey

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What gets in the way of smooth entertaining?  Two things come to mind with me and with other hostesses that I notice: Apologizing and not enjoying myself at a party. So for holiday and summer entertaining ahead, I plan to work on both of these issues.

Root Beer Baked Beans Recipe

But first, get a pot of these Root Beer Baked Beans baking in your oven today … because they are the perfect side dish for any barbecue or party!

mixed root beer beans close up

Ingredients for root beer beans

    • Smoked bacon
    • Onion
    • Ground turkey
    • Pinto beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans
    • Root beer
    • Ketchup
    • Cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, molasses
    • Dark brown sugar
    • Dijon mustard

Root Beer Baked Beans

No More Apologizing

Apologizing really does bring attention to ourselves and points out the situation, when realistically our guests may have never noticed.Anyway, these 2 things are what I tend to be guilty of, and are two things that I’m working on as a hostess. I wonder if you struggle with the same things?

Apologizing to guests. Learn to bite your tongue when something burns or doesn’t turn out. Words of apology should never come out of a hostess’s mouth. They put the focus on what went wrong, and make guests uncomfortable. Many times, if we keep our mouths closed, no one will be the wiser.

MISTAKE: “I’m so sorry I scorched the chicken!” Once you apologize, you can change the whole course of the evening. Everyone is thinking about what went wrong, it makes them uncomfortable, it takes away from the once–relaxed setting, and all eyes are on YOU. Many times, guests would never have known something went bad if you would have kept it to yourself.

ADJUST. Learn to adjust and quickly (and quietly to yourself) to how you can add a sauce, change the presentation of the food (turn the burnt side down), add fresh herbs to make it look better, or if a dessert, add whipped cream on top.

decoonstructed root beer beans recipe (with sauce in the center)

Easy entertaining

Last week, our friends invited us over, and I brought dinner. Nothing fancy, but delicious for sure, because in the oven was a big pan of Root Beer Baked Beans baking!

close up of big pan of root beer beans

Our plan was to serve a traditional hot dog meal, with fresh fruit and baked beans. We watched the Women’s World Cup game and enjoyed some light fare. Inside the house this time…..

hot dog on a plate with beans

Looking for a fabulous Zucchini Relish recipe? You’ve got to try my recipe … I’ve been making it for years. It’s also sweet and savory!}

Delicious served on hot dogs!

summer picnic with root beer beans, hot dogs, and fruit

Set the table

A buffet table was all that we needed to load up our plates, and enjoy the game!


More barbecue side dishes:

Avocado & Three Bean Salad [Noble Pig], Cucumber Salad with Pineapple & Cilantro [RE], Mandarin Orange Salad [RE], Creamy Pasta Salad [Barefeet in the Kitchen], Summer Berry Spinach Salad [FoodieCrush].

a big pot of root beer beans with ground turkey
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Get the Recipe:

Root Beer Baked Beans

Adapted from Family Circle June 2015 magazine.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Yield: 8
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  • 6 slices smoked bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 can, 15 oz Bush’s Pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can, 15 oz Bush’s Kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can, 15 oz Bush’s Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup root beer, not diet
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cook bacon in a large frying pan (braiser or oven-safe pot) over medium-high heat until crisp, about 7 minutes. Remove bacon to a stack of paper towels to remove grease; cool and chop.
  • Add onion to baking dish, reduce heat to medium and cook 5 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Cook ground turkey in the same pan for about 5-7 minutes until browned, add the onions and bacon to the meat and stir.
  • Stir in beans, root beer, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, mustard, paprika and salt. Add chopped bacon. Bring to a simmer and transfer dish to oven.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 45 minutes; serve!
Cuisine: American
Course: Side Dish
Did you make this recipe?Tag @reluctantentertainer on Instagram and hashtag it #reluctantentertainer!

close up of mixed beans with ground turkey (root beer flavor)