Instant Pot Baked Beans made with dried beans, bacon and bell pepper that are cooked in rich smoky maple syrup sauce. This easy side dish requires no pre-soaking or cooking for hours.
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This Instant Pot baked beans recipe is so much easier than making it the traditional way, which can take hours. It’s 5 minutes of prep time and the rest is hands off cook time.
It is one of my favorite summer Instant Pot recipes! Yes, you can use the magic pot during heat to keep your house cool!
Baked beans have always been a BBQ side dish staple, along with Instant Pot corn on the cob, Instant Pot potato salad, and healthy coleslaw. Well, many made without a pressure cooker for years but now it’s even easier for us, modern cooks.
OK, so it’s not as quick as opening up a can but believe me, you’ll reap the rewards of spending just over an hour on this recipe.
There is nothing like it! So much mouthwatering sweetness, smokiness, and depth of flavor you just don’t get from a can.
Ingredients You Will Need
- Dried beans – I used pinto beans but you can also use dried navy beans, which are actually more traditional.
- Bacon – Traditional baked beans include some kind of pork lard for flavor, but you can omit it for a vegetarian version.
- Onion – An aromatic for incredible seasoning.
- Bell pepper – Fine chopped red or green pepper. They are both on the opposite sides of the taste spectrum, red being much sweeter, so the choice depends on your taste.
- Yellow mustard – Prepared yellow mustard for a bit of tang.
- Liquid smoke – A little bit of this stuff goes a long way. It gives off incredibly smoky flavors and aromas.
- Apple cider vinegar – Along with the mustard, the acid also works to cut the richness and adds tartness and tang to balance the sweet.
- Applesauce – Can use unsweetened or sweetened, again, depending on how sweet you like your beans. Instant Pot applesauce or store-bought works.
- BBQ sauce – I use Stubb’s as I find the ingredient list a lot cleaner than most other brands. Can also use homemade healthy BBQ sauce!
- Maple syrup – Used as a natural sweetener other than the traditional brown sugar. Not only does it work the same way, but also has a nice flavor to it. You can also use honey instead.
- Ketchup – Some people use tomato sauce instead as another acid to cut through the richness, however ketchup does this with a bit more flavor and sweetness.
How to Make Baked Beans in the Instant Pot
Instant Pot baked beans is one of the easiest ways to make baked beans from scratch.
Add beans and cold water to the Instant Pot and Pressure Cook on High or Manual for 25 minutes.
Do this by securing the lid and moving the Valve to Sealing. It will take some time to come to pressure, so now’s a good time to prep the veggies.
Release the pressure using quick pressure release by turning the valve to Venting. Drain the beans and set them aside.
If some of the beans are not quite cooked yet, that’s no problem. They will finish cooking when we pressure cook the beans second time.
Rinse the inner pot and return it to the base. Press sauté and wait until the display reads Hot.
Cook bacon, stirring occasionally. Toss in the onion and bell pepper and continue cooking and stirring. Press Cancel.
Add remaining ingredients which include cooked beans, mustard, liquid smoke, apple cider vinegar, applesauce, BBQ sauce, maple syrup, and ketchup in that order. Do not stir.
Pressure cook on High or Manual for 15 minutes. Quick release once more, then open the lid and stir the beans.
If you have time or would like to walk away, beans will be fine with natural release as well. Just let Instant Pot do its own thing.
Tip: If your crowd isn’t quite ready to eat yet, keep the Instant Pot on the warm feature so that it doesn’t get cold!
Ramp up the flavor with some tweaks or substitutions.
- Boston baked beans: Swap the maple syrup or honey for blackstrap molasses to get a deeper flavor and color. This version is what ‘Beantown’ calls Boston baked beans.
- Canned beans: Use four 14 oz cans of low sodium beans instead of dried beans, making sure to rinse and drain first. Start with step 5 of the recipe card below, then keep going as directed.
- Add-ins: Throw in some sriracha or red pepper flakes for a spicy kick.
- Vegetarian: Just skip the bacon. It is used for flavor, but there is already so much going on that you can easily enjoy baked beans without the bacon.
No, you don’t! This is the beauty of making baked beans in a pressure cooker. The pressure does the work for you, which takes hours off of making them from scratch.
Yes, in 8 quart or 10 quart Instant Pot, for sure. Same cooking time. The beans will expand as they cook and the remaining ingredients will create a sauce that will also take up room.
I have not tried doing so in a 6 quart pressure cooker. It might work! It might be wise to try it once with the recipe instructions as written and play around with the amount on the next one.
Nothing, you’ll just have mushy beans and perhaps a thicker consistency. Not the end of the world! Baked beans are generally soft and saucy anyway.
Beans will thicken as they cool. If they are not thickening as much as you would like, remove some of the beans and mash them up before returning them to the pot. The texture of the mashed beans will help thicken up the entire pot.
Or you can make a slurry of 2 tbsp cold water and 2 tsp cornstarch, add it to the pot and Saute until thickened.
Making Baked Beans in Advance
Make ahead: Follow the instructions up to the point where you’ve added the remaining ingredients on top of the beans, bacon, onions, and peppers.
Remember not to stir, so when you place in the fridge covered for up to 2 days, none of the ingredients move around. Cook when you’re ready to enjoy!
Storing: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Freezing: Once completely cooled, Instant Pot baked beans can be kept frozen for up to 3 days. Store in an airtight freezer-friendly container making sure to leave room for expansion.
Reheating: You can reheat on the stove on low or using a saucepan or the Instant Pot liner you cooked it in. Stir a few times. You can also use the Instant Pot to warm it up by pressing sauté.
This classic healthy side dish goes well with so many things.
- Instant pot ribs
- Instant Pot pork chops
- Cucumber and tomato salad
- Healthy chicken burgers
- Instant Pot mashed potatoes
- Instant Pot baked potatoes
Instant Pot Baked Beans
- 1 lb dried navy or pinto beans rinsed & drained
- 5 cups cold water
- 8 slices bacon chopped
- 1 yellow or white onion finely chopped
- 1 red or green bell pepper finely chopped
- 2 tbsp yellow mustard
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 1/2 tsp salt
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup applesauce sweetened or unsweetened
- 1/3 cup barbecue sauce I use Stubb's or homemade
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- In Instant Pot, add beans and cold water. Secure lid, place vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cook on High or Manual for 25 minutes. While beans are cooking prep veggies.
- Release pressure using Quick Release method by turning valve to Venting and drain the beans (some uncooked beans are fine). Set aside.
- Rinse the inner pot, Return it to Instant Pot base, press Saute and wait until display says Hot. Then add bacon and cook for 5 minutes, stirring a few times.
- Add onion and bell pepper, cook for 4 minutes, stirring a few times. Press Cancel.
- Add beans, mustard, liquid smoke, apple cider vinegar, applesauce, barbecue sauce, maple syrup and ketchup. Do not stir! Close the lid, set valve to Sealing and press Pressure Cook on High or Manual for 15 minutes.
- After release pressure immediately by turning valve to Venting. Open the lid and stir the baked beans.
- Store: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Freeze in an airtight container leaving some room for expansion for up to 3 months.
- Reheat: On the stove by simmering in the pot or right in Instant Pot liner for 5-6 minutes, stirring a few times. You can also reheat right in Instant Pot by pressing Saute.
- Make ahead: Follow recipe up to step 5 including adding everything to the pot. Refrigerate in inner liner covered for up to 2 days. Cook when ready.
- Do I need to soak dried beans? No need at all.
- Canned beans: Start with step 5 and use 4 x 14 oz low sodium canned beans (rinsed & drained).