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Homemade Baked Beans (Instant Pot)

Homemade baked beans made in an instant pot are packed with deep, rich flavor and take a fraction of the time as traditional cooking methods.

They’re a delicious side dish for a buffet, summer BBQ or potluck.

spoonful of baked beans over pot of baked beans.

I served the baked beans at a dinner party last week with ribs to thumbs-up reviews. I made them the day before and reheated them on the stove.

The consistency was perfect as the sauce thickened up overnight. The tender beans were coated in a slightly sweet savory sauce, boosted with maple syrup, molasses, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce.

Most recipes for instant pot baked beans are quite similar. This one comes from This Old Gal with a few minor tweaks such as using a shortcut method to quick-soak the beans that cuts the prep time way down.

Technically these beans are not ‘baked’ as they are cook under high pressure in an instant pot. I doubt anyone could tell the difference.

What to expect

  • A delicious recipe for baked beans from scratch with no preservatives (unlike canned baked beans).
  • A healthy side dish. Baked beans are high in protein and fiber and low in fat. One cup of beans has 12 grams of fiber. (Ok, they are a bit carb-y).

Ingredients- tailored to your taste

navy beans, bacon, onion, molasses, maple syrup, dry mustard, ketchup, onion.

Dry beans: I like to use white navy beans which are small white beans with a mild flavor. You can substitute them with pinto beans, white kidney beans (also called canellini beans) or Great Northern beans.

Bacon adds great smoky flavor to the beans. Use the type you prefer…applewood smoked, hickory smoked, turkey bacon. You can also leave it out.

Ketchup creates the base for the savory baked bean sauce.

Molasses: Together with maple syrup and brown sugar, it sweetens and helps thicken the sauce. If you don’t have molasses, use honey (a bit less than called for). Food 52 has a good article on molasses substitutes and other molasses info.

soaked navy beans draining in sieve.

Variations

  • Build or adjust flavors
    • Adjust the sweetness with more or less molasses and maple syrup.
    • For more tang, increase the dried mustard or add a bit of Dijon mustard.
    • Add extra smoky flavor with a few drops of liquid smoke or smoked paprika.
  • Add-ins:
    • Add heat with a pinch of red pepper flakes or chilli powder.
    • Sauté a bell pepper with the onion and bacon.
    • Add sausage or ground beef instead of or in addition to the bacon.
  • Vegetarian version – eliminate the bacon.
  • Texture: If you prefer softer beans, pressure cook them for a bit longer. 
  • Lower calorie version: Skip the bacon or use lower fat turkey bacon. And reduce the brown sugar, maple syrup and molasses a bit. You can also substitute the brown sugar with a stevia brown sugar mix found in some grocery stores.

Step by step instructions

Soak the navy beans either using the quick or slow soak method.

onions and bacon sauteing in instant pot.
Add the onion and bacon to the pressure cooker. Sauté until the bacon browns and the onions become tender and translucent.
all ingredients added to instant pot before pressure cooking.
Combine the beans and sauce ingredients with the onion and bacon.
baked beans in serving dish with rolls behind them.
thickened beans in bowl next day

Tip

The beans will thicken on standing or when reheated the next day.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use canned beans instead of dry beans?

If you are running short of time, you can skip the soak and use canned beans instead. Because canned beans are already hydrated, they will require less cooking time. Make sure to rinse the canned beans before cooking them and reduce the cooking time to about 25-30 minutes.

Can I freeze baked beans?

Yes, you can freeze the cooked beans for up to several months. Just add the beans to airtight freezer-safe containers or plastic freezer bags. To thaw, place the container of beans in the fridge overnight and reheat in a saucepan.

What to serve with Instant Pot baked beans

These easy Instant Pot Baked beans are the perfect side dish for ribs, steakscrambled eggsspinach mac and cheese, quinoa mac and cheese and chicken burgersbroccoli burgers or hot dogs.

My husband loves baked beans with almost anything. He is happy to eat them on their own with fresh rolls or toast for dipping.

Shortcut

  • Skip soaking the beans and used plain canned navy beans. This will save an hour or more and less cooking time. You will be trading off ‘from scratch’ for a nice convenience.
  • Or use the short soak method instead of the longer one.

Make ahead

Store the cooked beans in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat them on the stovetop with a bit of extra water. Or in a covered dish in the oven at 350F/177C for about 30 minutes. The bean can also be frozen for up to 3 months.  

spoonful of baked beans over pot of baked beans.

More instant pot side dishes

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spoonful of baked beans over pot of baked beans.
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Homemade Baked Beans (Instant Pot )

These homemade baked beans made in an instant pot are packed with deep, rich flavor and take a third of the time as traditional cooking methods. They're a perfect make-ahead side, buffet, BBQ or potluck dish.
Prep Time1 hr 5 mins
Cook Time50 mins
natural release10 mins
Total Time2 hrs 5 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dry navy beans, Note 1 about 1 pound/454 grams.
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt for soaking beans
  • Optional: 5-6 slices thick cut bacon, chopped (omit for vegetarian version)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic (1/2 tsp garlic powder)
  • 3 cup water

Sauce ingredients

  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  • PREPARE BEANS: Rinse dry beans and add to pot with salt. Add water to cover 2 inches/5 cm above beans. For QUICK SOAK method: Bring to boil, then boil for two minutes. Remove from heat and let set covered for 1 hour. For SLOW SOAK method: Soak for 3 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse. You can also use canned beans (Note 1).
  • GATHER INGREDIENTS FOR INSTANT POT: Put all sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • SAUTÉ AROMATICS AND BACON (if using): Choose Sauté function on Instant Pot (IP) or BROWNING on Pressure Cooker and let it heat up. Add onions and bacon (if using) to the inner pot. Sauté for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally until onions are translucent and bacon is beginning to brown. Don't drain the bacon grease. Add a few tablespoons water, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Continue cooking until the water has evaporated. Add garlic and sauté another 30 seconds.
  • PRESSURE COOK: Add beans and all sauce ingredients along with the water to the Instant Pot. Stir. Lock lid and set spout to the sealing position (or close pressure valve). Choose High Pressure for 45-50 minutes. (Note 2). Or cook 25-30 minutes if using canned beans. When machine beeps, allow natural pressure release for 15 minutes, then turn to Venting to allow release of remaining pressure. Open lid. Stir in salt. Taste for tenderness and sweetness. Add more molasses or maple syrup if desired. If beans are not soft enough, lock on lid and pressure cook on high pressure for another 10 minutes.
    To further thicken the sauce, cook the beans using the sauté function for a few minutes. But note they will thicken on standing or in the fridge.

Notes

  1. Bean options:
    • You can skip soaking the beans and use plain canned navy beans. You will need 4-5 cups/1 kg. This will save the soaking time and reduce cook time to 25-30 minutes.
    • Instead of white navy beans, you can substitute with pinto beans, white kidney beans (also called canellini beans) or Great Northern beans. 
  2. For softer beans: pressure cook them for a bit longer.  Older beans will take longer to cook.
  3. For a thicker sauce. If you still want to thicken sauce a bit more (if you are serving them immediately for example), choose SAUTÉ function on the instant pot and cook while stirring for 3-4 minutes or until desired consistency.
  4. To make ahead/store: Store the cooked beans in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat them on the stovetop with a bit of extra water. Or in a covered dish in the oven at 350F/177C for about 30 minutes. The bean can also be frozen for up to 3 months.  
  5. Variations:
    • Build or adjust flavors
      • Adjust the sweetness with more or less molasses and maple syrup.
      • For more tang, increase the dried mustard or add a bit of Dijon mustard.
      • Add extra smoky flavor with a few drops of liquid smoke or smoked paprika.
    • Add-ins:
      • Add heat with a pinch of red pepper flakes or chilli powder.
      • Sauté a bell pepper with the onion and bacon.
      • Add sausage or ground beef instead of or in addition to the bacon.
    • Vegetarian version – eliminate the bacon.
    • Lower calorie version: Skip the bacon or use lower fat turkey bacon. And reduce the brown sugar, maple syrup and molasses a bit. You can also substitute the brown sugar with a stevia brown sugar mix found in some grocery stores.
 
Nutrition values are estimates and include bacon. 

Nutrition

Calories: 181kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 985mg | Potassium: 372mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 47IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 2mg
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