These Instant Pot Baked Beans are smokey and sweet and, using the pressure cooking magic of the Instant Pot, they're an easy side dish for your summer backyard barbecues that blow away canned beans.
Why this recipe works
Sweet and smokey baked beans are a summer cookout staple. They're a perfect side dish to accompany grilled dishes like burgers, hot dogs, and pulled pork barbecue.
Traditional baked beans can take hours to make from scratch. However, with the Instant Pot you can have a delicious batch of homemade baked beans in a fraction of the time!
Note: this recipe was developed on a 6 qt Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus.
See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
- Dried Navy Beans
- 6 slices of thick-cut bacon
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1 medium green pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- Tomato paste
- Barbecue sauce
- Brown sugar
- Dried mustard
How to Cook Dried Beans in an Instant Pot
This homemade baked beans recipe uses dried beans for the best texture. You will need to cook the beans first but the extra effort is totally worth it!
Dried beans cooked in your pressure cooker will have a little more bite than canned beans and will not be overly soft and mushy. Best of all, no soaking is required when using the pressure cooker!
To cook the dried beans:
- Add the dried beans to the Instant Pot with 6 cups of water.
- Seal the lid and set to manual high pressure and cook for 20 minutes.
- Allow the steam to release naturally, then remove the lid, drain the beans, and set aside while you sauté the veggies for your baked beans.
After pre-cooking your dried beans, you will be ready to prepare the baked beans.
- Set your Instant Pot to sauté mode and cook the bacon until crispy. Then add in the diced onion and green bell pepper, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally.
- Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and cook for another 30 to 45 seconds.
- Turn the Instant Pot to OFF. Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and cook for another minute, frequently stirring to avoid burning.
- Add 1 cup of water and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. This will help avoid a burn warning during the second pressure cooking cycle.
- Add in the barbecue sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, and dried mustard and stir until well combined. Optional: Add in a couple of teaspoons of BBQ dry rub for extra flavor.
- Add the reserved beans to the pot and stir until everything is well combined. Then seal the lid and set to manual high pressure for 15 minutes. After the cooking completes, allow the steam to naturally release until the pin drops. Let the beans cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
What if I receive a burn message on the Instant Pot?
I use a 6 Qt Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus model for this recipe and have made it multiple times with no issue. For an 8 Qt pot, you will need additional liquid to avoid a burn message, but I have not tested this to determine the proper amount.
If you do receive a burn message, don't panic! First, quick vent the pressure from the Instant Pot and carefully remove the lid. Be sure you've thoroughly scraped up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot, and stir everything well. Also, be sure you don't have any food stuck on the outside bottom of the pot or on the heating element.
If those things check out and you still get a burn message, add another ¼ to ½ cup of liquid to the pot and re-seal the lid, then cook again on high pressure for 15 minutes.
To store leftover baked beans, place the baked beans in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove over medium heat.
To freeze, allow the beans to cool then add to a freezer bag or freezer-safe container and store for up to 3 months. When ready to use, allow them to thaw overnight and reheat in a pot over medium heat with an additional ¼ cup of water.
Optional Longer Cooking Method
The great thing about using the Instant Pot for baked beans is the one-pot convenience. But, if you have time to spare and you want really thick sauce in your baked beans, you can do a longer simmer.
Transfer the beans into a large pot set over on low heat on the stove. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes or more until they reach your desired consistency. Do not use the Instant Pot's pot for this since it is not designed for use on a stove.
Serving the Beans
After cooking, serve the Instant Pot baked beans in a large bowl, or straight from the Instant Pot if you like.
They go great with barbecue dishes like pulled pork, bbq chicken legs, and smoked spare ribs. They're also a great side dish for cookout classics like burgers and hot dogs.
Baked Beans FAQs
For spicy baked beans add in 1-2 diced and seeded jalapenos when cooking the veggies and/or 1-2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper when adding the spices.
The molasses gives a deep, smokey, sweet flavor to the beans but if you want a lot of smoke flavor in your baked beans, you can also add a ½ to 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke when you add your sauce ingredients.
You can also smoke the cooked baked beans in your smoker to add smoke flavor!
To save time you can use canned beans and skip the first step of cooking the dried beans. The texture will be softer when using canned beans, but they still taste great!
Maple Syrup adds a delicious flavor to baked beans and can easily be swapped in for the brown sugar. Add ¼ to ½ cup of syrup and reduce the brown sugar by an equal amount.
I've only tried this recipe with navy beans, but many other recipes online use great northern, kidney, or pinto beans.
Other summer side dish ideas
Instant Pot Baked Beans
- 1 pound navy beans, dried
- 7 cups water, divided
- 6 slices bacon, thick cut
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 medium green pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoon tomato paste
- ½ cup barbecue sauce
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard
- Add dried beans and 6 cups of water to Instant Pot and cook for 20 minutes on manual (high pressure) then allow pressure to naturally release. Drain beans then set aside.
- Set Instant Pot to saute and add allow to preheat then add bacon and cook for 4-5 minutes until crispy. Add the chopped onion and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened. Add the garlic and cook another 30-45 seconds. Set the Instant Pot to OFF. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute stirring frequently.
- Stir in the remaining 1 cup of water and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the barbecue sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, and dried mustard. Optional: You can add in 2 teaspoons of BBQ dry rub for extra flavor. Stir until well combined then add the reserved beans back to the pot.
- Cover and seal the Instant Pot lid, then cook for 15 minutes on manual (high pressure). Allow pressure to naturally release until the pin drops. Remove the lid and stir the beans, then let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
* All nutrition information we provide are estimates based on third party calculators. We encourage you to calculate these on your own for accurate results.
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