Instant Pot Baked Beans are a popular side dish for summer BBQs. Dried navy beans are pressure cooked until tender and coated in a classic sticky sauce made from molasses, ketchup, and seasonings.
Cecilia, a Pressure Cooking Today reader, asked me if I would post a pressure cooker baked beans recipe. Although you can make great baked beans with canned beans, cooking the dry beans from-scratch in the pressure cooker is easier, cheaper, and better tasting.
Update: I’ve updated this post with new photos and helpful tips about how to soak and cook perfect baked beans in the Instant Pot.
What Are Baked Beans?
Baked beans seem as old as barbecues themselves. I can’t remember not having them at family barbecues growing up.
Despite the “baked” in their name, most baked beans recipes are actually slow-simmered navy beans. Many stovetop recipes have you simmer soaked beans for anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours!
But by “baking” them in the pressure cooker, you can have perfect navy beans with just 35 minutes at high pressure and a 10 minute natural release.
Making Pressure Cooker Baked Beans in an Instant Pot
Better Homes and Gardens has a good tutorial on cooking baked beans from scratch. I adapted their recipe for the pressure cooker to make it even easier and faster.
The baked beans have a great, traditional flavor. I like lots of bacon in my baked beans, so I doubled the bacon.
The video shows an overnight soak, but I often use the quick soak method discussed below.
How to Soak Beans Overnight
An overnight soak is the best way to ensure your baked beans cook evenly and look the most uniform.
To perform an overnight soak: Cover your beans in the pressure cooking pot (turned OFF) with 8 cups of water and a tablespoon of salt. Let the beans sit overnight at room temperature.
The next day, drain the beans and rinse them well. Now you’re ready to proceed with the Instant Pot Baked Bean recipe as written.
Quick-Soak Method for Beans
If you don’t have time for an overnight soak, you can get many of the same benefits with a quick soak.
To use the quick soak method for dried beans: Simply cover the beans with water in the pressure cooking pot, as you would for the overnight soak (including the salt). Then pressure cook on high for 1 minute.
Turn the pressure cooker off and let the beans soak for 1 hour. Then remove the lid, drain and rinse the beans, and discard the soaking water.
Proceed with the recipe as directed.
No-Soak Baked Beans
Note that the beans may cook unevenly if you skip a soak, so I don’t really recommend this method.
For no-soak baked beans: Choose your cook time. Cooking at high pressure for 75 minutes you’ll have some perfectly cooked beans and others that are still a little hard. If you cook for 90 minutes, you’ll have some mushy and split beans and some a little hard.
It’s not perfect, but it does work in a pinch.
Random Baked Beans Facts
While I’ve only had the traditional American version cooked in a smoky sweet molasses sauce, apparently across the pond in the UK, baked beans are a breakfast food: meatless, coated in a tomato sauce, and served on toast! And Canadian readers have confirmed making theirs with maple syrup. (Because of course!)
If you’re a trivia lover like me, check out The Guardian’s fabulous baked beans write up. SO many great bean facts! Beans were cooked by indigenous tribes and adopted by the Pilgrims! First canned in the 1860s!)
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- 1 pound dried navy beans*
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 10-ounces (8 slices) thick-sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Rinse the beans in a colander and sort through to remove any debris. Soak the beans overnight* in the pressure cooking pot with 8 cups of water and 1 tablespoon salt.
- After soaking, drain and rinse the beans; discard the soaking liquid.
- Select Sauté and add the bacon to the pressure cooking pot. Cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Add the onion to the pot and cook in the bacon fat until tender, about 3 minutes. Scrape up brown bits on the bottom of the pot as the onions cook.
- Add 2 1/2 cups water, molasses, ketchup, brown sugar, dry mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to the onions and stir to combine. Stir in the soaked beans.
- Select high pressure and 35 minutes cook time. When the cook time ends, turn the pressure cooker off and do a 10 minute natural pressure release, followed by a quick pressure release to release any remaining pressure. Carefully remove the lid.
- Discard any beans that are floating, and check several beans to make sure they're tender. If not, return to high pressure for a few more minutes.
- Stir in the cooked bacon. Select Simmer and simmer beans uncovered, stirring occasionally so the bottom doesn't burn, until the sauce is the desired consistency.
*Note that the total time does not include soaking times.
If you don’t have time for an overnight soak, use this quick soak method: Pressure cook the beans on high for 1 minute. Turn the pressure cooker off and let beans soak for one hour. Proceed with the recipe as directed.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 169Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 878mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 4gSugar: 17gProtein: 7g
Nutrition information is calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.
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