(Instant Pot) Pressure Cooker Baked Beans are a popular side dish for summer BBQs. Dried navy beans are cooked until tender in the pressure cooker and coated in a classic sweet, smoky, sticky sauce.
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 them in the pressure cooker from dry beans is easy, cheaper, and your beans will be better tasting.
All About Baked Beans
Baked beans are a dish that seems as old as barbecues themselves—I can’t remember not having them at family barbecues growing up. 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! I’ve also heard that Canadians make theirs with maple syrup. Because of course! (Can my Canadian readers confirm or deny this?)
However, the common thread linking baked beans across countries are the navy beans. These small white beans are native to North America and are, apparently, (If you’re really interested, check out The Guardian’s fabulous write up. SO much bean trivia—the beans were cooked by indigenous tribes and adopted by the Pilgrims! First canned in the 1860s!)
Despite the “baked” in their name, most baked beans recipes are actually slow-simmered. Many popular recipes have you simmer them for anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours! But by “baking” them in the pressure cooker, you can have perfect “baked” 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, and I adapted their recipe for the pressure cooker. The baked beans have a great, traditional flavor. I like lots of bacon in my baked beans, so I doubled the bacon.
You’ll get the prettiest, least broken beans if you soak them overnight, as directed. However, if you’re in a hurry, you can pressure cook the beans for 1 minute. Turn the pressure cooker off and then let them soak for 1 hour before proceeding with the recipe.
Update: I’ve made this Pressure Cooker Baked Beans dish many times, and it’s always a hit. I’ve updated the post with a video so you can see for yourself just how easy it is to make!
The video shows an overnight soak, but I often use the quick soak method mentioned at the bottom of the recipe.
Pressure Cooker Baked Beans
- 1 pound dried navy beans
- 8 cups water
- 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 beans in a colander and sort through the beans to remove any debris. Soak beans overnight in the pressure cooking pot with 8 cups water mixed with 1 tablespoon salt. * Drain and rinse the beans; discard the soaking liquid.
Select Browning and add bacon to pressure cooking pot. Cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Cook the onion in bacon drippings until tender, about 3 minutes. Scrap 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 in the pot and stir to combine. Stir in the soaked beans.
Select high pressure and 35 minutes cook time. When timer beeps, turn pressure cooker off and wait for 10 minutes, after 10 minutes use a quick pressure release to release any remaining pressure. Discard any beans that are floating, Check several beans to see if they’re tender. If not, pressure cooker for a few minutes longer.
Stir in cooked bacon. Select Simmer and simmer beans uncovered, stirring occasionally so the bottom doesn’t burn, until the sauce is the desired consistency.
Note: *If you don’t have time for an overnight soak, use this quick soak method. Pressure cook the beans for 1 minute. Turn pressure cooker off and let beans soak one hour. Proceed with the recipe as directed.