Made with dried beans and a rich maple sauce, Instant Pot "Baked" Beans are incredibly easy to make and absolutely irresistible.
My Papa was known for his Old Fashioned Baked Beans.
And while I absolutely love his recipe for Boston Baked Beans, I wanted to see if I could speed up his classic recipe using the Instant Pot.
This recipe for Instant Pot Baked Beans took me weeks to perfect. I bought 20 pounds of dried beans and tried this and that and had so many failures. I had mushy baked beans, hard-baked beans, flavorless baked beans--but finally, I have NAILED how to make the most Perfect Instant Pot Baked Beans!
This recipe yields perfectly tender, perfectly flavorful, perfectly cooked baked beans made start to finish in the instant pot.
- Dried Navy Beans--Pinto beans can be used as well, but navy beans are traditional for baked beans.
- Maple Syrup--I love maple flavored baked beans. And because maple syrup is so rich in flavor, a little goes a long way.
- Apple Juice--This may sound crazy, but the apple juice sweetens the beans and pairs beautifully with the maple syrup.
- Tomato Sauce--The tomato sauce will add a nice depth of flavor and balance out the sweetness.
- Molasses--Adds a rich and smokey quality to the beans.
- Onion--Super traditional in baked beans to balance out the sweetness of the beans.
- Bacon (Optional)-- Add bacon to baked beans for smokiness or omit for Vegetarian Baked Beans.
- Seasonings--I use salt and dried mustard. The dried mustard adds a bit of tang and helps cut through the richness of the beans.
- Apple Cider Vinegar--The vinegar works a lot like the mustard to balance out the richness in this recipe. Feel free to use distilled white vinegar in place of apple cider vinegar.
How To Make Instant Pot Baked Beans
- Place dried, rinsed navy beans in the inner pot of the Instant Pot and cover with cold water.
- Place lid on the pressure cooker and cook for 20 minutes on high pressure.
- Let pressure release naturally for 20 minutes, before releasing the steam valve to release any remaining pressure.
- Drain the cooked beans using a colander and set aside.
- Wipe out the inner pot of any excess liquid and return to the instant pot.
- Turn Instant Pot to Saute and let it heat up for a couple of minutes.
- Once the inner pot is heated, add the diced bacon. You need a bit of fat, to saute the onions, so if you are not adding bacon to the baked beans, add in a ½ tablespoon of canola oil to the inner pot instead.
- Once the bacon has rendered off a bit of fat or the oil is heated, add onions into the inner pot and saute for 2-3 minutes or until bacon is browned and the onions begin to soften.
- Once the bacon is browned, turn instant pot OFF.
- Add in apple juice and scrape up browned bits on the bottom of Instant Pot. NOTE: This recipe has been developed for the 6-quart Instant Pot, if you have an 8-quart instant pot, you will need to either DOUBLE this recipe or use 1 full cup of apple juice plus ¼ cup water to prevent a burn warning.
- Add in the tomato sauce, maple syrup, molasses, and vinegar to the inner pot and stir gently to coat.
- Add in cooked beans back to the Instant Pot and gently fold into the mixture.
- Close lid, be sure vent knob is sealed, and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes.
- Once cook time has elapsed, let pressure release naturally for at least 15 minutes, before doing a quick release of any remaining pressure.
- If you would like your baked beans to have a thicker sauce, you can saute beans after they have cooked. Once you open up your instant pot, hit cancel to turn off the keep warm function and then hit saute. Let the beans simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce reaches your desired thickness.
To store the baked beans, allow them to cool fully and then transfer them to an airtight container. Store the beans in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freezer for up to 3 months.
Instead of using 1 cup of apple juice, use 1& ½ cups of apple juice, or double the recipe.
If you mix the tomato sauce gently into the apple juice instead of placing on the bottom of the inner pot, you should NOT get a burn notice. However, if your instant pot is sensitive to getting burn notices, simply pour the tomato sauce on top of the cooked beans. Mix into the sauce AFTER pressure cooking.
For really sweet baked beans, much like my Papa's baked beans, add in ¼ to ⅓ cup of brown sugar to the bean mixture.
Technically, no. You can use water but you will need to increase the sweetener. If you use water in place of the apple juice, you will need to double or triple your maple syrup or sweetener of choice and add in more salt for flavor.
Yes! To use canned beans in place of dried beans, skip the step of cooking dried beans in water and use 4 cups of canned navy beans that have been rinsed and drained.
If you are looking for a more detailed explanation of how to make Instant Pot Baked Beans, be sure to check out my YouTube video where I personally walk you through the steps with video instructions.
Instant Pot Baked Beans are delicious served as a side dish, scooped up with potato chips (trust me on this one), and are always the first dish to disappear at potlucks. Below are a few of my favorite entrees that pair beautifully with a side of baked beans.
- Grilled BBQ Chicken Breasts
- BBQ Chicken Burger
- Beef Burgers
- Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs
- Air Fryer Pork Chops
If you enjoyed these Instant Pot Baked Beans, I would love for you to share a review and leave a comment below.
Instant Pot Baked Beans
For the Beans
- 1 pound dried navy beans or pinto beans, see notes
- 6 cups cold water
For the Baked Beans
- 4 ounces bacon, chopped optional
- 1 onion minced
- ¾ cup apple juice
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard
- ¼ cup molasses
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Place navy beans in pressure cooker with the 6 cups of water. Close lid on Instant Pot and cook for 20 minutes on high pressure.
- Once cook time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes, then do a release of any remaining pressure. Remove beans from Instant Pot and drain off any excess liquid in a colander. Set the beans to the side and dry out the inner pot and return to the instant pot base.
- Turn Instant Pot to Saute and let heat up until pressure cooker reads, HOT.
- Add in chopped bacon if using. If not using bacon add in ½ tablespoon canola oil. Add in chopped onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until bacon begins to brown and the onion begins to soften. Turn the Instant Pot OFF.
- Add in apple juice and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the inner pot. Add in tomato sauce, seasonings, vinegar, molasses, and maple syrup and stir just to incorporate. Stir in cooked beans. NOTE: If using an 8 quart Instant Pot you need to use 1 full cup of apple juice plus ¼ cup water.
- Place lid on the pressure cooker and be sure the vent knob is sealed. Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes.
- Once cook time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for at least 15 minutes.
- OPTIONAL: If you would like your baked beans to have a thicker sauce, you can saute beans after they have cooked. Simply turn hit saute and allow the beans to simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring often or until sauce reaches your desired thickness.
This recipe was originally published in 2018 but was updated in 2021 with new tips.