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.
Let 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.
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 Inner Pot. Add in tomato sauce, seasonings, vinegar, molasses, and maple syrup and stir well. 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 on Saute and stir well for 10-15 minute or until sauce reaches your desired thickness.
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.
While not traditional, feel free to use pinto beans or small red beans in place of the navy beans. The cook time will remain the same.
If your family is opposed to chopped onions, omit the onions and add in 2 teaspoons dried onion powder.
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.
If you do not use bacon, you may need to increase your salt for more flavor.
It is really important to let your instant pot release pressure naturally when cooking beans.
For a sweeter, darker result add in an additional ¼-1/3 cup brown sugar. For my classic baked beans recipe, I add in the brown sugar for a more decadent side dish!
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.