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These Instant Pot Baked Beans cook up perfectly tender with the classic flavor of Boston baked beans in a fraction of the time of other methods.
If you have an Instant Pot in your possession and you haven’t used it for cooking dry beans yet, I’m here to convince you that it must happen.
I’ve used every available method to cook dry beans and I have come to the conclusion that pressure cooking is by far the best. I love my mom’s old school Baked Beans from Scratch and will not abandon that recipe OR that method ever. But, you can achieve a very similar result so quickly and easily with your Instant Pot. It is a fabulous thing and you really need to try it.
Ingredients for Instant Pot Baked Beans
Although I’m using a newfangled appliance, I used all my favorite baked bean ingredients to create this recipe. The result is a classic, summertime cookout flavor that is very similar to the baked beans I grew up eating.
The current state of things has me craving those comforting flavors from the past.
- Dry pinto beans (see note below)
- Thick-sliced bacon
- Yellow onion
- Green bell pepper
- Minced garlic
- Brown sugar
- Molasses (I use Grandma’s Original Unsulphured. It adds that unique Boston baked beans flavor.)
- Dijon mustard
- Smoked paprika
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Bay leaf
The Best Dry Beans for Baked Beans
This recipe was tested using dry pinto beans because I have found them to be more readily available than other varieties lately. I believe it would also work well with great northern beans since they are similar in size, but I don’t recommend substituting any other type of bean. Why? Because pressure cooking is a very extreme method and if you were to substitute a smaller bean, like navy beans, the cooking time would need to be adjusted. It’s hard to make a guess on what that adjustment would need to be without testing and I want your first experience with this recipe to be a good one.
My advice when making any Instant Pot recipe is to use the ingredients specified and follow the directions as written.
How to Make Baked Beans in the Instant Pot
One of the most exciting things about pressure cooking beans is that it is not necessary to pre-soak or cook them. This process takes place in the the first step in this recipe.
- Give your dry pinto beans a good rinse and pick through them to remove any debris. Transfer them to the insert of a 6-quart Instant Pot.
- Add 8 cups of cool water and use the manual pressure cook setting on your Instant Pot to cook them for 25 minutes (not more, not less).
- Once the cooking time is up, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release for 10 minutes. This is an important part of the process because the beans will continue to soften a bit during this time. Be vigilant and stay close by so it does not go beyond the 10 minute mark and then manually release any remaining pressure.
- Open the pot, transfer the cooked beans to a colander to drain. and discard the cooking liquid.
- Add chopped, thick-sliced bacon to the dry Instant Pot insert and sauté until cooked and crisped.
- Add diced onion, green bell pepper and cook, stirring every so often, until soften. Add some minced garlic and cook for an additional minute or two.
- Return the cooked beans to the Instant Pot along with 1 cup of water, ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, Dijon, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and a bay leaf. Stir well and then pressure cook for an additional 10 minutes.
- At the end of the second cooking time perform a quick release. The beans should be perfectly tender and ready to serve. Don’t forget to remove the bay leaf and then transfer them to a serving dish.
This Memorial Day weekend is an excellent opportunity to create a nostalgic summer menu while we stay home and honor our members of the military, past and present. Whatever your main course may be, this updated classic will make a great addition to the menu.
Freezing Leftover Baked Beans
Place the completely cooled baked beans and sauce into a sturdy airtight container. Leave at least 1-inch of head room in case the contents of the container expands in the freezer. Label the container with the date. Use the beans within 4 months of freezing for the best flavor and texture.
For another delicious Instant Pot bean recipe, check out my Instant Pot 15 Bean Soup.
Valerie’s Kitchen will be donating a percentage of profits to charities that are helping aid families in need during this challenging time. This month that charity is World Central Kitchen who through their #ChefsForAmerica nationwide emergency food relief program, is committing to purchasing 1 million meals from local restaurants, and delivering those meals directly to Americans that need assistance.
Instant Pot Baked Beans
- 1 pound dry pinto or great northern beans
- 9 cups water, divided
- 4 slices thick-sliced bacon, chopped ½-inch pieces
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 cup diced green bell pepper
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 cup ketchup
- ⅓ cup brown sugar, packed
- ⅓ cup molasses (like Grandma's Original Unsulphured)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus additional if desired
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional if desired
- 1 bay leaf
- Place the beans in a colander and rinse them well with cold water and allow to drain. Pick through the beans and remove and discard any debris.
- Place the beans in the Instant Pot and cover with 8 cups of cold water. Lock the lid in place and press the MANUAL or the PRESSURE COOK button, select HIGH, and set the time to 25 minutes (making sure the steam release handle is in the “Sealing” position on older models). At the end of the cooking time allow pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes then manually release any remaining pressure. Press “CANCEL” and unlock and open the lid and transfer the cooked beans to a colander to drain.
- Press the SAUTE button. When display reads “Hot” add the bacon. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, or until the fat has been rendered and the bacon is crispy. Add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until onion and bell pepper are beginning to soften. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Press “CANCEL”.
- Add the cooked beans, remaining 1 cup of water, ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, Dijon, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir well. Lock the lid in place and press the MANUAL or the PRESSURE COOK button, select HIGH, and set the time to 10 minutes (making sure the steam release handle is in the “Sealing” position on older models).
- When time is up perform a quick release (manually release the pressure). Press "CANCEL" and unlock and remove the lid. Remove and discard the bay leaf and serve.