Sweet and smoky these Instant Pot Baked Beans are the perfect side dish for your summer BBQs and potlucks. The beans are cooked right in the pressure cooker – no overnight soaking required – with smoky maple bacon for a rich, savory side dish that’s ready in an hour.
These beans pair perfectly with our Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs!
Easy Homemade Baked Beans from Scratch
These Instant Pot Baked Beans are sweet, savory, smoky, with a touch of maple from the bacon and real maple syrup. And while making homemade baked beans from scratch requires a few extra steps instead of opening a can, the end result is so worth it – and still easy to achieve.
Just toss the dried beans right into the Instant Pot and 25 minutes later they’re perfectly cooked – no overnight soaking required!
Serve this classic baked beans recipe with your favorite grilled or smoked meats, from hot dogs to ribs, or at your next potluck.
Here’s what you’ll need to make these easy baked beans from scratch!
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Navy beans – Dry in the bag, not canned.
- Bacon – I like to use thick-cut maple bacon.
- Red bell pepper, onion, and garlic – Aromatics to add flavor and texture.
- Ketchup – Adds a bit of acidity and rich tomato flavor.
- Sweet barbecue sauce – Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ is a great option or use our homemade BBQ sauce recipe.
- Molasses – Adds a flavor and rich sweetness to the beans.
- Apple cider vinegar – Adds a bit of acidity to balance the other ingredients.
- Maple syrup – It’s essential to use real maple syrup and not pancake syrup.
- Liquid smoke – Adds a bit of the smoked flavor to the beans.
- Brown sugar – For a bit more sweetness and deep molasses flavor.
- Seasonings – Salt and pepper, mustard powder, and smoked paprika add depth to the flavor.
What Kinds of Beans Are Used in Baked Beans?
Navy beans are most commonly used in baked beans, including popular canned versions like Bush’s Baked Beans. Pink beans and Northern White Beans can also be used. I’ve substituted Northern White Beans in this recipe before and while good, they are not as tender as navy beans.
Recipe Notes and Variations
Can’t find an ingredient? Or want to switch it up a bit? Here are a few easy Instant Pot baked beans variations.
- Use quality smoked bacon. If you can’t find thick cut maple bacon, you can substitute any good quality smoked bacon that you like and they will still be delicious.
- Green bell pepper can be used. Red bell pepper is much sweeter and more gentle on the tummy than green, but green can be used as well if that’s what you have on hand.
- Be sure to use real maple syrup! Real maple syrup will be in a small glass bottle near the pancake syrup. Pick the darkest one that’s within your budget. The real stuff is boiled down sap from the maple tree, whereas pancake syrup is corn syrup with maple flavoring and color added.
- Make the beans sweeter. If you’d like your beans sweeter after they’re cooked, you can add another 2 tablespoons of maple syrup or brown sugar.
- Spice it up. If you’d like them spicy, add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, or red pepper flakes. Smoked chipotle powder would also be great.
How to Make Instant Pot Baked Beans
Here’s how to make baked beans in the Instant Pot, in just a few steps.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Cook the beans. Rinse the beans to remove any dirt or debris. Place in the pressure cooker with 6 cups of water. Turn to the ‘sealing’ position and cook on high for 25 minutes.
- Cook the bacon and aromatics. Remove the beans from the Instant Pot. Sauté the bacon until crisp, stirring frequently. Drain on a paper towel. Sauté the bell pepper and onion in bacon grease until soft, then add the garlic and sauté another 20 seconds.
- Add in the seasonings. Add in the ketchup, barbecue sauce, molasses, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, liquid smoke, brown sugar, and all the seasonings and stir well to combine.
- Continue cooking the beans. Add the beans, bacon, and remaining water to the Instant Pot. Stir gently and thoroughly. Pressure cook for 10 minutes, then allow to naturally release.
- Taste test and serve. Give the beans a taste and add more seasoning as needed. Serve immediately.
Can I Use Canned Beans?
Yes, if you wanted to make these maple bacon baked beans with canned beans, you can do so. You’ll need 3, 15-ounce cans of navy beans. Rinse and drain each can, then skip to step 2 of the recipe. Follow the rest of the recipe as directed.
Tips for Making the Best Baked Beans
Here are a few tips for making the best homemade baked beans.
- Avoid the burn warning. To prevent getting the ‘BURN’ warning, it’s important to stir the mixture very well before the final pressure cooking phase, and lift the beans up off the bottom of the pot to ensure the water reaches the bottom of the pot. During testing, we had no trouble with burning using this method.
- What to do if I get the burn warning? If you do get a burn warning, remove the lid and give everything a good stir, add another 1/2 cup of water and try again. This should fix it!
- Soak the beans for quicker prep. You can also soak the beans in cold water overnight, then skip straight to step 2 the next day!
- What size Instant Pot should I use? This recipe was developed using a 6 quart Instant Pot. To use an 8 quart model, you may need to increase the liquid during the final pressure cooking phase to prevent getting the burn warning.
- Can I double this recipe? This recipe doubled well during testing, the cook times are the same, but it will take longer for the pot to come to pressure each time.
Maple bacon baked beans pair well with pretty much any smoked or grilled meat or BBQ entree. Here are a few of our favorites:
Homemade baked beans also make a great dish to bring to any potlucks and BBQs, especially since one batch makes a generous 12 portions – perfect for big groups!
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
Instant Pot baked beans can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Store in an airtight container. Reheat on the stovetop until heated through or pop individual servings in the microwave.
More Bean Recipes:
Instant Pot Baked Beans
- 1 pound dry navy beans
- 7 cups water , divided
- 3/4 pound thick cut maple bacon , chopped
- 1 small red bell pepper , diced
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 1 clove garlic , minced
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 3 tablespoons sweet barbecue sauce (such as Sweet Baby Ray's Honey BBQ)
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons real maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Rinse the beans under hot water to remove any dirt. Place beans in the pressure cooker insert, add 6 cups of water. Secure the lid and turn the valve to the ‘sealing’ position. Pressure cook on high for 25 minutes, then allow pressure to naturally release. Manually release any remaining pressure after 20 minutes.
- Place the bacon in the pressure cooker insert and press the ‘sauté’ button. Cook, stirring frequently until the bacon is rendered and crisp, about 10 minutes. (Maple bacon can be sticky, if it sticks too badly toward the end of cooking, add a tablespoon of water and continue to cook.) Remove bacon once crispy, and drain on a paper towel, set aside. Remove enough bacon grease so only about 1-2 tablespoons remain.Add bell pepper and onion, sauté until soft and scrape up brown bits in the pan, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté another 20 seconds. Press ‘cancel’ on the pressure cooker.
- Add in the ketchup, barbecue sauce, molasses, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, liquid smoke, brown sugar, and all the seasonings and stir well to combine.
- Add the beans, bacon, and remaining 1 cup water to the pressure cooker and stir gently but VERY THOROUGHLY (see notes). Secure the lid and turn the valve to the ‘sealing’ position, pressure cook on high for 10 minutes, press ‘cancel’, let the pressure naturally release. If the pin has not dropped down after 20 minutes, manually release any remaining pressure.
- Stir the beans, taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Serve immediately store for later. If you would like them thicker, use the sauté function to cook them down, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. They will thicken as they stand as well.