Instant Pot Baked Beans

instant pot baked beans with cornbread

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

  • Total: 52 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 37 mins
  • Pressure Build/Release: 45 mins
  • Servings: 6 servings
  • Yields: 6 bowls

Instant Pot baked beans are made from scratch with dried pinto beans and there's no pre-soaking required! Treat your family or take them along to a potluck or cookout. And it's a great dish to make for the game-day crowd. Serve the beans with a skillet of freshly baked cornbread or biscuits.

The dish is cooked in two stages. First, the beans are cooked until they are tender. Then, they're finished with the bacon, chopped vegetables, and barbecue sauce. The total cook time is about 37 minutes, but you'll need to plan on about 45 minutes for the pressure build and release times. All of the cooking is done right in the Instant Pot, so its hands-off and cleanup is a breeze.

The recipe is easily customized. Add extra bacon or some diced ham or smoked sausage. Browned ground beef is another excellent option. Or, if you prefer vegetarian beans, feel free to omit the bacon and add a few drops of liquid smoke. If you like spicy food, add extra crushed red pepper flakes or a few tablespoons of finely chopped jalapeño pepper.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (divided, or to taste)
  • 6 strips thick-cut bacon
  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup green or red bell peppers (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce (homemade or store-bought)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Optional Garnish: chopped green onions

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients for instant pot baked beans
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  2. Rinse the beans and pick them over. Look for small stones and discard any malformed beans.

    rinse the pinto beans and pick them over
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  3. Add the beans to the pot with 8 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.

    pinto beans in the instant pot
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  4. Lock the lid in place and make sure the valve is in the sealing position. Choose pressure cook/manual, high pressure, and set the timer for 25 minutes. When the time is up, cancel the keep warm button and let the pressure come down naturally for 10 minutes. Move the valve to the venting position to release the remaining pressure.

    the instant pot lid sealing position
    Diana Rattray
  5. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid and drain the beans. Set the beans and reserved liquid aside.

    drain the beans and reserve 1 cup of the liquid
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  6. Wipe out the inner pot and choose the sauté button. Add the diced bacon to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes, or until browned.

    saute the bacon in the instant pot
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  7. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the pot and cook for 2 minutes longer.

    adding the onions and garlic and bell peppers to the bacon
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  8. Add the brown sugar, molasses, ground mustard, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and the reserved liquid. Stir to blend and scrape up any browned bits stuck on the bottom of the pot.

    adding the reserved liquid and seasonings to the instant pot
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  9. Add the beans back to the pot and top them with the barbecue sauce (the tomato paste will be added later). Do not stir.

    beans and barbecue sauce layered in the instant pot
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  10. Lock the lid in place and check that the valve is in the sealing position. Choose the pressure cook/manual button, high pressure, and set the timer for 5 minutes. When the time is up, let the pressure come down naturally for 10 minutes and then carefully release the remaining pressure manually.

    the cooked beans in the instant pot
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  11. Stir the tomato paste into the beans. 

    adding tomato paste to the beans
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  12. Serve the beans with cornbread, biscuits, or brown bread and garnish them with sliced green onions, if desired.

    instant pot baked beans with a slice of boston brown bread and tomato
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Tip

  • To make ahead, cook the beans through step 5. Refrigerate the beans and the reserved liquid until the next day. If desired, chop the bacon and vegetables and refrigerate them overnight as well. Pick the recipe up at step 6 to finish the beans.