Homemade Baked Beans From Scratch (Instant Pot)

I’m a sucker for the salty sweetness of homemade baked beans. The taste takes me back to childhood campouts when we’d reheat cans over our campfire. The sauce was thick and syrupy as I slurped the almost-too-hot beans from a paper bowl, taking care not to drip on my precious 90s-era turquoise windbreaker.

I could barely taste the beans for the sweetness of the sauce, which tasted like a combination of candy and ketchup. And while I loved that flavor as a kid, I now know that baked beans are often loaded with refined sugar. So when I created my recipe for baked beans from scratch, I knew I needed to make one that captured that campfire nostalgia, but without the crap.

With salty slices of bacon and the natural sweetness of maple syrup, this recipe for homemade baked beans will take you back to your childhood without all the added junk.

Read on for the recipe!

Pin with a photo of homemade baked beans linking to the recipe, which requires an instant pot.

Why I Make Baked Beans In My Instant Pot

I always use my Instant Pot whenever I make any recipe using beans. Dry beans cost about half as much per prepared cup as canned, but they take much longer to cook if you don’t cook them under pressure.

The Instant Pot cooks beans faster and – in my opinion – better. I’ve often made dry beans on the stove, cooking them for hours only to end up a batch of still-hard beans. Cooking beans under pressure not only cooks them more evenly, but it also helps to reduce anti-nutrients like phytic acid.

White beans soaking in preparation for homemade baked beans recipe. Click to learn how to make it!

  

Do I Need To Soak The Dry Beans?

I still soak my beans before making baked beans from scratch even though using an Instant Pot will automatically make beans easier to digest. I do this for two reasons:

Using dried beans straight out of the package means using a two-step no soak method in the Instant Pot for baked beans. You cook them once to soften before finishing them in the sauce. While I include this method in the recipe instructions, it’s more hands-on time than I have most days. I’d rather just set a reminder on my phone to soak them the night before and let them soften all by themselves so I can skip a step.

I’m super sensitive to beans. Just a spoonful of the “musical fruit” sends my body on a serenade that no one wants to hear. Soaking the beans before pressure cooking reduces the undigestible sugars that cause my discomfort by 75%. For me, that’s the difference between snuggling with my family during after-dinner TV and spending the evening in the bathroom.

Can I Use Canned Beans?

Yes! You’ll need a 16oz can of beans plain beans. (I elaborate on which kind of beans to buy below). Just open the can, drain any liquid inside, and rinse the beans well. Then follow the recipe instructions for soaked beans.

What Kind Of Beans Should I Use To Make Baked Beans?

Baked beans are traditionally made Navy or Great Northern beans. These are both medium-sized white bean varieties. I’ve been branching out a bit while living in Mexico and found that both Peruvian and Pinto Beans are also delicious in this recipe, and don’t affect cook time.

Is This Baked Beans Recipe The Same As Boston Baked Beans?

My homemade baked beans are inspired by the ones that gave Boston it’s “Beantown” nickname. Boston baked beans are traditionally made with molasses and salt pork (aka the fattiest piece of cured pork belly you can imagine), whereas I use maple syrup and bacon. The flavor is very similar, but the dish is lighter and doesn’t have that almost rummy sweetness you get from molasses.


How To Make Baked Beans In An Instant Pot:

To Make This Recipe, You’ll Need:

  • 1 lb dried beans such as Navy, Great Northern, or Pinto

  • 3 slices of bacon (preferably sugar-free), chopped

  • 1/2c white onion, chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

  • 1/4c tomato paste

  • 1/3c maple syrup

  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard

  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 2c water + 2 tsp water, reserved

  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos

  • 1 tsp arrowroot

Let’s Do This!

  1. If using dried beans, you’ll need to first quick-cook them in the Instant Pot. To do this, place the dried beans in your electric pressure cooker with 8c of water and cook over high pressure for 30 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes before draining the liquid and setting the beans aside.

  2. This is where you start if using soaked or canned beans. Using the Instant Pot’s sauté function, cook the diced bacon until it begins to crisp – about 3 minutes. Then add the onion and garlic and sauté for another minute.

  3. Meanwhile, combine the maple syrup, 2c water, and apple cider vinegar. Use about 1/2 c of this mixture to deglaze the instant pot when you’re finished sautéing the onions.

  4. Turn off the Instant Pot and stir in the mustard and tomato paste before adding the reserved maple syrup mixture and coconut aminos. Stir in the beans, cover, and cook at high pressure for 40 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes.

  5. A minute or two before removing the top of your Instant Pot, use a fork to mix the arrowroot and remaining 2 tsp of water. The mixture will form a slurry that’s about the same consistency as heavy cream. Stir it into the pot of baked beans to thicken the sauce. Serve hot.

How To Serve:

I love baked beans in any season and am equally likely to make them after a long day on the ski slopes as I am for a summer barbecue. They’re a great side for:

Can I Freeze Homemade Baked Beans?

This recipe makes a lot of beans. So if you aren’t serving a crowd, I recommend freezing them 2c at a time using Stasher bags or a vacuum sealer. Keep them in the freezer for up to two months, and warm them on the stove to serve.


More Ideas For Healthy Side Dishes:

 

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Homemade Baked Beans From Scratch (Instant Pot)

Homemade Baked Beans From Scratch (Instant Pot)

With salty slices of bacon and the natural sweetness of maple syrup, this recipe for homemade baked beans will take you back to your childhood without all the added junk!

  • Author: Christine Tusher
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 Hour
  • Total Time: 1 Hour & 15 Minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 lb dried beans such as Navy, Great Northern, or Pinto
  • 3 slices of bacon (preferably sugar-free), chopped
  • 1/2c white onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4c tomato paste
  • 1/3c maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2c water + 2 tsp water, reserved
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp arrowroot

Instructions

  1. If using unsoaked, dried beans, you’ll need to first quick-cook them in the Instant Pot. To do this, place the dried beans in your electric pressure cooker with 8c of water and cook over high pressure for 30 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes before draining the liquid and setting the beans aside.
  2. Start with this step if using soaked or canned beans. Using the Instant Pot’s sauté function, cook the diced bacon until it begins to crisp – about 3 minutes. Then add the onion and garlic and sauté for another minute.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the maple syrup, 2c water, and apple cider vinegar. Use about 1/2 c of this mixture to deglaze the instant pot when you’re finished sautéing the onions.
  4. Turn off the Instant Pot and stir in the mustard and tomato paste before adding the reserved maple syrup mixture and coconut aminos. Stir in the beans, cover, and cook at high pressure for 40 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes.
  5. A minute or two before removing the top of your Instant Pot, use a fork to mix the arrowroot and remaining 2 tsp of water. The mixture will form a slurry that’s about the same consistency as heavy cream. Stir it into the pot of baked beans to thicken the sauce. Serve hot.


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