Instant Pot BBQ Baked Beans

Whether you’re cooking for a weeknight meal, a potluck or a backyard barbecue, Instant Pot BBQ Baked Beans are the perfect side to serve! Spicier and less sweet than the canned version, these vegetarian baked beans burst with flavor. Makes 6 servings.

Love barbecue? You’ve got to try Memphis Style Ribs (Dry Rub Oven Baked Ribs Recipe) and Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork alongside these BBQ baked beans!

A spoon holds a scoop of Instant Pot Baked Beans

This post originally appeared on Julie’s Eats and Treats, where I was a contributor. It was originally published on June 11, 2018. The text, recipe and images were updated and republished in May 2021.

You may not know this about me, but I’m a Memphis girl.

This means I basically grew up eating barbecue. Memphis-style barbecue. (Which, in my opinion, is the best there is, but I’m a wee bit biased.)

Recently, I’ve made it my mission to make barbecue in the Instant Pot. Because while traditional barbecue is amazingly delicious, not all of us have a smoker, nor do we have the time to spend hours/days on barbecue dishes.

Why I love this recipe:

Listen, I may appear to have my act together, but I rarely remember to soak beans if I’m cooking them, and then we run into the issue of the beans being rock hard after cooking for hours.

Which is why this easy Baked Beans recipe is absolutely brilliant.

As an added bonus, these BBQ Baked Beans are a little less sweet and a little spicier than the traditional jarred beans. They’re also vegetarian (if you add in the correct ingredients!)

Quite honestly, they remind me of the beans I love at the Rendezvous, a Memphis barbecue institution.

And they’re perfect to serve to the family on a weeknight or at an outdoor barbecue.

 Other vegetarian BBQ side dishes: No Mayo Honey Mustard ColeslawInstant Pot Macaroni and CheeseNo Mayo Potato Salad

Looking for more BBQ inspiration? Head on over to my BBQ recipe index for more ideas!

White beans with other ingredients in bowls on marble

What do I need to make these Instant Pot Vegetarian Baked Beans?

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In addition to these tools, you’ll need some ingredients, too.

  • Canola or another unflavored oil
  • Onion—yellow or white is perfect for this recipe
  • Garlic
  • Dried Great Northern beans—these are a MUST, y’all. If you decide to make this recipe with canned beans, I assure you they will turn to mush, and you will not be happy.
  • Tomato juice—from concentrate or fresh both work. Just make sure there’s no other ingredients added to the tomato juice.
  • Vegetable stock
  • Barbecue sauce—you can purchase your favorite from the store (we prefer Rendezvous and Stubb’s brands in our house) or make homemade BBQ sauce
  • Lower sugar ketchup—I really like this because it makes the beans less sweet and lets the spice sing a bit more. If you can get your hands on some, I totally recommend it!
  • Maple syrup—to add a bit of sweetness!
  • Dijon mustard
  • Sriracha sauce—or another hot sauce of your choosing
  • Vegan Worcestershire sauce—because regular ‘ol Worcestershire sauce isn’t vegetarian. Annie’s and Whole Foods both have vegan-friendly Worcestershire sauce that we keep on hand in our home.
Collage showing how to make Instant Pot BBQ Baked Beans

How do you make baked beans from scratch instant pot?

First, you’re going to sort and soak your beans. Measure out your beans, then pick through them with your fingers, removing broken or misshaped beans, plant material or even small rocks. Rinse, then transfer to a large bowl, and cover with water. Soak them for at least an hour.

Once your beans have soaked, drain them. Then you’re going to set your Instant Pot to Sauté for 15 minutes. If yours doesn’t have this feature, please place a skillet on the stovetop over medium heat to complete this step. 🙂 

Add the oil to the pot, and let it heat. You’ll know it’s ready when it’s shimmering.

Next, add the onion and garlic. Cook them, stirring constantly constantly, until they’ve softened.

Measure in the dried beans, along with the tomato juice, vegetable stock, barbecue sauce, ketchup, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, Sriracha sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Stir ’em until combined, and place the lid on the Instant Pot.

Set your electric pressure cooker to manual high pressure.

When the beans have cooked, let the pressure naturally release for 5-10 minutes before quick releasing the pressure until completely gone.

Serve the vegetarian baked beans warm with your other favorite BBQ dishes.

Collage of Vegetarian Baked Beans before and after cooking in Instant Pot

Erin’s Entertaining Tips

BBQ Baked Beans are one of my favorite dishes to serve at a backyard barbecue or any other outdoor gathering involving food because they go so well with so many dishes. Whether you’re making actual barbecue or serving something like Hamburger Sliders, this recipe is a solid one as a side dish.

With that in mind, here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years while making my baked beans from scratch.

  • Give yourself more than enough time. The beauty of these beans is they’re super hands-off once they’re cooking under pressure in the Instant Pot. However, you don’t want to rush them. I always put mine on with 3-4 hours to go before guests arrive because the beans can hang out in the Instant Pot and keep warm once they’re done cooking.
  • Give ’em a good taste. These BBQ baked beans are less sweet than the canned variety, and I like that. However, before you serve them, give them a taste and doctor them as needed. If you want more spice, add a bit more of the hot sauce. More sweet? Another drizzle of maple. Don’t go wild with the additions, though, or you could swing these beans too far in one direction or the other.
  • Double the easy baked beans recipe if you’re feeding a crowd. If you’ve got a 6 qt. Instant Pot, you should be able to make this without issue in that! The cooking time might need to be a little longer since there are more beans.
Close up of a bowl of Instant Pot Baked Beans

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Baked Beans?

Baked Beans are a dish that contains beans. Sometimes, it’s baked. Other times, it’s not. The beans cook in a sauce, which is normally includes molasses.

Fun fact: One of Boston’s nicknames is “Beantown.” Apparently, it got this name because of the Colonists love for beans baked in molasses and salt pork. (Which is the traditional way to make Boston Baked Beans.)

How are Instant Pot Baked Beans different than Slow Cooker Baked Beans?

They cook in significantly less time! If you’re making slow cooker baked beans, they have to cook for 6-8 hours… and you still might have to soak them beforehand. The Instant Pot cooks them in less than an hourwithout an overnight soak needed.

Why should I make these Baked Beans in the Instant Pot?

When you’re making Baked Beans from scratch, you either have to soak the beans overnight (which requires some planning ahead) or they cook for forever. Cooking baked beans in the Instant Pot (or any other electric pressure cooker) makes for less hands-on time, and less cooking time.

How long do I cook beans in the instant pot?

For this recipe, we’re cooking the beans along with their sauce in the Instant Pot (or your favorite electric cooker) for 45 minutes.

How can I thicken baked beans without cornstarch?

The sauce will thicken on its own as it cooks. Also, if the sauce is a little runny for your liking, use a spoon to smash a few beans to thicken up the sauce!

Can you overcook beans in instant pot?

Yes, you can. However, I’ve never had the beans in this recipe turn out overcooked. (Please, as a reminder, use dried beans! The beans WILL be overcooked if you’re using canned beans.)

A bowl of BBQ Baked Beans, shown in a white bowl, shown with a blue buffalo plaid napkin and a platter of barbecue sides

Quick tips and tricks to the best baked beans

  • Use the right ingredients. Dried beans are the ones we want for this easy baked beans recipe to be a success. Also, ensure the other ingredients you’re adding to the mix are vegetarian if you’re fixing this for vegetarian friends. (Worcestershire sauce is sometimes not, so read the label.)
  • How to store Instant Pot Baked Beans: Once cooled off, place in an airtight food storage container. Store in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave until they’re at the optimal temperature.
  • Season to taste. While I think this combination is pretty dang perfect, you might like your BBQ baked beans a little sweeter. That’s OK. Follow the instructions below, then give the beans a taste. If it needs more sweetness, add in another drizzle of maple syrup. If you like it spicier, feel free to add in more hot sauce.

What can I serve with this easy baked beans recipe?

Y’all ready to make these beauties?

Here you go…

Vegetarian Baked Beans are served in a white bowl in front of an Instant Pot
Yield: 6 servings

Instant Pot Vegetarian Baked Beans

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Soak Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

Whether you’re cooking for a weeknight meal, a potluck or a backyard barbecue, Instant Pot BBQ Baked Beans are the perfect side to serve! Spicier and less sweet than the canned version, these vegetarian baked beans burst with flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon unflavored oil (avocado, canola, vegetable all OK)
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ lb. dried great northern beans
  • ¾ cup tomato juice
  • ¾ cup vegetable stock
  • ½ cup barbecue sauce
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce*

Instructions

Prepare and Soak the Beans

  1. Before you get started, measure out your beans and pick through them, removing any broken beans, rocks or plant debris.
  2. Rinse the beans, then transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Cover with cool water, and let soak for at least 1 hour before draining.

Make the BBQ Baked Beans

  1. Set the Instant Pot to the Sauté setting for 15 minutes.
  2. Add the oil and let heat.
  3. Sauté the onion and garlic, stirring constantly until the vegetables have softened.
  4. Measure in the dried beans, tomato juice, vegetable stock, barbecue sauce, ketchup, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, Sriracha sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Stir until combined.
  5. Place the lid on the Instant Pot, and set to cook on high pressure for 45 minutes.
  6. Once the beans have cooked, let the pressure naturally release for 5-10 minutes, then quick release until all the pressure is gone.
  7. Serve warm with your favorite barbecue dishes.

Notes

This recipe calls for DRIED beans. Please don't substitute canned beans. Make sure your beans aren't too old, too, as I've run into a problem with older beans not wanting to cook.

Worcestershire sauce is NOT inherently vegetarian, so read the ingredients of your bottle. Please find vegan Worcestershire sauce to make these beans vegetarian-friendly.

Quick tips and tricks to the best baked beans

  • Use the right ingredients. Dried beans are the ones we want for this easy baked beans recipe to be a success. Also, ensure the other ingredients you're adding to the mix are vegetarian if you're fixing this for vegetarian friends. (Worcestershire sauce is sometimes not, so read the label.)
  • How to store Instant Pot Baked Beans: Once cooled off, place in an airtight food storage container. Store in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave until they're at the optimal temperature.
  • Season to taste. While I think this combination is pretty dang perfect, you might like your BBQ baked beans a little sweeter. That's OK. Follow the instructions, then give the beans a taste. If it needs more sweetness, add another small drizzle of maple syrup. If you like it spicier, feel free to add in more hot sauce. Just don't use a heavy hand while tinkering!

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

½ cup serving

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 176Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 728mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 4gSugar: 21gProtein: 4g

Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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3 Comments

  1. Giiiiiirl this looks amazing!! I’m always up for a sweet n’ spicy bean, and I’m loving how easy it is to put this recipe together. Definitely the perfect summer side dish!

    1. Thank you, Julia! I’m always up for some sweet ‘n spice beans, too, so we’d make an awesome team for entertaining. 🙂 We’ve been loving this during these warm months, so we hope you feel the same!

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