It's easy to make vegetarian baked beans in the Instant Pot with dry navy beans! No soaking is required for this recipe, and the result is baked beans that are both sweet and savory, just like classic canned baked beans.
Are they technically baked beans if they aren't baked in the oven? Maybe not, but I promise that these Instant Pot baked beans are just as delicious as any oven-baked beans.
Baked beans are one of my favorite healthy-ish comfort food sides. Growing up, they were a regular side with lunch and dinner. Baked beans with garlic cream cheese mashed potatoes, baked beans with hot dogs, with sweet potato black bean burgers, etc. etc. Usually from a can, sometimes homemade, and always a comforting side dish.
These homemade Instant Pot baked beans are vegetarian as-is (no pork here or Worcestershire sauce here!) and use dry navy beans. The best part? Like many of my favorite vegetarian Instant Pot recipes, you don't have to soak the beans prior to pressure cooking them.
- These baked beans are made with dry navy beans. Because navy beans are smaller than great northern beans, they do not need to be soaked prior to pressure cooking.
- Super easy: Instant Pot bkaed beans require only 5 minutes of active time! Most of the ingredients are also shelf-stable.
- Homemade sauce: This recipe uses a homemade BBQ sauce that is similar to my go-to vegan BBQ sauce. It's a pretty sweet sauce with hints of acidity from mustard and ketchup.
- I personally think these are even better than canned baked beans because they are customizable to your exact flavor preferences.
What you'll need
- Navy beans: These are small white beans, not to be confused with Great northern beans, lima beans, or anything labeled "white bean".
- Ketchup adds the classic baked bean flavor. You can use an equal amount of tomato sauce if you prefer but it will lead to a thinner and less sweet sauce.
- Stone ground mustard is typically spicier than regular yellow mustard. This is the brand that I love.
- Molasses and brown sugar give this recipe the classic baked beans sweetness. Molasses gives a deep, rich flavor but it can be replaced with brown sugar if needed.
- Worcestershire sauce is usually made with anchovies, but a lot of store brands are actually anchovy-free! Just double-check the ingredients label for a vegetarian sauce.
Step by step instructions
All of my Instant Pot recipes are made in a 6 qt DUO60 Instant Pot.
Step one: Add the drained and rinsed navy beans and 3 and ¾ cups water to the Instant Pot. Lock the lid in place and set the vent to sealing. Cook on high pressure for 27 minutes and allow a natural pressure release.
Step two: While the beans pressure cook, whisk together the BBQ sauce ingredients in a bowl.
Step three: Add the BBQ sauce to the cooked beans. There will be some liquid remaining in the pot - don't drain it off unless you want a very thick sauce.
Step four: Select "sauté". Simmer the BBQ sauce and beans together for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should thicken up to the consistency of canned beans. The longer the beans sauté, the thicker the sauce becomes.
Tips and variations
- Spice/heat: Add 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste) for spicier baked beans.
- Smokiness: I love the lightly smoky taste smoked paprika adds but if you prefer smokier beans you can add liquid smoke. Careful, liquid smoke is very strong. Start small with ½ teaspoon.
- Sweetness: These are quite sweet baked beans. Decrease brown sugar to ¼ cup for a less sweet result.
- To make gluten-free choose a gluten-free Worcestershire sauce gluten-free certified ketchup (ketchup is usually GF but sometimes it is processed on the same equipment as wheat).
- Serving ideas: Enjoy vegan baked beans with vegan mac and cheese, vegan cornbread, chicken fried tofu and okra for a comforting dinner.
This recipe was originally written for store-bought BBQ sauce instead of homemade. If you want to use store-bought I recommend draining water off the cooked beans before adding BBQ sauce to taste.
Stir the beans and cook on high pressure for another 2 minutes. Do a quick pressure release and check for tenderness, repeating as necessary.
I have not tested this recipe on the stove-top. You should be able to simmer together the sauce ingredients over medium-low and 3-4 cans of navy beans for similar results.
Sure! I know that some people prefer soaking beans to make them easier to digest. Soaked beans cook much more quickly and require less water to cook. Soak the beans for 8 to 12 hours in plenty of cool water. Start with 5 minutes on high pressure and a 5-minute natural pressure release. Add 2 minutes at a time as needed.
Leftovers: For best quality keep refrigerated in a closed container for 3-4 days.
Freezing: Instant Pot baked beans freeze well. Let cool to room temperature, then transfer to a freezer-safe container. Leave at least ½ inch space at the top of the container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
Reheating: Reheat on the stove top over medium heat, in the microwave, or reheat in the Instant Pot by selecting "saute less". Stir occasionally until heated through.
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Instant Pot Vegan Baked Beans
- 1 pound dry navy beans see note #1
- 3 and ¾ cups water
- 1 cup ketchup
- ½ cup light brown sugar adjust to taste
- ¼ cup molasses
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 and ½ tablespoons whole grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce see note #2
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- salt to taste
- red pepper flakes to taste
- Rinse the dry navy beans and remove any shriveled beans and debris. Add to the Instant Pot with 3 and ¾ cups water. Lock lid in place and set vent to "sealing". Select "high pressure" and adjust timer to 27 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together all remaining ingredients in a medium bowl to make the BBQ sauce.
- When the Instant Pot timer is up, allow the pressure to release naturally. This will take 15-20 minutes. Remove the lid and test a couple of the beans to make sure they are tender. If not, cook on high pressure for 2 more minutes, then let pressure naturally release. Repeat as needed.
- Add the BBQ sauce to the beans. I don't drain off the water because I like saucey baked beans but you can drain it if you prefer a thicker sauce. Select "sauté" and sauté on normal heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will thicken the sauce and allow the flavors to meld together.
- Taste for seasonings (salt, red pepper flakes, etc.) and enjoy!
- Navy beans are a small white bean. This recipe has not been tested with any other kind of white bean (cannellini, great northern, etc.)
- Worcestershire sauce: Many brands contain anchovies, but a lot of store-brand versions are anchovy free.
- Leftovers: Keep refrigerated in a closed container for 3-4 days.
- Freezing: These baked beans can be portioned into large or individual containers and frozen for up to 3 months. These are the containers I use. It will need to thaw in the fridge for up to 24 hours before enjoying.
Note: This recipe was originally shared August 2018. It was updated June 2021 with an improved method to provide more consistent results. The previous recipe cooked the beans with BBQ sauce for a longer time but the new recipe uses a custom BBQ sauce that is added after the beans are cooked.