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instant pot baked beans in a serving dish with a wooden handled spoon on a concrete surface

Why I love these Instant Pot baked beans

Baked beans have always been an afterthought for me. Something you always have at a BBQ, but if they were missing, I probably wouldn’t notice. It wasn’t until I had homemade baked beans that I fell in love with this simple summer side dish.

In my opinion, a delicious baked beans need to have bacon, a little molasses and a touch of sweetness. And, this recipe has it all – without a single allergen.

Last month, I had the pleasure of meeting Megan from Allergy Awesomeness, and she was sweet enough to send me a copy of her new cookbook The Allergy Mom’s Lifesaving Instant Pot Cookbook. The entire cookbook is not only dairy free, but TOP 8 free. Could it get any better?

I immediately knew I needed to try this homemade baked beans recipe. It’s perfect for the upcoming summer months, and I had a feeling making baked beans in the Instant Pot would be a game changer (and it was).

These Instant Pot baked beans are absolutely delicious, and they’re super easy to make. The only changes I made to the recipe were replacing the red onion with a sweet one and using regular Worcestershire sauce (since we don’t actually need them to be gluten free).

The Allergy Mom's Lifesaving Instant Pot cookbook surrounded by ingredients for homemade baked beans with bacon and brown sugar

Here’s what you’ll need for homemade baked beans

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More dairy free bean recipes: refried black beans / slow cooker lentil soup / black eyed pea salad / Mediterranean chickpea salad / Instant pot pinto beans

Ingredients for an Instant Pot baked beans recipe

How to make baked beans in the Instant Pot

Sauté the bacon. Using the sauté feature on the Instant Pot, cook the bacon until it’s nice and crispy. Make sure to stir occasionally so it doesn’t burn. When the bacon is cooked, drain off most of the grease (leaving about 2 tablespoons).

Pressure cook the beans. Add the onion, pepper, beans, salt & pepper, water, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce*. Close the lid and set the pressure to high for 45 minutes.

Naturally release the pressure. When the pressure cooking timer is done, let the pressure release naturally. It can take up to 10 minutes sometimes, but the beans will still be cooking during this time. So, don’t skipit.

Add the sauce. Add the liquid smoke, brown sugar, molasses, garlic and tomato sauce to the pot. Stir and bring it to a boil using the sauté function.

Thicken the sauce. Whisk the cornstarch and cold water together in a small bowl until smooth. Stir it into the pot and let the sauce thicken for about 3 – 5 minutes.

*If you want this recipe to be gluten and top 8 free, be sure to use gluten free Worcestershire sauce.

instant pot baked beans on a wooden spoon

FAQs and Tips for Instant Pot baked beans

Why are my beans crunchy? Why are my baked beans hard? I’ve found that dry beans will vary from brand to brand. You may need additional cooking time to get your beans fully soft.

The chemical makeup of the water you’re using can make a difference, too. If you find you keep having this problem, try using filtered water or broth.

How do you thicken baked beans? In this recipe, I use a cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. You can substitute use arrowroot powder or even all-purpose flour (use 2x the amount listed, and the recipe wouldn’t be gluten free).

You can also simmer your sauce for a longer time to boil out some of the water content, but I don’t recommend doing this.

How do you tell if baked beans are done? The skin of the beans should easily peel off when the beans are fully cooked. You can also taste a few to see if they’re soft enough.

Instant Pot Baked Beans with bacon and brown sugar

Instant Pot Baked Beans with Bacon and Brown Sugar

Instant Pot Baked Beans with Bacon and Brown Sugar | This easy, no soak recipe makes the best baked beans from scratch using dry great northern beans. They’re perfect for any backyard BBQ or party. It’s one of my favorite pressure cooker recipes. #bakedbeans #instantpot

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 16 servings 1x
  • Category: Sides
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1 12-ounce package bacon
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 pound dried great northern beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 3/4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce*
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder


  1. Using kitchen shears, cut your bacon into bite size pieces and place them in your Instant Pot. Hit
    sauté and cook the bacon until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Remove the bacon and all but about 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the bacon grease. Turn off the sauté function and add your onion, bell pepper, beans, salt, black pepper, water, vinegar and Worcestershire. Use the pressure button to set your Instant Pot to high pressure. Return the bacon to the pot and close the lid. Hit manual; then use the plus and minus buttons to reach 45 minutes.
  3. When the timer is done, let the pressure release naturally (about 10 minutes).
  4. Open the lid and add your liquid smoke, brown sugar, molasses, garlic and tomato sauce. Hit sauté and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the water and cornstarch. Once the sauce is boiling, add the slurry. Allow the mixture to boil, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until it reaches your desired thickness (the sauce will continue to thicken as it cools).


*If you want this recipe to be gluten and top 8 free, use a gluten free Worcestershire sauce


  • Serving Size: about 1/2 cup
  • Calories: 158
  • Sugar: 12.8 g
  • Sodium: 245.9 mg
  • Fat: 1.1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 31.3 g
  • Fiber: 6.3 g
  • Protein: 6.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 1.2 mg

Keywords: dairy free, gluten free, top 8 free, allergy friendly, summer, easy

This recipe would go great with:

More dairy free side dishes:

Last Updated on November 25, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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  1. I’m trying to make this right now and I don’t see where the bacon is added back. Is only the bacon grease used?

    1. I’m sorry if the directions weren’t completely clear. I’ve adjusted the wording to reflect that you need to return the bacon to the pan before pressure cooking.

  2. About 1/3 of the beans are hard. I’ve completed the recipe, but don’t know how to remedy the issue at this point. I assume it’s to late to pressure cook them more. I’m planning to eat these tonight for a pot luck. Do you think heating these in the crockpot for a few hours would soften the remaining beans? I’ve seen where people add 1/4 tsp of baking soda to soften beans. What do you recommend?

    1. I’m sorry. That’s happened to me before, too. I haven’t tried baking soda, but some brands of beans take a little longer to cook. You can definitely pressure cook them more if you want, I’d recommend 10 – 15 minute increments. Just make sure there’s still enough liquid in there before you cook longer.

  3. The flavor was amazing, but I also had the same problem as someone else where the beans weren’t cooked all the way. Luckily it was just my husband and I. I think I’ll put the leftovers in the slow cooker to finish cooking for another night.