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There’s something intensely satisfying about serving good old-fashioned Instant Pot Pork and Beans with dinner! Whether you are having burgers, chops, grilled chicken, or pulled pork sandwiches, this humble side dish deserves a chance to shine on your plate!
If you love your Instant Pot and are always looking for new ways to use it to make some of your favorite classic recipes, be sure to try my Instant Pot Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes, Instant Pot Homemade Applesauce, and Instant Pot Brown Rice!
Instant Pot Pork and Beans
It’s no secret that I love beans. They are filling, cheap, and so delicious! Plus, they go with everything from an All-American Hamburger with Crispy Onion Strings to my Perfect Grilled Pork Chops with Sweet BBQ Pork Rub and almost everything in between.
When I was researching foods that the state of Indiana is known for as part of my American Eats series, one thing I learned is that VanCamp’s Pork and Beans were first sold in Indianapolis way back in 1861!
Now, this is totally my personal take on things, but I think there is a difference between pork and beans and baked beans and there is room at the table for both recipes. Well, maybe not the same literal table, but I like them in different ways.
Pork and beans are lighter in color and have a milder flavor than baked beans, thanks to the addition of greater quantities of molasses and brown sugar. Also, many baked beans recipes just start with pork and beans, then add a bunch of ingredients and cook them longer, which also adds to the punch of flavor which lean toward the sweet, tangy and even spicy areas of the palate, depending on the recipe.
Pork and beans are simpler and humbler, I think. At it’s core, it’s just navy beans stewed with some pork for flavor. I add a few additional ingredients like some chopped onions, tomato sauce, some cider vinegar, spices, and just a little brown sugar and molasses for sweetness, but that classic, homey pork and beans flavor really comes through.
While most people (myself included) often feel the need to gussy up a plain old can of pork and beans, that’s not necessary when you make them from scratch!
One of my favorite things in the summer is to pile some on a paper plate with a grilled hot dog, some Cottage Cheese Jello Salad, and scoop the beans up with ridged potato chips instead of a spoon. Then chase it with a slice of watermelon. It’s like my ultimate backyard summer cookout memory from my childhood.
Cooking beans in the Instant Pot makes them effortless, especially since you can skip soaking them, which I don’t think I have ever remembered to do.
How to make pork and beans in the Instant Pot
Start by using your Instant Pot sauté setting to cook the chopped bacon for about 4-5 minutes until the fat from the bacon starts to render. We don’t want the bacon to get crispy for this recipe, just to get some of that fat to melt off for cooking the onions and garlic in before adding everything else.
Add in the onions with the bacon and cook another 4-5 minutes until they start to soften. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds longer. If there is a lot of fat from the bacon, you can drain some (although I never do) but leave at least a couple of tablespoons because it will flavor the beans.
Add the water, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot well to release any stuck on bits of bacon or onion because nobody wants to get a burn notice while their beans are cooking! Add the dried beans, tomato sauce, cider vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, mustard, and salt and give everything a stir.
Secure the lid for the Instant Pot and make sure the pressure release valve is locked in position. Set the Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for 32 minutes. When it is done cooking, let the Instant Pot do a 20-30 minute natural pressure release before removing the lid and stirring the beans well. The beans will thicken slightly as they cool.
More recipes for beans or with beans in them!
- Instant Pot Refried Beans
- Charro Beans (Frijoles Charros)
- Easy Refried Bean Dip
- Best Baked Beans Recipe
- Slow Cooker Tuscan White Bean Soup
- Cafe Rio Black Beans
- Vegetarian Swiss Chard and Pinto Bean Burritos
- Brazilian Black Beans
Instant Pot Pork and Beans
- 1/2 pound bacon about 8 slices, chopped
- 1/2 large onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 cups water
- 12 ounces dried small white or navy beans
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons molasses
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- In the Instant Pot using the sauté setting, cook the chopped bacon for about 5 minutes until the fat from the bacon begins to render. The bacon should not be crispy.
- Add the onions and cook another 5 minutes until they start to soften. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds longer. I like to leave the fat from the bacon in unless there is a lot of it, in which case you can drain some but leave at least a couple of tablespoons.
- Add the water, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot well to release any stuck on bits of bacon or onion. Add the dried beans, tomato sauce, cider vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, mustard, and salt.
- Secure the lid for the Instant Pot and make sure the pressure release valve is locked in position. Set the Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for 32 minutes. When it is done cooking, let the Instant Pot do a 20-30 minute natural pressure release before removing the lid and stirring the beans well. The beans will thicken slightly as they cool.