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Smokey Brown Sugar BBQ Baked Beans in the Instant Pot (plant-Based)

from 11 reader reviews

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You can’t go wrong with these smokey sweet BBQ-baked beans. Everything is plant-based – but you’ll still get that lovely smoked flavor. Made in the Instant Pot but tastes like they’ve been slow cooking all day long.

clear serving bowl of BBQ baked beans

I think I *might* be a borderline prepper. Back in the spring of 2020 – you know, when everything kinda fell apart and the reality of our situation went mad? Yeah…that’s the time…

I bought up not only all the TP I could (within the imposed two package limits)- but canned veggies, pasta, rice, and dried beans. Lots of beans.

Fast forward a year and a bit and I was left to figure out what to do with said pasta, rice, and beans (and countless canned goods.)

Luckily we’ve been to a plethora of outdoor events lately and I needed to get creative with the vegan side dishes!

Luckily I had some dried beans to play around with. Lots of beans. And what’s better to take to a BBQ than baked beans?!

What you’ll love about these BBQ Baked Beans

  • 100% vegan
  • smoky and sweet
  • tastes like you cooked them all day
  • popular at BBQs
  • great excuse to pull out the Instant Pot

For other great vegan side dishes you can make and take to a BBQ, try my:

Pin now to save for later

baked beans with vegan hotdog and grades on a plate with pinterest text overlay

What you’ll need to make BBQ Baked Beans in the Instant Pot

I know it looks like a lot of ingredients – and it is. But these BBQ baked beans have the FLAVOR!

  • Dried navy beans (water for “soaking” in the Instant Pot – will discard)
  • yellow onions
  • green bell pepper
  • garlic cloves
  • vegetable broth
  • maple syrup
  • brown sugar
  • tomato paste
  • worcestershire sauce (if vegan then source a vegan worceestershire)
  • molasses
  • apple cider vinegar
  • liquid smoke
  • mustard powder
  • smoked paprika
  • You’ll also need a pressure cooker. This recipe was developed in a 6qt Instant Pot
ingredients needed for instant pot bbq baked beans including dried navy beans, vegetable broth, chopped green peppers, chopped onions, vegan worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, molasses, tomato paste, maple syrup, brown sugar, ground mustard, smoked paprika, apple cider vinegar, salt, garlic cloves

How to make Instant Pot baked beans

Step 1: Presoak the Beans (and I’m sorry…)

Really I am sorry about this. I really and truly wanted to give you an Instant Pot beans recipe that did not require presoaking. I tried many many times. Alas, it just isn’t possible with this recipe. BUT…

Since you are using the Instant Pot anyway, did you know that you could presoak your dried beans in a pressure cooker? You can still do an overnight soak – but why bother with that when you can do it in the pressure cooker you are going to use anyway.

Start by rinsing the beans under running water. This is a step I used to leave out until one time I noticed a big clump of dirt in my dried beans. Yuck!

So rinse and pick through the beans to make sure there aren’t any clumps of dirt or little rocks. Your dentist will thank you for this.

Add the beans to the inner liner of your Instant Pot and add seven cups of water on top. The water will be about an inch and a half above the beans.

died beans in the instant pot covered with water and a wooden spoon handle show the water level of about 2 inches on top of the beans

Next, close the lid and vent and manually set on high pressure for five minutes. It might take 10-15 minutes to come to pressure.

After the soaking beans come to pressure and count down the five minutes then allow for a natural release. This will take 30-35 minutes.

Open the lid and drain the beans in a colander. Discard the water. You will need some sort of oven mitt to handle the hot pot. I find these silicone mitts perfect!

Step 2: Chop the vegetalbes and add ingredients to the Instant Pot

While the beans are going through the presoak cooking process, you can chop the onions, peppers, and garlic. I also measure out the other ingredients and have them standing by so that I can work quickly once the beans have cooked/soaked.

After you’ve drained the presoaked beans and discarded the water then add them back into the inner pot along with the vegetables, seasonings, sauces, and vegetable broth. Give it a good stir.

The liquid will cover the beans but you can see the onions and peppers might poke out a little bit.

inside the instant pot showing liquid covering ingredients with onions and peppers floating to the top

Step 3: Cook the beans with the sauces in the Instant Pot

Close the lid and vent and manually set on high for 30 minutes. Again, after the 30 minutes count down then allow for a natural release. This will take 30-35 minutes. It’s okay because your house will smell amazing while the Instant Pot beans are going through the release process.

Once the pressure has released then open the lid and see what you have! It will be quite hot and you might think quite liquidy. Don’t worry, the liquid thickens up a bit while sitting, and honestly is the perfect amount for saucy smoky-sweet baked beans.

clear serving bowl of BBQ baked beans with a ladle serving out a portion

Serving suggestions

These beans taste great hot; but I honestly think as they sit and lose their heat, they taste even better. I might be weird but I even like them cold!

You can add in some (vegan) bacon or sausage. My Tofu Bacon Bits would actually be pretty fabulous sprinkled on top!

I also like pickled mild sliced jalapenos on top. They add just the right oomph!

Serve with almost anything that you’d eat at a barbeque. These would taste awesome with my Black Bean Sweet Potato Burgers or with a vegan dog.

baked beans with vegan hotdog and grades on a plate

They should keep in your fridge for about a week.

The printable recipe card for Instant Pot Baked Beans

Did you love this recipe?

Want to share the love? It would be great if you could leave five ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ stars and even a comment. Did you know that this will help Google to find this recipe when others are looking for something similar? Thanks, Cindy

clear serving bowl of BBQ baked beans

Smokey Brown Sugar BBQ Baked Beans in the Instant Pot (Plant-Based)

You can't go wrong with these smokey sweet BBQ baked beans. Everything is plant-based – but you'll still get that lovely smoked flavor. Made in in the Instant Pot but tastes like they've been slow cooking all day long.
from 11 reader reviews
Print Pin Rate
Course: party food, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bbq beans, instant ot beans
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
natural release: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 244kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey


  • Pressure Cooker


Dry Beans, Pre-Soaking

  • 16 ounces dried navy beans
  • 7 cups water will be discarded


  • cups yellow onions chopped
  • cups green bell pepper chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic chopped

Cooking liquid and seasonings

  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • cup maple syrup
  • cup brown sugar packed
  • 4 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons vegan worcestershire sauce
  • Tablespoons molasses dark
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon mustard powder
  • ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika

Optional Toppings and Add-Ins

  • cooked vegan bacon or sausage optional
  • sliced jalapenos


Presoaking the beans the Instant Pot way

  • Rinse the beans and pick through to make sure there aren't any little rocks. Add to the inner pot. Add in 7 cups of water.
  • Close the lid and the vent. Manually set the timer on high for 5 minutes. It will take 10-15 minutes to come to pressure.
  • After the Instant Pot comes to pressure and counts down for 5 minutes, allow for a natural release. This will take about 35 minutes.
  • After the Instant Pot has released its pressure, open the lid and with something to protect your hands, take out the inner pot and drain the beans. Discard the cooking water.

The Baked Beans

  • While the beans are "soaking" *(cooking) in the instant pot, you can prepare the other ingredients. Chop the onions, peppers, and garlic. Set aside.
  • Combine all of the other ingredients: vegetable broth, maple syrup, tomato paste, brown sugar, vegan Worcestershire sauce, molasses, apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke, mustard powder, and smoked paprika. Give it a really good stir.
  • After the pre-soaked beans have drained, return them to the pot. Add the chopped onion, peppers, and garlic and the liquid ingredients you already mixed. Give it a good stir.
  • According to the manufacturer's directions, close the lid and the seal. Set the pressure cooker on high for 30 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure.
  • After the baked beans have counted down to zero and have completed cooking, allow for a natural release. This should take up to 33 minutes. Carefully open the lid.
  • Top with any add-ins or toppings you'd like.


I’m sorry – I know that the idea of cooking beans in the Instant Pot is cooking without soaking. For this recipe, you need to soak. It’s likely the tomato paste that won’t allow the beans to thoroughly cook without soaking. This recipe gives the “pressure cooker” method. You may also soak overnight. 
Whichever soaking method you use, throw out the water after you drain the beans. 
The pre-soaking time in the Instant Pot is included in the prep time. While the beans are “soaking” (pre-cooking), you can do the other prep like chopping the vegetables and measure out the liquid ingredients. 
You are going to think the beans are really runny after they have cooked. The sauce part does thicken upon sitting – particularly if you make them the day before and refrigerate them.
If you choose to go extra then you can add in your cooked “meat” of choice after the baked beans have cooked. I have a recipe for Tofu Bacon Bits that would be pretty tasty!


Calories: 244kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 490mg | Potassium: 766mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 355IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 3mg

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By on July 15th, 2021

About Cindy Rainey

Veggie Fun Kitchen by Cindy Rainey
Welcome to Veggie Fun Kitchen where you will learn to recreate family favorites the plant-based/vegan way! Let me know if I can help. I'm here for you.

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6 thoughts on “Smokey Brown Sugar BBQ Baked Beans in the Instant Pot (plant-Based)”

  1. 5 stars
    Thanks for this vegan version of the baked beans. My sister-in-law, who is vegan, came to our barbecue and instead of making my usual recipe, I made this vegan version, and my sister-in-law, and everyone there loved it.

  2. 5 stars
    Thanks a bunch for sharing this super east to make recipe! It tasted amazing and it’s really helpful! Fam loves it as well! Highly recommended!

  3. Is it kidney beans or pinto beans?? Why is your color of beans pictured white??

    Looking forward to try this!

    Thanks I’m advance!

    • H! They are actually navy beans – which are white. Navy beans are a humble little bean that easily take on the flavor of anything added to them which is why they are used in this flavorful BBQ baked bean recipe. Hope this helps!


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