Healthy Baked Beans made from scratch are easy, vegan, customizable and can be made in an Instant Pot or slow cooker with NO SOAKING required (soaked bean method is included)!
If you’ve been looking for a great vegan baked beans recipe – especially one made in an Instant Pot – then I’ve got you covered! Made from scratch with dried beans, these healthy baked beans are full of nutrition, flavor & texture.
Since celebrating my daughters bon voyage with a BBQ, I’ve had the itch to make homemade baked beans. I bought my favorite ‘Celebration’ Field Roast to slice and grill (it’s great on the grill) and made canned baked beans, along with these Oven Roasted Red Potatoes and corn on the cob. Needless to say it was supremely delicious and this family affair set in motion the need to make fresh baked beans!
Journey To The Perfect Baked Beans
The journey to the perfect baked beans has been inspired by readers who have taken the time to leave valuable feedback. This recipe is for no-soaking the beans, but now includes a method for soaking. I think we’ve finally found the happy medium with both methods. Thanks Tara!
Just know that cooking times do vary, but both methods are ‘tried and true’ ensuring that your dried beans cook perfectly every time!
The end result of making these vegan baked beans is perfectly textured beans, with a robust flavor, that’s not too sweet, and has plenty of juices for dipping and swiping. It’s a healthy baked bean recipe I can stand behind 100%!
Ingredients You’ll Need + Tips
The ingredients are fairly minimal and simple, you may even have everything on hand already.
- Beans: Start with small white beans, navy or great northern are perfect. You can either choose to use the no-soak method or soak the beans first as noted in the recipe notes. Important tip: Make sure your beans are not expired, as older beans will not cook properly, and may remain hard and undercooked.
- Spices: The main spices are simply smoked paprika, garlic powder, pepper (pref. freshly cracked from the pepper mill), and salt (which will be added at the end to taste). I love bay leaves, but you can omit it if you like, as it’s pretty subtle.
- Mustard: Use your favorite mustard. I used whole grain mustard here. I didn’t test regular or Dijon, but I’m sure they will be great too. If you try them, let us know in the comments.
- Sweetener: The maple syrup will add a little sweetness, but not overwhelming in the least. If you prefer a sweet baked beans, add 2 – 3 extra tablespoons of syrup.
- Vinegar: To add a slight tanginess, the apple cider vinegar works wonders. It also helps break the beans down for easier digestion! As recommended in the comments, try balsamic vinegar for variation (thanks Tom!).
- Liquids: For maximum flavor, use all vegetable broth. Although, I tend to stick with a combo of vegetable broth and water, using half and half of each, with great results.
- Tomato Paste: Personally, I don’t care for baked beans that are overly tomatoey in flavor. This recipe does call for a 1/4 cup tomato paste, but I didn’t find it to be too much at all. Feel to use a 6 oz can of tomato paste or omit the tomato paste all together if you prefer.
So there you have it, now it’s your turn to make a batch of these flavorful baked beans!
How To Make Healthy Baked Beans
You can easily make this no-soak baked beans recipe 1 of 2 ways:
- Instant Pot: With this method you simply saute the onions and spices right in the instant pot. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on HIGH pressure for 75 minutes. Let steam release naturally, another 20 minutes or so. No need to soak the beans! But if you decide to soak the beans first, you can reduce liquids and cut the cook time down to 40 minutes (see recipe card notes).
- Slow Cooker: Simply add all the ingredients to the bowl of your slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 8 – 10 hours. No need to soak the beans. But if you do soak the beans first, you can cook on high for 4 – 5 hours or low 6 – 8 hours, reducing the liquids as well as noted in the recipe card.
Adjusting For Dietary Restrictions
- Oil-free: When sauteing, use 1/4 cup water in place of oil.
- Fat-free: When sauteing the onions, use 1/4 cup water in place of oil. Alternatively, skip the saute step completely.
Water to Beans Ratio
If you are wondering how much water you should use when using unsoaked or soaked beans. Follow this guide:
- Unsoaked Beans: When using unsoaked beans, you will need 4 cups of water for both the instant pot and slow cooker methods.
- Soaked Beans: When using soaked beans, you will need 2 cups of water when using the instant pot or slow cooker methods (see notes in recipe card below).
How To Store Leftovers
- Refrigerator: Leftovers will keep for 5 – 6 days in the refrigerator, stored in a covered container.
- Freezer: Homemade baked beans are freezer friendly and freezes well for up to 2 – 3 months. To freeze, let cool completely and store in freezer safe containers (affiliate link), leaving 1/2 inch head space for expansion. You can also freeze larger portions in large ziplock (remove as much air as possible before zip locking). Let thaw before reheating.
- Reheat: Simply re-warm on the stovetop over low heat until warmed through. Alternatively, reheat in the microwave using 30 – 60 second intervals, stirring after each, until warm.
Baked beans will go perfectly with any of these recipes. You may just find a new combination for the meal rotation!
- Field Roast (burgers, hot dogs, or roasts)
- Smoky Black Bean Burger
- Baked Sweet Potato Wedges
- The Ultimate Vegetable Lentil Loaf
- 5-Ingredient Kielbasa with Peppers & Potatoes
- Favorite Vegan Macaroni Salad
- Vegan Mac & Cheese
- Make a meal with this vegan coleslaw and side of corn
- Toss in diced vegan kielbasa sausage for extra protein
- Don’t forget vegan cornbread or jalapeno cornbread muffins on the side!
If homemade baked beans were not on your list of things to make, I hope they are now. A staple for summer gatherings, they are perfect for BBQ’s, potlucks and picnics.
More Easy Instant Pot Recipes
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Instant Pot Applesauce
- Cuban Black Bean + Mango Bowl – Instant Pot
- Instant Pot Quinoa
- Instant Pot Refried Beans
If you try this baked beans recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.Print
HEALTHY BAKED BEANS (VEGAN)
Healthy baked beans made with simple ingredients right in your Instant Pot or Slow Cooker. No fuss recipe, just throw the ingredients in and life made easy & delicious!
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 40
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: Serves 6 - 8 1x
- Category: Side
- Method: pressure cooker, slow cooker
- Cuisine: Vegan
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 heaping teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1b. navy or great northern beans (2 cups), rinsed and odd beans removed (not soaked)
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or half water + broth)
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup tomato paste (use a 6oz. can for extra tomato flavor)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons mustard (regular, dijon or whole grain)
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- good pinch of mineral salt, or to taste
Optional add-ins for variation:
- Small jalapeno, seeds removed and diced (add a few seeds for extra heat)
- Small green bell pepper, cored and diced
- 2 – 4 tablespoons unsulfured blackstrap molasses
INSTANT POT (no soak method):
- Press the SAUTE setting on your Instant Pot and add 1/4 cup water. When hot, add onion and saute for 4 minutes. Add the smoked paprika and garlic powder, cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant, stirring frequently.
- Next add the beans, water/broth, tomato paste, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, mustard, bay leaves, ground pepper and salt, gently stir until the tomato paste is dissolved completely and everything is well combined.
- Attach the lid, and make sure the vent is in the SEALED position. Push the PRESSURE COOKER button, and manually set at HIGH for 75 minutes. When done, let the steam vent on its own, takes about 20 minutes. Move the vent to open, careful not to burn yourself as there may still be a little steam left. Remove lid and let cool a bit, add salt to taste. Remove bay leaves and transfer beans to a serving dish.
- Beans will thicken once cooled. If too thick, add a 2 tablespoons of water at a time, mix well, and repeat until desired consistency.
SLOW COOKER (no-soak method):
- In bottom of slow cooker, add the onion, beans, maple syrup, vinegar, 3 cups water/broth, tomato paste, smoked paprika, garlic powder, mustard, pepper, and bay leaves. Gently stir, until the tomato paste has broken up and dissolved.
- Cook on HIGH for 8 – 10 hours. Add salt to taste.
Store: Keep leftovers in and airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. These freeze wonderfully, and will keep for up to 2 months in the freezer. Thaw before reheating.
Serves 6 – 8
Soaking Method: Add the beans to a large pot (or instant pot or slow cooker insert), pick through and discard any odd shaped or colored beans. Fill the pot with water, adding enough to cover the beans with an inch of water. Let soak on the counter for 8 hours, or overnight. You can also let the beans soak in the refrigerator if temperatures are high.
Alternately, if you’re in a hurry, place beans in pot and cover with 2 inches of water, bring to a boil, remove from heat and let soak for 1 hour. Drain beans before using.
How To Cook Using Soaked Beans
- Instant Pot: If soaking the beans, reduce liquids to 2 cups. Manually set the time for 40 minutes, instead of 75 minutes.
- Slow-Cooker: Follow assembly instructions for slow cooker, reducing the liquids to 2 cups, and cook on HIGH for 4 – 5 hours or LOW for 8 – 10 hours. Add salt to taste.
Use your favorite mustard. I used whole grain mustard here. I didn’t test regular or dijon, but I’m sure they’ll be great too. If you try them let us know in the comments.
These baked beans are not overly sweet. If you prefer sweet baked beans, add an extra 2 – 3 tablespoons of maple syrup after cooking when seasoning for flavor. Best to add at the end so they aren’t too sweet.