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Healthy Baked Beans (Instant Pot + Slow Cooker)

Healthy vegan Baked Beans made from scratch with dried beans are easy, customizable, and can be made in an Instant Pot or slow cooker with NO SOAKING required (soaked bean method is included)!

healthy baked beans in a white oval serving dish

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 daughter’s 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.

Thanks to the many readers who have made this recipe and shared their feedback, and along with my trials and errors, I think we’ve finally found the happy medium with both methods.

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 for baked beans on a circular wooden cutting board

Ingredient Notes + Tips

In this recipe, dried beans (no canned beans) are cooked with a variety of flavors until tender, creating a delicious and healthy baked beans recipe. The ingredients are fairly minimal and simple—you may even have everything on hand already!

Here is everything you will need:

  • 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 + onion 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 they’re pretty subtle.
  • Mustard: Use your favorite mustard. I used whole-grain mustard here. I didn’t test regular or Dijon mustard, 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 sweet baked beans, add 2 – 3 extra tablespoons of syrup.
  • Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar works wonders to add a slight tanginess. 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 1/4 cup tomato paste, but I didn’t find it to be too much at all. You can use a 6 oz can of tomato paste or omit it altogether if you prefer.

Healthy Optional Add-Ins For Versatility –

  • Small diced jalapeno (add a few seeds for extra heat) – if you like heat, you’ll love this addition.
  • Diced green bell pepper – add a veggie and color.
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons blackstrap molasses (unsulfured) – adds a really nice flavor!

So there you have it, now we’re ready to get cooking!

top down view of a ladle full of healthy vegan baked beans freshly cooked in an instant pot.

How To Make Healthy Baked Beans

You can easily make this no-soak baked beans recipe 1 of 2 ways:

(Note – The full printable recipe is at the bottom of this post)

  • 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 10 – 12 hours. Depending on your slow cooker, you may need to add water every so often during cooking. There is 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 for 6 – 8 hours, reducing the liquids as noted in the recipe card.

Top Tips

  • Make it the day before! For an incredible flavor that will outdo any canned baked beans, I highly recommend making the recipe a day ahead and reheating it before serving. The flavors will deepen and become even more savory overnight.

Water To Beans Ratio:

If you are wondering how much water you should use when using unsoaked or soaked beans. Follow this guide:

  • Unsoaked Dried Beans: When using unsoaked beans, you will need 4 cups of water for both the instant pot and slow cooker methods. Using the slow cooker method, you may need to add extra during cooking depending on your slow cooker.
  • Soaked Dried Beans: To use soaked beans in the instant pot or slow cooker, you will need 2 cups of water (see notes in the recipe card below).

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.
side angle view of healthy baked beans in a serving dish.

How To Store

  • Refrigerator: Leftovers can be stored for 5 – 6 days in the refrigerator, in a covered container.
  • Freezer: Homemade baked beans are freezer-friendly and freeze 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 a 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.

Serving Suggestions

Baked beans will go perfectly with any of these recipes. You may just find a new combination for the meal rotation!

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 BBQs, potlucks, and picnics.

baked beans on a plate with fork

More Easy Instant Pot Recipes!

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.



5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 74 reviews

Healthy baked beans made with simple ingredients right in your Instant Pot or Slow Cooker. It’s a no-fuss recipe, just throw the ingredients in and let the cooker do the work!

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups, serves 12 1x
  • Category: Side
  • Method: pressure cooker, slow cooker
  • Cuisine: Vegan


Units Scale
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon EACH garlic + onion powder
  • 1 1b. dried small white beans (navy or great northern) (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
  • 1/21 teaspoon 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
  • 24 tablespoons unsulfured blackstrap molasses


(These instructions are for the no-soak method, if using soaked beans, see notes below)

INSTANT POT (no soak method):

  1. 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.
  2. Next add the beans, 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.
  3. 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 (1 hour + 15 min) for beans that are just done. For softer beans, cook for 90 minutes (1 hour + 30 min). When done, let the steam vent for 20 minutes. Move the vent to open, be 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 taste for seasoning. Transfer beans to a serving dish.
  4. Beans will thicken once cooled. If too thick, add 2 tablespoons of water at a time, mix well, and repeat until desired consistency.

Total cooking time with coming to pressure is about 2 hours and 5 minutes.

SLOW COOKER (no-soak method):

  1. In bottom of slow cooker, add the onion, beans, maple syrup, vinegar, 4 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.
  2. Cook on HIGH for 8 – 10 hours. Check periodically, adding up to 1/2 cup more water as needed (I’ve used up to 1 + 1/2 cups for 8 hours). You will also want to check for doneness towards the end so the beans don’t overcook. 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.

Makes about 6 cups.

Serves 8 – 12


Soaking Methods:

  • Long soak: 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.
  • Quick Soak: If you’re in a hurry, place beans in pot and cover with 3 inches of water, bring to a boil for 5 minutes, 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 2.5 cups, and cook on HIGH for 4 – 5 hours or LOW for 8 – 10 hours. Check after a few hours, adding and extra 1/2 cup as needed if water burns away. 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 3 – 4 tablespoons of maple syrup after cooking when seasoning for flavor. Best to add at the end so they aren’t too sweet.

Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclosure here.

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  1. Oh MAN are these beans tasty. I followed the recipe to the letter, opting for all the add-ins and it turned out exactly as stated–just enough sauciness and beans nice and velvety. Such a treat!

  2. Trying this today, but I’ve never heard of sautéing onions in water. Is it ok to instead sauté first in olive oil?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Great question, Holly! Yes, you can use 1 – 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or your preferred neutral flavored oil) to saute. Sauting in water (or vegetable broth) is great for making this recipe oil-free, with reduced fats. Either way is great! Enjoy…

  3. Just trying the beans. I soaked beans overnight. I doubled the recipe but the liquid still reflected the single batch. Hope it turns out

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Sorry for any confusion, Robin! I do have a note right under the instruction title that says to see the notes if using soaked beans, which calls for reducing the liquids. I hope it worked out ok in the end and you will make this recipe again. :)

  4. Thank you for such a great easy recipe. I’ve made it several times now and love the versatility. I’ve added a couple of teaspoons of miso and a couple tablespoons of molasses to almost every batch. I also saute the tomato paste and fresh garlic then deglaze with broth before adding the liquid ingredients. The last batch added one diced jalapeno and one diced extra-hot hatch chile a couple minutes into the onion saute time and they added the perfect amount of heat that I was looking for.

  5. ohmigosh! I LOVE these beans. I do omit the salt, swap 2 Tbs of black strap for the maple syrup, and leave out the tomato paste all together. After making these a bunch of times, I’ve found the PERFECT mix (for my tastebuds). Thanks so much for all the great recipes xoxoxo

  6. Pauline Blondeau says:

    Can you use ketchup instead of tomato paste?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Yes, you can try that!

  7. Delicious! Pretty easy! I added some brown sugar. Perfect. I will be making this recipe again!

  8. I just made this and I halved the recipe because I didn’t know whether I would like it. It’s so tasty and so easy. A great alternative to the store bought “stuff” and now I will have to make it again so that I can freeze some of it for use later. Bravo, a great recipe,

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Thanks for sharing, Lise!

  9. OMG, these were SO GOOD! And so easy!! I made them to go with some bbq chicken for the omnivores, and even they loved the vegan beans. The smoked paprika really adds that dash of flavor that elevates them to the next level.
    I can’t wait to make them again – they’re so delicious, I have to be careful not to make them too much so we don’t get burned out on them.

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Thanks for sharing, Felicia!

    2. I am now a fan of baked beans, thanks to this recipe! I used my IP and they
      came out perfectly.

  10. Sorry if I have missed it, but I can’t find a calorie count for these delicious beans. We love how they turn out. They are so easy and yummy, but since I’m dieting a calorie count would be helpful. Thanks so much.

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      So glad you are enjoying the recipe, Irene! You can find the nutrition information below the notes in the recipe card. These baked beans serves 6 and contain 191 calories per serving. I hope that helps!

      1. Nutritional info shows 191 cal per serving. What is the serving size?

        1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

          Edited: I’ve just updated the servings to 12, making each serving size 1/2 cup. This reflects as 95 calories per serving.

          Great question, Andrea! This recipe makes about 6 cups, so 1 serving size would be appox. 1 cup. Enjoy!

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