Instant Pot Boston Baked Beans—navy beans with molasses and salt pork pressure cooked in a fraction of the time it would take to cook in the oven.
Each week in 2020 I’m sharing a recipe inspired by one of the 50 states. (See all the state recipes I’ve covered so far.) Today’s recipe is inspired by the The Bay State, Massachusetts. Massachusetts has some other nicknames like The Pilgrim State, The Puritan State, The Old Colony State and The Baked Bean State.
When I think of Massachusetts I think of Harvard, MIT, Boston College, parking your car in Harvard Yard, the Boston tea party, one of the original colonies, the pilgrims and the Mayflower, Salem witch trials, The Freedom Trail, Fenway Park, Cape Cod and Fenway Park. There really is so much history in Massachusetts!
Instant Pot Boston Baked Beans
One of Massachusetts’ nicknames is The Baked Bean State and Boston is known as Bean Town. So I felt it was appropriate to choose baked beans as a recipe to represent the state. Boston Baked Beans are sweetened with molasses and flavored with salt pork. They are easy to make but a bit time consuming. By using the Instant Pot instead of cooking in the oven, on a stove top or in a slow cooker you save a lot of time.
How to make Boston Baked Beans in the Instant Pot
- Add water and dry navy beans to Instant Pot and pressure cook until skins will burst–20 minutes.
- Drain the water and add beans back into Instant Pot with more water and a mixture of molasses, salt, pepper, dry mustard and brown sugar.
- Add sliced pieces of salt pork into Instant Pot.
- Pressure cook for another 10 minutes with a full natural pressure release.
- Reduce the sauce down until thickened by using the sauté setting for 10-15 minutes.
- Taste test and add more molasses, salt and pepper as needed.
What is a controlled release and when do you use it? For this recipe (and most recipes that use dried beans) I use a controlled release. This just means that the steam is released in controlled bursts. You will switch the valve back and forth between sealing and venting, a few seconds at a time. Releasing the steam like this prevents the liquid and foam from spewing out and making a mess. I like to use this method when there is a very full pot or if the food is starchy.
What is salt pork and do you eat it? Salt pork is salt-cured fat from the belly and sides of the pig. It’s mainly used in small amounts as a flavoring in dishes like Boston baked beans and fish chowder. It looks like a really thick square piece of bacon. I found it by the other pork products at the grocery store. There is very little meat on the salt pork. It’s mainly fat. You could eat the meat parts off of the chunks of salt pork if you’d like.
More Recipes with Dried Beans…
Navy beans with molasses and salt pork pressure cooked in a fraction of the time it would take to cook in the oven.
- 1 pound dry navy beans
- 2 tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup molasses
- 3/4 tsp pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
- 12 oz salt pork, cut into 1 inch pieces
- Add beans and 7 cups water into Instant Pot. Cover pot and secure lid. Make sure valve is set to sealing. Set the manual/pressure cook button to 20 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then perform a controlled release. Drain the water and rinse off the beans.
- Add the beans back into the Instant Pot. Add in 1 ½ cups of water.
- Add 1 cup of boiling water, salt, brown sugar, molasses, pepper, dry mustard to a bowl and stir mixture. Add mixture to the Instant Pot. Rinse the salt pork well and then add it in.
- Cover the pot and secure the lid. Make sure valve is set to sealing. Set the manual/pressure cook button to 10 minutes. When time is up let the pressure release naturally for 10-20 minutes. Release any remaining pressure.
- Remove the lid. Stir the beans. Turn Instant Pot to saute setting. Let the sauce thicken and reduce down for about 10-15 minutes until it is thick. Stir every so often.
- Taste test and add more molasses or salt and pepper to taste.
A controlled release is releasing the steam in controlled bursts. You will switch the valve back and forth between sealing and venting, a few seconds at a time. Releasing the steam like this prevents the liquid from spewing out and making a mess. I like to use this method when there is a very full pot or if the food is starchy.
I used my 6 quart Instant Pot Duo 60 7 in 1*.
- Category: Beans
- Method: Instant Pot
*Karen Petersen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.