With the 4th of July coming up, I felt it was my duty to take one of my old favorite ridiculously easy recipes and make it much more complicated.
Well, that wasn’t exactly my thinking. I was pondering an update of this Hawaiian Baked Beans recipe to go with the Red Bean-Chipotle Burgers I made yesterday. As you can see from the recipe, it uses canned baked beans, which are full of sugar and salt, and I thought I could make some homemade baked beans that would be healthier and add pineapple to them. I planned to start with canned navy beans, so it would be a fairly quick recipe.
So I did what you do and sent my daughter to the grocery store. (At least that’s what I do, when she’s home from college and my husband’s at work; grocery shopping is not my thing.) She texted me to let me know that there were no canned navy beans on the shelves. I had her check several brands, but still no luck; people must be making a lot of baked beans! So I had her pick up some dried navy beans and began to rethink my plans.
This was going to have to be an Instant Pot recipe.
I know what some of you are thinking (I’ve got email to prove it): You don’t have an Instant Pot, don’t want one, and think I talk about it way too much. Some of you even suspect I’m on the Instant Pot payroll. I’m not. (They’d want me to work way harder than I want to.) I do get a commission if you buy one through my Amazon link, but that goes for any Amazon product I choose to link to. If you want one, you don’t have to buy through my link, though I appreciate those who do; you can sign up for Amazon Smile and help your favorite charity. That’s what I do.
Anyway, I needed to use the Instant Pot so that I could get the beans cooked in time to write this before you start your 4th of July preparations. You can use any type of pressure cooker you like, and those of you who are experienced in converting recipes can convert this to a stove-top recipe. You really don’t have to have an Instant Pot, but it sure makes this much quicker to make.
Hawaiian Baked Beans, Low-Sugar Style
If you take a look at most other baked bean recipes, you’ll notice that they contain some combination (or even all of) the following:
- maple syrup
- brown sugar
I didn’t want to use brown sugar so I’ve substituted dates. (If you’d rather use brown sugar, feel free to use it instead). And ketchup is another high-sugar ingredient, so I used tomato paste and a blend of seasonings to try to capture that ketchup taste. I did wind up adding a tablespoon of molasses because it really adds a depth of flavor I couldn’t quite achieve without it.
So how were they? Great! Even the daughter I sent to the store liked them, and she can be pretty picky about her beans.
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, be sure to check out my Smoky Apple Baked Beans, which are made with canned beans and baked in the oven.
A Word About Pressure Cooking Beans
It’s almost impossible to give a pressure cooking time that works for everyone because there are so many variables that affect beans: your altitude, the hardness of your water, and the age of the beans themselves (you never know how long they’ve been sitting on the grocer’s shelf). The times below are what worked for me with freshly bought beans, neutral city water, at 328 feet elevation. My beans came out almost too soft, but if you are at a higher altitude, you may need to add extra time. Consult this chart for more info.
Hawaiian Baked Beans in the Instant Pot
- 1 pound navy beans
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups hot water divided
- 1/3 cup chopped dates
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or gluten-free substitute such as coconut aminos)
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper optional
- 20 ounces crushed pineapple in own juice drained and liquid reserved
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4-1 teaspoon smoked salt to taste (or Liquid Smoke)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse the beans and pick over them. Put them in the Instant Pot or other pressure cooker along with 6 cups water. Set cooker to cook at high pressure for 1 minute. Allow pressure to come down naturally for 20 minutes before releasing steam and opening pot. (See Notes below for other soaking options.)
- Drain the beans and rinse the pot. Using the Sauté or Brown setting, begin heating the pot and add the onions. Cook until the onions begin to get some color to them, adding a splash of water every now and then to release stuck-on onions. When onions begin to brown, add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Put the chopped dates in a blender with 1 cup of the hot water. Blend until fairly smooth. Add to the onions and garlic, and stir and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any stuck-on bits.
- Add to the pot the drained beans, the second cup of hot water, maple syrup, soy sauce, mustard, salt, ginger, and black and red pepper. Seal the cooker and set it for 15 minutes at high pressure. When it's finished cooking, allow the pressure to come down naturally for 15 minutes before releasing steam and opening the pot.
- Check the beans for doneness and liquid. If they are not all tender, close up the pot and give them more time (add liquid if they seem dry). Go through the same process of waiting for the pressure to come down naturally before opening the cooker.
- When the beans are done, stir in the pineapple and all remaining ingredients. Switch pot to the lowest Sauté setting and cook until the beans have thickened, at least 10 minutes.
- Check seasonings and add more pepper, syrup, salt, and smoked salt to taste. If the beans get too dry, add some of the reserved pineapple juice.
Nutritional info is approximate.
Please serve these with one of my burger recipes or my veggie dogs or a nice International Quinoa Salad. You can pick your own dessert, but I’m partial to Strawberry Snack Cake.
LCJune 30, 2017 at 6:12 pm
Out of curiosity, if I wanted to use canned beans and skip the from-scratch cooking step, how many cans of drained and rinsed beans should I use to substitute? (I’m never good at estimating the cooked volume of a given weight of dry beans). Thanks!
Susan VoisinJune 30, 2017 at 9:06 pm
The conversion I’ve used is 1 pound dried beans equals 4 cans.
SJune 30, 2017 at 6:34 pm
Why not cook the beans together with the rest of the ingredients, all at once? I’ve noticed this method in a few of your recipes. I’m sure you must have a reason, so I’m curious as to what it is 🙂
Susan VoisinJune 30, 2017 at 9:04 pm
In this recipe, it’s because acidic ingredients like tomato paste and cider vinegar make beans tough and lengthen cooking time. Pineapple just doesn’t taste as good with long cooking. And pressure cooking leaches the flavor out of spices, so they need to be refreshed at the end.
moonwatcherJune 30, 2017 at 9:36 pm
Yum yum these sound great Susan! I love that you used dates and tomato paste in these and the roster of seasonings sounds delicious. Happy Independence to you and yours too! xoxo
ShellJune 30, 2017 at 11:58 pm
You seem to have made a small error in bean cooking time in step one. It says 1 minute which doesn’t seem right.thanks for the recipe btw sounds good!
Susan VoisinJuly 1, 2017 at 8:09 am
One minute is correct! This is what they call a quick-soak–instead of soaking the beans overnight, you cook them for a minute and let them sit in the pressure cooker until the pressure comes down. They’re actually cooking the entire time.
LisaJuly 1, 2017 at 11:17 am
Does the instant pot splatter bean gunk with the steam release after 20 min? I just tried garbanzos that were soaked over nite and followed another blog’s directions to cook 12 min, wait 20, then release pressure. ugh. I need more instructions:)!
Susan VoisinJuly 1, 2017 at 11:20 am
It did not splatter anything for me this time. When I opened it after the first 1-minute “quick soak” there wasn’t any pressure left. When I opened it after the second cooking, there was just a little pressure left, not enough to spew out any gunk. What happened with your garbanzos? Were they cooked all the way through?
LisaJuly 1, 2017 at 2:13 pm
they were mush–I need to make a pureed soup or something out of them. I know I am going to have to keep practicing so I don’t give up with the Instant Pot. I had great results cooking dried , pre-soaked garbanzos in the crockpot. I really appreciate your help!
Susan VoisinJuly 1, 2017 at 2:33 pm
That’s amazing. Chickpeas usually take so long to cook. I make them without soaking and cook for about 32 minutes.
MimiJuly 2, 2017 at 8:16 am
Check out FB page Instant Pot Beginners Veg Support and Veggie Queen Jill Nussinow pressure cooking charts.
LisaJuly 1, 2017 at 2:15 pm
Not sure if last reply came thru. The beans were total mush.
ZoeyNovember 28, 2017 at 3:04 pm
Lisa, You may not get this message since I am posting it 5 months later, but it may help other people. I cook garbanzo beans almost every week in my Instant Pot. I make a lot of hummus. I do not soak the beans or use the quick IP soak suggested by Susan. I simply put the dry beans in the IP with water. For each cup of garbanzo beans I add 3 cups of water. I usually add 3 cups of beans and 9 cups of water. I cook the beans for 53 minutes and let the pressure come down naturally. They come out perfect each time. I have NEVER gotten a splatter of bean gunk or foam.
KatherineJuly 1, 2017 at 6:43 pm
I have a fairly similar recipe for which I use a slow cooker. I’m wondering if one could be used for this recipe too, if I cooked the beans first, sautéed the ingredients that needed it, then added everything together in the slow cooker and left it to cook at the low setting for about 6-8 hours? Thank you!
Susan VoisinJuly 2, 2017 at 1:28 pm
That should work, though you’ll have to experiment with the amount of water used.
DawnJuly 1, 2017 at 6:46 pm
Why do I have to look at ads for ground beef on a vegan blog site. Do you not care who markets on your site as long as you get paid?
Susan VoisinJuly 1, 2017 at 11:29 pm
I don’t have any choice in which ads are displayed. My only choice is to either have ads and keep the blog going or get rid of the ads and not be able to afford to keep it up.
MarthaJuly 2, 2017 at 3:06 am
I’m so excited to make your baked beans as I have been looking for years for a good vegan recipe. Sadly my tries have not been successful.
One question, the juice from the pineapple that is reserved, it doesn’t go into this recipe? If I use it as part of the 2 cups of water do you think that would alter the way the beans cook? If I remember correctly pineapple has some sort of enzyme in it. What do you think?
Susan VoisinJuly 2, 2017 at 8:00 am
Thanks for asking! I meant to note that you could add it at the end if the beans get too thick, but I forgot. So I will add that now. I think the enzyme thing has to do with gelatin gelling, but I also avoid putting anything acidic into the beans before they’re completely cooked because acid can toughen them.
MarthaJuly 4, 2017 at 2:10 am
Sorry Susan, I see that you addressed this issue earlier in comments. Thanks and sorry I just missed it.
TERRY SMITHJuly 2, 2017 at 9:37 am
I have been fat free vegan by choice for several years now. I started as a heart patient looking to increase my odds and ended up embracing the lifestyle for many reasons, including feeling better and loving the food, as well as the ethical benefits (also love animals, but not to eat) . Your recipe sounds good, but for a heart patient, the sodium content is unacceptable, but easy to
correct. Whenever you add processed ingredients, use a salt free version, like salt free ketchup, or salt substitute instead of salt, etc. Whole plant foods are great, but the ingredients need closer attention. The salt should be avoided as well as the refined sugar in all recipes.
CarrieJuly 2, 2017 at 2:21 pm
This looks so good and was going to make it this weekend until I noticed it makes 10 servings! I used the servings slide (great feature!!) to adjust but got such strange numbers that I don’t trust fudging it. Do you think leftovers would freeze well? I’d like to try it sometime. Thanks, Susan.
Susan VoisinJuly 2, 2017 at 2:35 pm
I just tried adjusting the servings, and I see what you mean! You could try cutting it in half, but I do think they will freeze well.
CarrieJuly 4, 2017 at 3:19 pm
Thank you, Susan! Having extras in the freezer would be a handy treat!
JillJuly 2, 2017 at 6:08 pm
I’m cooking Rancho Gordo caballero beans (small white) in the oven right now. 🙂 I read recently that Instant Pot is coming out with a mini model in July and, if and when they do, I will purchase it through your affiliate. I have the 5-quart and have found it demotivating at times to use, primarily because of its size, since I generally can cut most recipes in half and still end up with large amounts of food. My IP has been on loan to my neighbor for a while, and she loves it, so if IP ends up selling a “mini,” I’ll likely just let her keep it. I’ve been cooking beans in my smaller Creusets in the oven, and of course they come out great every time but they do take longer! I’m also doing a major house konmari and trying to pare down my kitchen stuff. I live alone and I’m shocked at how much stuff I’ve accumulated. If you happen to hear about the mini IP for sale, don’t hesitate to announce it! Meanwhile, I can’t wait to get going on this recipe! Happy Fourth!
ABJuly 2, 2017 at 8:28 pm
These baked beans are the best ever! I made them with what I had on hand, which meant using 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard in place of the dry mustard, subbing maple syrup for the molasses, and skipping the pineapple. I also used about 1/2 tsp regular salt and 1/2 tsp smoked salt. The resulting flavor was unmistakably that of classic baked beans, yet it was much more complex and satisfying than the canned stuff. And the beans were super creamy and tender but still held together — the quick soak IP method worked like a charm! This will be a staple in our house from now on. Thanks, Susan!
Susan VoisinJuly 3, 2017 at 7:49 am
I’m so happy to hear that!😀
ConnieJuly 2, 2017 at 10:37 pm
These are very good!
My son is also picky about his baked beans and always prefers canned baked beans. He liked these although he didn’t think they necessarily tasted like baked beans but I did. I’m glad they turned out great! Thanks.
Susan VoisinJuly 3, 2017 at 7:47 am
I’m so glad you both liked them. Thanks for letting me know!
KristaJuly 4, 2017 at 6:31 am
Looking forward to trying this one! I love your Instant Pot recipes!
Pamela DJuly 4, 2017 at 3:23 pm
Yum! Just made this with great northern beans. We love it!
TaraJuly 7, 2017 at 6:34 am
This recipe is amazing. My husband and I both loved it. Will definitely be making these beans again. Thanks
Robin FetterJuly 7, 2017 at 9:15 am
I made this on July 4th as part of a healthier approach to the usual fare and I must say…it was a hit!!! Also it gets better the next day and I had it on toast for breakfast which was something extra special. I would definitely make this again and again!!!
SusanJuly 7, 2017 at 9:05 pm
I made these last night. They were insanely delicious! Thank you so much, Susan!
Beth ViehmannJuly 9, 2017 at 8:46 pm
Yum YUM! Made em in my slow cooker and put an instant pot on my birthday list. These beans taste great hot and cold and loved by teenagers who don’t usually eat baked beans and my husband who loves the canned variety but thought these were great. They became my base for all my vegan meals over the 4th! wanted to print the recipe so I didn’t loose it but couldn’t see a way to print just recipe but not comments. Any suggestions!
Thanks for all the great food Molly Patrick!!
Susan VoisinJuly 10, 2017 at 8:30 am
I’m so glad you liked them! If you’re on a desktop computer, there should be a print button inside the recipe itself, underneath the small photo. Some mobile devices (and Pinterest, oddly) direct you to a mobile page that strips out the recipe formatting, including the print link. I’m trying to get rid of these mobile pages, but it’s a long process. If you check the URL and it has “AMP” at the end, you can delete that and see the regular page with the printer link.
johnson johnJuly 13, 2017 at 4:05 am
alexandraJuly 13, 2017 at 4:44 am
The recipe is delicious. My husband really liked them.
Yael TamarJuly 19, 2017 at 12:39 pm
I am shocked that this works as I have always been under the impression that once you add sugar to cooking beans, they will not soften anymore. But i loved how the recipe turned out..!
DebraJuly 20, 2017 at 4:09 pm
Made this and loved it! My husband especially liked eating the beans cold the next day. I’m making these to take on our next camping trip. Thanks for sharing!
AmberJuly 27, 2017 at 11:25 am
Oh this looks SO YUMMY!! I want to try it! I love food so much and eating clean and healthy foods is such a priority to me (check out my Peaches + Kale Summer Smoothie packed with all the nutritious vitamins here –> https://healthyhabits.sendlane.com/view/healthyhabits) Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!! Love your blog <3
VailJuly 29, 2017 at 9:48 pm
I wanted to make your Hawaiian baked beans but all I had in the cupboard was a pound of dried red beans and no dates! Bottom line, they turned out delicious. I don’t know if the red beans take longer but I had to restart them twice after the initial minute precook and the first 15 minutes for another 15 each time with the slow release. I blended up fresh pineapple in the blender and it was over 20oz but I threw it all in anyway. Oh, and since I was out of dates I sinned and used Ketchup. So delicious and currently my eight year old granddaughter is slurping up a bowl as I type. I’ve followed you for years, but never have left a comment; My Bad! I love you blog, your pictures, and can’t believe that little girl you once experimented on to find the perfect Mac and Cheese is in college!! How time flies. Take care.
Susan VoisinJuly 29, 2017 at 10:29 pm
Thank you for leaving your first comment! I’m so touched that you’ve been following me through mac and cheese up to college. 😉 Yes, time does fly, and I’ll never get over how quickly kids grow up. They’re so precious at every age.
P.S. I’m happy to hear the recipe works with red beans. I’m not surprised they took longer–red beans seem to do that.
TiffanyJuly 31, 2017 at 2:33 pm
Definitely trying out this recipe some time this week! Looks delicious! Thanks for the share, keep up the posts!
pavitraAugust 22, 2017 at 12:47 am
Wow, Dish seems to be delicious. For sure i am going to try it . Thanks for great share.
ConnieOctober 1, 2017 at 5:39 pm
Great recipe. Thanks! I made it again today for the 3rd time for our neighborhood potluck.
EllenDecember 13, 2017 at 12:19 pm
I just made these and they are fantastic! Great recipe. Only thing is the prep took me longer than the 10 minutes, between chopping, draining, measuring, sautéing … Well worth the time… just know I’d need to add a bit more time when making them next time. I add set for 17 minutes for the beans to cook the first time, as I did have to close pot and do another 4 minutes after the first round.
SusanApril 13, 2018 at 8:31 pm
Just completed this recipe(minus the pineapple)…not sure if it will make it too sweet for us, just wanted to say that this is insanely tasty!!!!!
Just a question….what does “lowest saute setting ” mean? My I.P. is 4 years old and there is only one saute setting…which is really hot. I waited for just a few minutes,as it was boiling and beginning to stick.
Thanks for a great recipe…yours are ones I trust, kinda like Mary McDougalls😊
Susan VoisinApril 13, 2018 at 8:40 pm
I’m glad it was good even without the pineapple! The Instant Pot Duo has three sauté setting that you choose with the adjust button. The Lux doesn’t, and that must be what you have. It sounds like you did just the right thing, stopping before it burned or stuck.
SharonSeptember 8, 2018 at 6:13 pm
I am a Boston girl through and through. I grew up eating my mother’s Boston baked beans and through life I never cared for anything but. We had a friend of ours make us southern style white beans and I thought I would hurl. Sincerely, I have never like anything but Mom’s Boston baked beans.
Until today. Both my husband (also,from NE) and I loved this recipe! It was different for us but in a completely wonderful way. We absolutely love these beans. The printed recipe now has a star at the top meaning this will be a customary regular with us. Awesome dish to bring to BBQs. Thank you so much for this recipe. ❤️
Tamara HanelJune 30, 2019 at 4:31 pm
I went out and bought an instant pot for this recipe and I’m not disappointed. Originally, I thought of this item as another kitchen gadget, but the recipe intrigued me. I rationalized the buy by being able to give away my slow cooker, & steamer /rice cooker. I love it. This recipe is delicious. The only adjustment I made was 1/2 can of pineapple instead of the full can because I tasted the beans before adding and I liked it without. It was plenty sweet for me, but I think that’s a personal preference. This is the first of your recipes I’ve tried but I’ll be trying more. Going to make your jacked up spare ribs for the 4th. Thanks again and keep creating!!
Cheryl BecwarJune 30, 2019 at 4:34 pm
Just made these to take with us camping in the RV. I cooked them in the IP and I think I messed up the natural release as they were a bit overdone but that was my preference and fault. My husband loved them and it was so easy. Thank you for a great summer recipe.
RUTHJune 30, 2019 at 5:56 pm
I made these – dbl recipe with 2 # pinto beans. I do not have an IP, so I did overnight soak and then cooked beans on the stove for 1 hour. Then put all the ingredients (except pineapple) in a crock in the oven – 300º for 2 hours. Added just one can of pineapple and I think it was enough. VERY good!! Served this to my omnivor family with pulled turkey on buns and a good slaw for today’s Sunday dinner with rhubarb pie. Great summer meal. Thanks.
NikiAugust 6, 2020 at 1:12 pm
Hi Susan! Do you think I could use frozen pineapple? And I don’t have dates but I have date Syrup, if I used the latter how much do you think I’d need to add? Thank you!
Susan VoisinAugust 6, 2020 at 1:45 pm
The frozen pineapple should be fine; just add a little water if the beans seam dry. For the date syrup, I think 1/4 cup would be good, but you could probably use less if you don’t want it as sweet.
NikiAugust 13, 2020 at 10:25 am
Excellent thank you so much! That may work out as I was going to lower the maple syrup, up the molasses a touch (I like the flavor and mineral content). The date syrup may balance out the lowered sweetness from less maple syrup … never great to alter a winning recipe but sometimes I dabble… Thank you again for the reply!
Eric LovelaceJune 30, 2021 at 6:06 pm
The Instant Pot times were perfect for us.
Two small changes — I used xylitol instead of the maple syrup and added 1 Tbsp white miso paste.
Will double the recipe and make this again.
AlisonAugust 15, 2022 at 12:13 pm
This recipe is excellent! I’m enjoying it with your veggie dogs.
Thanks for posting it.
Amanda R.April 7, 2023 at 8:15 pm
I have a few baked bean recipes now, and have tried just adding pineapple to one. That was good, this is better. It tastes more tropical, the spices chosen were just right, and the beans cooked exactly to your times. At the end, I added a smidge of smoked pepper, too, The only other thing that wasn’t to spec was turning a can of pineapple chunks into “crushed” with a 1 second trip in the blender, which foamed up a lot weirdly and then was perfect.
Looking forward to making this again. Thanks!