There are baked beans, and then there are beans that really take things to the next level. Take our Instant Pot Cowboy Beans, for instance. With three different kinds of meat and a sauce that’s simultaneously tangy and savory and sweet, they’re walking a fine line of being packed with too much flavor. (If that’s even a thing.) They’re jam-packed and ridiculously hearty, and with a little help from the Instant Pot, they’re super easy to make too.
Since the Instant Pot has that nice sauté function built right in, you can make these in just one pot. You start by browning up some ground beef with onions and bacon, before adding some garlic and sliced Kielbasa. (Did I mention these were meaty? They’re very meaty.)
Rather than starting with dried beans, these use a little helping hand from canned baked beans and kidney beans. All that means is that everything gets to the table faster and there’s some extra flavor built right in with the pre-made baked beans. Your job is to build on that base layer of flavor and take it to new heights.
That happens with a mixture of ketchup, barbecue sauce, Dijon mustard, molasses, chili powder, and paprika. But there’s no need to stand over a pot and watch that sauce simmer into something great. Nope, instead, all you have to do is dump it into your pressure cooker and walk away. When you return, you have a bowl of beans that’s more than hearty enough to stand on its own but makes a very welcome side dish for any occasion.
Instant Pot Cowboy Beans
40 minutes to prepare serves 6-8
- 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
- 6 slices thick bacon, chopped
- 1 white onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 lb Kielbasa sausage, sliced
- 2 (28 oz) cans baked beans
- 1 (14 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- Set Instant Pot to Sauté mode, and add ground beef, bacon, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until beef is no longer pink. (It's okay if there is some fat left in the pot.)
- Add garlic, stir, and let cook one minute. Add water and Kielbasa sausage.
- Add baked beans, kidney beans, ketchup, barbecue sauce, Dijon mustard, molasses, black pepper, chili powder, and paprika. Cancel Sauté mode, place lid on pot, and set valve to 'Sealing.'
- Set to manual mode on high pressure for 8 minutes. When cook time has finished, let pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. Release remaining pressure in short bursts by turning valve to venting (to prevent any sauce from escaping). Once pressure has released, remove lid, serve, and enjoy!
- Note: If you get a ‘burn’ message, it’s because the mixture is too thick. Release any pressure that has built up, stir in another 1/4 cup of water and continue cooking as instructed.
Recipe adapted from Wanda Baker.