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Instant Pot Cowboy Beans

 You’ll be the hit of the next BBQ or picnic with these Instant Pot Cowboy Beans. You’ll find both Instant Pot and slow cooker instructions in the recipe card.

Three bowls of calico beans on a wooden board with spoons and a green cloth

These Instant Pot Cowboy Beans are a healthier take on a dish that was on the table at every single family event growing up. The result is still a giant bowl full of comfort that tastes like childhood BBQs, but with a lot less sugar.

Most people serve cowboy beans as a side dish; that’s how I grew up with them. But you could also serve it over some Instant Pot Jasmine Rice with Kale Chopped Salad on the side and call it a full meal.

The Instant Pot makes quick work of this bean dish, but if you have the time to plan, make it a day ahead of time. The flavors will improve after 12-24 hours in the fridge.

You can use canned beans or cook dried beans in the Instant Pot beforehand for this recipe. Place 1/2 cup each of dried navy, kidney, and butter beans in the insert of the Instant Pot. Cover with 4 inches of water and cook on manual high pressure for 28 minutes. Allow for a 20-minute natural release and then vent to remove any additional pressure.

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes:

  • No BBQ sauce in the fridge? You can make this Paleo BBQ Sauce instead.
  • Use some of the leftover molasses to make homemade brown sugar.
  • You can double the meat without impacting the cooking time. Many people even like to add sliced kielbasa.
  • Throw in some chopped and deseeded green pepper or jalapeno to kick the heat up.
  • Want to make this vegetarian/vegan? Leave out the sausage/burger, bacon, Worcestershire, and chicken stock. Replace with veggie stock and increase each type of bean by 1/4 cup.

More Great BBQ Sides:


One serving has 4 WW Freestyle SmartPoints.

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Instant Pot Cowboy Beans

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
You'll love these tasty and healthy cowboy beans in the Instant Pot!



Instant Pot:

  • Press saute on the Instant Pot. When it is hot, add bacon and cook, stirring often.
  • When the bacon is half-cooked, add ground beef and onion until both the bacon and beef is cooked through and the onions are softened.
  • Press "keep warm/cancel" twice to turn the Instant Pot off.
  • Carefully drain any grease using a metal spoon.
  • Add chicken stock and use a wooden spoon to thoroughly deglaze the bottom of the Instant Pot insert.
  • Add the mustard and smoked paprika, and stir to combine in the chicken stock.
  • Add all the other ingredients but do not stir. {Stirring could result in a burn notice.}
  • Lock the lid into place and set the steam release handle (valve on top) to “Sealing”. Press Manual>High Pressure>5 minutes. 
  • When the Instant Pot has finished cooking, it will beep and switch to ”keep warm".
  • Allow it to sit with the lid on for 10 minutes and then do a manual release with the nozzle set to venting.

Slow Cooker:

  • In a heavy-bottomed skillet, cook hamburger on medium heat until cooked through.
  • Drain any grease and remove from pan and add to the slow cooker.
  • Cook chopped bacon in the same pan until crispy. Remove from pan and place in the slow cooker.
  • Add all the other ingredients to the slow cooker and stir to combine.
  • Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or 4-6 on low.
Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Cowboy Beans
Amount Per Serving (0.5 cup)
Calories 195 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 10mg3%
Sodium 202mg9%
Potassium 602mg17%
Carbohydrates 30g10%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 210IU4%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 49mg5%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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4 comments on “Instant Pot Cowboy Beans”

  1. Made these last weekend when my folks were in town – Dad was in charge of groceries, so we added extra bacon! 🙂 The beans were freaking delicious, and even better as leftovers. We had some for breakfast the next morning – breakfast of champions.5 stars

    • So glad you liked them Sydnie, and it is hard to argue with extra bacon.

      Did you eat them on toast for breakfast? I know that is a thing but something I haven’t ever tried.

  2. I know this question is off topic, but do you not like green bean casserole?!

    • I find it reeeeeeevolting! I hate overcooked green beans and it has a bunch of mayo in it right? Or maybe cream of mushroom soup? I know I hate it because of the sauce so it is one of those two.

      But the fried onions? I’ll eat the shit out of them.