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Instant Pot Cowboy Beans

Instant Pot Cowboy Beans are wonderfully thick, tangy, and smoky with 3 kinds of meat. This hearty side dish makes a great addition to a picnic, bbq, or cookout.

Instant Pot Cowboy Beans in Instant Pot with spoon.


Full of bacon, ground beef, and sliced kielbasa sausage, there is so much meaty flavor in every bite. This recipe is a from-scratch Cowboy Beans recipe made from dried pinto beans. But thanks to the Instant Pot, there’s no need to soak the beans for hours and hours. A blend of BBQ Sauce (use your favorite store bought or homemade), ketchup, molasses, and brown sugar gives a wonderful sweetness to these beans. A little liquid smoke is added for some smoky flavor.


You’ll first Pressure Cook just the dried beans in salted water for 25 minutes. Then do a Natural Pressure Release. Keep in mind that with the time it takes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure and the Naturaal Release time, this step can take an hour or so.

Still much less time than doing it without a pressure cooker.

Cowboy Beans in Instant Pot


Next you’ll drain the beans and set them aside while you brown the ground beef and sausage in the Instant Pot, followed by the bacon, onion and garlic.

Next, add 2/3 cup of water and scrape up any browned pieces on the bottom. This step is really important to ensure you don’t get the dreaded “Burn” notification. Then, add the beans, ground beef, sausage and all the remaining ingredients. Pressure cook for 15 minutes and then do another Natural Pressure Release.

When the pin drops, open the lid and you have a pot full of fabulously tender pinto beans in a fraction of the time.


Instant Pot Cowboy Beans in a bowl.

Instant Pot Cowboy Beans pair wonderfully with:

Instant Pot Cowboy Beans in Instant Pot with spoon.

Instant Pot Cowboy Beans

Instant Pot Cowboy Beans are wonderfully thick, tangy, and smoky with 3 kinds of meat. This hearty side dish makes a great addition to a picnic, bbq, or cookout.

PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 50 minutes



  • 16 ounces dried pinto beans
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound kielbasa, sliced
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow or sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder, I like to use chipotle
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon liquid smoke


  • Combine pinto beans, water and salt in the Instant Pot. Cover and set to "Manual" and Pressure Cook on high for 25 minutes. Let do a natural pressure release.
  • When the pin drops, remove the lid and pour the beans into a colander to drain.
  • Set Instant Pot to "Saute". When hot, spray pot lightly with cooking spray.Add ground beef and kielbasa and cook, breaking apart the ground beef, until it is browned. Hit "Cancel". Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Drain grease from the Instant Pot. Set to "Saute". When hot, add bacon and onion. Cook until bacon is crispy. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Hit "Cancel". Drain about 1/2 the grease off.
    While cooking bacon, stir frequently and be careful to not let it stick and burn on the bottom.
  • Add water and scrape up any brown pieces on the bottom. This is important because if there is anything burned stuck on the bottom, you will get a burn signal.
    Add remaining ingredients and stir.
  • Return beans, ground beef and sausage to Instant Pot and stir them in. Place lid on and set to "Manual" or "Pressure Cook" for 15 minutes. If you get a burn siganl, remove the lid if the pin is still down. If it is not down, release the pressure and then remove the lid. Stir in about 1/4 of water and use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom really well. Place the lid back on, making sure the pin is in the "sealing" position.
  • Once the time is up, let the Instant Pot do a natural pressure release. When the pin drops, remove the lid and serve.


You will want to use a 6-quart pressure cooker for this recipe.


Calories: 278kcal
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: instant pot, instant pot baked beans

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Instant Pot Cowboy Beans

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23 thoughts on “Instant Pot Cowboy Beans”

  1. Yum! This is a great side for summer picnic weather. The instant pot insert is cleaned every time. Our family request this all the time. Kudos!

  2. Awesome! I will probably add some jalapeños next time. The only thing I did differently was to cook the beans for 40 minutes, then followed the recipe, but didn’t cook the the beans anymore after that.

  3. I wanted this to work in the IP but after burning three times they weren’t wort eating. I may just cook the beans in the IP and do the rest in the oven next time.

  4. I’ve made multiple times. I don’t always have exact ingredients but its always good! Subs: Buffalo sauce for BBQ sauce. Fish sauce for Worcester. Reyandos linguisa sausage for kielbasa. Honey for molasses. Monk fruit brown sugar. Chicken broth for water. Versatile and yummy and gluten free with right ingredients.

  5. I don’t know where I went wrong, but my beans didn’t cook all the way; they were semi-hard. The flavor was fabulous. I used linguica instead of sausage (I’m Portuguese, lol) I’m going to try again.
    As mentioned, i’d love the crockpot version of this as well.

  6. Ok, I tried 1/2 recipe of this today, these turned out wonderful. I used 1/2 amount of splenda brown sugar blend for the brown sugar and used a DIY BBq sauce where I used splenda instead of the white sugar. With those changes my diet tracker came in at 238 calories, a little less but still significant. I added a little of the drained bean liquid in place of the extra water. I also cooked the hamburger, sausage, onions, garlic in a Mealthy non-stick fry pan instead of the pressure cooker pot, so when the beans were done, so was all my other stuff.
    Thanks for the great and easy recipe.

  7. Second time making these. They are my sons favorite meal now. Thanks for the recipe that we just love! We love spice, so I added a chopped jalapeno and it was just as good, just a little kick! Thanks!

  8. Vanessa Chamberlain

    Just wondering if using an 8qt Instant Pot would work for this recipe, or if changes would need to be made. Your post specifically points out that a 6qt Instant Pot will need to be used for this recipe. Thank you.

    1. Want to know the same thing. I have a 8qt and want to make it but if its not going to work I dont want to waste time and money!

  9. So freaking good! Swapped a few ingredients for a healthier version. Sugar free bbq, sugar free ketchup, and brown sugar substitute. I can’t remember all the ingredients but you get the idea. My wholes loved it and I have 3 picky kids!

    1. REALLY FABULOUS! I used Stubbs spicy bar-b-que sauce (a family favorite) a little extra mustard and reduced the the chili powder by a half teaspoon (because of the Stubbs spicy). We ate it as a meal. LOVE IT! Next time I will try coconut sugar in place of the brown sugar and use 4% beef. Excellent! I agree about the frustration with the instant pot, but I may need to increase the amount with a larger pot.

  10. A request from your neighbor on Lake Wylie. Can you please provide a slow cooker version of this recipe?

      1. Thanks! I will try your suggestion. I have really enjoyed your website and have made many of the great recipes that you have offered. Was cool to find out that you were a neighbor too! Thanks for sharing all of your great recipes! 🙂

    1. Joanne McGinnis

      I cooked the beans in the Instant Pot. (First part of the directions) then cooked everything else on the stove, combined the wet/spice ingredients with everything an put it in the crock pot. Easy. I only used the Instant Pot to cook the beans.

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