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Pressure-Cooker BBQ Baked Beans

I was under doctor's orders to reduce the amount of sodium I was eating, but I just couldn't part with some of my favorite foods. After many experiments I came up with this potluck favorite—now everyone's happy! —Sherrel Hendrix, Arkadelphia, Arkansas
  • Total Time
    Prep: 10 min. + soaking Cook: 35 min. + releasing
  • Makes
    12 servings


  • 1 package (16 ounces) dried great northern beans
  • 2 smoked ham hocks (about 1/2 pound each)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder, divided
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce, optional


  • Rinse and sort beans. Transfer to a 6-qt. electric pressure cooker. Add ham hocks, water, onion, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 1 teaspoon onion powder. Lock lid; close pressure-release valve. Adjust to pressure-cook on high for 30 minutes. Let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes; quick-release any remaining pressure.
  • Remove ham hocks; cool slightly. Cut meat into small cubes, discarding bones; return meat to pressure cooker. Stir in barbecue sauce, brown sugar, nutmeg, cloves, remaining garlic powder, remaining onion powder and, if desired, pepper sauce. Lock lid; close pressure-release valve. Adjust to pressure-cook on high for 3 minutes. Let pressure release naturally for 5 minutes; quick-release any remaining pressure.

Test Kitchen tips
  • Using hot sauce to flavor foods can be a smart alternative to salt, but make sure you check the nutrition labels. We recommend Tabasco sauce. It has only 26 mg of sodium per 5-7 drops.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1/2 cup: 238 calories, 1g fat (0 saturated fat), 4mg cholesterol, 347mg sodium, 48g carbohydrate (22g sugars, 8g fiber), 10g protein.

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    Average Rating:
    • Momof4.5
      Feb 18, 2021

      I have made these 3 times. I followed the recipe exactly as written the first time, but my family wasn't too fond of the cloves and nutmeg. The next time, I cut the nutmeg and cloves in half and added a little black pepper instead of hot sauce. My family loved it with those changes.

    • Marcia
      Jul 5, 2020

      Added some leftover bacon as my ham hocks had virtually no meat on them. Rave reviews from everyone and so easy to make.

    • Rosemary
      Mar 11, 2020

      If you think this is low sodium, you are kidding yourself. There are 2000 milligrams of sodium just in the barbecue sauce. Add in the salt from the ham hocks, yikes. At least make your own barbecue sauce (don't use regular ketchup - loaded with sugar

    • jbeverland
      Jan 28, 2018

      These were great. I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out perfectly. I soaked my beans overnight and the cooking time in my instant pot was just as the recipe called for. I prefer my beans slightly sweeter, so I stirred a little extra brown sugar in my dish, but the rest of the family ate it without any extra sugar.