Many readers are new Instant Pot owners, and I want to help you feel confident using your Instant Pot. One of the best foods to make in the Instant Pot is dry beans! Today, I’ll show you how to make easy, fail-proof, no soaking required dry beans in the Instant Pot. Use whatever beans you have on hand: black beans, pinto beans, white beans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), lima beans. This recipe will help you easily and quickly all your favorite beans from scratch!
The Best Way to Cook Dried Beans
For many meals, the Instant Pot isn’t necessarily a faster way to cook (when you factor in the time it takes for the pot to come to pressure and then naturally release that pressure, if needed). The appeal of the Instant Pot for these meals is the hands-off time it provides the cook.
Now there are a number of recipes that shorten the overall cooking time when you make them in the Instant Pot. Soup is one meal that takes less time to make in the Instant Pot than on the stove-top or in the slow-cooker. This chicken and rice soup or this chicken and yellow rice meal are the perfect examples. Raw chicken, uncooked rice, and veggies are fully cooked into a creamed soup or full chicken and rice dinner in under 30 minutes.
(Let’s just pause here for a second, because it’s important to note that I am not affiliated with Instant Pot. I just really like my Instant Pot. I don’t use it all the time, but I’m definitely using it more than ever before to save time and eat healthier.)
Beans are another great example of a meal that can be made quickly in the Instant Pot.
Dry beans are a very time-consuming ingredient to prepare and cook. First, there’s the soaking step, which does help with digestion (reducing the digestive issues that can come from eating a bowl of beans). Then, after about 12 hours of soaking, the beans are ready to be cooked for hours in the slow-cooker or on the stove-top. The Instant Pot just laughs at this laborious task and says, “Let me show you just how quick and easy it can be to cook dry beans.”
Okay, the Instant Pot doesn’t actually laugh (it is just an appliance ;)), but it certainly would if it could. In the Instant Pot, or any electric pressure cooker you may choose to use, dry beans are ready to enjoy in under 90 minutes (total). And here’s the best part…soaking isn’t required. So if you’re like me and you just can’t seem to remember to soak the beans the night before, the electric pressure cooker says, “No problem, sweetheart! I’ve got you covered.”
Step By Step Cooking Instructions
- Rinse Beans: Rinse the beans of choice under fresh water (such as: black beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, white beans, lima beans, etc.) and pick out any undesirables (stones, etc.). To do this easily, place the dry beans in a colander and rinse with cold water, running your hands through the beans to find any stones, etc.
- Add Beans to the Instant Pot: Add the dry beans to the Instant Pot. I use a 6 quart Instant Pot (like this). An 8 quart Instant Pot also works well for cooking dried beans as you’ll need room for both the water and beans and don’t want to go over the fill line.
- Add Water and Seasonings: Add the white or yellow onion (keep the halved onion intact, no need to chop), bay leaves, garlic cloves, olive oil (prevents foam from forming at the top), salt (I use 1 tablespoon for 8 cups water and 1 lb of beans, but this will be based on your taste).
- Add Water: Add the water, covering the beans and aromatic spices.
- Pressure Cook the Beans: Lock the lid on the Instant Pot and set the Instant Pot to Manual, High Pressure for the designated time according the bean used (see below for specific cooking times). The valve on top should be set to Sealed.
- Let Pressure Release Naturally: Once the beans are done cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 30 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure (use a hot pad holder or towel) and opening the lid.
- Remove Aromatics and Enjoy: Remove the aromatics (bay leaves, onions, garlic). Drain and rinse the beans, if desired. Or, you can store or serve the beans with some of the liquid. This all depends on how you plan to use the beans.
Food Prep Tip: Store Beans for Later
If you’re storing the beans in the fridge or freezer, store the cooked beans in some of the liquid. This will keep the beans moist and also fresh. Beans that are stored in their cooking liquid stay fresh for longer.
How long does it take beans to cook in an Instant Pot?
Beans have different cooking times, use this guide to determine how long you’ll need to cook beans in the Instant Pot. The cooking times are for dried beans that haven’t been soaked. Always use high pressure when cooking the beans in the Instant Pot (if your model allows you to adjust this setting).
- Black Beans: Cook for 30 minutes
- Pinto Beans: Cook for 30 minutes
- Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas): Cook for 40 minutes
- Kidney Beans: Cook for 35 minutes
- Navy Beans: Cook for 25 minutes
- Great Northern Beans: Cook for 25 minutes
- Lima Beans: Cook for 25 minutes
- Black Eyed Peas: Cook for 15 minutes, with a 15 minute natural release (then manually release remaining pressure)
Keep in mind, this is just the actual cooking time that you’ll set on the Instant Pot. The Instant Pot does take some time to come to pressure and actually begin pressure cooking. Once the warm up is complete, the timer on the pot will begin counting down based on the cooking time set. The warm up can take anywhere from 5-15 minutes.
A little trick I’ve learned: if your water is super cold, it may take longer for pressure to build so adding warm water can speed this up, allowing the Instant Pot to reach pressure faster.
In total, for black beans, as an example, allow time for the Instant Pot to warm up, actual cooking time (above), then the natural release time (usually takes the pot about 30 minutes to naturally release pressure) before you’ll have a pot of beans ready to use.
Quick Tip: Use Natural Release
With a quick release, you’ll release pressure from the Instant Pot valve, moving the valve on top of the Instant Pot from sealed to open, after the cooking time is complete. With a natural release, you’ll allow the pressure to naturally release from the Instant Pot. For beans, I recommend always using a natural release, unless stated (like with the black eyed peas) to keep the beans soft and intact.
How many pounds of beans can you cook?
I recommend cooking 1 lb of dried beans in the Instant Pot, particularly if you have a 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot. The problem with cooking more beans is that you’ll likely go over the fill line within the pot liner, which can cause the pressure cooker to overflow and fail.
1 pound of dried beans = 2-3 cups of dried beans, 2 cups dried beans = 6-7 cups cooked beans, 1 1/2 cups cooked beans = 1 -15 ounce can of beans
What is the ratio of beans to water?
In the recipe, below, I say to use 8 cups of water per 1 pound of dried beans. This is the ratio that I prefer to use, as the beans I cook are always used in other dishes and either stored in the fridge or freezer. I don’t need a ton of flavor in these beans or starchy juice, since I plan to use them in flavorful meals. You can adjust the liquid amount based on preference. Here’s a guide for how to determine the amount of water in the Instant Pot when cooking beans…
- Use 8 cups of water per 1 lb of beans if you plan to use the beans in recipes like soups, casseroles, or stuffed peppers; not on their own and plan to store them in the fridge or freezer.
- Use 6 cups of water per 1 lb of beans if you plan to use the beans on their own (like burrito bowls or refried beans) and want the beans to take on more of the seasonings you add. Less water means the juice will be thicker, starchier, and more flavorful and the beans will be as well.
7 Tips For Making the Perfect Beans Every Time
- You don’t need to pre-soak beans when cooking beans in the Instant Pot. Beans made in the Instant Pot are fail-proof, really!
- If you want to pre-soak your beans (for 8-12 hours) before cooking, decrease the cooking time by 5-10 minutes.
- Never overfill your Instant Pot. Check the fill line inside your Instant Pot to make sure you don’t go over this line.
- Store beans in the cooking liquid, before using the beans in a recipe, drain the liquid from the beans using a colander.
- 1 pound of dried beans = 2-3 cups of dried beans, 2 cups dried beans = 6-7 cups cooked beans, 1 1/2 cups cooked beans = 1 -15 ounce can of beans
- It’s always best to let the Instant Pot naturally release in pressure before opening the lid. If you must perform a quick release, wait for 15 minutes, allowing some pressure to naturally release. Then perform a quick release with the remaining pressure.
- Use Instant Pot beans in your favorite recipes, store in the fridge, or freeze for later.
How to Flavor Home-Cooked Beans
The best part about making beans at home, from-scratch, using dried beans is that you can flavor them to your liking! I usually stick with just the basics: onion, bay leaf, garlic, and salt. If you’re in a pinch, you could even just do salt and beans (and water). Here are a few ideas for flavoring a pot of beans…
- Use Broth: Instead of water, use broth! Like chicken or vegetable broth.
- Add Salt: This is a given, but please add salt! I know some folks suggest that adding salt to the beans while they cook will prevent them from breaking down, but with the Instant Pot I haven’t found this to be true. Salt adds so much flavor.
- Add Veggies: For black beans or pinto beans, adding some chopped carrots, celery, peppers, onion, and garlic will give you delicious beans that you can eat straight from the Instant Pot.
- Add Spices: For black or pinto beans, I love to add cumin, chili powder, and (after cooking) fresh cilantro (lots of fresh cilantro). This is great for beans you’ll enjoy in tacos, burritos, etc.
10 Ways to Use Home-Cooked Beans
- Tex Mex Stuffed Peppers (with black beans)
- Easy Vegetarian Quesadillas (with mashed pinto beans)
- Hummus (with chickpeas)
- Marinated Chickpea Salad
- Beet Hummus (with chickpeas)
- Instant Pot Chili (with kidney beans)
- Stove-Top Chili (with kidney or black beans)
- 30-Minute Chicken and Bean Nachos (with black beans)
- Vegetarian Tuscan White Bean Soup (with Great Northern beans)
- Freezer Bean Burritos (with mashed pinto beans)
How to Cook Dry Beans in the Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker Recipe)
- 1 pound dried beans black beans, pinto beans, or chickpeas
- 1/2 white onion or yellow onion, peeled and left intact
- 1 TB extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- 2 medium garlic cloves peeled and left whole
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp salt *
- 8 cups water
- Rinse the beans and pick out any undesirables (stones, etc.)
- Add the beans to the Instant Pot.
- Add all the ingredients, ending with the water.
- Lock the lid on and set the Instant Pot to Manual, High Pressure for 30 minutes (for black beans and pinto beans) or 40 minutes (for chickpeas). The valve on top should be set to Sealed.
- Once the beans are done cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 30 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure (use a hot pad holder or towel) and opening the lid.
- Remove the aromatics (bay leaves, onions, garlic). Drain and rinse the beans, if desired. Or, you can store or serve the beans with some of the liquid. <–This all depends on how you plan to use the beans. If you’re storing the beans in the fridge (or freezer), I recommend storing the beans in some of the liquid.