Theyre Not Only Soaked But Partially Cooked
Well actually, they are more than partially cooked. If you allow the beans to do a full Natural Pressure Release, they end up almost fully cooked. Id say that this method gets them to about 90-95% fully cooked. That means they will cook very quickly in any recipe you use them in.
In general, another 15 to 30 minutes of cook time should get them to 100%. Theyre great for any chili recipe.
Save this Bean Soaking method for later!
For instance, I use this power soak method for red kidney beans when I make my Instant Pot Chili Recipe. Ill add the beans to my chili immediately after they have completed a power soak. My chili recipe calls for a 15-minute cook time with a 15-minute NPR. The beans come out perfect every time.
Flavoring Instant Pot Beans
Depending on what you want your Instant Pot Beans for you may or may not want to flavor them.
If you want your beans for a salad which will have a salad dressing its probably best to simply cook them in filtered water and nothing else. Drain the water and use the unflavored beans for your salad.
For Instant Pot Beans and Rice or for soup youll probably want to flavor while cooking. There is a couple simple rules to follow. Add onion, garlic, spices before or during cooking but salt after cooking. Salt can keep beans from softening up so you want to avoid adding while they are cooking but rather once theyre already soft.
What I love to do is to prepare a sofrita first. You hit the sautée button first and while the pot heats you peel and finely chop onion and garlic. Once hot, add a splash of oil, the chopped onion and garlic and sauté until nice and brown. Then add beans and water and cook as instructed in the recipe card below.
And here the printable fool-proof timing guide for Instant Pot Beans:
Tips For Perfect Instant Pot Beans
- There may be small stones or debris in the bag of beans, so be sure to rinse them before putting them in the Instant Pot.
- Make sure you only fill the beans in the Instant Pot halfway, beans expand when they cook!
- Water is a must in order to cook the beans properly.
- 3 cups of water to every 1 cup of beans is needed.
- Water needs to completely cover the beans before you seal the Instant Pot.
If you dont have an Instant Pot, heres how to soak beans!
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Storing Leftover Instant Pot Beans
Cooked beans can last around 5 days in the refrigerator in a covered container. If you have any leftover cooking liquid from the pressure cooker, feel free to pour it in along with the beans before sealing. Its not necessary, but it may help to keep your beans from drying out so quickly.
If you have way too many beans and just cant bear to eat another bite, consider freezing them. Just place them in a freezer safe bag or container and they will keep for up to 3 months. To thaw, simply place in the fridge overnight or on the countertop for a several hours. Reheating is easy you can either throw them in the microwave for a minute or two, heat them in the oven for around 10 minutes or give them a quick pan fry over medium heat until desired temperature.
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The Beans Are Ready For Your Recipe
Remember, the beans are not fully cooked at this point but are really close. While this process is only meant to speed up the soak time for the beans it also greatly reduces the required cook time as well.
They are ready to be added to another recipe and cooked according to that recipe.
Rinse if necessary
If you are wanting to reduce the amount of sodium that is going into your dish, then place the cooked beans in a colander and give them a quick rinse.
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How To Sort And Clean Beans
A bag of dried beans may contain rocks, debris, or old, shriveled beans that won’t soften well when cooked. To properly sort through them, pour onto a sheet pan in one layer. This will keep them contained and make sorting easy. Place the sorted beans into a colander and rinse with cold, running water before cooking.
Amount Of Water Needed For Cooking Dried Beans In The Instant Pot
Water or broth can be used as the cooking liquid for dried beans. I use a range of liquid amounts depending on my purpose for the beans:
- 4 cups liquid to 1 pound of beans: Best for beans that you don’t plan on straining, like the pinto bean side dishes you get at Mexican restaurants. Less water means a flavorful, thicker, and more starchy sauce
- 5 cups liquid to 1 pound of beans: Best for beans that you want to be less starchy and infused with flavor even after straining some of the extra liquid. This is perfect for Mexican food fillings, salads, salsas, and refried beans
- 6 cups liquid to 1 pound of beans: Best for beans that are hardly starchy and only mildly seasoned. These are perfect for bagging and freezing
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A Few Notes On Using Beans In The Instant Pot
The recipe here is based on a one pound bag of dried beans which comes to two cups dried. Beans tend to come out around triple the amount when cooked. So keep that in mind when measuring beans. You dont need a magic amount of water, simply make sure that you are using at least the minimum required for your Instant Pot size and that the beans are covered by about an inch of water.
This recipe is also based on a 6 Qt. Instant Pot and using red kidney beans. And 8 Qt might cook them quicker and different beans may or may not quick soak faster. One reader reported that her white navy beans were nearly fully cooked in an 8 Qt. at 5 minutes. For that I suggest trying 2-3 minutes of pressure. .
If substituting canned beans for dried beans and vice versa, one pound of dried beans once cooked is equal to about three 15.5 ounce cans.
Note that this is just the presoak of your beans. They will not be fully cooked. To fully cook, you will need more pressure time. If you wish to pressure cook the beans the entire way, most can be done in 30 minutes of high pressure, while some, especially chick peas, can take up t 45. But that can be inconsistent and leave some beans not fully cooked. I find that it is more consistent to quick soak, then do my recipe separately using the quick soaked beans, even if my recipe will pressure cook as long as 30 minutes.
Easy Instant Pot Pinto Beans
Instant Pot pinto beans are easy to cook from dry in a pressure cooker: no soaking required! Serve them straight or with Mexican flavors as a simple side.
Confession: Alex and I are terrible at thinking ahead. So we dont often cook dried beans! Cooking beans on the stove requires actual forethought: youve got to soak them overnight. Then you have to spend a few hours boiling them on the stove. But guess what? Thanks to the magic of a pressure cooker, you can cook dried beans with no soaking required! These Instant Pot pinto beans are seriously fast and totally hands off. Add a few Mexican style seasonings, and theyre a simple side dish. Ready to get cooking?
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A Few Special Ingredients
Like I mentioned, we will be adding a few special ingredients. Each ingredient has its own special purpose for helping us get the best quick soaked bean we can.
- Olive Oil: When cooking beans in the Instant Pot, the starch in the beans can cause a foam to build up inside the pot. This foam can end up causing a mess. To avoid this, well add olive oil to the pot.
- Salt: Adding salt to the water in the pot will help soften the skin of the beans. This will, in turn, help reduce the number of beans that will burst during the power soak.
- Baking Soda: The baking soda will speed up the cooking time of the beans. This helps us achieve more tender beans in much less time. Plus, baking soda has another superpower: it lessens the chance that the beans will make you gassy. This stuff has some serious superpowers. Yay for baking soda!
How Long To Cook Pinto Beans In An Instant Pot
If you soak your beans, the cook time will be shorter. You can add a few minutes to the cook time for softer beans, or subtract a few minutes for firmer beans. The pressure cooking time can vary with the age of the beans and between different brands. The cook times below are what works for me in my Instant Pot.
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The Best Instant Pot Pinto Beans
Warning: once you start making these Instant Pot pinto beans, you might never go back to canned. I must admit that for years I convinced myself that making beans from scratch was a waste of time. Why go to the trouble when you can open a can in seconds? Well let me tell you, these pinto beans have a flavor and texture thats miles away from canned. Plus, they take only minutes to prepare. These beans turned Ella from a staunch bean hater into a bean lover. And people, THATS A MIRACLE!
What Are White Beans
White beans can refer to a couple different beans: Navy beans, Great Northern beans, Cannellini beans, or Baby Lima beans. Theyre all white beans and to be honest, they kinda look the same. I even know people who use the white beans interchangeably for recipes. So whats the difference?
White Navy Beans: also called pea beans, the white Navy beans are small, oval-shaped, and quicker to cook. As they get creamy when cooked, theyre perfect for mashing, pureeing in dips, and thickening soups, stews, and more.
Great Northern Beans: larger than Navy Beans but smaller than Cannellini beans, medium-sized Great Northern beans are known for their mild, nutty flavour and firm flesh. They hold their shape better than the smaller white Navy bean.
Cannellini Beans: they are the largest of the white beans family, also called White Kidney Beans. Their flavour profile is nutty and earthy, and cannellini beans keep their shape best out of all of them.
Baby Lima Beans: also called butterbeans, they have a distinctive flat-oval shape with a mild earthiness flavour and a creamy, buttery texture.
For todays Instant Pot recipe, Ill be using white navy beans. I have not tested the other white with the other beans.
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How To Use And Store Beans
One 15-ounce can of beans holds about 1 3/4 cups cooked beans, so substitute accordingly in your recipes. For reference, one pound of dried beans makes about five cups of cooked beans.
Let beans cool completely, then store in their liquid in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Beans also freeze beautifully. I usually freeze them in their liquid in ziplock bags , which take up less space in the freezer and thaw more quickly. Freeze for up to three months.
Black Beans Instant Pot Water Ratio
I tested two different water ratios:
- 1 pound dried beans + 8 cups water: After 30 minutes of pressure and 20 minutes of natural release, my beans were perfectly cooked, BUT there was an excess of water in the Instant Pot that needed to be drained. I wouldnt have minded for just plain old black beans, but the excess water diluted the wonderful bonus Cuban flavors Id added. Plus, draining the beans was an extra step that I wanted to see if I could eliminate.
- 1 pound dried beans + 3 cups water: The winner! This ratio took 35 minutes of pressure cooking + 20 minutes of natural release, but no draining was required, as the beans absorbed nearly all the liquid. There was a bit of extra liquid in the Instant Pot, but I found that once I stirred the beans, I like having it there for serving, as it ensured the beans were not at all dry.
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How To Cook Chickpeas In The Instant Pot
* get full printable recipe below
Instant Pot Cooking Times & Tips For Dried Beans
I do all types of beans the same way. Here are some Instant Pot pressure cooking time guidelines for a few of my favorites:
- Black Beans: 25-30 minutes
- Garbanzo Beans: 40-45 minutes
- Cannellini Beans: 40-45 minutes
Remember cook times are just a guideline. Not only does your personal preference and use come into play, but there are also lots of variables in the beans themselveslike how long they have sat on a shelf that can increase cooking time.
Its easy to check them and continue cooking if they arent done enough.
Remember it will initially take 10-15 minutes for the instant pot to come to full pressure and another 10-15 minutes to naturally release.
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Bean Cooking Tips & Notes
- Soak – Soaking your beans dramatically cuts down on cook time, as well as making them easier on your stomach
- Salt – Beans soaked and cooked in salt water are more flavorful and tender, without bursting out of their skins
- Add enough water for soaking – Make sure you cover your beans by 2″ when soaking them. This allows the beans to re-hydrate and become more tender.
- Add a pinch of baking soda while cooking – Baking soda creates an alkaline environment, which allows the beans to cook more quickly and turn soft and creamy from within.
How To Use Them
I love that these instant pot pinto beans can be eaten as is, or used in other recipes! Here are some of my favorite ways to use them.
Add a bit of cilantro, and eat them as is. You can strain them, or serve them with the liquid. I love them with a scoop of cottage cheese, as well.
These beans are perfect for topping Navajo Tacos!
They are great in most chili recipes, like this Crock Pot Chili. If the recipe calls for another kind of bean, I will often use pinto beans.
These pinto beans are perfect for Refried Beans!
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How To Make Instant Pot Beans
- Rinse and sort your dried beans–just look over your dried beans to be sure there are no rocks that have snuck in!
- Place 1 pound dried beans with 8 cups water in your Instant Pot.
- Cook on high pressure for the directed time.
- Once cook time has released, let the pressure release naturally for at least 20 minutes before trying to do a quick release of pressure.
- Once beans have finished cooking, add in a splash of apple cider vinegar and salt. The salt flavors the beans, the vinegar helps make the beans easier to digest.
- I do like to store cooked beans in a bit of the cooking liquid to keep them moist and tender while they sit in the fridge, this is not necessary, but suggested.
How To Know When Beans Are Fully Cooked
After a natural pressure release, remove the lid and use a slotted spoon to stir the beans and remove a few to test. If you can squash them between your fingertips and they are tender to bite, they are done. If they are crunchy or impossible to flatten between your fingertips, pressure cook for another 5 10 minutes.
Want more details on how to cook each one these beans? Here are individual posts on each of the foundational beans.
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How To Make Them
Cooking Tips For Instant Pot Pinto Beans
- Salt beans after cooking, not before. If you add salt to the beans before cooking they may not become as tender. Its also easier to salt to your tastes after cooking.
- If you are in a hurry, or if you dont have fresh onion, garlic and jalapeño on hand, you can omit the chopped onion, minced garlic, and/or jalapeño. If you do this, I recommend adding 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, along with the chili powder, cumin and pepper. Ive done this when Im short on prep time and the pinto beans are still very tasty.
- If you decide to cook more than 1 pound of dry beans at a time, be careful to not overfill your Instant Pot. Never fill the pot above the line marked 1/2 in your Instant Pot when cooking foods such as dry beans that will expand while cooking.
- You can halve this recipe to make less beans. The cook time will stay the same.
- You can store cooked beans for up to 4 days in the refrigerator and up to 3 months in the freezer. Let the beans cool and then store in an airtight container.
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