We use our Instant Pot to turn dried beans of all kinds into plump, flavorful ingredients for recipes.
In this post, I’ll describe how to prepare instant pot beans using pinto beans as an example, but you can cook any dried legume using these steps.Jump to Recipe
How to Prepare Beans
Rinse the Beans
Before you rinse or cook the beans, spread them out and look for little rocks or clods of dirt. Even the best brands can sometimes have a rock or two and that can ruin a pot of beans. I spread them out on a white kitchen towel and look for anything that’s not a bean and throw it out. After you’ve made sure there are no foreign objects, transfer the beans to a colander and rinse them.
Soak the beans
After you have rinsed the beans, it’s time to soak them. A note about soaking: Some recipes say that if you use a pressure cooker you don’t need to soak beans. Beans have indigestible ingredients that can cause digestive discomfort. (C’mon, you know what I’m talking about.) When you soak the beans, discard the soak water, and rinse the beans again, you remove those ingredients, making the whole bean eating experience a pleasant one.
To soak the beans put them in a large pot and add water up to about two times the level of the dried beans. They’ll need that room to expand. You can soak beans overnight or use the following quick-soak method. I almost always use the quick method. I like to think I’m a good planner, but sometimes I don’t think about making beans until the morning of the day I want them – or even the afternoon.
Here’s the quick method. Put the beans in the pot and add water up to about two times the level of the dried beans. I never measure; I just eyeball it. You’ll wind up tossing the rinse water anyway, so it doesn’t have to be exact – as long as you have enough water for the beans to swell. Bring the beans to a boil and let them boil for three minutes. Then turn off the heat, put a lid on the pot and let them sit for at least one hour. If you have time to let them soak for two hours, that’s even better.
Drain and Rinse the Beans
After the beans have soaked for an hour or two, pour the beans and the water back into the colander you used earlier and rinse them again. Now the beans are clean, soaked and are ready to cook in the Instant Pot (or another pressure cooker).
Here’s a summary of the steps:
Cooking the Beans
To make instant pot beans, transfer the soaked beans to the pot that goes on the inside of the Instant Pot. Add seasonings. (See recipe below for a suggestion) Put the lid on tightly and turn the Instant Pot steam release handle to the Sealing position.
Note: Check the manual for your Instant Pot or pressure cooker to ensure you have set the steam release handle properly.
Here’s how our Instant Pot Duo Mini looks when it’s set to cook some pinto beans.
Keep it simple and just press the Pressure Cook button and then set the time for 11 minutes. I use the Keep Warm button pushed also. That way, the beans will stay warm while the pressure goes down slowly. After 15 minutes, press Cancel and turn the steam release handle to the Venting position. There probably won’t be any steam coming out if you’ve let it sit on warm for 15 minutes.
Then turn the handle and scoop out some beans. Eat them on their own or add them to another recipe.
Here’s our recipe for pinto beans. It’s fairly common to add pork to pinto beans but, since we don’t eat meat, we came up with a vegetarian recipe for pinto beans
Instant Pot Beans
- 1 cup of pinto beans
- 1 ¾ cups of water
- 3 cloves of garlic whole
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar added after cooking the beans
Quick soak method
- Put the beans in the pot and cover them with water. The amount of water should be at least two times the amount of beans.
- Bring the beans to a boil and let them boil for three minutes.
- Turn off the heat, put a lid on the pot and let them sit for at least one hour. If you have time to let them soak for two hours, that’s even better. (Or soak the beans overnight.)
Cooking the beans
- Put the beans in the instant pot.
- Close the lid.
- Turn the steam release handle to the Sealing position.
- Press the Keep Warm button.
- Press Pressure Cook and set the time for 11 minutes.
- After the beans have cooked for 11 minutes, let them sit on the Keep Warm setting for 15 minutes.
- Turn the steam release handle to the Venting position.
- After the pressure has vented off, it’s safe to open the lid.
- Add some apple cider vinegar to bring out the flavor of the beans.
- The serving size listed in the nutrition ingredients is a suggestion.
- The cook time is actually longer if you let the pressure go down gradually and keep the beans on the warm setting. Count on this taking about 30 minutes or so.
- A small amount of vinegar brings out the flavor in most any type of legumes. If you’re not a fan of apple cider vinegar, add a splash of vinegar & oil dressing.
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Products used in this recipe
Great instructions! I think I will have pintos today.
Thanks! I hope you enjoy them.
Laura Goodwin says
I had not used my insta pot in some time ..this was the perfect recipe for a reintroduction . The beans were yummy and easy to prepare. I am going to try and make other dried beans as well! thanks for the great instructions.
Thanks, Laura! I’m glad the beans turned out well.