Making beans in the Instant Pot is the fastest and easiest way to get them on the table. Follow our cooking process for perfect beans every time.
If you’re new to pressure cooking dry beans, you’ll find everything you need to know and answers to all of your questions in this post. You’ll also find links to some of the best Instant Pot bean recipes!
Read the whole post or jump to the section you’re most interested in.
- 1. Why pressure cook beans?
- 2. Soaked vs unsoaked beans
- 3. Water to bean ratio
- 4. How long to cook beans in the Instant Pot?
- 5. How much is a serving size of beans?
- 6. How many cups in a can of beans?
- 7. Tips for doubling the recipe.
- 8. Which pressure cooking mode?
- 9. How do you “rinse and sort” beans
- 10. To salt or not to salt?
- 11. Using broth vs water.
- 12. Why use a bay leaf?
- 13. Natural release vs quick release
- 14. Best way to store cooked beans?
- 15. Best way to freeze cooked beans?
- 16. Best way to reheat beans?
- 17. Other electric pressure cookers
- 18. Instant Pot Bean Recipes
1. Why pressure cook beans?
One of the reasons so many people turn to canned beans rather than cooking dried beans is because it takes so long to cook dried beans on the stove top!
Fortunately, it’s easy to make beans in the Instant Pot. You can cook any type of bean in the Instant Pot faster than using any other cooking method.
With the Instant Pot you can cook dry beans without the overnight soak or long boiling process, saving you time and money in the long run.
2. Soaked vs unsoaked beans
One of the best things about pressure cooking beans is that they don’t have to soak first. I don’t know about you, but I don’t always remember to soak beans so this is a huge time and sanity saver.
If you like to soak your beans to reduce gas, that isn’t a concern with pressure cooking. The Instant Pot is the perfect way to cook this frugal protein source because the above-boiling temperatures break down the indigestible sugars in the beans.
These sugars are what give you gas. By breaking them down, this unwanted effect can be reduced.
None of the Instant Pot Bean recipes on Happy Mothering use the soak method. If you still want to soak your beans overnight before cooking, that’s okay. Just know they will cook faster and absorb less liquid than called for.
Reduce the pressure cooking time by about 15 minutes for soaked black or pinto beans (see chart below for more precise times). And you should be able to use 3 cups of liquid per pound of beans (pre-soak weight) instead of the standard 4 cups.
3. Water to bean ratio
The water to bean ratio is 4 cups of water or liquid (like chicken stock) per pound of beans. One pound of beans is about 2 cups.
4. How long to cook beans in the Instant Pot?
This chart will tell you how long Instant Pot recommends you cook various types of beans. These times are the minimum cook times.
I like my beans on the softer side. Beans that are slightly overcooked taste better than undercooked beans.
I cook my navy, black and pinto beans for twice as long as recommended (see my pinto bean and black bean recipes for more info). On the other hand, the suggested times for lentils, black-eyed peas and split peas are pretty spot on (all of these are softer legumes).
Instant Pot Beans Chart
|Types of Beans, Legumes & Lentils||Unsoaked Cook Time||Soaked Cook Time|
|Adzuki / Azuki / Aduki||16-20 minutes||4-6 minutes|
|Anasazi||20-25 minutes||5-7 minutes|
|Black beans||20-25 minutes||6-8 minutes|
|Black-eyed peas||14-18 minutes||4-5 minutes|
|Chickpeas (chickpeas, garbanzo bean, or kabuli)||35-40 minutes||10-15 minutes|
|Cannellini beans (white kidney beans)||30-35 minutes||6-9 minutes|
|Great Northern beans||25-30 minutes||7-8 minutes|
|Kidney beans, red||15-20 minutes||7-8 minutes|
|Lentils, green or brown||8-10 minutes||n/a|
|Lentils, red or yellow, split||1-2 minutes||n/a|
|Lima beans||12-14 minutes||6-10 minutes|
|Navy beans||20-25 minutes||7-8 minutes|
|Pinto beans||25-30 minutes||6-9 minutes|
|Peas||16-20 minutes||10-12 minutes|
|Scarlet runner||20-25 minutes||6-8 minutes|
|Soy beans||35-45 minutes||18-20 minutes|
5. How much is a serving size of beans?
A serving size of beans is about ½ cup of cooked beans. Most beans double in volume when cooked, so about ¼ cup of dry beans is a serving.
This serving size is for a side dish. If your beans are the main course, you’ll want to increase the portion size accordingly.
6. How many cups in a can of beans?
7. Tips for doubling the recipe.
Most Instant Pot bean recipes can be doubled, depending upon the size of your pot. You want to make sure the ingredients never go above the halfway mark on your Instant Pot to allow room for expansion.
8. Which pressure cooking mode?
Some Instant Pots have a Bean or Chili mode on them. You can use that button or you can use the general high pressure setting. Beans won’t cook well on low pressure.
9. How do you “rinse and sort” beans
If you’re new to cooking dry beans, the first step is always to rinse and sort them. Here’s how you do that.
- Pour the beans into a strainer and rinse them under cold water.
- As you’re rinsing them, sort through them. Throw away any that are broken, shriveled up, moldy or just look off.
- Look for little rocks and pebbles and throw those away.
- Once they’re rinsed well and any bad beans are tossed, they’re ready to use.
10. To salt or not to salt?
In general, it’s best to wait to add salt to beans until after they’re done cooking. Salt can prevent the beans from becoming soft. If you have issues with firm beans, consider waiting to add all salt and spices containing salt to the pot until after pressure cooking is complete.
11. Using broth vs water.
Most of my Instant Pot bean recipes call for chicken stock. That’s because it adds a ton of flavor to homemade beans. You can use filtered water, vegetable broth, beef stock or any other clear liquid in place of chicken broth.
12. Why use a bay leaf?
Another thing you’ll notice is that bay leaves are added to most Instant Pot bean recipes. They’re never a required ingredient, but they add a nice layer of flavor. They can also cut some of the bitterness of beans.
13. Natural release vs quick release
In Instant Pot recipes, you’ll often see the terms “natural release” and “quick release” referenced.
- Natural Release means allowing all of the pressure to release from the Instant Pot naturally. This usually takes 20-25 minutes.
- Quick Release means moving the Pressure Release Valve from the sealed to open position so the steam can escape quickly.
When cooking beans in the Instant Pot, you use the natural release method. If you quick release beans, they won’t be as soft and you risk foamy water spraying all over your kitchen.
14. Best way to store cooked beans?
Your cooked beans can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
15. Best way to freeze cooked beans?
If you’ve cooked more beans that you can eat, it’s easy to freeze them. Simply drain all of the cooking liquid, then place portion sizes into freezer bags or other freezer-safe containers.
If you don’t want the beans to become a brick, you can spread the beans out into a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with a silicone mat. Freeze the beans individually that way before measuring them into containers and you won’t have a brick.
16. Best way to reheat beans?
You don’t typically want to pressure cook leftover beans a second time or you’ll usually get a burn notice. Instead, you can reheat them in the Instant Pot on Slow Cooker or Saute mode (watch them carefully on saute mode so they don’t scorch to the bottom of the pan).
Alternatively, you can reheat them in a small saucepan on low on the stovetop. This is usually my preferred method.
17. Other electric pressure cookers
You don’t need to have an Instant Pot pressure cooker to make beans. You can use any electric pressure cooker with similar setting options to make the Instant Pot recipes on this site. Times and processes may vary slightly.
18. Instant Pot Bean Recipes
Now that you know the basics of cooking beans in the Instant Pot, here are some of my favorite recipes.
Instant Pot Black Beans
This is the most flavorful Instant Pot Black Beans recipe you’ll try. Pressure cooking makes it quick and easy to make black beans full of flavor with veggies like chopped onion, bell pepper and tomato.
Instant Pot Pinto Beans
The secret to the best Instant Pot Pinto Beans is bacon grease! Learn our method for delicious pinto beans for family taco night.
Instant Pot Refried Beans
These Instant Pot Refried Beans come out with the perfect creamy texture every time. Super flavorful and easy to make. Double or triple this Instant Pot bean recipe for a larger quantity.
Instant Pot Baked Beans
Instant Pot Baked Beans are a summer staple and a pressure cooker can make pulling them together a breeze. Great side for BBQs and potlucks.
Instant Pot Spicy Bean Soup
This Instant Pot Spicy Bean Soup Recipe is delicious, filling and easy to make. You can adjust the flavor to your preferred spiciness level with the tips in the recipe.
If you have any questions about cooking beans in the Instant Pot, please leave them in the comments below.