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Instant Pot Pinto Beans

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Learn how to make the best Instant Pot Pinto Beans with Mexican flavors. This side dish is easy to make and incredibly flavorful.

Large white serving bowl filled with cooked pinto beans in front of Instant Pot.

Pinto beans are a classic side dish to serve with Mexican food. They can take forever to make the traditional way with the time needed to soak and cook them on the stovetop.

Fortunately, there’s no need to pre-soak your dry pinto beans before pressure cooking, so this is a great recipe when you’re short on time. These delicious beans have a creamy texture and rich flavor.

Follow this simple pressure cooker pinto beans recipe for perfectly cooked beans every single time. I hope your family enjoys this simple recipe as much as mine does.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of bacon grease
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of dried jalapeno
  • 4 ½ cups of chicken stock
  • 1 pound of dried pinto beans
  • 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 bay leaf

Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Strainer
  • Instant Pot
  • Mixing spoon

By the Numbers: How to Make Instant Pot Pinto Beans

Follow these simple steps to learn how to make the best pinto beans in your Instant Pot electric pressure cooker.

Step 1: Saute Onion in Bacon Grease.

Press the Sauté mode button on your Instant Pot and add 2 tablespoons of bacon grease to the pot. Once it’s melted and hot, add 1 cup of chopped onion and saute for 3-4 minutes or until it starts to become translucent.

Diced onions being sautéed in Instant Pot inner pan with bamboo spatula.

Step 2: Add Garlic and Jalapeno.

Add 2 tablespoons of minced garlic and 1 teaspoon of minced jalapeno to the pan and stir for about 30 seconds, then turn off your Instant Pot.

Diced onion, garlic and jalapeno being sauteed in Instant Pot inner pan with bamboo spatula.

Step 3: Add Remaining Ingredients.

Add 4 ½ cups of chicken stock, 1 pound of dried pinto beans, 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning, 1 teaspoon of sea salt and 1 bay leaf to the pot. Use your wooden spoon to stir everything until well combined.

Chicken stock and beans added to Instant Pot with sauteed onion, garlic and jalapeno.

Step 4: Pressure Cook Beans.

Place the lid on your Instant Pot and make sure the pressure release valve is in the sealing position. Press the Pressure Cook button on your Instant Pot and set it on high pressure for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Once it’s done cooking, use a full natural pressure release then remove the lid once all pressure has been released.

Cooked Pinto beans in Instant Pot being stirred with spoon.

Step 5: Serve Pinto Beans.

Stir the pinto beans and taste. Adjust the salt and spices if needed, strain some of the cooking liquid if desired, then transfer your delicious pinto beans to a serving bowl. Garnish with green onions or cilantro, if desired.

Pinto beans garnished with green onions in white serving bowl.

Tips for Making Instant Pot Pinto Beans

Answers to all of your questions about making creamy pinto beans in an Instant Pot for Mexican food night.

1. Can the recipe be doubled?

Yes, you can double this pinto beans recipe as long as it doesn’t go over the Max line in your Instant Pot inner pan.

2. Why use bacon grease?

We always have a jar of bacon grease in the fridge. I find bacon grease gives cooked beans a delicious smoky flavor that pairs well with most Mexican dishes. You can also use lard, olive oil or any other oil you enjoy the flavor of.

3. Why use bay leaves?

I typically use a bay leaf or two in my pinto bean recipes. You can leave it out if you don’t have them on hand, but they add a really nice complementary flavor to pinto beans.

4. Do the beans need to be soaked?

No, that’s one of the great things about making beans in an electric pressure cooker – no soaking necessary. If you do soak them first, they’ll cook faster and absorb less water during cooking.

5. My beans were over or undercooked…

I do use a longer cook time for beans than most recipe creators (after tons of testing). I find that I need to cook my unsoaked dry beans for much longer than the recommended times and often hear that same complaint in recipe groups.

If the time wasn’t right for you, you’ll need to adjust the cooking time up or down next time you make this recipe. And be sure to check out my post that’s all about making beans in the Instant Pot.

If your beans still weren’t cooked after the recommended cooking time, just put them back in for longer. Every Instant Pot cooks just a bit different and older beans also take longer to cook, so there are a few factors to consider.

If your beans were overcooked, you can easily turn them into refried beans or just drain them and eat. Soft beans are still great in burritos!

6. How to cook plain pinto beans?

Beans will cook faster in the Instant Pot without a lot of other ingredients – just plain beans and water. See my post on cooking beans in the Instant Pot for more information on the fastest way to make beans in a pressure cooker. It also covers cooking other types of beans with recipes.

7. How to make refried pinto beans?

Our Instant Pot Refried Beans recipe is better than any restaurant style beans I’ve tasted before. It uses pinto beans too!

8. Can I make them vegetarian?

Sure, substitute extra virgin olive oil for the bacon grease. Swap vegetable broth or filtered water for chicken broth and your pinto beans are not only vegetarian, but vegan too.

9. How to store cooked pinto beans?

If you have leftover pinto beans, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use within 3-4 days.

10. How to freeze pinto beans?

You can freeze pre-cooked pinto beans. When I make a big batch for freezing, I usually decrease the pressure cooking time by 5-10 so the beans are firmer and don’t break down as much.

Before freezing, be sure to drain most of the cooking liquid first. Place in airtight freezer bags or other freezer safe containers. Defrost and use within 2 months.

11. Can black beans be substituted?

Yes, I find that black beans take a bit less time to cook than pinto beans, so you may need to reduce the cook time if you want to use black beans.

I also have an incredibly flavorful Instant Pot Black Beans recipe you should try!

12. Make it a meal!

These are my favorite Mexican food recipes including main dish, side dish and topping ideas for family taco night:

  1. Chicken Enchiladas
  2. Instant Pot Carne Asada
  3. Instant Pot Barbacoa
  4. Vegetarian Tacos
  5. Instant Pot Spanish Rice
  6. Homemade Tamales
  7. Sour Cream

13. Where to shop online?

I do a lot of online grocery shopping to keep the freezer and pantry stocked. Read about where I buy produce online and order meat online for extra convenience.

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Pinto beans in white serving bowl with serving spoon next to Instant Pot.

Instant Pot Pinto Beans Recipe

Learn how to make the best pinto beans in the Instant Pot (or other pressure cooker) for the perfect Mexican side dish.
5 from 2 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Pressure Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Recipe Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease - (lard or extra virgin olive oil works too)
  • 1 cup onion - chopped
  • 2 tablespoons garlic - minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried jalapeno - (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
  • 4 ½ cups chicken stock - (or filtered water)
  • 1 pound dried pinto beans - rinsed and sorted
  • 2 teaspoons taco seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 bay leaf

Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Strainer
  • Instant Pot
  • Mixing spoon

Instructions

  • Turn your Instant Pot onto Sauté mode and add the bacon grease. Once the grease is hot, add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until it's slightly translucent.
    Diced onions being sautéed in Instant Pot inner pan with bamboo spatula.
  • Add the garlic and jalapeno to the pot and stir for 30 seconds. Press Cancel to turn off the Instant Pot.
    Diced onion, garlic and jalapeno being sauteed in Instant Pot inner pan with bamboo spatula.
  • Add the chicken stock, rinsed beans, taco seasoning, sea salt and bay leaf to the pot, then stir to combine.
    Chicken stock and beans added to Instant Pot with sauteed onion, garlic and jalapeno.
  • Turn your Instant Pot on high pressure for 1 hour and 20 minutes with the sealing valve closed. Allow all of the pressure to release naturally then open the lid.
    Cooked Pinto beans in Instant Pot being stirred with spoon.
  • Stir the beans and taste to adjust the salt and spices. Transfer your yummy pinto beans to a serving bowl to set on the dinner table.
    Pinto beans garnished with green onions in white serving bowl.

Nutrition Information Per Serving

Calories: 288kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 499mg | Potassium: 969mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 7IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 3mg

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