This is one of our base recipes. Have you ever been afraid to purchase dried beans because you don’t know how to cook them? “How much water do I use? How long do I cook them? What can I add to improve their flavor?” In this instant pot dried beans base recipe, we teach you the fundamental ingredients and ratios for making dried beans in a pressure cooker (no pre-soaking required!), then provide ideas for tasty variations!
Three Must-Know Cooking Skills
For recipe success, learn how to:
Culinary Tips for Fail-Proof Instant Pot Beans
How many cups of beans are in a pound? There are ~2 cups of dry beans in a pound, but it’s okay to not be exact! As long as you have enough water to cover the beans by ~1 inch, you don’t have to be precise with the amount of beans you use.
Rinse and sort the beans in a colander before cooking in order to remove damaged beans and debris.
Do you have to soak dry beans before cooking in an Instant Pot? Nope! Instant pot dried beans don’t have to be pre-soaked because the high pressure helps break through the bean’s plant structure in the same way that soaking does. However, if you still want/like to soak your beans before cooking, keep in mind that cooking time will decrease significantly.
How long does it take to cook dried beans in an Instant Pot? This recipe calls for 45 minutes of cooking time plus 10 minutes of natural release time. This will create tender beans. However, if you prefer firmer beans, decrease the cooking time.
Smaller beans such as lentils and mung beans require less cooking time because they absorb less water. Check out Instant Pot’s helpful guide for cooking times. This guide also provides recommendations for how to cook soaked beans in the Instant Pot.
- Beans: use any beans of your choice – garbanzo, black, pinto, white, cannellini, adzuki, etc.
- Aromatics: substitute any onion: yellow, white, red, or shallots.
- Water: substitute some or all of the water with chicken or vegetable broth.
Base Recipe Variations
Remember that this is a base recipe, so the goal is for you to customize it to your taste!
Add additional aromatics. Bell pepper, carrots, and celery are all classic aromatics that build a flavorful foundation.
Add some herbs. Hearty herbs, such as rosemary, oregano, or thyme are best when added at the beginning of cooking. Delicate herbs, such as parsley, basil, and cilantro, are best when added after cooking. Dried herbs are also an option, and like hearty herbs, should be added at the beginning of cooking.
Add some spices. For maximal flavor, add the spices after the aromatic vegetables are cooked, but before you add the liquid. Toast them for 30 seconds to really bring out their flavor!
Add fresh or canned tomatoes. Diced, crushed, or fire-roasted tomatoes all add great flavor.
If you don’t have a pressure cooker but still want to make a pot of delicious beans, check out our stovetop dried beans base recipe! Watch our video on how to cook dried beans on the stovetop for more guidance.
We love buying our spices from The Spice House. Click on the picture below to view & try out hundreds of flavorful spices and herbs!
Need some instant pot bean recipe ideas?
Use these recipe variations for inspiration, then have fun exploring other flavors, ingredients, and textures!
Equipment Recommendations for Cooking Dried Beans
The recipe title says it all in this one; in order to cook dried beans in a pressure cooker, you will need a functioning Instant Pot. We like the six-quart option best. Be sure to read the instructions thoroughly before use to ensure safety and proper function.
You will also need a mesh strainer, chef’s knife, cutting board, and measuring spoons to make this recipe.
Health Benefits of Beans
Are beans healthy? YES! Beans are one of our favorite foods because they are packed with high quality nutrients.
All of the world’s longest lived populations consume beans daily. Beans are incredibly versatile and can be altered to meet any texture, flavor, or health preference. They are a key component of balanced plant-forward dietary patterns. Beans of all varieties contain plant-based protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients promote gut health, decrease risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and promote a healthy weight.
Check out our Food as Medicine article to learn more about these benefits.
Serving Suggestions for Homemade Dried Beans
There are nearly endless ways that you can serve cooked beans. Blend them into a homemade hummus, mash them with salsa to make non-refried beans, add them to tacos, casseroles, salads, or soups, or combine them with grains, veggies, and a vinaigrette to make a grain based salad. Or just keep it simple and serve them alongside a serving of whole grains and cooked veggies for a balanced, plant-forward plate.
Once cooked, allow the beans to cool completely before placing in an airtight container and storing in the refrigerator. Keep the cooking liquid to keep the beans tender. Beans hold their quality in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Cooked beans freeze well too. To freeze, allow to cool and then place in a freezer-safe container.
Instant Pot Beans Recipes
Once your beans are finished cooking, use them in these bean-based recipes!
Instant Pot Dried Beans Base Recipe
- 1 pound dried beans (~2 cups)
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced (~1 cup)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 cups water (~1 inch above top of beans)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoon vinegar, lemon juice, or lime juice
- Salt to taste (after cooking)
- Place beans in a colander and rinse under cold water. Pick out any rocks or beans that are broken or shriveled.
- Set Instant Pot to sauté setting. Add oil. Once oil is simmering, add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
- Add the beans, water, bay leaf, and salt. Set Instant Pot to Bean/Chili setting and turn valve to seal. Pressure cook for 45 minutes.
- Once cooked, allow pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes, then turn to release pressure valve. Add vinegar, lemon, or lime juice, and any additional salt to taste. Enjoy!
This Post Has 2 Comments
I just bought 5 packages of dried beans today. I love cooking them in the instant pot. Thank you for all of the delicious bean recipes.
Bean there, done that!? We’re glad that your instant pot helps you cook and eat delicious beans made to your taste!