Recipes > Lunch/Dinner > Instant Pot Dried Beans Base Recipe

Instant Pot Dried Beans Base Recipe

This instant pot dried beans recipe teaches you the fundamental ingredients and ratios for making dried beans in a pressure cooker!
instant pot dried beans made with black beans, garlic, and spices

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. 

Base Recipe Ingredient Substitutions

  • Beans: use any beans of your choice – garbanzo, black, pinto, white, cannellini, adzuki, etc. 
  • Water: substitute some or all of the water with low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth. 
  • Kosher Salt: We use Morton kosher salt. If using Diamond Crystal kosher salt, use 1 ½ teaspoons. If you use table salt, use slightly less than 1 teaspoon. 
  • Acid: use lemon juice, lime juice, or your favorite vinegar – apple cider, balsamic, white wine, red wine, etc.

Base Recipe Variations

Remember that this is a base recipe, so the goal is for you to customize it to your taste! Keep it simple or spice it up!

Use these additional ingredients for even more flavorful beans.

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: use if adding aromatic vegetables. You can also substitute canola, avocado, or coconut oil, or even butter.
  • Onion: use yellow, white, or red onion or shallots. You can also substitute 1 Tablespoon onion powder.
  • Aromatic Vegetables: use a combination of onion, bell pepper, and celery for a classic Cajun/Creole flavor profile (The Holy Trinity). Or use a combination of onion, carrot, and celery for traditional French/Italian flavors (mirepoix).
  • Garlic: substitute 1 ½ teaspoons pre-minced garlic, 1 ½ teaspoons garlic flakes, ¾ teaspoon granulated garlic, or ½ teaspoon garlic powder.
  • Spices: use chili powder, cumin, turmeric, or your favorite spice blend.
  • Tomatoes: use diced, crushed, or fire-roasted tomatoes. You can also add 1 cup diced fresh tomato.
  • Green Chilies or Chipotles in Adobo: substitute ½ a diced jalapeño pepper, seeds removed.
  • Fresh or Dried Herbs: add hearty or dried herbs, such as rosemary, oregano, or thyme at the beginning of cooking. Delicate herbs, such as parsley, basil, and cilantro, are best added after cooking.

For maximal flavor, add spices after the aromatic vegetables are cooked, but before you add the liquid. Toast them for 30 seconds to bring out their 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.

Need some instant pot bean recipe ideas?

Use these recipe variations for inspiration, then have fun exploring other flavors, ingredients, and textures!

Chipotle Black Beans

Mexican Pinto Beans

Rosemary White Beans

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.

Storage Tips

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, then place in a freezer-safe container

Instant Pot Beans Recipes

Once your beans are finished cooking, use them in these bean-based recipes! 

Black Bean Corn Salad

Sweet Potato Black Bean Tacos

Four Bean Chili

Vegetarian Tostadas

instant pot dried beans made with black beans, garlic, and spices

Instant Pot Dried Beans Base Recipe

This is one of our base recipes. This instant pot dried beans recipe teaches you the fundamental ingredients and ratios for making dried beans in a pressure cooker!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course, Side
Cuisine Vegetarian
Servings 8 cups


Base Recipe

  • 1 pound dried beans (~2 cups)
  • 6 cups water or low-sodium broth or stock (~1 inch above top of beans)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons vinegar, lemon juice, or lime juice
  • Salt to taste (after cooking)

Additions to YOUR taste

  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced (~1 cup)
  • ½ cup diced bell pepper
  • ½ cup diced carrots
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (~1 ½ teaspoons)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons spice(s)
  • 14-ounce can diced, crushed, or fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 4-ounce can green chilies
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, minced +1 teaspoon adobo
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary or thyme
  • 1-2 Tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (1-2 teaspoons dried)


  • Place beans in a colander and rinse under cold water. Pick out any rocks or beans that are broken or shriveled.
  • If adding onion, bell pepper, carrot, celery, and/or garlic, set Instant Pot to sauté setting. Add oil. Once oil is simmering, add aromatic vegetables and sauté until translucent, ~5 minutes. Add the optional garlic and/or spices and sauté for 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
  • Add the beans, water, bay leaf, salt, and optional tomatoes, chilis, chipotle peppers, and/or hearty herbs. 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. Sprinkle with optional fresh herbs. Enjoy!


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 require less cooking time.
If you soak your beans before cooking, cooking time will decrease significantly.
Check out these recipes for flavor inspiration!
Chipotle Black Beans
Rosemary White Beans
Mexican Pinto Beans
Keyword Dried Beans

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Kelli

    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.

    1. Lexi Endicott, RD, LD

      Bean there, done that!? We’re glad that your instant pot helps you cook and eat delicious beans made to your taste!

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