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!
Health Benefits of Beans
Are beans healthy? YES! Beans are one of our favorite foods because they are packed with high quality nutrients. 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. 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.
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.
Culinary Tips for Fail-Proof Instant Pot Beans
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, or red or use shallots.
- Water: can substitute some or all of the water with chicken or vegetable broth.
There are so many ways that you can vary this base recipe!
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.
Need some recipe inspiration?
Check out a few of our favorite recipes.
If you don’t have a pressure cooker but still want to make a pot of delicious beans, check out our video on how to cook dried beans on the stovetop. Use the same aromatic vegetables in this recipe or add other ingredients of your choosing.
There are nearly endless ways that you can serve cooked beans. Blend them into a homemade hummus, mash them with salsa to make a bean spread, add them to tacos, casseroles, salads, or soups, combine them with grains, veggies, and a vinaigrette to make a grain based salad, or keep it simple and serve them alongside a serving of whole grains.
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, enjoy them on their own, combine them with whole grains as part of a balanced meal, or use them in these bean-based recipes!
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!
- 1 pound dried beans (~3 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 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 still want to soak your beans before cooking, keep in mind that cooking time will decrease significantly.