This is a variation of our instant pot dried beans base recipe. 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 seasonings and spices should I use?” In this Mexican pinto beans Instant Pot recipe, we teach you how to make flavorful, creamy Mexican pinto beans in a pressure cooker – no pre-soaking required!
Health Benefits of Pinto Beans
Are Mexican pinto beans healthy? Definitely! Beans are one of our favorite foods to recommend to people because they are packed with high quality nutrients: 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 health benefits. All of the world’s longest lived populations consume beans daily. These instant pot vegetarian pinto beans are sure to help you along your way to optimal health!
Equipment Recommendations for Cooking Dried Pinto 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 using to ensure safety and proper function.
Culinary Tips for the Ultimate Instant Pot Pinto Beans
How many cups of pinto beans are in a pound? There are approximately 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 pinto 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. However, if you still want or 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 creamy, tender beans. However, if you prefer firmer beans, decrease the cooking time to ~40 minutes. 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.
- Pinto Beans: can substitute black beans.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: can substitute regular olive, canola, or avocado oil.
- Onion: use yellow, white, or red.
- Garlic: can substitute 1 ½ teaspoons pre-minced garlic, 1 ½ teaspoon garlic flakes, or ¾ teaspoon granulated garlic, or ½ teaspoon garlic powder.
- Tomatoes: can use regular diced tomatoes.
- Water: can substitute some or all of the water with chicken or vegetable broth.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: can substitute lime juice.
Want to make spicy pinto beans? Add 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo before pressure cooking.
Want to make these instant pot pinto beans vegan or vegetarian? Simply use vegetable broth or water as the cooking liquid.
If you don’t have a pressure cooker but still want to make a pot of restaurant style Mexican 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 or use these Instant Pot beans. Serve them with a side of whole grains and top with avocado, Greek yogurt or sour cream, cilantro, and shredded cheese for a filling and satisfying meal. Or make a homemade pinto bean hummus or a mashed salsa and pinto bean spread to serve with crackers and veggies.
Storage Tips for Leftover Pinto Beans
Once cooked, allow the pinto beans to cool completely before placing in an airtight container and storing in the refrigerator. Keep the cooking liquid to keep the beans tender. Mexican pinto beans hold their quality in the refrigerator for up to one week. Cooked beans freeze well too. To freeze, cool completely, then place in a freezer-safe container.
Want more healthy recipes with beans?
Add these bean-based recipes to your recipe rotation!
This is a variation of our instant pot dried beans base recipe. Made with aromatic vegetables and smoky spices, this Mexican pinto bean recipe is a delicious weeknight recipe that takes just minutes to prepare!
- 1 pound dried pinto beans
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced (~1 cup)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 cups water (~1 inch above top of beans)
- 14 ounce can diced, fire-roasted tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 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 the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and spices and sauté for 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
Add the beans, bay leaf, salt, water, and tomatoes. 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 and 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 by 5 minutes.
If you still want to soak your beans before cooking, keep in mind that cooking time will decrease significantly.