Instant Pot Dried Beans are one of the greatest pressure cooking time savers! This post is loaded with all you need to know about eating, cooking, and storing your very own cooked beans and so much more!
IN THIS INSTANT POT BEANS POST, I'LL BE COVERING THE FOLLOWING:
- Why use the Instant Pot to cook beans
- Cooking liquid to bean ratios
- Cooking time chart for all beans
- How many cups is in a 1 pound bag of dried beans
- What you need to know about soaking beans
- How to store homemade beans
- Extra Instant Pot Beans Tidbits
- Where to buy beans
- Recipes for using your homemade beans
Let's get started!
Reason 524 why you need an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker in your life: Dried Beans.
Rock hard beans perfectly tender in about an hour with zero babysitting. BOOM! Now you can justify that second (or maybe third) pressure cooker!
Slow cooker beans take 10-12 hours to soften and make your house smell like a Mexican restaurant.
Stovetop beans take up to 4 hours and involve dedicated pot watching to make sure the water doesn't overflow or evaporate.
Who has time for that?!
Today is a Dried Beans 101 course on how to cook beans in the electric pressure cooker, AKA Instant Pot.
Water or broth can be used as the cooking liquid for dried beans. I use a range of liquid amounts depending on my purpose for the beans:
- 4 cups liquid to 1 pound of beans: Best for beans that you don't plan on straining, like the pinto bean side dishes you get at Mexican restaurants. Less water means a flavorful, thicker, and more starchy sauce
- 5 cups liquid to 1 pound of beans: Best for beans that you want to be less starchy and infused with flavor even after straining some of the extra liquid. This is perfect for Mexican food fillings, salads, salsas, and refried beans
- 6 cups liquid to 1 pound of beans: Best for beans that are hardly starchy and only mildly seasoned. These are perfect for bagging and freezing
What could make cooking dried beans in the Instant Pot even easier? How about this handy Instant Pot Dried Beans Time Chart!
A printable version of this time chart is available to my TIDBITS newsletter subscribers. If you are not yet subscribed to my newsletter, you can do so here and the printable will be immediately emailed to you.
If you have a favorite that isn't included in the below chart, I recommend the following: use the same cook time as one of the beans provided in the cooking chart that is similar in shape and size.
- Cannellini beans are similar to the white beans
- Cranberry beans are similar to the black beans
Cooking times will vary depending on the texture you want for your bean. I will provide a range of cook times for the following:
- very soft – great for soups, mashed beans, baby food, refried beans, etc
- soft – great for a salad, salsa, filling for Mexican food (burrito, enchilada, quesadilla etc), side dish, or main dish topped with sour cream, salsa, and avocados
- firm – great for adding to foods that need to cook longer and you worry about the beans becoming too soft like enchiladas, chili, soup, etc.
For those who prefer to soak their beans, you can click here to skip to soaking information.
Why use a full natural pressure release when cooking beans? Read on!
QUICK VS NATURAL PRESSURE RELEASE FOR PRESSURE COOKED BEANS
I always use a natural pressure release when cooking with beans. Beans create a lot of foam when they cook and that can come through the pressure release knob with a quick release. A natural release is also more gentle on the beans where a quick release may result in many broken, less “pretty” beans.
HOW TO KNOW WHEN BEANS ARE FULLY COOKED
After a natural pressure release, remove the lid and use a slotted spoon to stir the beans and remove a few to test. If you can squash them between your fingertips and they are tender to bite, they are done. If they are crunchy or impossible to flatten between your fingertips, pressure cook for another 5 – 10 minutes.
Want more details on how to cook each one these beans? Here are individual posts on each of the foundational beans.
BASIC DRIED BEAN RECIPES
- Instant Pot Black Beans
- Instant Pot Refried Beans
- Instant Pot Pinto Beans
- Instant Pot White Beans with Cilantro and Lime
- 1 pound of dried beans = 2 cups of dried beans = 6 cups of cooked beans
- 1/2 cup dried beans = 1 1/2 cups cooked beans = one 15 ounce can of beans
Translation, if a recipe calls for 1 can of rinsed beans, use 1 1/2 cups of your homemade beans
This is quite a hot debate. There are arguments for both sides.
The theory for soaking beans is that it decreases oligosaccharide, a poorly digested sugar that ferments and causes abdominal bloating and gas. Soaking also decreases the overall cook time.
Others state that soaking the beans results in little to no change in the “gas and bloating” category and that it might even reduce the overall nutrition and flavor of beans as well.
MARCI TIDBITS OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON THE MATTER:
If you have an especially sensitive gut, don't eat beans often, or if you feel like soaked beans cause you less abdominal distress, then, by all means, soak your beans.
If you don't notice much difference either way and you don't plan ahead, throw the beans into the Instant Pot and let it work its magic. There is yet another theory that pressure cooking beans breaks down oligosaccharides so this may be the ideal solution.
HOW TO QUICK SOAK BEANS IN THE INSTANT POT
If you would like to soak the beans, but didn't plan ahead, there's good news! You can do a quick soak in the Instant Pot by placing 1 pound of beans and 6 cups of water in the pot. Cook them at high pressure for 2 minutes, Natural Pressure Release for 10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure. Rinse and drain the beans, then return them to the pot and cook them per “soaked beans” directions above.
Cooked beans can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
To freeze, portion 1 cup of beans into freezer safe ziplock bags (or use a FoodSaver). Press them flat to freeze – this will allow them to thaw more quickly.
You can store your beans in some of the cooking liquid or rinse and dry them prior to storage. Storing them in the cooking liquid will keep them a bit more moist. Storing them rinsed makes them very convenient to take from the freezer and add to a recipe without needing to thaw or rinse beforehand.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF BEANS
For an in-depth article on the health benefits of beans, visit 13 Impressive Health Benefits of Beans. I will provide you with the condensed version here.
HIGH IN FIBER
- Beans contain high amounts of fiber which means they will keep you full longer and promote a well-functioning digestive tract. High fiber foods may also lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels
- Beans are high in essential electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals such as folate, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin K, and more! These little beans are a powerhouse of nutrition!
- A half-cup of beans contains 8 grams of protein. This compares to one ounce of chicken and fish which makes it an excellent source of protein for vegans and vegetarians as well
LOW IN FAT
- Not only are beans filling and nutritious, they are also low in fat! This makes them ideal for a huge range of people, including those requiring specialty diets
WHY HOMEMADE BEANS ARE BETTER
- Canned beans contain a lot of salt. When you make your own, you control the salt and you can add flavor with spices, herbs, and vegetables like onions, garlic, peppers, etc
- Uncooked dried beans are naturally preservative free. Canned beans often times contain preservatives to keep them fresher longer
DRIED BEANS ARE CHEAPER
- Whether you buy them in a package or from bulk bins, dried beans are a HUGE savings compared to canned. At my Walmart a two-pound bag of pinto beans costs $2.57. Two pounds of dried pinto beans equals about 8 cans of canned beans which would cost over $6.00. That's more than double the price!
BETTER TASTE AND TEXTURE
- No “canned” taste here! As mentioned above, you can flavor them while they cook as well. The texture of homemade beans is noticeably superior!
- Using an electric pressure cooker makes cooking dried beans very easy. Also, once I rinse, bag, and freeze the cooked beans in 1 cup portions, I have rinsed beans ready to go right out of the freezer. Freeze them flat and they will thaw in no time or throw them in the microwave for 30 – 60 seconds to thaw
- Dried beans are shelf stable for more than 10 years when stored properly, making them a perfect emergency food item to keep on hand
HOW TO SORT AND CLEAN BEANS
A bag of dried beans may contain rocks, debris, or old, shriveled beans that won't soften well when cooked. To properly sort through them, pour onto a sheet pan in one layer. This will keep them contained and make sorting easy. Place the sorted beans into a colander and rinse with cold, running water before cooking.
HOW TO REDUCE GAS CAUSED BY EATING BEANS
Yep, I've got even more to say about gas, I am, after all, still a Nurse Practitioner at heart and belly problems are a regular topic of conversation for me.
- Soak the beans for at least 12 hours before cooking them
- Slowly increase your intake of beans over time. Your belly will learn to deal with the extra fiber better as you eat more of them
- Try different beans. Some people do better with certain beans than others so if one variety is causing you or your loved ones problems, try a different one
- Take a supplement like Beano with your meal. Beano contains enzymes that are better at breaking down the hard to digest sugars in beans which means less fermenting and gas production in your digestive track
WHEN TO ADD SALT TO DRIED BEANS
Adding salt too early in the cooking process can affect the hydration and texture of the beans and prevent them from softening. There are arguments for this as well, but from my experience, the beans cook much more predictably when I add the salt after they are cooked.
PRESSURE COOKER FILL LINE FOR BEANS
Similar to other starchy foods like fruit and oats, only fill the pressure cooker pot half way when cooking beans to account for the foam that will be created. This includes the water and beans.
Here are some handy links to buying all the different bean types
- Pinto Beans
- Black Beans
- Garbanzo Beans AKA Chickpeas
- Great Northern Beans
- Kidney Beans
- Cannellini AKA White Kidney Beans
There are endless recipes that use beans! Here are some of my favorites.
- Instant Pot Orange Chicken with Mango Black Bean Salsa
- Chickpea Cookie Dough Dip
- Instant Pot Chili
- Instant Pot Healthy Crack Chicken
- Instant Pot Taco Filling
- Instant Pot Tamales or Tamale Pie
- Instant Pot Green Chile Beef Burrito
- 7 Layer Bean Dip
I think that covers the most commonly asked questions about beans! If I missed any important details or you have your own tips and tricks when it comes to beans, let me know and I will update the post.
Now go plan a dream getaway with all the money you're saving by cooking your own beans! Enjoy!
Welcome! I’m Marci, wife to my motorcycle dream man and mother of 3. I have a passion for creating and cooking delicious masterpieces in my kitchen and am ecstatic to share my discoveries on TIDBITS! I like my food tasty, wholesome, memorable, and always, ALWAYS followed by dark, salty chocolate.