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I really like using my Instant Pot for cooking beans. Recently my Instant Pot was occupied cooking sweet potatoes so I started cooking my beans in a slow cooker. A couple of hours later, when I was home from running errands, I looked at the beans. Of course they weren’t done yet because they were in a slow cooker! I’m so used to cooking legumes quickly that I put them in the Instant Pot to finish cooking!
I always soak my beans prior to cooking. I’ve never cooked beans without soaking. I either soak my beans overnight or start soaking them first thing in the morning for an afternoon cooking time. This article by the George Mateljan Foundation discusses the benefits of soaking beans and tossing the water.
The cooking times for most soaked beans range from 8 to 15 minutes, if you live at a “normal” elevation–eg not like me at 7000 feet. There are a couple of cooking time charts that you may find helpful:
I live at 7000 feet in elevation, and I have learned, by experimentation, that beans take MUCH longer than the charts suggest it should take. So, I am making my own chart of how long it takes me to cook beans. And that is what I suggest you do. Keep track of how long it takes you to cook your beans and write it down somewhere so you will have it for your own reference. For me, soaked beans take about 38 to 65 minutes to cook. (See notes section below for the cooking times for various beans at my elevation.)
I have cooked beans without adding oil (the oil prevents foaming), but I have had issues twice with the lid not sealing well due to foaming when I cook Split Peas. So now I add olive oil when I cook Split Peas and that seems to help with the foaming issue. I also add oil when I cook red lentils and Lima beans for I’ve had foaming issues with those beans too. I don’t add salt until the beans are finished cooking because that hinders the beans from getting soft. And no one likes hard beans!
Okay! Here’s how I cook my beans!
By the way, an extra inner pot and glass lid makes for easier Instant Pot cooking. When the beans are done, I lift the inner pot full of beans out of the Instant Pot, cover it with the glass lid, and set it aside to cool. Then if I want to cook something else, I simply use my second inner pot. It’s really nice to have two inner pots!
Cooking Beans in the Instant Pot
- 1/2 to 1 pound dried beans
- 1 teaspoon olive oil for certain beans (see Notes)
Put the dried beans on the counter or plate. Look them over and remove any small rocks, debris, or rotten beans.
Rinse the dried beans thoroughly in a colander.
Put the beans in a bowl and cover with a good amount of water. The beans will double in size (at least) so you want enough water to cover the beans as they expand.
I cover the bowl with a plate and let the beans sit for 6 hours or overnight. Here's what the soaked beans look like.
Drain the soaked beans in a colander. Rinse them again.
Add the beans to the Instant Pot. Cover with water so that the beans are covered. If the beans have been well soaked, you can get by with just 2 1/2 to 3 cups of water per pound of dried beans. (Here's a photo of soaked black eye peas with 2 1/2 cups of water.) If the beans haven't soaked for a long time (or not at all) use more water.
Some beans foam up as they cook. Foaming will keep the lid from sealing properly and will make the liquid come out of the Sealing Knob and pot lid. Not fun and very messy! Adding one teaspoon of oil prevents this. See notes below for the beans that foam. If it has happened to me even once with that type of bean, I add oil, because it is not fun to clean up that kind of mess!
Secure the lid on the Instant Pot, turning the valve to "Sealing". Select the Bean / Chili cycle and select your time using the charts mentioned earlier (or in the notes section below). For me it takes 35 to 65 minutes to cook beans, depending on the variety.
When the beans are finished cooking, allow for a natural pressure release of at least 15 minutes before releasing the pressure the rest of the way. When you do release the rest of the pressure, do so carefully to make sure none splatters out. It shouldn't but if it does, then turn the sealing knob back to sealing and let the rest of the pressure release naturally.
Drain the beans and use as called for in your recipes.
Sometimes I will freeze some of the drained beans in resealable freezer bags.
Lately, I've been making minestrone soup with the Great Northern beans I've been cooking. YUM!
Hip Pressure Cooking has a nice chart of cooking times for beans in pressure cookers.
FastCooking.ca also has a nice chart for pressure cooking beans.
Here are some cooking times (in minutes) for various soaked beans, cooked at 7000 feet. Some beans require a teaspoon of oil to prevent foaming up and spilling out the Sealing Knob. If a bean has ever done that to me, then it is noted that I add oil. (I don't like that kind of mess!)
Alubia Blanca: 51
Ayocote Morado: 60
Black Beans: 53
Black Eye Peas: 45
Black Orca: 52
Domingo Rojo: 57
Eye of the Goat: 60
Flor de Durazno: 55
Garbanzo: 60 (1 teaspoon oil)
Great Northern: 35 (1 teaspoon oil)
Lentils: 15 (1 teaspoon oil)
Lima: 35 (1 teaspoon oil)
Red Lentil: (1 teaspoon oil)
Royal Corona: 63
San Francisco: 58
Scarlet Runner: 47
Split Peas: 55 (1 teaspoon oil)
Yellow Eye: 41 (1 teaspoon oil)