Cooking Beans in the Instant Pot

Cooking Beans(I may earn a small fee if you purchase an item through a link on my blog.)

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!

If you want to try some of the varieties of beans mentioned in the notes section, check out Rancho Gordo Beans. Amazon  also carries some of their beans.

White Beans and water in Instant Pot

Cooking Beans in the Instant Pot

Course Helpful Tips, Legumes, Main Course
Appliances Instant Pot
Author Tina


  • 1/2 to 1 pound dried beans
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil for certain beans (see Notes)


  1. Put the dried beans on the counter or plate. Look them over and remove any small rocks, debris, or rotten beans.
  2. Rinse the dried beans thoroughly in a colander.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Drain the soaked beans in a colander. Rinse them again.
  6. 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.
  7. 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! 

  8. 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.

  9. 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.
  10. Drain the beans and use as called for in your recipes.
  11. Sometimes I will freeze some of the drained beans in resealable freezer bags.
  12. Lately, I've been making minestrone soup with the Great Northern beans I've been cooking. YUM!

Recipe Notes

Hip Pressure Cooking has a nice chart of cooking times for beans in pressure cookers. 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

Adzuki: 55

Ayocote Morado: 60

Black Beans: 53

Black Eye Peas: 45

Black Orca: 52

Cassoulet: 36

Cranberry: 45

Domingo Rojo: 57

Eye of the Goat: 60

Flageolet: 43

Flor de Durazno: 55

Garbanzo: 60 (1 teaspoon oil)

Great Northern: 35 (1 teaspoon oil)

Lentils: 15 (1 teaspoon oil)

Lila: 51

Lima: 35 (1 teaspoon oil)

Marcella: 47

Mayocoba: 51

Navy: 51

Pinto: 53

Red Lentil: (1 teaspoon oil)

Royal Corona: 63

San Francisco: 58

Scarlet Runner: 47

Snowcap: 52

Split Peas: 55 (1 teaspoon oil)

Vaquero: 42

Yellow Eye: 41 (1 teaspoon oil)  

21 thoughts on “Cooking Beans in the Instant Pot

    1. Hi Anjana~ I soak and drain my beans before cooking in the Instant Pot, so they have already expanded in size. I put the beans in the Instant Pot, then add water to cover….by a half inch or so, in case they expand more. You don’t have to be exact with the amount of water you use. If your beans aren’t soaked you would need to use a lot more water to cover, but I don’t cook that way, so I can’t really advise. Happy bean cooking! 🙂

    1. Hi Erin~
      It takes me 38 to 55 minutes depending on the type of beans. I always soak my beans so these cooking times that I’ve figured out so far are for soaked beans:
      Pinto beans and Black Orca beans: 52 minutes
      Great Northern Beans: 51 minutes
      Black Eye Peas 45 minutes
      Lima Beans 38 minutes
      Split peas 55 minutes (I add 2 teaspoons oil to prevent foaming)
      Garbanzo beans 53 minutes

      I have lots of other varieties I will be trying…so I will probably cook them around 50 minutes and see how they turn out.

      Happy cooking! 🙂

  1. The cooking time for Lima beans is way off. I’m at low altitude and they are still crunchy after 65 minutes. 8 soaked them 12+ hours and added oil. I just bought the beans but maybe they are old? It’s so strange.

    1. Hi Diane! Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. I’m sorry the Lima Beans have been problematic for you. Crunchy beans are no fun!

      I think maybe they are old beans. Soaked Lima Beans do cook up for me nicely at about 35 minutes like the chart in the Notes section states.

      I’ve made them several times, because I like to puree them and add them to recipes (including, believe it or not, hot breakfast cereal!) 🙂

      Maybe you can try again with another brand of dry Lima Beans!

      Happy Cooking!

  2. Thank you so much for the high altitude times you have charted! I am at high altitude as well and almost gave up on this wonderful new cooker because NOTHING came out right. Once I found out altitude is a factor, I’ve been enjoying my new toy 🙂

    1. Hi Michelle!
      Thanks SO much for letting me know that my post on cooking beans has helped you enjoy your Instant Pot! I remember being frustrated at first too, because when various charts said “increase cooking time by 1/3” (or some such amount) it was never enough time! So I started cooking lots of different kinds of beans and coming up with what works based on my own experience! And I’m always so happy when what I’ve done can help someone else too.

      Thanks for letting me know and happy Instant Pot cooking!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

  3. Thanks for the simple bean explanation–I wasn’t sure quite what to do from the Instant Pot guide (e.g. how much water to add). I’m really excited about all the bean options this will open up for me. P.S. I soak with salt, as the Cook’s Illustrated folks recommend. It really boosts tenderness and flavor, though I wonder if I am losing some nutritional value for it.

    1. Hi Wynne! Thanks for writing! I love being able to try different kinds of beans than what is available in cans in the grocery store. The Instant Pot sure helps with the cooking! I’m glad my post has been helpful for you. Thanks for the info about soaking with salt; you are kind to share your knowledge. I enjoy using Rancho Gordo beans. If you aren’t familiar with them, here is a link:

      Happy cooking! 🙂

  4. That’s amazing that it’s that much difference in time! When I lived at high altitude, I wasn’t doing much except baking that required any adjustment. I had no idea. No wonder my mother’s jiggle-top pressure cooker seemed to go on and on…and on. It did! For scale, I live at 400′ now and quick-soaked black beans take 6-8 minutes in the instant pot – and at 8 they’re starting to split (plus natural release time, but still!).

  5. Hi Melody! Your comment about your mom’s jiggle-top pressure cooker going on and on….and on…. made me smile!! I remember using that kind of pressure cooker once in a cooking class in school and it scared me so much I never used one again! Thank goodness for the Instant Pot!!!

    I am jealous of your 8 minute cooking time for black beans! That is quite a difference!! Thanks for letting me know!!

    Happy Instant Pot cooking and thanks for writing!!! 🙂

  6. An important comment on high altitude cooking ….. Thisi is GOOD NEWS!

    I cook at sea level and also at 6000 feet. This is a BIG DIFFERENCE with ordinary stove top cooking orordinary pressure cooking, both of which depends on the boiling point of water. The Instant Pot talks about pressure, but really cooks by temperature. That compensates completely for altitude, so the cooking of my regular rice mixtures cook the same at either altitude. I have gotten a second Instant Pot so I don’t have to carry it between the two locations.

    Because it cooks by temperature and not pressure, it doesn’t leak much water during cooking and there isn’t the need to finely tune the burner setting to be boiling, but not too much. I could go into the physics behind all of this, but I don’t feel a need to. My old pressure cooker went to Good Will after many years and maybe being used five times.

    As the cook in the house ever since my wife went to medical school over 30 years ago, I regard the Instant Pot as stovetop cooking the way it should be.

    Thanks for the recipes. I want to have mixed beans tomorrow night and am now confident that I will have a good first start.

    1. Hi Rick!
      Thanks so much for taking the time to write! I really appreciate it!

      It is good to know that others notice a difference when cooking beans at altitude. I’m glad you are enjoying the Instant Pot! Like you, I rarely use my stove…my Instant Pot is how I cook most things now.

      I have noticed that *sometimes* I have to cook beans even longer than the cooking times I’ve listed in the notes section. I’m guessing it has something to do with the age of the beans and possibly what the barometric pressure is doing outside. For example, recently I cooked some garbanzo beans. 99% of the time, the 60 minutes I have listed works just fine. This time it took the 60 minutes, plus another 10, plus another 10!!!!!! Likewise, I cooked some Great Northern Beans yesterday. Normally, they cook just fine in 43 minutes. I knew this package of beans was older, because I had cooked half of the 2 pound package previously and it had taken (much) longer. This time I cooked them for 65 minutes. They weren’t done. I cooked them for another 25 and they were done (if not a bit overdone). But they went into a very delicious Baked Bean recipe which will go on my blog as soon as I have time to post it. 🙂

      Thanks again for writing, and feel free to comment on cooking times as you cook at 6000 feet vs sea level. It will help others out too!!

      Happy cooking!!!!!!! 🙂

  7. New to the instapot-what do you mean by an inner pot? The metal pot that comes with it or do you have another pot that goes in it??

  8. I covered dried, unsoaked beans in IP and added ham hock, about a tbl oliv oil, cooked on Bean setting 30 min. It released, I added salt and another tbl olive oil. Another 10 min and they were perfect.

  9. I live at 7000 feet and followed your time recommendations for Great Northern beans. Does your time include the time it takes to build up the pressure. I put 30 minutes on manual time and when everything was finished most of the beans were way over cooked/mushy. Thanks

    1. Hi Fern~ Thanks for writing. The time recommendations is the actual cooking time….which does not include the time coming up to pressure or the time it takes for a natural pressure release. I appreciate knowing that it was too much time for you. Sometimes how fresh (or old) the beans are makes a difference. I stopped buying beans from one store since it seems those beans always took much longer to cook (if they ever got soft at all).

      Today I cooked some Rancho Gordo Midnight Black Beans. I cooked them for 53 minutes which is what I’ve cooked soaked black beans at before (not the Midnight beans, just regular black beans). They did turn out quite soft and were over cooked….but they still worked very well for what I needed them for, so it was okay. (I made some Chipotle Black Beans–YUM!) But, next time I will try cooking them for 43 minutes….maybe even 40 (for soaked beans).

      Let me know how other times work for you. I also cooked soaked garbanzos today for 60 minutes…and that has consistently been the right time for those beans. If you cook those, I’d be interested to know if 60 minutes for soaked beans works for you or is too much time. If it’s too much time for garbanzos, then I’d begin to wonder if my larger Instant Pot cooks correctly!!

      Thanks for writing!

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