Exploring a mostly whole foods, mostly allergen free diet
Cooking Beans in the Instant Pot
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!
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!
(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.
1teaspoonolive oilfor Split Peas, lentils, red lentils and Lima beans
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.
If cooking split peas, red lentils or Lima beans add 1 teaspoon of oil. The oil prevents excessive foaming. Foaming will keep the lid from sealing properly and will make the liquid come out of the pot lid. Not fun and very messy!
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 38 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:
Alubia Blanca: 51
Ayocote Morado: 60
Black Beans: 53
Black Eye Peas: 45
Black Orca: 52
Domingo Rojo: 57
Eye of the Goat: 60
Great Northern: 51
Lentils: 15 (use 1 teaspoon oil to prevent foaming)
Lima: 35 (use 1 teaspoon oil)
Red Lentil: 10 (use 1 teaspoon oil to prevent foaming)
Royal Corona: 63
Scarlet Runner: 47
Split Peas: 55 (I use 1 teaspoon olive oil to prevent foaming)