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.

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Cooking Beans in the Instant Pot
Print Recipe
Cooking Beans in the Instant Pot
Ingredients
Servings:
Units:
Instructions
  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. 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!
  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 38 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.

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

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

Garbanzo: 60 (use 1 teaspoon oil to prevent foaming)

Great Northern: 45

Lentils: 15 (use 1 teaspoon oil to prevent foaming)

Lila: 51

Lima: 35 (use 1 teaspoon oil)

Marcella: 47

Mayocoba: 51

Navy: 51

Pinto: 53

Red Lentil: 4 (use 1 teaspoon oil to prevent foaming)

Royal Corona: 63

San Francisco: 58

Scarlet Runner: 47

Split Peas: 55 (I use 1 teaspoon olive oil to prevent foaming)

Vaquero: 42

Yellow Eye: 47

 

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11 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: https://www.ranchogordo.com/

      Happy cooking! 🙂

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