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How to Cook Garbanzo Beans in a Pressure Cooker

Here in Baja Mexico, my cooking has gotten simpler. We eat a variety of beans, spiced with fresh or dried chiles, a big salad, and either fresh-made corn tortillas or herb-flecked brown rice. Call them garbanzos or chickpeas; I bought a bag of the dried ones at the tienda the day we moved into our beachside trailer. They inspired this post–how to cook garbanzo beans in a pressure cooker.

Garbanzo How to Cook Garbanzo Beans in a Pressure Cooker

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may have noticed that any time a recipe calls for beans, I mention the timesaving value of pressure cookers and Instant Pot electric pressure cookers. I think pressure cookers are the only way to go when cooking beans from scratch.

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People shy away from cooking beans from scratch because they take hours and forever to cook. Besides, it’s easy just to open a can. That’s why a pressure cooker is the cooking tool I try not to live without. And why my treasured stainless-steel pressure cooker came with us to this pueblo of Los Barriles.

Dried beans soaking for How to Cook Garbanzo Beans in a Pressure Cooker

Ditch the can. When it comes to beans, start with the dried ones. It’s fair to say that all beans taste better when cooked in a pot from scratch, whether they’re seasoned or not. Another bonus is that pot beans are toothy tender; they have bite-feel not found in canned beans.

There’s the liquid in canned beans too, the salty insipid juice we are supposed to drain and rinse away. Pot beans on the other hand produce mouthwatering stock. Not to mention, scratch beans are economical. One cup of dried beans yields about 2 ½ cups cooked, and one (14-ounce) can delivers about 1 ¾ cups of cooked beans. Do the math.

  • To soak or not to soak—that’s the pressure cook question. If you cover the beans with water and let them soak at least 6 hours or overnight, it cuts pressure-cook time in half. Me, I tend to put off dinner prep until the last minute. When I don’t get it together ahead of time, the beans go right in the pot, no soak. Pot beans have the best texture when soaked beforehand, so, I’ve made a vow to plan ahead and pre-soak my beans.
  • The other question is—do you turn off the heat and let the pressure come down naturally, or is it better to “quick-release” by placing the pot in the sink and running cold water over the top until the pressure comes down?
  • Both work. With natural pressure release, cooked beans seem to have slightly better texture, and the skins stay on the bean. But that takes extra time. Soaked and natural pressure release is my preferred method for sure.

Soaked or not, rinse the dried beans and pick out any rocks that might be masquerading as beans. Put the beans in the pressure cooker. Cover with a generous inch of water. If you wish, add garlic or onions (I love the subtle flavor dried chiles gives to beans). Don’t add salt until the beans are cooked. Bring the pot to pressure over high flame. When the steamy jiggle noise begins in earnest, turn the heat down, just so it maintains pressure.

How to Cook Garbanzo Beans in a Pressure Cooker | Letty's Kitchen

Once the cooker is up to pressure, soaked garbanzos/chickpeas take 12 to 18 minutes to cook. If you plan to let the pressure come down naturally, cook the beans 12 minutes. Cook them 16 minutes under pressure if you run them under water to stop the cooking.

Now, if you decide on beans at the last minute and you haven’t soaked them first, plan on 35 to 40 minutes cooking time. If a pressure cooker hasn’t made it into your kitchen yet, you can count on 2 ½ hours until the beans are tender.

Keep in mind that cooking times can vary a few minutes either way, depending on your pressure cooker, the size of the beans, and how old they are. Sometimes I have to put the pot back on the stove and bring the cooker back up to pressure for another minute or two. The beans are still very hot so it doesn’t take much time to get that pot jiggling again.

Writing my post. How to Cook Garbanzo Beans in a Pressure Cooker

Stainless steel pressure cookers are pricey enough to throw a budget out of whack. And worth every penny. Back in college, I invested in an Italian stainless steel jiggle top, and a few years ago I bought a modern pressure cooker with 3 safety valves. Every once in a while I get both sizzling away on the stove.  I added an Instant Pot to my quiver of pressure cookers. Instant Pots are $99 on Amazon, and several times I year they offer a special price. Think Black Friday….

From a stash of cooked beans, make hummus. Easily turn that into hummus vinaigrette salad dressing! Garbanzo beans have a toothy meat-like texture, and make a fabulous easy taco filling. The cooking liquid is a nutritious soup stock. If you cook the garbanzo beans in water with no seasoning, the liquid left is aquafaba, the amazing vegan egg white I used to make this rhubarb and strawberry meringue dessert!

There’s a tub of cooked garbanzos waiting right now in my little fridge. They’re going into a creamy Mexican garbanzo bean soup, a recipe from the well-known cooking school in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Once you know How to Cook Garbanzo Beans in a Pressure Cooker, these recipes come together quickly:

Wishing you a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and cook something delicious!

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How to Cook Garbanzo Beans in a Pressure Cooker
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

I love it that garbanzo beans, or any dried beans for that matter, are so quick and easy to make in a pressure cooker.  1 ½ cups dried beans equals about 3 1/2 cups cooked.

Course: Component
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Servings: 3 cups
Author: Letty Flatt | Letty's Kitchen
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups dried garbanzo beans , aka chickpeas
  • About 3 cups of water
  • Optional seasoning , such as chiles, garlic, onion and herbs. (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon olive or canola oil , if needed
  • Real Salt , as needed
Instructions
  1. Rinse the beans and pick out any rocks that might be masquerading as beans. Put them in the pressure cooker. Cover with a generous inch of water.
  2. If you wish, add optional seasonings, except salt. Don’t add salt until the beans are cooked.
  3. If you have an older model cooker, add the oil—to prevent the beans from clogging the valve.
  4. Cover and bring to pressure over high flame. When it comes to pressure, turn the heat down, just so it maintains pressure. Set the timer.
  5. Cook pre-soaked beans 12 to 18 minutes if you plan to let the pressure come down naturally.
  6. Cook pre-soaked beans 16 minutes under pressure if you run them under water to stop the cooking.
  7. If you didn’t pre-soak the garbanzos, cook 35 to 40 minutes.
  8. Test a bean to make sure it is tender to your liking. If they need to cook more, bring to pressure again for a minute or so. Quick release.
  9. You're there--perfect garbanzo beans ready for your next recipe.
Recipe Notes
  • I often drop a couple of dried chiles and some garlic cloves into the pot. The chile heat is subtle and welcome if the beans end up as soup, or dip, or hummus.
  • If you have any fresh herbs on hand, say parsley or cilantro, throw them in as well. Dried herbs and bay leaves are also possibilities, season as you wish thinking about what you will make with the cooked beans.

24 comments

  • Priscilla

    Your photos are beautiful and my stomach is growling for garbanzo bean soup but most of all I want to see a picture of this pressure cooker who is the star of todays blog. Reply · 9 January, 2015

    • Letty

      Thanks Priscilla. Ahh the pressure cooker. It’s just an old stainless steel thing 😉 I will post a photo on my Letty’s Kitchen Facebook page! Reply · 9 January, 2015

  • kathleen

    Great idea! I love garbanzos!! Can’t wait for the soup recipe! Reply · 9 January, 2015

  • Judy

    I’m looking forward to the soup recipe! I’ve been soaking and then pressure cooking garbanzo beans for years, but recently saw an article in a Cooks Illustrated book about how pouring boiling water over the beans, letting them soak for an hour, and then cooking, is a better technique in some ways. I’ve tried it and like it. If nothing else, it’s quicker! They also mention that adding a little baking soda to the cooking water makes the skins softer. I’ve tried that, too, but since i’ve never objected to my pressure cooked beans’s skins, I’m not sure I’ll bother with that. I’m glad you’re warm and happy! Reply · 9 January, 2015

    • Letty

      Thanks Judy. I am going to try the boiling water over the beans and letting them soak the hour. Might work better with my lazy-woman schedule. Reply · 10 January, 2015

  • Patricia Constable

    Thanks Letty, We just got a new pressure cooker for X-Mas and the new cooking instruction were so different than the old ones. This clarifies the whole thing. I agree that the natural cool leaves the beans in better shape. Wonder if it makes a difference if you are mashing them for refried beans? Patricia Reply · 9 January, 2015

    • Letty

      Thanks Patricia. I’ve been mashing refrieds just fine. Havea a stash of black beans right now!!! Reply · 10 January, 2015

  • We just made these for dinner tonight. I added some shallots and garlic- delicious!! Reply · 12 January, 2015

    • Letty

      Kelley–love those aromatics–shallot and garlic. Reply · 12 January, 2015

  • […] the choice and time, I cook garbanzos from scratch. See my recipe for how to cook garbanzo beans quickly in a pressure […] Reply · 16 January, 2015

  • Lesley Davies

    I just cooked my first batch of PC garbanzos and I can believe how incredibly smooth textured they are. I presoaked and then cooked them with salt onion garlic and some fresh bay leaves. Im never opening a can again. And I have this lovely broth to use as well. Reply · 25 June, 2015

    • Letty

      Hi Lesley–that is so cool–thanks for writing. Yes the broth is bonus. I store it in the freezer so it’s ready when soup is on the menu. Reply · 25 June, 2015

  • […] add nutty texture to salads and soup. Canned chickpeas of course are the quick and easy. Or you can prepare your garbanzos from scratch with dried […] Reply · 13 August, 2015

  • […] following my blog for a while, you know that I am way into pressure cookers—for absolutely the best beans, and especially for nourishing meals like risotto and easy quick soups. Did you know that busy […] Reply · 16 September, 2015

  • […] chicken broth, but I can’t remember vegetarian broth being in the lesson plan. I’ve always used bean broth or a high quality concentrated broth mix for […] Reply · 17 October, 2015

  • Deborah

    Interested in vegan cooking Reply · 11 November, 2015

    • Great Deborah. Have a look around this site using the search word vegan. Reply · 11 November, 2015

  • Tim

    I put Italian seasoning and basil in with my chickpeas. I just eat them plain out of a container after cooking them. I have started drying them in the oven for about 30 to 45 minutes that way they don’t get slimy if they sit too long in the refrigerator and they taste a whole lot better dry if you’re eating them plain. I.e. between three and 4 pounds of chickpeas a week . I will have to try the pressure cooker trick as I have a regular pressure cooker that plugs in not off the stove. Reply · 31 December, 2015

  • Tim

    I don’t use any salt or oils as I have been eating the Daniel diet/last heart attack diet for over 4 years now. Very restrictive. I need to do more things to liven up my veggies. Thanks. ? Reply · 31 December, 2015

    • Ahh–I bet just drying them is delicious anyway! Reply · 31 December, 2015

  • No

    Completely dry beans & 40 min cook worked great. It was pretty hard to find that considering your one of the first in Google for cooking chickpeas. Reply · 3 June, 2016

    • thanks–I totally love pressure cookers! Reply · 3 June, 2016

  • Tim

    I’ve cut back on the chick peas as I could eat them all day long. When I do make them now I cook them or mix them with lentils and split peas and using little or no seasoning. It’s a bland way to eat them but have learned to enjoy them and other foods that way. It’s the price you pay. 🙂 Reply · 4 June, 2016

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