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How to Cook Pinto Beans in a Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot)

This post shows how to cook pinto beans in a pressure cooker. In 15 minutes, you can have rich, tender, creamy, ready-to-enjoy beans all soupy in a nutritious cooking broth.

How to Cook Pinto Beans in a Pressure Cooker with spoon

Cooked from scratch, dried beans have unmatched flavor and texture–and cooking beans in the Instant Pot or stovetop pressure cooker happens fast!

There’s more than one way to go about pressure cooking beans from scratch, some faster than others. You can put the washed beans in the pot, cover with water and cook them like that, or you can soak the beans beforehand. Then, either way, after cooking, you can opt to turn off the heat and let the pressure come down naturally, or you can “quick-release” the pressure.

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Whichever way you cook your beans, be sure to budget the time for the pressure to come up and begin the actual pressure cooking, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your pressure cooker.

So, including the time it takes to come to pressure, you can have tender pinto beans in about 15 minutes. That’s with soaked beans and pressure naturally released. Unsoaked dried beans, the pressure quick-released, yield tender pinto beans in about 35 minutes.

The deep-down with pressure cooking beans is you save time and you get superior quality beans. Dried beans—keep them in your pantry. And give your pressure cooker a big hug!

 dried pinto beans for How to Cook Pinto Beans in a Pressure Cooker

About Cooking Pinto Beans in a Pressure Cooker:

  • When cooking dried beans do you salt before or after cooking? There’s plenty of discussion about that. I come from the salt-after-cooking school. Salt with good quality salt.
  • Looking for answers, author Michael Ruhlman found more than one food “expert” with differing thoughts about soaking and salting beans.
  • On his blog, Rancho Gordo’s Steve Sando has written more than once about soaking and when to salt. Shop for superior quality fresh dried beans on Rancho Gordo’s website.
  • It has been said that soaking dried beans before cooking makes them more digestible. Mexican cooks add epazote, a pungent green herb with “gas-relieving” properties, to their beans.
  • For the record, we do have an assortment of canned beans in our pantry, right next to the jars of dried beans. For sure canned beans in salty liquid are no match for freshly cooked beans and their resulting liquid, but sometimes you just want to open a can, ya know?
  • Since Robbie and I mostly use pinto beans in tacos and other Mexican foods, I season the dried beans with a mild dried chile, garlic cloves, and maybe some chopped onions.
  • There’s not much written about the beauty of pressure cooked beans. One thing’s for sure, pressure cookers reduce cooking time and fuel energy. For cooking beans, they’re awesome tools!

cooked beans for How to Cook Pinto Beans in a Pressure Cooker

Pinto Beans in a Pressure Cooker timing details:

When is a pressure cooker is up to pressure?

  • With the Instant Pot–make sure the vent is in the sealed position, use the Manual setting and set the cooking time. When time light comes on, it’s up to pressure.
  • With a stove-top pressure cooker–heat on high flame until the steamy jiggle noise begins in earnest, then turn the heat down just so it maintains pressure, then start your kitchen timer.

What are approximate cooking times?

  • Pinto beans not soaked and pressure quick-released, take about 25 minutes to cook, after the cooker comes to pressure.
  • Soaked pinto beans, pressure released naturally, take about 3 minutes to cook. Plan on 10 minutes for the pressure cooker to release naturally.
  • Soaked pinto beans with the pressure “quick released” take 5 to 6 minutes to cook.
  • Without a pressure cooker it takes at least 2 ½ hours to cook pinto beans to tenderness.
  • Cooking times can vary a few minutes either way, depending on your pressure cooker, the size of the beans, and the age of the dried beans. Sometimes you have to bring the cooker back up to pressure for another minute or two. With the beans still very hot, it doesn’t take much time.
  • Add 25% more time if pressure cooking at altitudes more than 4000 feet above sea level.
  • My Swiss made Kuhn-Rikon stovetop pressure cooker comes to pressure and quick-releases pressure faster than my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. I don’t change the cooking time.
  • Smaller dried beans like navy, cannellini, and black beans cook just a little faster.

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

What can you do with your pressure-cooked pinto beans?

*** Here’s how to cook garbanzo beans in the pressure cooker.

*** You might also find this recipe for cooking black beans in the pressure cooker helpful.

Make it a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and play with your pressure cooker!


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How to Cook Pinto Beans in a Pressure Cooker | Letty's Kitchen
How to Cook Pinto Beans in a Pressure Cooker
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
3 mins
soaking time
4 hrs
Total Time
15 mins
 

The pressure cooker or Instant Pot is your tool for perfectly tender pinto beans, ready for your next meal. This recipe makes about 4 ½ cup cooked beans and 3 cups delicious broth. Time estimate below is for soaked, natural pressure released. 

Course: Component
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keyword: Instant Pot, pressure cooker
Servings: 4 cups
Author: Letty Flatt
Ingredients
  • 1 pound dried pinto beans about 2 ¼ cups
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin or avocado olive oil
Optional aromatic seasonings:
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 or 2 dried red chiles like ancho or guajillo chies
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, and more to taste
Instructions
  1. Rinse and pick over the beans, looking for little stones that might be masquerading as beans.
  2. (If you soak your beans, put them in a bowl amply covered with water. Let soak at least 4 hours.)

  3. Soak or unsoaked, put the rinsed beans into the pressure cooker or Instant Pot. Especially with the Instant Pot, add the olive oil to prevent foaming. If you wish, add onion, garlic, dried chiles, and a spring of fresh parsley, cilantro, or epazote. Cover with hot water—3 inches above the level of the beans.

  4. Bring the pot to pressure and cook for the allotted time, depending on whether the beans were soaked or not, and whether the pressure is “quick-released” or left to come down naturally. (see notes)
  5. Season to taste with more salt.

  6. Test a bean to make sure it’s tender to your liking. If the beans need to cook more, bring to pressure again for a minute or so. Quick release.
  7. You’re there—perfectly cooked pinto beans for you next recipe.
Recipe Notes
  • Once the cooker is up to pressure, soaked pinto beans, pressure released naturally, take about 3 minutes to cook.
  • Once the cooker is up to pressure, soaked pinto beans, pressure quick-released, take 4-6 minutes to cook.
  • Once the cooker is up to pressure, beans not soaked and pressure quick-released, take 20 to 25 minutes to cook.
  • To quick release in the Instant Pot, turn the dial from Sealed to Vent. In a regular stovetop pressure cooker, quick-release the pressure by running water over the top.
  • Cooking times can vary a few minutes either way, depending on your pressure cooker, the size of the beans, and the age of the dried beans.
  • If the beans are not quite done, bring the cooker back up to pressure for another minute or two. With the beans still very hot, it doesn’t take much time.
This post shows how to cook pinto beans in a pressure cooker. In about 15 minutes, you can have rich, tender, creamy, ready-to-enjoy beans all soupy in a nutritious cooking broth. #pressure cooker #InstantPot #pintobeans #howto

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