21 March 2019

Instant Pot Pinto Beans - Frijoles de Olla Instante

Instant Pot Pinto Beans - THE best way to cook dried beans / www.delightfulrepast.com

Don’t worry, my regular readers—I’m not going to be blogging constantly about Instant Pot cooking. I’m not convinced everyone “needs” one, even though I’m having fun with it. But I’ve decided there is one group of people who might need one—people who cook a lot of beans. So far I’ve just made Pinto Beans.

I’ve stuck with the one kind of bean because I wanted to experiment and find the ideal way—well, my ideal way, anyway—of cooking Instant Pot Pinto Beans. The first conclusion I came to on the subject was that presoaking is not necessary. I kept reading that you’ll have more “blown-out” beans if you pressure cook them without presoaking. 

But my experiments have shown that it’s not whether the beans have been presoaked or not, but rather it’s the length of the natural pressure release, that determines whether the beans remain whole, for the most part, or break apart. For stovetop beans, I presoak; for Slow Cooker Pinto Beans, I do not. For the Instant Pot, definitely not.

The second conclusion I came to is that the beans made in the Instant Pot taste better than the beans cooked with the same ingredients by any other method. I was amazed and have no scientific explanation for it. I can only assume that pressure cooking somehow forces more flavor into the beans. Is that true, or just my imagination? 

Cooking times can be tricky for dried beans. Whatever method you use—stovetop, slow cooker or pressure cooker—cooking times for dried beans will vary due to the age of the beans and perhaps other factors about the beans themselves. There are different cooking times for different beans.


Instant Pot Pinto Beans - Frijoles de Olla Instante - How to Cook Beans in the Instant Pot / www.delightfulrepast.com


I decided to cook my presoaked pinto beans for 10 minutes at high pressure followed by natural pressure release for 25 minutes, with the idea that if they were underdone I’d set it for another 2 minutes (it should build pressure quickly the second time) and check again.

The presoaked (for 12 hours) beans were perfectly done in 10 minutes. So 20 to 25 minutes to come up to pressure, 10 minutes to cook, 25 minutes natural pressure release—an hour or less total—instead of 7 hours in the slow cooker or 2 1/2 to 4 hours on the stovetop. And they taste better! 

But then I decided to experiment with beans that had not been presoaked. Yes, they take longer to cook—the same 20 to 25 minutes to come up to pressure, 40 minutes to cook, the same 25 minutes natural pressure release—but it’s still just an hour and a half or less.


Instant Pot Pinto Beans - Frijoles de Olla Instante - How to Cook Beans in the Instant Pot / www.delightfulrepast.com


One pound of dried pinto beans makes the equivalent of four 15-ounce/425 gram cans of cooked pinto beans and costs about the same as one can—a significant savings. You can even put the batch of beans into four pint jars or glass storage containers to freeze. Just pull one out anytime a can of beans is called for. 

Since dried beans are done so quickly in the Instant Pot, you could cook several batches of various kinds of beans all in one day, refrigerate what you need for the week and freeze the rest for future meals. Can’t wait to try pressure cooking dried garbanzo beans for hummus.

Mr Delightful is not a bean fan, but since I’m not a huge carnivore, I rely on legumes for a lot of my protein. Lovelovelove Black Bean Soup and Bean with Bacon Soup


Instant Pot Pinto Beans - THE best way to cook dried beans / www.delightfulrepast.com


Instant Pot Pinto Beans - Frijoles de Olla Instante


(Makes about 6 cups of drained beans)

2 1/2 cups (16 ounces/454 grams) dried pinto beans
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 small (about 3 ounces) onion, peeled, optional

6 1/2 cups (56 fluid ounces/1.66 litres) water 

1 Rinse beans, watching for any debris or bad beans, and add to the inner cooking pot of the 6-quart Instant Pot or other brand pressure cooker. Add remaining ingredients. 

Note: Don't skip the olive oil; it prevents foaming that could clog up the valve. 

2 Put the lid in place and turn the steam valve to Sealing. Plug in the Instant Pot. Press the Pressure Cook key. Leave the indicator lights on High Pressure and Normal temperature, and change the cooking time to 40 minutes.

Note: It takes 20 to 25 minutes to reach working pressure. This varies with the amount and temperature of the ingredients in the pot. 

3 When the beep sounds, turn it off by pressing Cancel. Set a kitchen timer for 25 minutes and allow the pressure to release naturally, then do a quick release by turning the steam valve to Venting.

4 When the float valve drops down, carefully remove the lid. If the beans are not done to your liking, put the lid back on, turn the steam valve to Sealing, and cook on High Pressure for additional minutes.

5 Remove the onion; taste and adjust seasoning.

Note: The cooked beans can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

52 comments:

Angie Schneider said...

When comes to cooking beans, IP is really ideal. Quick and the result is amazing.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Angie. Is it just me, or do the beans really taste better cooked in the IP?

ellen b. said...

I grew up in Mexican American communities in Southern California where there was always a pot on the stove cooking beans. I remember the smell well. An instant pot really would be a treat for my former neighbors! :)

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

You eat bean w/bacon soup? Methought you were in the camp who would rather eschew than chew bacon. No? If not, what bacon do you buy? Whole Foods type cured? Just as many foods (lobster comes to mind) are an excuse to eat butter, bacon strikes me as an excuse to eat salt and grease. Take salt out of bacon, and I’m betting you could add chopped rubber bands to bean w/bacon soup and most people wouldn’t notice the difference.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Ellen, thank you for sharing your bean story. I knew an unusual man who ate nothing but pinto beans and cornbread. Ever. He lived on beans, cornbread, beer and cigarettes; but I'm not recommending it! :D

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sully, I buy only organic, pastured uncured bacon that is very meaty and is not greasy or salty. It adds a lovely flavor (and nothing bad) to my bean with bacon soup!

Creations By Cindy said...

Girl, I love my instapot and do not use it nearly enough! Thank you for sharing this. I am going to see if I can pin this under my instapot recipes! Freeze in jars? I have never tried freezing in glass jars. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

Tony Grant said...

The best bacon in the world comes from Denmark. Irish bacon is pretty good too. But for how much longer will we be able to obtain such bacon delights? The price of everything from Europe could skyrocket pretty soon for us. Perhaps just the beans on their own in the future. Nutritious stuff.
I like the look of your instant pot, Jean. Very smart.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Cindy! And I'll check out your Pinterest! When I was a kid, my mother had some glass jars specially made for freezing. I foolishly gave those away. But I've found that my regular canning jars work just fine in the freezer.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Tony. The Instant Pot is proving far more useful than I had imagined it would. And it looks all right. Back in the day I would have made a gingham cosy for it--I made them for the toaster, blender, waffle iron. All my appliances looked very cute lined up on open shelving in their red and white gingham! But now I just leave them bare. I love Irish bacon, but I now have a more local source for good bacon, so rarely buy the imports.

Richard Sheppard said...

Yes, yes, yes! Pressure cooking beans is certainly my preferred way to cook them too and have been doing so for years. No more slimy caned beans, yuck. Your recipe looks similar to mine but I use chicky broth and a can of Trader Joes stewed tomatoes too. Thank you for doing the research on whether the beans split or not! I didn't know that and now if I want to keep my beans whole, release it sloooooowwww!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Richard, unless I'm making refried beans or a thick bean soup, I want my beans whole, and that slow release makes all the difference. Sometimes I add broth, tomatoes, chiles or any number of other things, but this is The Basic Bean. I don't like canned beans either, so before I got the Instant Pot, I used the slow cooker.

Lowcarb team member said...

Instant Pots do seem to be popular … surely you can't have too many recipes :)

All the best Jan

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Jan. I'm having fun with it!

Margie said...

I don't have an Instapot so I'm living vicariously through you.

Thanks for the visit. I'm not sure who came up with the "corset" name, but it's real. If you Google "corset teacup", you'll get lots of pretty teacups (many Aynsley).

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Margie, here I thought I just about knew it all when it comes to teaware! Just googled it and, yes, it's a "thing!" I wonder if the Canadian Instant Pot is more popular in the US than in Canada?

Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch) said...

I like your disclaimer about not posting IP recipes all the time. I feel the same way. I don't want to push it down reader's throats - but sure have fun using the IP. I have no idea what percentage of my readers own an IP. Anyway - I agree, there are some things that just taste better and beans are one of them. I truly love making pasta and risotto in mine - it somehow becomes magical in flavor. I personally look forward to more IP posts from you.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Lea Ann, thank you so much. Appreciate your feedback, both as a blogger and cook. I have yet to try pasta or rice in it, but now I definitely will.

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

Thank you for doing the research on cooking the perfect pot of beans in the IP, Jean! I will follow your advice in not pre-soaking them. I have tried hard cooked eggs in the IP, and was impressed by how well they turned out, too. Happy Spring!

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Jean, I don't own an IP although I do have a wonderful slow cooker. I know they're not the same thing. I don't remember ever having cooked pinto beans. They sound different than say, yellow-eyed beans which I love for baked beans. Your recipe sounds much more savoury and it intrigues me. Have a lovely weekend and Happy Spring!

csuhpat1 said...

That looks so yummy. Thanks for sharing it. #bloggerclubuk

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Kitty. You know how I love my research and experiments! I have yet to try the hard-cooked eggs, but eventually ...

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, csuhpat1. I'll be making another batch today.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Sandi. I really liked cooking beans in the slow cooker until I got the IP. I'm not familiar with yellow eye beans, so I just looked them up. Sounds like the perfect bean for baked beans or bean soup, things I use navy or great northern beans for. Maybe I'll order some! Pinto beans are entirely different, and I hope you'll give them a try.

Juliana said...

Hi Jean, I love using instant pot so fast and practical. Thanks for sharing this awesome and easy recipe for beans...and yes, great cooking extra for later.
Enjoy the rest of your week...thanks for stopping by.

April J Harris said...

I've never cooked dried beans because I was worried about the soaking and long cooking. I do like to use beans in recipes as it's a great way to eat loess meat. More and more I think an instant pot might be a good idea for me! Your Instant Pot Pinto Beans look really lovely, Jean. Thank you for sharing, and for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party. I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Juliana. I always make more than I need of anything that can be frozen for future meals!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, April. I didn't think my over-equipped kitchen really needed another appliance, but I've been using the IP rather a lot.

Pam said...

We eat a lot of beans, so maybe I do need an Instant Pot. When I think of pressure cooking, I always think about my mom's scary pressure cooker, but I realize that is not how they are now! I think you have convinced me that I need one!

Zaa said...

I love beans.... but have never tried pinto beans... My son has one of these pots and absolutely loves... I just may have to buy one (ha Ha) because I hear only good things about them. Thanks for the recipe.... Hugs

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Pam, I was afraid of pressure cookers, too--and so was my mother. So it took me a long time to believe that the new electric pressure cookers are completely different. If I can do it, you can do it! Go for it!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Zaa, sounds like it's high time for you to get one (AND to try pinto beans)! Enjoy!

Phil in the Kitchen said...

This sounds like an excellent way to cook beans. It's funny that you should say that pressure cooking forces flavour into the beans because it's pretty much exactly what my Indian friend says about the way he cooks lentils. I think that I'm starting to be convinced. I think I need to dust off my pressure cooker.

Candysfarmhousepantry said...

Going to try this in my instant pot Love our beans. Found you on Traffic Jam Weekend Link Party.

Gerlinde de Broekert said...

Maybe I have to buy an Instant pot to make all these wonderful recipes.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Phil, thanks for commenting on that. I wasn't sure if that was correct, but it seemed sensible to me. Yes, dust off the pressure cooker. I'm sure you'll have fun with it.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Candy. Glad to find another bean fan!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Aw, thank you, Gerlinde. I think we all need a new kitchen toy now and then to shake things up a bit!

Sylvia Lance said...

Thanks for linking up with us at the #WednesdayAIMLinkParty 33

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Sylvia.

Cocoa and Lavender said...

I like your scientific approach, Jean! I have only cooked beans the traditional way in the stovetop... and will continue as such. I never had a crock pot/slow,cooker and don’t imagine getting an IP!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, David. I think it's just fine to continue your stovetop-only method--I like to keep things as simple as possible (for example, I will likely never have an air fryer).

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

While I doubt I'll ever have an instant pot, they certainly sound as though they save a lot of time. Your pinto beans sound good...I haven't had them in ages. Thanks for the inspiration.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Karen. I appreciate your comment even more because you *don't* have an Instant Pot! However I cook them, I can't live without my legumes! :D

Ann said...

These look so yummy! My brother and sister-in-law invited us over a few times to try out new recipes in their instant pot. Everything tasted delicious! I'm not sure if I'll buy one, but I love how everything tastes!

Miz Helen said...

We love Pinto Beans they are a staple here at the cottage but I haven't tried them in the Instant Pot yet. I will sure have to give your recipe a try. Thanks for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday and have a good week!
Miz Helen

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Ann, thank you. I toyed with the idea for several years before getting one!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Miz Helen! I think you'll find cooking beans in the Instant Pot pretty amazing!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I grew up eating a lot of Pinto beans...being from the South! And I've heard about these cookers and I'm going to check it out. Maybe I DO need one! Thanks for the info and instructions on how you cooked these. Looks very yummy!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Diane. I think you could get a lot of use out of the IP. And it's kind of fun!

Kitchen Riffs said...

We love beans, and eat them a lot. And often cook a big batch and freeze them in portion-size containers. Interesting that you find Instant Potted beans more flavorful than regular cooking methods. Makes me almost want to get an Instant Pot. Almost. :-) (Actually when my slow cooker dies -- which might take ages because I use it so little -- I'll probably get an IP). Really interesting post -- thanks.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, John. Actually, the IP is the ideal replacement for your slow cooker, since it does both pressure AND SLOW cooking.

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