Can You Make Pinto Beans in an Instant Pot?
It’s been a dinnertime miracle since I discovered that I can cook dried beans inside my Instant Pot! Seriously, if we ever wanted to cook beans from scratch before, it was a long and slow process that took place on the stove. I had to start them early enough that they were done before dinnertime. There was constant watching and stirring to make sure they didn’t boil over. Not to mention the added time of an overnight soaking to soften the dry beans for cooking.
No more! Now that I have my Instant Pot, we have perfectly cooked beans that I don’t have to watch. And most important, they’re done in time for dinner! I’m sharing how you can make a large pot of pinto beans without soaking in about an hour.
How Long to Cook Dry Beans?
I’ve found that for 3 cups of dry beans, it takes about an hour of cooking time and additional time to let the pressure cooker slow release. This goes for all different types of dried beans including pinto, kidney and black beans. I make mixed bean vegetarian chili in the winter and toss all the beans together in the Instant Pot to cook.
If you’re cooking more or less than 3 cups of dry beans, you may need to adjust your cooking time. I’ve come to this time after lots of trial and error (and yes, eating beans for dinner that were just slightly under-cooked!) The Instant Pot guide and cookbooks will tell you to cook them for less amount of time but I’ve found it’s not long enough. Timing for this recipe will result in soft, tender and flavorful beans without the hassle of preparing them on the stove.
Make note that the cook time of one hour does not include the time it takes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure or to slow release after cooking. Work in an extra 30 minutes to your prep time for this. Once the beans are done cooking, you can leave them inside the pot to stay warm, making them an ideal side dish to cook ahead.
Mexican-Style Instant Pot Pinto Beans Recipe
This Instant Pot pinto beans recipe is seasoned to be served alongside favorite Mexican foods. I’ll share more in this article about my favorite dishes to eat with the beans. And because this is a meatless meal, these pinto beans are ideal for vegetarians too.
You can include fresh vegetables into the pinto beans if you wish. For instance, sometimes I’ll saute onion and garlic beforehand. Simply set the Instant Pot to “saute”, drizzle a little cooking oil inside and add the chopped yellow onion and crushed garlic to cook. Use a Grease Splatter Screen, as the oil tends to pop a lot on this setting. Then you’ll add the dry beans and water to the cooked onion and garlic in the pot before setting to cook.
Much of the time, I just add dry spices to season the pinto beans while they cook. I’ve included ingredients to make 3 cups of dried beans, however you can reduce or increase the recipe as needed. Most importantly, you should make the adjustments to the seasonings. You’ll want to have the correct balance if you’re changing the amount of beans in the recipe.
What to Make With Instant Pot Pinto Beans
If I’m being completely honest, there have been many evenings when we just had a big bowl of these beans for dinner! They are hearty and filling. And dry beans are extremely inexpensive, so it’s definitely a cheap dinner idea. We serve our beans with a generous sprinkling of crumbled queso fresco. Chopped green onion, white onion and/or cilantro are great toppers for a bowl of beans.
I actually do prepare this Instant Pot pinto beans recipe at least once a week for our family. Who needs to go to a Mexican restaurant or get take out when you can prepare a delicious, healthy and inexpensive meal like these at home!
Perfect Mexican Dishes to Serve with Beans
- Tacos of all kinds! For instance, carne asada or pollo served with our favorite Mexican Pico de Gallo Chunky Salsa
- Burritos rolled up with grilled meat, rice and salsa.
- Corn tortilla, warmed
- Nachos are an easy dinner! Sprinkle the beans on top of tortilla chips with shredded cheddar, sour cream, guacamole and salsa.
- SoCal Style Fish Tacos
- Flour tortilla is warmed then torn and used to scoop up the beans.
- Bean bowls are perfect for last night’s leftovers. Top beans with grilled chicken, steak, Mexican rice and salsa.
- Taco Salad is created with a bed of lettuce and cabbage, then topped with ground beef, pinto beans, avocado slices. and a drizzle of thinned sour cream or crema.
- Refried Beans are made by mashing leftover cooked beans in a pot on the stove top with a drizzle of milk.
- 3 cups, dry pinto beans - pick through for rocks and rinse in a colander
- 7 cups water
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Optional: 1/2 tsp California chili powder for added spice
- After picking through and rinsing dry pinto beans, add to the Instant Pot along with the water. Sprinkle in measured spices.
- Manually set Instant Pot to high pressure cook and set for 1 hour. Make sure valve is set to "sealing".
- Once the timer goes off, allow the Instant Pot to naturally slow release the steam (do not turn the valve to release). The pot is ready to open when the metal indicator pin drops.
- There will a lot of excess water in the pot. Use a slotted spoon to remove beans. Keep some of the water when storing leftovers in the fridge.