I’ve already shared a few complete recipes with you using the Instant Pot, but some of my favorite uses for it are less complete recipes/meals, and more accurately described as components for other things. For instance, hard boiled eggs, spaghetti squash, shredded chicken, dried beans… you get it. So to make things easy to find, all my Instant Pot recipes will be filed under the category they fall into on my Recipes page, and they can also be found under the Instant Pot page as well!
This is what you’re looking for, and I’ll link all future Instant Pot How-To posts to this spot for easy reference. So without further ado, how to cook dried beans in the Instant Pot. If you were to cook dried beans on the stove top, we’re talking about hours upon hours of simmer time. Before I owned an Instant Pot I did this, and it was such a pain. Not only is the stove top running for hours which means for safety reasons you really can’t go anywhere, you also run the risk of the liquid evaporating off, the beans sticking or burning… ain’t nobody got time for that kinda babysitting. So Instant Pot to the rescue for ease and efficiency. If you look in your Instant Pot recipe book, you’ll find pages 31-37 are tables of basic cooking times for different categories of foods. When it comes to beans, you’ll notice there are lots of different types of beans listed, and the cooking times might vary slightly, but not much. Do note that the cooking times ARE significantly different depending on whether you pre-soaked your beans or not. I didn’t use to soak my beans, but then I learned about how soaking significantly improves digestion and manages the phytic acid content. Same goes for nuts, grains, and flours. Since I learned this information, I began soaking my beans overnight. If you’d like to learn more about how soaking these ingredients affects your health, you can do so here.
For my Beer Chili, Texas Chili, and Pasta e Fagioli recipes, I use multiple different bean varieties. I love that I can prepare all of them in one simple cook cycle. Can I get a hallelujah?! I use 1/2 c. dried beans (soaked and cooked) in place of a can. But why use dried beans versus canned ones? The problem with canned goods is that the cans themselves can often contain a BPA lining. BPA is a harmful substance and known endocrine disruptor. This same chemical is used in many plastics as well, and it can leach into your food. You can learn more about why you should avoid BPA here. Since BPA is a toxin, we aim to reduce our exposure to this compound as much as possible. The link above shares lots of items BPA is found in, and easy ways to reduce exposure. Now back to the canned goods – they also can contain unnecessary additives or ingredients, so always check your labels. I do still have a can or two of beans on hand for when I am in a pinch, and for those I always buy organic, in BPA free cans, with minimal ingredients such as beans, water, and salt. But dried organic beans are much more cost effective, produce less waste (the lack of cans), and also consume less space in my pantry. Triple win. Quadruple if you count how easy they are to prepare in the Instant Pot! You are all set with fresh cooked beans that are ready to be added to your soups, stews or straight to your plate!
So let’s get down to it… the preparation.
Instant Pot How-To: Dried Beans
Measure the amount of beans need and place them into a large glass bowl. Remember, use either the amount the recipe calls for as dried beans, or one 1/2 cup to use in place of 1 can.
2. For kidney beans, add a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. For non-kidney shaped beans (black beans, pinto beans, etc.), replace the baking soda with 1 T. of vinegar (distilled white or apple cider are fine) per cup of beans.3. Fill the bowl with filtered water and cover. Allow to soak at least 12 hours, and it is ideal to change the liquid at least once.
4. After soaking, pour off the liquid and rinse with fresh water.
5. Place the soaked and rinsed beans into the Instant Pot, and add filtered water to cover by about 1 inch.
6. Set the IP to 20-25 minutes on manual. I like my beans a bit softer, so I cook for 25 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release after cooking, then drain and use.