Instant Pot pinto beans are easy to cook from dry in a pressure cooker: no soaking required! Serve them straight or with Mexican flavors as a simple side.
Confession: Alex and I are terrible at thinking ahead. So we don’t often cook dried beans! Cooking beans on the stove requires actual forethought: you’ve got to soak them overnight. Then you have to spend a few hours boiling them on the stove. But guess what? Thanks to the magic of a pressure cooker, you can cook dried beans with no soaking required! These Instant Pot pinto beans are seriously fast (in bean cooking terms!) and totally hands off. Add a few Mexican style seasonings, and they’re a simple side dish. Ready to get cooking?
Why make Instant Pot pinto beans?
It’s no secret that you can easily buy canned pinto beans. So why would you go to the trouble of making pinto beans in an Instant Pot? Here are a few reasons why:
- It’s quick and hands off. Just set it and forget it! In an hour and 15 minutes, you’ll have perfectly cooked and seasoned pinto beans!
- It’s cheaper than canned. Cooking pinto beans in a pressure cooker is more than half the price of canned!
- It’s way more delicious. Canned beans can be mushy and have a lackluster flavor. These Instant Pot pinto beans are perfectly tender with just the right amount of firmness.
How long does it take to cook Instant Pot pinto beans? 1 hour 15 minutes. You can make it even shorter if you omit the optional Mexican seasonings (see below).
Make them as Mexican pinto beans or straight up!
These Instant Pot pinto beans can be made two ways: both are delicious! Here are your options:
- Option 1: Straight up. If you simply want to cook pinto beans in your pressure cooker, here’s your method. Combine the beans with vegetable broth, water, and salt, and cook away! (If you’d like, keep the minced onion from the Mexican seasonings to add extra flair.)
- Option 2: Mexican pinto beans: Here’s how to make a perfectly seasoned side dish of pinto beans! They’re cooked with Mexican flavors: canned green chiles, onion, cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder. They’re the perfect simple side dish for tacos or enchiladas!
Instant Pot pinto beans: the basic steps
Here are the basic steps for how to make Instant Pot pinto beans! Here’s the method that works in a 6-quart Instant Pot / pressure cooker. If you have a different brand or size, you’ll find that timing may vary (see below for more). Bean brands and the age of the beans can affect the cook time as well, so use the base recipe timing and then adjust as needed! Here’s how to make Instant Pot pinto beans:
- Place 1 pound pinto beans in a pressure cooker with 4 cups vegetable broth, 2 cups water and and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Or see below for adding the Mexican-style seasonings.
- Pressure cook on High for 38 minutes (it takes about 15 minutes to “preheat” and get up to pressure).
- Natural release for 15 minutes.
What kind of Instant Pot do you use?
Alex and I use this Instant Pot 6 Qt Programmable Pressure Cooker. We’d only recommend using a 6 quart pressure cooker for this recipe. We also can’t speak to other brands and types of pressure cookers. For example, the Instant Pot Mini can work a bit differently than the standard size: don’t use a Mini here since the quantity is much too large.
Important: clean the sealing ring!
The lid on a pressure cooker has a plastic sealing ring inside that helps to create a tight seal. This sealing ring can pick up odors from the food that you cook in it. If you use the cumin and chili powder in this recipe, the sealing ring will likely pick up that smell! Our best tip: purchase extra sealing rings! Alex and I have extra sealing rings and use one for sweet and one for savory recipes.
Either way, here’s how to clean the sealing ring after you make this recipe:
- Remove the sealing ring and fully clean it in soapy water after cooking.
- Smell it! If it still has an odor, soak it in vinegar for a few hours.
- Store the Instant Pot with the lid upside down so the sealing ring is exposed to air, instead of with the lid closed onto the pot. This allows the sealing ring to air out between uses.
Get it! Buy extra Instant Pot sealing rings.
This Instant Pot pinto beans recipe is…
Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.Print
Instant Pot pinto beans are quick and easy in a pressure cooker: no soaking required! Serve them straight up or with Mexican flavors as a simple side.
- Finely chop the onion.
- In the Instant Pot, place the onion, pinto beans, salt, broth, water, green chiles, garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder, and give them a stir. Lock the lid and place the vent in the “Sealing” position.
- Cook on high pressure 38 minutes. Note that it takes about 15 minutes for the pot to “preheat” and come up to pressure before it starts cooking. (During cooking, avoid touching the metal part of the lid.)
- Natural release for 15 minutes. After the Instant Pot beeps, set a timer and wait for the natural release to let the Instant Pot release pressure. Then vent any remaining steam by moving the vent to “Venting”, covering your hand with a towel or hot pad. Never put your hands or face near the vent when releasing steam. (During this time the pressure indicator in the lid may drop on its own, meaning that there is no remaining steam in the pot.)
- Open the lid and taste a bean to see if it is tender. Since all brands vary, you may need a few more minutes. Once cooked, taste and add additional salt if necessary. Serve immediately with a slotted spoon, store in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days, or freeze indefinitely. We freeze drained beans in sealable containers in 1 1/2 cup servings, which equals 1 15-ounce can.
*If you’d like to cook the pinto beans without Mexican flavors, omit the onion (optional), green chiles, cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder. IMPORTANT: Read and abide by all safety precautions in your Instant Pot / pressure cooker manual.
- Category: Essentials
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: Beans
Keywords: Instant Pot Pinto Beans, Instant Pot Mexican Pinto Beans
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.