Ready to use in your favorite Mexican style recipe, or to just eat plain, these Instant Pot pinto beans are a game changer, with no soaking and a much quicker cook time. 

Image of cooked pinto beans made from dried beans using an instant pot.

I’m just in love with my Instant Pot! All right, maybe that’s a little over the top, but every day I find new things to love about cooking with my pressure cooker.

Mostly, I love the speediness. When you can take something like dry, hard beans and have them ready to eat in about an hour, I find that truly kind of amazing, don’t you?

And it’s all pretty much hands-off time, so you can be working on other aspects of your dinner, or just taking a break with a cup of coffee and a good book (my preference, for sure!). 

The ultimate question is: How do pinto beans taste when they’ve been pressure cooked in an Instant Pot? Delicious! Much more tasty and economical than canned beans, and without all the sodium.

Image of cooked pinto beans in an instant pot with a wooden spoon on a wooden background.

About these Instant Pot Pinto Beans

An important thing to remember is that dry beans absorb a lot of water. I use 6 cups of water with 1 pound of pinto beans. The beans don’t absorb all 6 cups of the water. You’ll have lots of nice bean broth, which you can eat with the beans. I like to let the beans sit in the cooking liquid while they cool a bit so they can absorb a little more of that delicious broth. 

Season the beans liberally with chopped onion, a bay leaf or two, salt and pepper. Put the lid on securely, select Pressure Cook, set the cooking time for 50 minutes, and let the pinto beans cook. When the cooking time is up, natural release for 15 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure. That’s it! In just over an hour, you have perfectly cooked pinto beans, firm but not crunchy. 

I like to use these cooked pinto beans in a variety of recipes. You can make them into refried beans, add them to your favorite chili with ground beef or turkey, make soup or vegetarian stuffed peppers (coming soon!), or use them in a taco salad. I really like this quinoa salad with pinto beans and avocado dressing. One of my favorite pinto bean dishes is frijoles borrachos, or “drunken beans”.

Instant Pot pinto beans are delicious just plain, too. I had a bowl of cooked pinto beans on the counter cooling and my mom and I kept sneaking a taste because they’re kind of addicting. 

Image of dry pinto beans in a white rectangular dish.

Do you need to soak the beans before they are cooked in a pressure cooker?

As I mention above, you don’t need to presoak the beans. However, according to the recipe booklet that comes with your Instant Pot, if you pre-soak the beans for 4-6 hours in water (4 times the volume of the beans), the cooking time will be reduced to 7-9 minutes. 

If you have time to presoak the beans, as you can see, the cooking time is cut drastically. Soak or no soak? Decide which way works best in your schedule. 

Or maybe slow cooking works best for you, I get that! Check out how to make slow cooker pinto beans.

Close up image of dry pinto beans.

 How do you cook dried beans in an Instant Pot?

You can cook any type of dried beans in your Instant Pot pressure cooker. Water and beans are all you need, seasoning is optional. Check the cookbook that comes with your Instant Pot for guidelines on how long to cook each type of bean. Easy, easy, easy!

Image of Instant Pot pinto beans in a small bowl garnished with cilantro. A blue and white checkered cloth is in the background.

How to make this Instant Pot recipe your own:

  • Add seasonings, like garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and/or cayenne.
  • Spice it up a little with a can of green chiles. 
  • Make them plain. I would definitely add a little salt though. 
  • Add chopped bacon to the Instant Pot and cook it with the beans. 
  • Try different varieties of beans.

Image of pressure cooked pinto beans in a small bowl on a wooden background. A fork and a blue and white checkered cloth are also pictured.

Reheating and Storage Tips

Cooked pinto beans will keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, ready to use in the recipe of your choosing.

For longer storage, freeze pinto beans in freezer containers with their juice, or in freezer bags if they’re drained, for up to 6 months. If you’re adding beans to chili or soups, you can toss them in without thawing. If you’re adding the pinto beans to salads, thaw overnight in the refrigerator for best results. 

Other basics that will make you fall in love with your Instant Pot:

Do you really love your Instant Pot? If you’re still on the fence, try some of these game changing basic recipes, and watch out! You may find yourself falling in love. 

 

Image of pressure cooked pinto beans in a small bowl on a wooden background. A fork and a blue and white checkered cloth are also pictured.

Instant Pot Pinto Beans (no soaking needed!)

Yield: 5 cups, drained
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Ready to use in your favorite Mexican style recipe, or to just eat plain, these Instant Pot pinto beans are a game changer, with no soaking and a much quicker cook time. 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry pinto beans (about 2 cups)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (about ½ cup)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Rinse beans and pick out any stones, pebbles, or non-bean materials. 
  2. Put beans into Instant Pot. Add water, onion, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Stir. Secure lid, turn valve to seal.
  3. Set pressure cooker to "pressure cook" or "manual" (depending on model), high pressure, for 50 minutes. Let pressure release naturally (in other words, leave it alone) for 15 minutes.
  4. Quick release any remaining pressure by turning valve to “vent.” Remove lid.
  5. Carefully remove bay leaf. Beans can be drained, or you can scoop beans out with a slotted spoon, or enjoy them with the cooking broth. It's delicious!
  6. Serve, garnished with chopped cilantro, if desired.

Notes

    • Want to keep it basic? This recipe will work just fine with water and beans, but I recommend adding salt at the very least. 
    • Want to kick it up a notch? Try cooking with chicken broth instead of water, and/or adding 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper.  
    • For another twist, try adding a can of diced green chiles.
    • To use as “refried” beans: Drain beans, reserving liquid. Blend with an immersion blender or a potato masher, adding liquid as needed.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 160Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 223mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 7gSugar: 1gProtein: 10g

RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

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Verdict: I love these so much, I don’t think I’ll ever buy canned pinto beans again. Okay, I probably will, but every time I do, I’ll regret not just making these.
Husband’s take: Ben’s a fan! 
Changes I would make: None are necessary but definitely try some of the ideas we mentioned above! 
Difficulty: So easy!!