Instant Pot Cajun Pinto Beans. Pinto beans, cooked New Orleans style, with smoked sausage and Cajun spices.
Cajun pinto beans? What a great idea. Let’s try it!
My version is similar to my Red Beans and Rice recipe - smoked sausage, the Cajun trinity of onion, celery, and bell pepper, and a lot of garlic. (BAM!) The only difference is I don’t soak the pinto beans. Kidney beans work better for me when they are soaked, but pinto beans are fine going dry into the cooker - they just take a little longer to cook under pressure. (That said, if you really want to soak your beans, check out the Notes section of the recipe for cooking times.)
And, I was impressed with the results. Creamy pinto beans make a great Cajun bean alternative. Give them a try, you won’t be disappointed.
[UPDATE: Turns out, Cajun Pinto Beans are a popular side dish at Bojangles restaurant, a fried chicken chain founded in Charlotte, NC, that has spread throughout the southeastern US. I’ll have to stop in and try some the next time I make it to Charlotte.]
This is a simple dried bean recipe, so the ingredients list is pretty basic
- Pinto beans
- Smoked sausage
- Green Bell Pepper
- Cajun seasoning
- Bay leaf
See recipe card for quantities.
Don’t have rosemary or garlic? You can substitute a bay leaf for the rosemary (or skip it), or a peeled onion for the garlic (or skip it). And, as I said above, Rancho Gordo’s Marcella beans are my favorite variety of cannellini beans, but they’re not the only cannellini bean out there - dried beans from any source with good turnover will work.
A 6-quart pressure cooker. Pressure cooker dried beans are one of the reasons I became a pressure cooker convert, and love my Instant Pot. Try them - you’ll never go back to canned beans. (OK, maybe you will, for convenience - but see the Storage section for tips on make ahead freezer beans.)
This recipe scales down easily - cut everything in half if you don’t need as many beans, or have a 3-quart pressure cooker. Scaling up runs into space issues; if you have an 8-quart pressure cooker, you can double this recipe, but it’s too much to fit in a 6-quart pressure cooker.
🤨 Soaking pinto beans?
I get the “to soak, or not to soak?” question all the the time. I don’t soak my pinto beans in this basic recipe. They don’t need an overnight soak, and cook to tenderness with 40 minutes at high pressure.
That doesn’t mean you can’t soak the beans. They turn out fine, though the bean broth isn’t quite as full bodied. Soaked beans cook much quicker, 15 minutes at high pressure. I use that when I’m cooking the beans with other ingredients, where the shorter cooking time keeps me from overcooking the whole dish just to get the beans tender.
💡Tips and Tricks
- Salt your bean water! “Salt toughens beans” is a myth. Salting before cooking helps season the beans all the way through as they cook.
- If your beans are still tough when the cooking time is over, especially any “floaters” at the top of the pot, give the beans a stir, lock the lid, and pressure cook for another five minutes. Older beans take longer to cook, and if the beans have been sitting in the shelf at your store for a while, they may need extra time.
- Simmer to thicken: If you have the time, and want thicker bean liquid, simmer the beans for 20 minutes after pressure cooking. I set my Instant Pot to Sauté mode adjusted to low, set the timer to 20 minutes, and leave the lid off to let the broth evaporate.
- Or, puree to thicken: The quick way to thicken the bean broth is to puree a cup of the cooked beans and liquid, then stir them back into the pot. Instant thickener!
Pinto beans, cooked New Orleans style, with smoked sausage and Cajun spices.
- 1 pound dried pinto beans, sorted and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- ½ pound smoked sausage (preferably andouille), quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into ¼ inch wedges
- 1 large onion, minced
- 1 stalk celery, minced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and minced
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning (store bought or homemade)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 cups water (or homemade chicken broth)
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Cooked long grain white rice
- Minced parsley
- Minced green onions
- Hot sauce (Tabasco is traditional)
- Sort and rinse the beans: Sort the pinto beans, removing broken beans, stones, and dirt clods. Rinse the beans in a fine mesh strainer.
- Sauté the aromatics, sausage, and spices: Heat the oil in an Instant Pot set to Sauté mode adjusted to high (or a stovetop pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat) until the oil starts shimmering. Add the smoked sausage, onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic, and sprinkle with the ½ teaspoon salt. Sauté, stirring often, until the onions and sausage start to brown around the edges, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle the onions and sausage with the Cajun seasoning. Cook, stirring often, for 1 minute to bloom the spices in the seasoning.
- Pressure cook the beans for 40 minutes with a Natural Release: Pour the sorted and rinsed pinto beans into the pressure cooker, add the bay leaves and 1 teaspoon of salt, and then stir in the water. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and cook at high pressure for 40 minutes in an electric PC or 35 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure release naturally, about 20 minutes. (If you’re in a hurry, you can quick release the pressure after 15 minutes of natural release). Remove the lid carefully, opening away from you – even when it’s not under pressure, the steam in the cooker is very hot. Discard the bay leaves.
- Thickening option 1: Ladle out 2 cups of the beans and bean liquid, purée, and pour back into the pot. (I do this in a quart measuring cup with my stick blender.)
- Thickening option 2: Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode adjusted to low (or low heat for a stovetop PC), and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
- Serve: Serve and enjoy!
Have to soak your beans? Sort and rinse them the night before, soak them overnight, and cook at high pressure for 15 minutes (with a Natural Release)
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 75 minutes
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: Cajun
Keywords: Instant Pot Cajun Pinto Beans, Pressure Cooker Cajun Pinto Beans
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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