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A white bowl of Christmas lima beans on a wood table with an Instant Pot and sprig of thyme in the background.

Instant Pot Christmas Lima Beans

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups of beans 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Instant Pot Christmas Lima Beans. These pressure cooked heirloom beans make a great side dish.



Soaking Beans

  • 1 pound Christmas lima beans (about 2½ cups), sorted and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 8 cups water

Cooking Beans

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)


  1. Sort and rinse the beans: Spread the beans out on a rimmed baking sheet and sort through them, discarding any stones, dirt, or broken beans. Rinse the beans, then do an overnight or a quick soak.
  2. Overnight soak: Cover the beans with the 8 cups of water and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of salt. Leave the beans to soak at least 8 hours, or overnight. Drain the beans and discard the soaking liquid.
  3. OR: Pressure Quick Soak for 1 minute with a 30 minute rest: Put the beans, 8 cups of water, and 2 teaspoons of salt in an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker. Pressure cook at high pressure for 1 minute (use “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot), then let the beans sit for 30 minutes. Release any remaining pressure, drain the beans and discard the soaking liquid. (Wipe the pot out if you're using it again to cook the beans.)
  4. Pressure Cook for 15 minutes with a 15 minute Natural Release: Put the soaked beans in the Instant Pot, add 5 cups of water, sprinkle with the teaspoon of salt, then add the onion halves and thyme. Lock the lid and pressure cook at high pressure for 15 minutes in an Instant Pot or other electric PC (use “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot), or for 12 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure come down naturally for 15 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure.
  5. Serve: Discard the onion and thyme sprigs. To use as a side dish, serve the beans with their broth; to add to another recipe, drain the beans and cool. Enjoy!


Forgot to soak your Christmas limas? Cook them for 45 minutes at high pressure with a 15 minute natural release.

Make ahead beans: Freeze leftover beans, covered in broth, in 2-cup containers for up to 6 months.

  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Instant Pot Christmas Lima Beans, Pressure Cooker Christmas Lima Beans