Pressure cooker, Side dish, Weeknight dinner
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Instant Pot Pinto Beans

Three bowls of cooked pinto beans on a tabletop, with text below saying "Instant Pot Pinto Beans | DadCooksDinner"
Instant Pot Pinto Beans

I have a couple of pinto bean recipes on DadCooksDinner. But the recipe I use the most, simple Instant Pot Pinto Beans, aren’t on the blog. Let’s fix that, shall we? Here’s the method I use on weeknights. No soaking, no fancy stuff, just a simple pot of beans, cooked from dried in about an hour.

Do you soak beans for the Instant Pot

Someone is going to ask this question: Do I need to soak dried beans before cooking? No. Especially not for Instant Pots or pressure cookers. Soaking beans speeds up cooking. On the stovetop, that means soaked beans cook for hours less than un-soaked beans. But in a pressure cooker, the difference isn’t that big of a deal. It takes 40 minutes at high pressure for un-soaked beans, vs. 20 minutes for soaked. That’s why I’m a fan of Instant Pot beans; I’m not organized enough to soak beans overnight, but I can still make a weeknight pot of beans.

Overhead view of an Instant Pot full of uncooked pinto beans covered with water, and an onion and bay leaves floating in the water
Beans, water, salt, onion, and bay leaves in the Instant Pot, ready to cook

At its most basic, this recipe can be pinto beans and water, but there are a couple of small finesse items I add to my Instant Pot Pinto Beans recipe. The first is quick-releasing the pressure. Quick releasing brings the pot to a sudden boil, which roughs up the beans and stirs some of their starch into the pot liquid. The second thing is adding salt to the cooking water. Yes, it’s OK. It won’t harden the beans, and it seasons them more thoroughly. The last one is adding an onion and bay leaves. They’re not necessary, but they add a hint of sweet and herbs to the beans.

Recipe: Instant Pot Pinto Beans

Three bowls of cooked Pinto Beans on a tabletop

Instant Pot Pinto Beans

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups of beans
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Tex-Mex


Instant Pot Pinto Beans. Simple, delicious, dried beans, cooked in about an hour thanks to pressure cooking.


  • 1 pound Pinto Beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 small to medium onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)
  • Cilantro for garnish (Optional)


  1. Sort and rinse the beans: Sort the pinto beans, removing any broken beans, stones, and dirt clods. Put the beans in a strainer and rinse under running water.
  2. Pressure cook the beans for 40 minutes with a quick pressure release: Put the rinsed beans in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker pot. Pour in the 6 cups of water, then stir in the teaspoon of salt and add the onion and bay leaves. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker. Cook on high pressure for 40 minutes in an electric pressure cooker or 35 minutes in a stovetop PC. (In an Instant Pot, use “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode set for 40 minutes). Quick release the pressure in the pot.
  3. Serve: Remove the pressure cooker lid – open it away from you to protect yourself from the hot steam. Discard the onion and bay leaves. Ladle the beans into bowls, and serve.


  • Want even thicker bean broth? Scoop a cup of beans and broth out and puree them with a blender (I use my stick blender), then stir the pureed beans back into the pot.
  • Freeze leftovers in 2-cup containers for up to 6 months; each 2-cup container is the equivalent of a 15-oz can of beans.
  • Want to soak your beans? Do the sort and rinse step, then cover the beans with water overnight. Drain the beans, and continue with the recipe, cutting the pressure cooking time to 18 minutes.


Keywords: Instant Pot Pinto Beans, Pressure Cooker Pinto Beans

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

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