Pressure cooker, Side dish, Weeknight dinner
comments 65

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

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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 1x


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.
  • Halving the recipe? You can halve the recipe if you want to fit it in a 3-quart Instant Pot (or just don’t feel like a lot of beans).
  • Doubling the recipe? You can double the recipe if you have an 8-quart Instant Pot. You shouldn’t double the recipe in a 6-quart pot – it takes it over half full, which can be dangerous if bean skins clog the steam vents.


  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Tex-Mex

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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Pressure Cooker Refried Pinto Beans – DadCooksDinner
Pressure Cooker Refried Black Beans – DadCooksDinner
Pressure Cooker Southwestern Pinto Bean Soup – DadCooksDinner
My other Pressure Cooker Recipes

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Filed under: Pressure cooker, Side dish, Weeknight dinner


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  1. Lauren Warren says

    This saved my life! I have been using my Instant Pot for a while and there’s always a quick, savior recipe like this one to make my daily mom life go quick and smooth! 🙌🏻👍🏻

  2. Judy says

    Judy, just got my hot pot, first time I cooked pinto beans was 50 years ago. Didn’t know you had to was them, they were in a sealed bag. Well my new husband asked me if I washed them, I said why? Well he found the dirt pieces. Good memories. I’m cooking the beans tomorrow.

  3. Julie Tree says

    Thanks – came out perfectly, and I’ll check out your other recipes

  4. Kylie Offutt says

    If you double the recipe, would you double the amount of water as well?

  5. These beans came out awesome! Question: How long should I cook the beans if I double the recipe?

  6. Elizabeth Gonzalez says

    We are a family of 9 so I usually cook more than 1 lb. Do you know about how much can be cooked at 1 time in the 8qt instant pot lux?

  7. Karen Hester says

    I never leave a review but these beans turned out so beautifully I feel compelled to. I’ve been making beans for nearly 40 years and have either soaked and done them on the stove or in my slow cooker all day. Today was a game changer. They were the perfect texture.

  8. Rhonda Valdez says

    Hello Mike, I have been cooking beans for probably close to 4o years, mostly just on the stove top. Years ago I used to use my old fashioned non electric pressure cooker, now I have an instant pot and so…. I always have soaked my beans to release gas for about an hour in very hot water, rinse tfen cook, my question is, do you know how long I would cook them in the instant pot with an altitude of 5000 ft? Thank you so much.

  9. Jessie says

    Thank you! I’m new to instant pot and I used this to make my beans for chili. 🙂

  10. Shelly says

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I have been making beans for over 15 years, being Mexican it’s a staple lol, I am so glad I no longer have to spend four hours in front of the stove!! I didn’t have a baby l age but I added salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and a goya tomato/cilantro seasoning packet usually found in the international food aisle.. thank you again!!!

  11. Mindy says

    I’m new to Instant Pot and this recipe was delish. I rough chopped the onion and used 1/2 chicken stock and 1/2 water. When the beans were done I reserved about two cups of liquid and used my immersion blender to make “refried beans”. So good!!

    • Because they may have bits of dirt or stones in them – you want to make sure the batch is clean before you start to cook it.

  12. Lori says

    I dropped in a slice of maple bacon, that was the only change I made. Delicious!!!! Just the flavor I was seeking – I didn’t want spicy beans, just savory with a hint of sweet. This recipe delivered just that. Definitely a keeper.

  13. Julie says

    Absolutely delicious. First time making beans in a pressure cooker and first time having beans turn out correctly. I live at 7,000 feet and only cooked mine for 32 minutes and they came out perfectly. I was looking for a bit firmer consistency though.

  14. This recipe is perfect. the beans came out exactly right. A little extra water at the end and I did not use the onion but next time I will. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Elaine Carrillo says

    This quick and simple recipe for pinto beans in the Instant Pot is delicious! Thank you! Note: if you live at altitude above 5,000 feet you will need to add time for cooking. I’m at about 6-7000 feet and had to add about 12 minutes.

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