Pressure cooker, Side dish, Weeknight dinner
comments 61

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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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. Jo Ann says

    I’m new at instant pot cooking. I have found out the hard way that because you cook a smaller amount or size not to reduce the cook time. I want to try this recipe but I only want to cook a half of pound of beans. Should I reduce the amount of water to 3 cups instead of 6 cups

  2. This was great. Never cooked beans in the instant but liked not having to prep the. Used chicken broth instead of water and added a few more seasonings, pressure cooked them 40 minutes but let the pressure die down itself because I like my beans kinda mushy. Continued to sauted them for about 20 while I cooked my cornbread, Worked great although still smashed a few more for my consistency. Great recipe!!

  3. JoAnn Hill says

    My hubby LOVES when I make this for him. Thx for a simple, delish recipe.

  4. Excellent results!! The beans were delicious right out of the pot. This is my new go to recipe for preparing pintos for many other dishes including refried beans, chili and any other dish that requires pintos. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hi Mike
    I Read several recipes before choosing yours. I’m just glad I went with yours after making them.
    They came out excellent! Perfect tenderness too
    I Even added ham to ours.

    Thank you so much for recipe

  6. Elaine DuBose says

    Hi Mike I was interested in understanding your comment about quick releasing so the beans will boil and create starch which thickens the soup. This is a technique used in making risotto too. I wasn’t sure if you were talking about the end of the cooking cycle or at the beginning.

  7. Sandra Cappello says

    If you do have the 8 quart insta pot and you want to double the recipe, does it change the cooking time needed?

  8. Mary says

    Delicious! My favorite recipe for making pinto beans. So easy and the beans are perfect every time. Thank you!

  9. Annie Uli says

    I love this recipe. I too added a slice of bacon, and some garlic cloves, which I removed at the end. My kids would rather eat these for breakfast than cold cereal any day.

  10. Glen in El Cerrito CA says

    Looks fun and easy! Just picked up a 25lb bag at Costco and look forward to lots of IP adventures. Dumb question, how many cups of beans is a pound?

  11. TDZ says

    Fantastic! I ended up having to cook my beans for an additional 15 minutes but being close to sea level may account for that difference. I had never cooked my beans with onion before and I really liked it. I also added a little bit of pork back to the beans as well but I may try it again next time without. Thank you!

  12. Penny says

    This recipe turned out perfectly and was so easy to follow. Thanks!!

  13. Riki says

    I made this as directed the first time, and they were perfect!! This is a fantastic base recipe for beans. Now this time, I got a little crafty. I cut up the onion and 4 cloves of garlic, plus a pound of anduoi sausage. Sauted the sausage on high in a T of oil until browned, removed it, then sauteed the onion until they looked clear, added the garlic and stirred for one more minute. Then I added one cup of water, and de-glazed the pot. Added 4 more cups, plus 1 can of diced, fire roasted tomatoes, and a few shakes of Louisiana Hot Sauce. Put the sausage back in, the beans, salt, and bay leaves. Pressure cooked as directed. Served them with rice. Yum yum!

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