Instant Pot Snowcap Beans. Big, beautiful heirloom beans, cooked from dried in about an hour thanks to pressure cooking.
I got a big bag of Snowcap beans in my Rancho Gordo bean box this month. These colorful heirloom beans are a larger relative of cranberry beans. Unlike most multi-color beans, snowcap beans keep their tan and white spots even after cooking, making for a pretty pot of beans.
If you've been reading my blog for a while, this recipe will seem very familiar because pressure cooking beans is more of a technique than a recipe. See my Instant Pot Royal Corona Beans, Instant Pot Scarlet Runner Beans, Instant Pot Kidney Beans, or Instant Pot Good Mother Stallard Beans for some other examples. Snowcaps are big beans, so I make sure to soak them for even cooking.
- Dried Snowcap beans
- Fine sea salt
- Bay leaves
See the recipe card for quantities.
How to make Instant Pot Snowcap Beans
- Sort and rinse the beans: Sort through the beans, discarding any non-bean material, or broken or odd-looking beans. Rinse the beans, then do an overnight soak or a quick soak.
- Overnight soak the beans: Cover the dried beans with water and soak them for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
- OR: Quick soak the beans: Put the dried beans in an Instant Pot or another pressure cooker, cover with water, and pressure cook for 1 minute. Let the pressure come down naturally for 30 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure.
- Pressure Cook the beans for 18 minutes with a Natural Pressure Release: Drain the beans, discarding the soaking liquid. Put the beans in the pressure cooker, add 5 cups of water, sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt, then add the onions. Lock the lid and pressure cook at high pressure for 18 minutes in an Instant Pot or another electric pressure cooker, or for 15 minutes in a stovetop pressure cooker. (Use "Manual" or "Pressure Cook" mode in an Instant Pot.) Let the pressure come down naturally. (If you're in a hurry, you can quick release any remaining pressure after 15 minutes of natural release).
- Serve: Unlock the pressure cooker; discard the bay leaves and onion. To use as a side dish, serve the beans with their broth. If you want to use the beans in another recipe, drain them. Cooked beans keep in the refrigerator for a few days or a few months in the freezer. Enjoy!
Don't have an onion? You can substitute a couple of unpeeled cloves of garlic for the onion. (Or skip it.)
Don't have bay leaves? Skip them, or substitute a sprig of fresh herbs, like rosemary or thyme.
A 6-quart pressure cooker. Pressure cooker dried beans are one of the reasons I became a pressure cooker convert. 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 doubled is too much to fit in a 6-quart pressure cooker.
🤨 Soaking Snowcap beans
Snowcap beans are so big that they need a soak to cook evenly in a pressure cooker. I do an overnight soak - when I remember - and a quick soak when I don't remember. (Which, unfortunately, is most of the time. I'm an enthusiastic home cook but not good at planning ahead.)
Beans are an agricultural product, and stuff tends to creep in when they are processed. Beans should always be sorted and rinsed before using, to get rid of any twigs, stones, clumps of dirt, or broken beans.
To sort the beans, I pour them out on one side of a rimmed baking sheet (a half-sheet pan), to keep the beans from escaping. Then I slowly run my fingers through the pile of beans, pulling them towards me on the sheet. I watch the beans as they move, looking for anything that doesn't seem right. If I see something, I poke around in the beans until I find what caught my eye, and discard it. I repeat this a couple of times, until I'm satisfied everything is out of the beans.
Then I dump the beans into a fine mesh strainer and rinse them under cold running water, to wash off any dirt or dust still on the beans.
Now the beans are sorted, rinsed, and ready for soaking or cooking.
💡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, this probably means you have older beans, and they dried out. (Yes, dried beans get even drier after a while.) Stir the beans, lock the lid, and pressure cook for another five minutes. Older beans take longer to cook, and if the beans have been sitting on 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, adjust it to low heat, set the timer to 20 minutes, and leave the lid off to let the broth evaporate.
Instant Pot Snowcap Beans recipe. Big, beautiful heirloom beans, cooked from dried in about an hour thanks to pressure cooking.
- 1 pound of dried Snowcap Beans, sorted and rinsed
- 8 cups of water for soaking (see instructions)
- 5 cups of water
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 small onion, peeled and halved
- 2 bay leaves
- Sort and rinse the beans: Sort the beans, discarding any stones, dirt, or broken beans. Rinse the beans, then do an overnight or a quick soak.
- Overnight soak: Cover the beans with water, with the water level at least an inch above the beans. Leave the beans to soak for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
- OR: Pressure Quick Soak for 1 minute with a 30 minute rest: Put the beans and 8 cups of water in the pressure cooker pot. Pressure cook at high pressure for 1 minute ("Manual" or "Pressure Cook" mode in an Instant Pot for 1 minute), then let the beans sit in the pot for 30 minutes.
- Pressure Cook for 18 minutes with a Natural Pressure Release: Drain the beans, discarding the soaking liquid. Put the beans in the pressure cooker, add 5 cups of water, sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt, then add the onion and bay leaves. Lock the lid and pressure cook at high pressure for 18 minutes in an Instant Pot or another electric pressure cooker, or for 15 minutes in a stovetop pressure cooker. (Use "Manual" or "Pressure Cook" mode in an Instant Pot.) (If you're in a hurry, you can quick release any remaining pressure after 15 minutes of natural release).
- Serve: Unlock the lid on the pressure cooker. Discard the onion and bay leaves. To use as a side dish, serve the beans with their broth; to add to another recipe, drain the beans. They keep in the refrigerator for a few days or a few months in the freezer. Enjoy!
- Prep Time: 8 hours
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Instant Pot Snowcap Beans, Pressure Cooker Snowcap Beans
A 2-cup container of beans, with cooking liquid, replaces a 15-ounce can of beans from the grocery store. They'll last in the refrigerator for a few days, and freeze for up to 6 months. I always make extra beans and freeze the leftovers for use in other recipes. Freezer beans are ready to use with about 5 minutes in the microwave, and are so much better than canned.
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