Monday, March 14, 2022

Instant Pot Pinto Beans

Instant Pot Pinto Beans are tender and flavorful, perfect alone or as part of a meal. Learn how to cook pinto beans in a pressure cooker! 

Savory and smoky with just a touch of heat, this pressure cooker bean recipe is sure to become a new favorite!

Pair this simple side dish with all of your Mexican favorites or dig into a bowl for a hearty snack.

They’re a great way to add protein to any meal, plus they keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days — perfect for leftovers or meal prep!

Did you know you can make perfect corn on the cob in the IP as well? It’s also great for fluffy brown rice or these incredible pulled pork sliders.

Instant Pot Pinto Beans

Not only is this pinto beans recipe incredibly simple, but it takes a fraction of the time as stovetop versions!

Toss all of your ingredients into the stainless steel insert, seal the lid, and cook on High for 50 minutes.

Once the timer is up, let it release pressure naturally for about 30 minutes. Then, open the vent to finish the pressure release and drain before serving!

instant pot pinto beans on a spoon

Pinto Beans Recipe Tips

  • Rinse first! Often there are tiny bits of debris that were missed during processing. Be sure to pick those out before starting the recipe.
  • Salt after cooking. Salt can sometimes prevent the beans from softening. Instead, taste your Instant Pot pinto beans just before serving and season as needed at that point.
  • Add a garnish. Enjoy a bowl of Instant Pot pinto beans with some salsa, cilantro, and fresh avocado. Even a squeeze of lime would be delicious.
  • Vegetarian option: Simply swap the chicken stock for vegetable stock instead!
  • Want to make refried beans? Reserve some of the cooking liquid from the IP. Add as much as needed while mashing for moisture.
instant pot pinto beans ingredients

Kitchen Tools You Will Need
  • Instant Pot - This is the one I use, but any electric pressure cooker will do.
  • Mesh Colander - Rinse and drain in a snap!
making pinto beans in instant pot

Instant Pot Pinto Beans FAQ

Do you need to soak beans before cooking?

It depends. Soaking the night before does help them cook faster (and a bit more evenly), but it’s not required.

For a stovetop cooking method, it may be better to soak so you don’t have the stove on for hours at a time.

Pressure cooking already reduces that time significantly, but you can cook them in as little as 15 minutes on High if you still prefer to soak them first.

instant pot pinto beans in pot

Can I halve this recipe?

Absolutely! This makes a nice big pot, so you can easily reduce the amount if you only want to make a pound at a time.

What spices go well with pinto beans?

I like to use a blend of New Mexico chile powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and black pepper for a Mexican-inspired flavor.

The dish is flavorful enough to eat alone but seasoned perfectly for a variety of Tex Mex meals.

You could also lean heavily into tomato and molasses flavors, along with plenty of pork, for a number of baked bean recipes.

Or, lean into earthy flavors with some combination of thyme, sage, rosemary, and marjoram!

how to cook pinto beans in instant pot


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Instant Pot Pinto Beans on a spoon wide photo

Yield: 14 cups
Author: Donna Elick
Instant Pot Pinto Beans

Instant Pot Pinto Beans

Instant Pot pinto beans are tender and flavorful, perfect alone or as part of a meal. Learn how to cook pinto beans in a pressure cooker!
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 50 MinTotal time: 1 Hour


  • 2 pounds dry pinto beans
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 2 teaspoons New Mexico chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt to taste (add after cooking)
  • 12 cups chicken stock
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish


  1. Rinse dry beans under running water and drain through a sieve. Remove any loose debris or non-bean particles. Place beans in the bottom of the instant pot insert.
  2. Add diced onion,chile powder, cumin, paprika, and black pepper.
  3. Pour chicken stock into the pot and stir to combine everything.
  4. Fit in the instant pot, seal lid, and program to cook on HIGH for 50 minutes.
  5. Allow the instant pot to vent naturally for 30 minutes and then release any remaining pressure.
  6. Drain the extra liquid from the beans (or use some of it to moisten beans if making refried beans).
  7. Serve with cilantro.
  1. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
  2. Beans do not need to be soaked. If you do soak the beans, it will reduce the needed cook time in the instant pot (to about 15 minutes on HIGH instead of 50).
  3. This makes a nice, large pot of beans. You can simply half the recipe if you’d like to make just 1 pound of beans.
  4. Salt can effect the cooking of the beans. Sometimes, salt prevents the beans from softening. It’s best to taste the beans when they are done cooking and season accordingly. I did not find that the chicken broth (which had regular salt content) prevented the beans from softening.
  5. We loved these served with salsa, cilantro, and avocado. A squeeze of lime would also be delicious.

Originally published March 2022

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1 comment:

  1. What size Instant Pot did you make these in? 6qt? or bigger?


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