Instant Pot Pinto Beans
See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
Instant Pot Pinto Beans are easy to make, and they are a versatile ingredient for quick, healthy meals. Learn how to cook pinto beans from dry in your Instant Pot, with cook times for both soaked and unsoaked beans.
Ever since I first made Instant Pot black beans, I’ve been hooked on cooking beans in my Instant Pot pressure cooker. Beans are a good source of vegetarian protein, and cooking dry beans in your Instant Pot is so easy!
This Instant Pot pinto beans recipe makes the best Mexican pinto beans. The taste and texture of Instant Pot beans are so much better than canned beans. Really, there’s no comparison.
Cooked beans are a versatile ingredient for healthy meals, and they also freeze well. I often make a batch of these Instant Pot pinto beans at the beginning of the week and then we get a few meals out of them during the week. You can freeze extra beans for quick meals later on.
Enjoy Instant Pot Pinto Beans as a side dish, or use them as a filling for burritos. Serve pinto beans with Mexican rice to make an easy meal of beans and rice. These pressure cooker pinto beans are also perfect for using in your favorite recipes, such as turkey chili, taco soup and chili mac.
Do you need to soak beans before pressure cooking?
You don’t need to soak beans before cooking them in an Instant Pot. Unsoaked beans will cook evenly and fairly quickly in a pressure cooker. In my experience, unsoaked beans split apart less during pressure cooking. So if you forget to soak your dried beans or you just don’t want to soak them, you can still make delicious pinto beans in your Instant Pot.
However, soaking beans for 8 to 12 hours before cooking may make them easier to digest. Soaking helps to remove some of the gas-causing sugars from the beans. Soaked beans will also cook faster.
When I remember to plan ahead, I soak my beans because it’s hardly any more effort. You can decide what works best for you and your schedule.
How to cook pinto beans in an Instant Pot
Here’s a quick overview of how to make Instant Pot pinto beans. See the recipe box at the end of this post for the full list of ingredients and instructions.
- Pick over beans to remove any debris, and, if you aren’t soaking your beans, give them a good rinse.
- Optional: soak beans in cool, filtered water for 8 to 12 hours. Drain and rinse.
- Put the beans, water and seasonings in your Instant Pot. These Mexican beans are seasoned with onion, garlic, jalapeño, chili powder, cumin and black pepper. It’s best to wait and add salt after cooking.
- Close the Instant Pot lid and turn the steam release valve to the sealing position.
- Pressure cook on high pressure: 30 minutes for unsoaked beans or 15 minutes for soaked beans.
- Let the Instant Pot natural release for 15 minutes.
- Quick release any remaining pressure.
- Open the Instant Pot lid. Stir in salt to taste.
How long to cook pinto beans in an Instant Pot
If you soak your beans, the cook time will be shorter. You can add a few minutes to the cook time for softer beans, or subtract a few minutes for firmer beans. The pressure cooking time can vary with the age of the beans and between different brands. The cook times below are what works for me in my Instant Pot.
No Soak Pinto Beans
Cook unsoaked dry pinto beans for 30 minutes at high pressure, followed by a 15 minute natural release.
Soaked Pinto Beans (tested with 8 hours of soaking time)
Cook soaked pinto beans for 15 minutes at high pressure, followed by a 15 minute natural release.
Cooking tips for Instant Pot Pinto Beans
- Salt beans after cooking, not before. If you add salt to the beans before cooking they may not become as tender. It’s also easier to salt to your tastes after cooking.
- If you are in a hurry, or if you don’t have fresh onion, garlic and jalapeño on hand, you can omit the chopped onion, minced garlic, and/or jalapeño. If you do this, I recommend adding 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, along with the chili powder, cumin and pepper. I’ve done this when I’m short on prep time and the pinto beans are still very tasty.
- If you decide to cook more than 1 pound of dry beans at a time, be careful to not overfill your Instant Pot. Never fill the pot above the line marked 1/2 in your Instant Pot when cooking foods such as dry beans that will expand while cooking.
- You can halve this recipe to make less beans. The cook time will stay the same.
- You can store cooked beans for up to 4 days in the refrigerator and up to 3 months in the freezer. Let the beans cool and then store in an airtight container.
Instant Pot Pinto Beans
- 1 pound dry pinto beans
- ½ small white onion (chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 jalapeño (seeds and ribs removed and chopped)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups water ((5 cups water for unsoaked beans), filtered if possible)
- ½ teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- Rinse and pick over beans to make sure there are no small pebbles or other debris.
- Optional: Soak beans in a large bowl of water (use filtered water, if possible) for at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours, at room temperature. Transfer soaked beans to a colander and rinse them well.
- Put pinto beans (soaked and drained or unsoaked) in the Instant Pot. Add the water and remaining ingredients, except for the salt, and stir to combine.
- Close the Instant Pot lid and turn the steam release valve to the sealing position. Set the cook time using the Pressure Cook or Manual button at high pressure:Unsoaked beans: 30 minutes.Soaked beans: 15 minutes.
- The Instant Pot will take about 10 to 15 minutes to reach pressure and then the cook time will begin counting down. When the cook time ends, allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 15 minutes by leaving the Instant Pot alone.
- Then turn the steam release valve to the venting position to make sure all of the pressure has been released. Once the pin has dropped down, carefully open the Instant Pot lid. Stir and season the beans to taste with salt.
- Cooled beans can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- If you are short on time, you can omit the fresh onion, garlic and jalapeño. Add 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder in addition to the other seasonings.
- After reader feedback and further recipe testing, I have increased the amount of water for unsoaked beans from 4 cups to 5 cups. This allows for more even cooking of the beans.
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