How to Cook Black Beans in the Instant Pot

I never thought I’d be the type of person who cooks her own beans from scratch, but thanks to the Instant Pot, I have officially become that person. I have a feeling you might start cooking your own beans from scratch, too, once you see how easy and affordable it is. (If you don’t have an Instant Pot, don’t worry, I’ve also included stove top directions at the bottom of this post.)

I had previously been intimidated by cooking my own beans from scratch, possibly because I remember reading that red kidney beans could be toxic if cooked in a slow cooker. That’s because raw kidney beans contain a particularly high concentration of the lectin called Phytohaemagglutnin, and this concentration is greatly reduced with cooking. A slow cooker doesn’t always reach a boiling temperature needed to fully cook the beans, so some people have reported getting sick after eating kidney beans that have been cooked in the slow cooker. (You can read more about red kidney bean toxicity here.)

Luckily, that’s not a worry with the Instant Pot, as it does reach a high cooking temperature, and other types of beans, including black beans, have a much lower concentration of this lectin. There haven’t been any toxicity reports linked to consuming them. Still, you can stay on the safe side by making sure your beans are fully cooked. Since beans can withstand quite a bit of overcooking, I tend to err on the side of overcooking, so that the beans are very tender.

Also, good news! You don’t have to soak beans before cooking them. They cook plenty fast in the pressure cooker, so you don’t have to worry about a slow cooking process, and most people have reported little to no improvement when it comes to digesting beans after they’ve been soaked. Plus, beans taste better when you skip the soaking process.

pouring beans, salt, and water into Instant Pot

Now that we’ve gotten past what might make the cooking process sound intimidating, let’s talk about the benefits of cooking beans from scratch:

  1. You save money. Beans are already a relatively cheap food, with a 15 ounce can of cooked organic black beans in my midwest grocery store costing about $0.99. I bought a 16 ounce bag of dry organic black beans for $1.25 last week, and that cooked up to be 6 cups of black beans– roughly 4 cans worth! So, you get almost quadruple the amount of beans for the same price when you cook your own dry beans from scratch.
  2. You avoid toxins found in can linings. A recent nationwide report by the Center for Environmental Health stated that nearly 40% of cans in supermarkets still contain BPA in their can linings, which can leach into our food and wreak havoc on our bodies. (If you have my book, Everyday Detox, you can read more about how exposure to BPA can cause weight gain, regardless of your calorie intake or exercise.) Though many companies are moving away from using BPA in their can linings, there’s not adequate safety information on the materials that they are using to replace it. (19% of the cans tested contained PVC, a toxic substitute.)
  3. You avoid any unwanted additives. When you make your own beans from scratch, you control everything that goes into them. In the case of this recipe, you’re only cooking the in water and a touch of sea salt, so that they can be used in a variety of things– from Vegan Black Bean Brownies to Quinoa Burrito Bowls.

vegan sweet potato rice burrito bowl in white bowl with avocado in background

What are the health benefits of black beans?

  • They contain a significant amount of “resistant starch,” which is a type of starch that passes through your upper digestive system without being broken down into simple sugars. This makes black beans a low-glycemic option and helps promote colon heath.
  • Black beans may also help to boost fat metabolism and lower cholesterol levels in the blood.
  • Black beans are loaded with fiber, folate (which is particularly important for pregnant women), and important minerals like zinc, magnesium, and iron.

I hope this easy cooking method will have you enjoying black beans more often. Be sure to check out the black bean recipes below for more ideas on how to enjoy them!

overhead picture of cooked black beans on white background

3 from 3 votes
Print
How to Cook Black Beans in the Instant Pot
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

Here's how to cook black beans in the Instant Pot, saving you time and money. No need to soak your beans ahead of time!

Course: Side Dish
Servings: 6 cups
Calories: 257 kcal
Ingredients
  • 1 pound dry black beans (about 2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 8 cups water
Instructions
  1. Combine the beans, salt, and water in the bowl of the Instant Pot and give it a stir. 

  2. Cover with the lid, and be sure to turn the vent at the top to the "sealed" position.

  3. Manually set the Instant Pot to cook for 25 minutes at high pressure. 

  4. When the timer goes off, let the steam pressure naturally release for at least 20 minutes before attempting to remove the lid. 

  5. Drain the beans and store them in an airtight container the fridge or freezer until ready to use. Store them in 1.5 cup portions so you can use them instead of canned beans for future use. 

How to Cook Black Beans on the Stove Top:

Since stove top cooking can be more time consuming, you may want to soak your black beans to speed the cooking time. Soak them in water for 8 hours, or overnight, then drain before cooking.

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large pot on the stove, and bring the mixture to a boil.
  2. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cover the pot. Let them cook for one hour before checking for doneness.
  3. Use a fork to press a bean against the side of the pot to check for doneness. It should easily mash when done. Black beans can take up to 2 hours to cook fully, depending on the age of the bean and if you soaked them ahead of time or not.

black bean burrito bowl, stack of black bean brownies, Mexican layer dip

Black Bean Recipes:

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite way to use black beans? 

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Comments

Lora

I have always cooked black beans on the stove but was excited to try them in the IP. But when I made them in the IP they came out mealy. Any thoughts on what’s happening?

    Megan Gilmore

    Hmmm… did you use this method, where you don’t soak them and cook on high pressure for 25 minutes? I just made these again last night and the beans were really velvety in texture, but I imagine the results could vary by batch depending on the crop and age of the dry beans.

Sarah

I once had a pressure cooker explode on me, sending steaming water and beans all over my kitchen. I’ve never had the courage to try anything similar again. How safe is the instapot? Is it designed so these accidents won’t happen? Thanks?

    Megan Gilmore

    That sounds scary! I was nervous to try a pressure cooker for the same reason, but I’ve read that Instant Pots are significantly safer than older models of pressure cookers. For example, it’s pretty much impossible to take the lid off of the Instant Pot until the pressure is safely released– which is the main cause of most pressure cooker explosions. I’ve also heard my Instant Pot release a bit of pressure during the cooking process, which I assume is a safe guard against exploding pots. I’ve been using mine for nearly 2 years now with no scares! (The first few times I used it, I totally made my family leave the room, just in case!)

T

I sprout my beans before cooking them in a slow cooker. I read that actually transforms them to a vegetable instead of a starch. And I definitely find them easier to digest when sprouted first. I don’t remember if simply soaking made so much of a difference.

    julia

    how do you sprout them? need to try this.

Olga

Megan, where do you buy dry organic black beans? You said you bought a 16 ounce bag of dry organic black beans for $1.25,
Thank you!

    Megan Gilmore

    I bought it at Trader Joe’s! That’s the pricing here in the Midwest– I know their stores vary by location.

Susan

I tried this exactly as written. I think 25 minutes is too long because my beans were mushy. It’s great not to soak, but next time I will shorten the IP minutes. Thanks. Black beans are my fave!

Allie

Tried this recipe and was very disappointed! Beans were way too mushy and the cook time needs to be adjusted. I was better off trying the directions on instant pots site. However, if you are in the same boat as me with mushy beans, I plan on making black bean soup with it so I don’t waste them!

    Megan Gilmore

    I’m sorry to hear that! I wonder if the age of the beans has something to do with it. I tried cooking mine for 22 minutes once, and they were way too firm, so 25 minutes seems to be the perfect amount for the batches I’ve tried. if you want a firmer bean, you could also shorten the cooking time by doing a quick-release, so you can check on the beans for tenderness. (You can always add more time and do another quick-release as needed.)

Ellen Price

Do you know if you could cook chickpeas in the instant pot the same way as the black beans?

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