Instant Pot Black Beans (Fool-Proof Method!)

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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’ve been intimidated by cooking my own beans from scratch in the past, 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.

Do you need to soak black beans before cooking?

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.

Should you use salt when cooking dry beans?

I’ve made this recipe both with salt, and without, and I’ve found more consistent cooking results if I wait to add the salt AFTER the beans are tender. (When cooking other legumes, like green lentils, adding salt or acid to the cooking water totally stops the cooking process and the lentils never become tender!) The decision is up to you, but I recommend waiting for guaranteed results.

pouring beans, salt, and water into Instant Pot

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

instant pot black beans from scratch in a bowl
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4.46 from 24 votes

Instant Pot Black Beans

Here's how to cook INSTANT POT BLACK BEANS, saving you time and money. No need to soak your beans ahead of time for this fast pressure cooker recipe.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword black beans, healthy, instant pot
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 cups
Calories 257kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry black beans (about 2 cups)
  • 6 cups water

Instructions

  • Combine the beans and water in the bowl of the Instant Pot and give it a stir. 
  • Cover with the lid, and be sure to turn the vent at the top to the "sealed" position.
  • Manually set the Instant Pot to cook for 25 minutes at high pressure. 
  • When the timer goes off, let the steam pressure naturally release for at least 20 minutes before attempting to remove the lid. 
  • 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. These beans are intentionally NOT seasoned so that you can use them in any recipe, from Black Bean Brownies to Black Bean Soup. If you want to eat them right away, be sure to season them AFTER they are tender, as salt can interfere with cooking.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 257kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 408mg | Potassium: 1121mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 3.8mg
Per Serving: Calories: 257, Fat: 1g, Carbohydrates: 47g, Fiber: 11g, Protein: 16g

How to Cook Soaked Black Beans

If you prefer to soak your black beans ahead of time, simply cover them in water with about 3 extra inches of water over the top. (They will expand as they soak!) Soak 6 to 8 hours, or overnight. When you’re ready to cook them, drain the beans and discard the soaking water.

Use fresh water for cooking, about 3 cups of water for every 1 cup of beans, and cook for 9 minutes at high pressure. Let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes before moving the steam release valve to venting, to release any remaining pressure. (This avoids foam spewing out of your vent and making a mess.)

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!)

    David Williams

    Modern pressure cookers have an additional safety feature that didn’t exist before: The plastic seal around the lid is made of material that will fail and leak out pressure before the pot is in danger of exploding. They are much safer that the old pressure cookers.

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.

      Jenn

      Yes! Interested in how you spout them in the slow cooker as well. I know spouting other things is just a matter of soaking a few hours before.

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?

Joni Anderson

Just made your black beans in my ipot, they are fantastic! They held their shape and I love the texture. I will be doing this again! Thank you 🙂

Elizabeth

The little button that allows you to modify the number of servings and the amount of ingredients has a glitch. The number of pounds of black beans changes, but it always says in parentheses (about 2 cups). So it says that 1 lb is two cups, 0.33 lb is two cups, 1.5 lb is two cups, etc. I hope I got the ratio right as I measured by number of cups, not weight, and they are cooking in the IP now…

    Megan Gilmore

    Sorry, the (2 cups) is a note by me for the original weight of the recipe, so it will never change. The recipe software can only change the ingredient measurements, not my notes to the right of them. Since 1 pound = 2 cups, I’d estimate that .5 pound = 1 cup, and 1.5 pounds would be 3 cups, etc.

      Amber

      1 lb of black beans is 2 cups

BOb

I tried this. Beans were still hard. Re started for 10 min still hard. Restarted for 20 minutes still hard. Retried fort 10 minutes finally at a nice softness but not hard. Beans new off store shelf. I’ll try again but 25 minutes didn’t work for me

SHIRLEY LONG

Black beans came out great in the IP. Would you cook garbanzo beans the same way?

    Megan Gilmore

    Same method, but longer cooking time. When I cook dried garbanzo beans without soaking them ahead of time, they take close to 50 minutes with a natural release after that.

Grethel Antczak

SO so happy. I received an Instant Pot pressure cooker for Christmas and found this recipe. I followed your directions and beans came out just perfect. So impressed. Thank you!

Joanne

I cooked the black beans for 25 minutes. Your instructions say to let the steam release naturally for 20 minutes. Should I have turned off the instant pot after cooking them for 25 minutes? I waited 20 minutes after the 25 minutes cooking time and had to push the steam button to release the steam. The books were overcooked.

    Megan Gilmore

    The Instant Pot automatically turns to a warm setting after the cooking cycle has finished, so there’s no need to press a button while you wait for the pressure to release, and it’s normal to still have some steam release after the 20 minutes are over. The age of the beans will affect how long it takes them to cook, so maybe your beans are fresher than the ones I’m able to buy in the Midwest? I’ve never had my dried black beans cook faster than 25 minutes, unless I soak them ahead of time. Maybe you can release the steam faster next time if your source for beans seems to be pretty consistent!

Alice

Used Trader Joe’s organic black beans and halved the recipe. Came out perfect. Love the taste and texture. Never buying canned again. Thank you!

Francesca

Beans came out great!!! Do you think this works for kidney beans too??

Frances Anton

I followed this recipe to the T. And I got nothing but excess water in my beans. I’m so disappointed. I was really counting on it to turn something out because I was low on time. I feel like cook time AND the amount of water should be less. I’m off to find a different

    Megan Gilmore

    This recipe is meant to replace the canned beans you would buy at the store, so you should expect excess water– that’s why the instructions have you drain it at the end. It’s not a side dish type of recipe, just a method for cooking beans so you can use them in another dish. (Like in the recipes listed at the bottom of this post.)

deepa

Beans were perfect! Thanks for the great instructions

Kim W

I’m going to leave a note in defense of pre-soaking your beans. If you pre-soak the beans, not only does it soften them up a little before you cook them – but it also soaks out the enzyme in beans that can cause, ahem, digestive distress in many people. So if you soak them, then drain them and cook, that can make it easier to digest.

It does take time, but a Greek playwright I once knew gave me a tip – there’s a quicker way to soak them. Put the beans in a pot, pour in enough water to cover them by about 2 inches, then bring to a boil and boil the HECK out of them for a couple minutes. Then take them off the heat and soak them, but you only need to soak them for an hour or two that way. This method seems to be especially good at getting rid of that enzyme that gives people digestive issues (or, as that playwright told me, “it gets rid of the f*rts!”)

    Kate

    Because the cooking time is much shorter, pre-soaking also saves energy.

steve

These turned out perfect!
If this recipe doesn’t work, I recommend trying different beans.
When I first started buying dried beans (within the last year), I was buying packages off of the grocery store shelf; and could never get a decent result using a quick soak, full soak, or instant pot.
I read a suggestion to buy bulk beans instead of packaged because they tend to be more fresh. I have found consistently good results since making that change.

CJ

I just made these with bulk black beans from Whole Foods. After reading the comments, I use Manual for 22 min with 20 min natural release then immediately drained them (reserving some liquid). A few on the bottom were soft but I was happy with the consistency – still firm but not crunchy. Next time, I will try with Adzuki beans!

bonnie

Thank you – came out great. I had a little of 17 ounces, HP 25 minutes – wait 20 release, drain. Perfect! effortless.There are 4 grams of fiber in a 1/4 cup of cooked black beans. Easy to incorporate daily and I’m much happier with the ‘clean’ IP beans I just made. Hate the sludge in the cans. am saving 1.5 quarts of the water to usefor soup and ???

dawn

mine turned out amazing, I did soak them overnight… using them for bean burgers

StephaniE

Worked great!! I did 30 min cook time because I’m at high altitude. Will probably use less water next time. Just found your site and I’m loving it!

ViVian

Don’t drain the beans. That broth is very nutritious!

Lorraine Cestone

If I half the recipe – 1 cup beans/3cups water – do I half the cooking time?

    Megan Gilmore

    Cooking time should stay the same! It will just come to pressure faster that way. 😉

      Lorraine Cestone

      I made them and they were perfect! Thanks!Thanks! Thanks!

laurakate anderson

How long would they need to cook in IP if soaked?

    Megan Gilmore

    Soaked ones typically cook in just 9 to 10 minutes. Just make sure you don’t add any salt or acid to the water until after they are tender, or they will take longer.

Kim

I didn’t want to do a huge batch, so I used 1/2 cup dried black beans and 1 1/2 cups water and they were great! Thank you thank you!

Megan

Hi. Do you know if black turtle beans are the same? It’s all I could find.

special events

Exactly what I was searching for, regards for putting up.

Lillian porro

Hi, gonna make today the black beans, although I have an 8 qt. Instapot. Is that ok? or should i double or triple the recipe and add more time?Ill post when i make them.

    Megan Gilmore

    The 8 quart pot takes longer to come to pressure, so as a result things tend to cook about 5 minutes longer in there. I wouldn’t add more time, but you can reduce the time by a minute or two if you are worried about the beans getting too soft. My kids love soft-cooked foods so I never worry about that!

      lILLIAN

      Thank you so much, for your reply, actually icooked only 2 cups like said on recipe, 6 cups water-and 25 min High pressure and left it to release on its own. I sauted on the side onions garlic and green pepper and then added to the beans like the recipe said.i also Added salt pepper, bay leaf a LITTLE CUMIN and white vinegar. Then i put on SAUTE!!! OH MY, DELISH!!! First time i used my INSTAPOT!!! LOVE IT! Also, I LOVE ALL YOUR RECIPES!!!!

LIlA

Is it better to soak beans or just cook. I can get gassy from beans, so if soaking reduces that effect, I wouldn’t mind taking that extra step.

    Megan Gilmore

    People think that soaking them may help prevent gassiness, so it’s worth a shot to do it that way and see if it helps you!

ashlee

Can you please change your recipe total time to 55 minutes? I read the 35 minutes and decided I could cook them instead of taking all three kids to the store for a can of beans. Now dinner is going to be late because it took longer to let the steam naturally release and I didn’t get that far when reading the instructions! My own fault for not reading through all the way, but cranky teething baby made me rush!
Also, I don’t find they have the same texture as store bought, so I guess I need to expirement with that.

Joshua Howard

Thank you for this simple recipe! I like to cook black beans because it’s a great source of protein but I’ve never used my IP for it. Can’t wait to try your recipe! What seasoning do you use?

    Megan Gilmore

    I don’t usually season beans when I make them like this, because I like to freeze them and might use them in something like my Black Bean Brownies OR in a burrito bowl. So, this is more of a neutral recipe that leaves the beans available for any use. If you want a spiced black bean recipe, check out my Chipotle Burrito Bowls— that’s my favorite!

CET

I live at high altitute and these come out great if I cook them for 40 minutes…so a lot longer! I’m at almost 8000 feet. Just thought your readers might want to know.

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