Instant Pot Pinto Beans (soaked and no soak)

a bowl of cooked pinto beans

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The easiest way to cook dried pinto beans is in your Instant Pot! This recipe gives the cooking time for both soaked Instant Pot pinto beans AND no soak pinto beans. 

This recipe is for a full pound of dried beans, but you can halve the recipe and follow the same cooking times. 

You only need dried pinto beans, water and salt to make this recipe. However, you can also add onion, garlic and other seasonings to make the beans even more flavorful. 

Total Instant Pot Cooking Time
15 minutes to reach pressure, plus
Soaked beans: 15 minutes + natural release
Un-soaked beans: 40+ minutes + natural release


Units Scale
  • 1 pound (about 2 cups or slightly more) dried pinto beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • Optional: 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with your palm


  1. If you'd like to soak the beans before cooking them, read the soaking instructions in the Notes section below or in the blog post above.
  2. If you've already soaked the beans (or you don't want to soak the beans) then the next step is combining the dried pinto beans, water and salt in the Instant Pot.
  3. Add optional ingredients for more flavor, such as onion and garlic.
  4. Program the cooking time:
    Soaked beans: 15 minutes, high pressure
    No-soak beans: 40+ minutes, high pressure
  5. When the cooking time is done, let the pressure release naturally (or at least for 10 minutes).
  6. When the pressure has released, open the lid and check the beans. If they aren't as soft you as want, you can secure the lid and program the Instant Pot to cook for 5 minutes more. Repeat this as many times as needed. This is most likely to happen with beans that have not been soaked. Depending on the brand of dried beans, un-soaked pinto beans can take up to a total of 50 minutes to cook fully. 
  7. There will be flavorful broth in the pot with the beans. If you store the beans in the refrigerator with the broth, the beans will slowly soak up the broth, giving the beans a creamier texture. Or, you can gently simmer the beans in the Instant Pot for 5 to 10 minutes to reduce and thicken the broth immediately. You also have the option of just draining off the liquid in a colander if you want beans that are less brothy.


How to Soak Beans

There are two ways to soak beans, a long soak or a quick soak. 

Long soak: In a large bowl, combine dried beans and enough water to cover the beans by at least 2-inches. The beans will expand while they soak, which is why it's important to use a large bowl so the water doesn't overflow. For more flavorful and tender beans, add 1 tablespoon of salt (or 2 tablespoons kosher salt) for every pound of beans. Soak 6 to 12 hours. The longer the beans soak, the faster they will cook. Drain, rinse, then cook. 

Quick soak: Quick soaking is a shortcut if you don't have time (or forget!) to soak beans overnight. To quick soak any type of bean, put the beans in a pot with enough water to cover the beans by at least 2-inches. For more flavorful and tender beans, add 1 tablespoon of salt (or 2 tablespoons kosher salt) for every pound of beans. Bring the water to a full boil then turn off the heat. Let the beans soak for an hour. Drain, rinse, then cook.

This recipe was tested in a 6-quart Instant Pot Duo.

The recipe can be halved (1 cup /8 ounces beans + 3 cups water + 1/2 tsp. salt) and the cooking time stays the same.

When cooking beans in an Instant Pot, never fill the Instant Pot above the 1/2 line marked on the inside of the pot. Only filling the pot halfway gives beans plenty of room to expand and release starch as they cook. 

Leftover beans can be frozen for up to 6 months in a freezer bag, with or without liquid.