A simple no-fail recipe for Instant Pot white beans that can be used for meal prep and easy dinner recipes.
I'm not the only person who will tell you that cooking beans is one of the things that an Instant Pot does best. It's not because the Instant Pot cooks beans with miraculous speed - from start to finish a pot of Instant Pot white beans still takes about an hour - but the Instant Pot really does make cooking beans easier.
I always found cooking beans to be a little bit intimidating, until I started using my Instant Pot. The Instant Pot does all the cooking for you while you continue to live your life. You don't have to monitor a simmering pot on the stove. You don't have to keep guessing how long the beans need to cook or if you should add more water to the pot.
White Bean Cheat Sheet
- Types: Varieties include navy, great northern, cannellini and small white.
- Instant Pot Ratio of Water: 4:1 (water:beans)
- Instant Pot Cooking Time: 25 to 30 minutes, high pressure (unsoaked beans)
- How Much Should I Cook? One cup dried beans usually makes about 3 cups cooked.
White Bean Recipes
- Instant Pot white bean, cabbage and tomato soup
- Instant Pot white bean and turkey chili
- Slow Cooker White Bean and Tomato Soup with Orzo
- Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad
- White beans and pre-cooked sausage, with sautéed greens
- White beans + cooked chicken + broth = soup
- White beans + tuna fish + mayo and fresh herbs
What is the ratio of Instant Pot Beans to water?
When I cook beans in my Instant Pot, the ratio of water to beans is 4:1, meaning 4 cups water for every 1 cup dried beans.
This works out to be is 8 cups water for 1 pound (about 2 ½ cups) dried white beans.
Some recipes call for slightly less water, which is fine, but I tend to error on the side of too much water because you can always just drain extra water off after cooking the beans.
Basically, just make sure the beans are submerged and covered by at least 2 inches of water.
Do I Have to Soak Beans?
No, you don't have to soak beans in water before cooking them. This is great news for those of us who don't have time (or always forget) to soak beans before cooking them for dinner!
Soaking beans in water is optional and a personal preference. The main reason for soaking beans in water is a faster cooking time. Some people also think that soaked beans are easier to digest.
Personally, I don't usually soak dried beans when I'm cooking them in the Instant Pot. However, when I'm cooking dried bean in my slow cooker, I usually do.
When soaking, put the beans in a large bowl that allows for expansion, or the water will overflow. Beans can double in volume while soaking.
Note: Lentils and split peas don't benefit at all from soaking
Important Note About Dried Cannellini Beans (also known as white kidney beans): All types of uncooked kidney beans have high levels of a toxin called Phytohaemagglutinin. To remove the toxin, kidney beans (including dried cannellini beans) should be soaked and then boiled for at least 30 minutes.
To soak beans, cover with water and soak for 6 to 12 hours before cooking. Adding salt can help the beans cook even faster after soaking. Add 1 tablespoon salt to the soaking water for every pound of beans. Drain and rinse the beans before cooking.
How long does it take to cook white beans in a pressure cooker?
White beans that have not been soaked in water beforehand need 25 to 30 minutes of cooking time in the Instant Pot, but the total cooking time is closer to an hour. The Instant Pot will take about 20 minutes to reach full pressure, then 25 to 30 minutes to cook, then another 15 minutes or so to naturally release pressure.
Soaked white beans take about half the amount of time to cook. Start by cooking soaked beans for 10 minutes at high pressure, with a natural release. If the beans aren't entirely cooked, just secure the lid back on the pot and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.
Instantpot.com has a handy bean cooking chart, with the cooking time for all types of beans. It also lists the cooking time for both soaked and unsoaked beans.
Why Are the Cooked Beans Still Hard?
Stale Beans: Even dried beans need to be "fresh" if you want the beans to be tender and flavorful. Dried beans that are more than a year old can stay hard and chewy, no matter how long you cook them.
Liquid Level: Beans should always be covered with liquid while cooking. Not enough liquid means the beans won't cook evenly.
Acidic Ingredients: Cooking dried beans with acidic ingredients - like tomatoes - can prevent beans from getting soft and tender.
Hard Water: If your tap water is really hard, the minerals in the water can prevent foods like beans from becoming soft while cooking
Is it safe to cook dried beans in a pressure cooker?
Yes, absolutely. It's my favorite way to cook beans. Just keep in mind that dried beans double in volume and weight after cooking. To avoid overflow, do not fill the inner pot much above the ½ mark with beans and water to allow for this expansion.Print