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How to Create a Perfect Pot of Beans

How to Create a Perfect Pot of Beans

The path to a perfect pot of beans is precise but not at all fussy. The main ingredient is time: first to soak the beans, then to slowly simmer them until tender and well seasoned. Each step is designed for the best end result, from salting throughout for the best flavor to storing in the cooled cooking liquid for the ideal texture. We break down the hows and whys of our method below as well as share our guide for simmering each type of bean.

1. The Soak

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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Pick out any small, shriveled beans—these aren't spoiled, just too hard to cook. An overnight soak rehydrates the beans for less simmering later.

2. The Liquid

Add just enough water to cover the beans before cooking; too much will dilute the flavor and make for less delicious beans.

3. The Fat

Adding oil helps disperse flavors from aromatics like thyme, bay leaves, and onion in the liquid. It also helps the beans become creamy.

4. The Simmer

Cook the beans at a slow simmer from start to finish, skimming the surface as needed. Boiling would damage the skins and cause the beans to fall apart.

5. The Salt

Add salt before, during, and after cooking so the beans can gradually absorb it. Salt slows the softening of the beans so they don't lose their texture.

6. The Cooldown

Cool and store the beans in their cooking liquid, draining only when ready to use. This way the beans stay plump and firm outside and tender inside.

View Recipe: Master Dried Beans


Cooking the beans with the aromatics and 1 teaspoon salt for the first 30 minutes. Add the second teaspoon of salt, and cook for the suggested time or until beans are tender.

Red kidney beans — 1 hour
Great Northern beans — 1 hour, 15 minutes
Black beans — 1 hour, 15 minutes
Cannellini beans — 1 hour, 45 minutes
Pinto beans — 1 hour, 45 minutes


Canned beans will always have a place in our pantry alongside the dried. We love their convenience and versatility. Look for unsalted or low-sodium beans (rinsing and draining them will also cut down on sodium). Another happy discovery to come from the can? Aquafaba, which is the liquid in a can of chickpeas or beans that can be whipped to a meringue-like consistency and used in vegan cooking and baking.

The Instant Pot Baked Beans Recipe You'll Use All The Time

Most home cooks would agree that an Instant Pot is a kitchen necessity these days. Thus, having an arsenal of Instant Pot recipes at the ready is likewise key in surviving as a modern day culinary maven. To that end, Mashed worked with Kristen Carli, R.D., of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness to create a recipe for baked beans that is as easy to pull off as releasing the pressure valve on your Instant Pot.

As the Scottsdale, Arizona native told Mashed, this recipe is incredibly versatile. "I like making these for a barbecue, football party, or other casual gatherings," Carli noted, adding she tends to serve the beans with burgers. Another perfect main to complement this savory side? "Buffalo shredded chicken," recommends Carli.

All you will need — other than an Instant Pot, of course — are a few ingredients common to many kitchens. So, a trip to the market may not even be necessary before you can enjoy smoky, slightly spicy baked beans at home, or to bring to a party.

1. Moroccan Spiced Chicken

Warm and gently spicy, this dish goes well with couscous or rice. For an extra Moroccan-style treat, serve up hot, minted green tea as well.


  • 2.5 lb chicken thighs, skinless on the bone
  • 1 tsp cumin, ground
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp coriander, ground
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mixture
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth
  • 15 oz can of tomatoes, drained and diced
  • 15 oz can of white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried apricot, chopped


Put your chicken thighs, cumin, salt, pepper, coriander and pumpkin pie spice into a large resealable plastic bag and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. Then throw all the other ingredients into your slow cooker, take the chicken out of its bag and put that on top of the vegetable mixture. Put the lid on the pot and cook for at least 5 hours on a low heat setting until the chicken&rsquos completely cooked through. If you&rsquore using the liquid as well as the chicken from this dish, skim the fat off first.

Serves: Up to 6

How to Make Baked Beans in an Instant Pot

There are a few varieties of dried beans that you can use to make baked beans. Navy beans, great northern beans and pinto beans all work well and will cook in the same amount of time. I used navy beans to make the baked beans that you see in the photos. I also tested this recipe with pinto beans.

Here are the steps to making these easy baked beans. Find the full recipe including ingredient amounts and instructions in the recipe card below.

  1. Soak the beans in a large bowl of filtered water for 8 to 12 hours. Then drain and rinse them.
  2. Using the sauté function of your Instant Pot, cook some chopped bacon. Then add chopped onion and continue sautéing. Finally stir in minced garlic and then turn off the pot.
  3. Pour in 2 cups of water for a 6 quart Instant Pot, or 2 1/4 cups for an 8 quart pot. Scrape up any bits that might be stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  4. Add all of the remaining ingredients, except for the salt. You will salt the beans to taste after pressure cooking.
  5. Pressure cook for 55 minutes, followed by a 15 minute natural release.
  6. Stir in the salt, to taste. When you first open the Instant Pot after pressure cooking, the beans will look too watery. Simmer them using the sauté function of your Instant Pot until they are thickened to your liking. This usually takes 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how saucy you like your baked beans. Be sure to stir the beans every few minutes. The beans will continue to thicken as they cool.

If you are new to Instant Pot cooking, my Instant Pot Instructions are a helpful resource.

What Goes with Rice and Beans?

A major benefit of combining beans and rice is the amino acids they provide. On their own, beans and rice are incomplete proteins, meaning they lack some of the essential amino acids. Together, however, they complement one another and provide all nine essential amino acids. So essentially, this combination is equivalent to animal protein in terms of protein quality.

If we want to REALLY break down the details here, most grains are deficient in lysine, while beans are of the few plant foods rich in lysine. On the flip side, many beans provide only small amounts of the amino acid methionine, which is rich in most grains.

All of which is to say, Spanish Rice and Beans is as complete of a meal on it’s own as you can get. Of course you can add extra veggies like mushrooms, bell peppers, or greens, if you like. You can also toss in some sautéed shrimp, ground beef, or shredded rotisserie chicken to make it even more hearty.

How to Make Pinto Beans

Having lived in Texas for more than ten years, I began to feel a little ashamed that I didn&apost know how to make a simple staple of tex-mex cuisine�ns. After all, they seem simple enough. An excellent source of high quality fiber and protein, pintos can be combined with rice or cornbread to make a nutritious, soul-satisfying meal—not to mention, they are very inexpensive.

So why is dealing with a bag of dry beans a bit daunting to some?

Beans Take Time to Cook

Time. Beans are easy. The only difficult thing about making a perfect pot of beans is patience. Cooking pinto beans takes time. But with a little planning, you can prepare an inexpensive, delicious meal large enough to feed the masses.

I set out to overcome my fear of our little dry friends. I consulted the experts—people who had grown up in Mexico and learned how to cook beans from their grandmothers and great grandmothers. What secrets did I uncover?

1. Rehydrate the Beans

First, dried beans need rehydration. There are several methods of soaking beans. I find the easiest method is to plan ahead and soak your beans overnight.

Start by spreading your beans out in a large pot and sorting out any inedibles (yes, sometimes a few, ahem, rocks and such can make it into a bag of beans). Some people take out the "ugly" beans as well, but you can eat those, too.

Put the beans into a colander and rinse them for a couple of minutes to remove any dirt from the outside. Move them to a large container, and cover them with twice the amount of water as beans. Then, the hardest step: Wait. Just check the beans occasionally to be sure they are still covered in water.

After the beans have soaked overnight, pour off the water and rinse them again. Now you have clean, plump, happy beans𠅋ut not quite happy enough. It&aposs time to add the flavor.

2. Decide on a Flavor

What you choose to flavor your perfect beans with is up to your personal taste. Traditional beans are flavored with some type of meat, including bacon, ham hock, ham. I&aposve even seen hot dogs used.

I chose bacon for my beans. One trick I discovered is frying your bacon before adding it to your beans. Frying creates those lovely brown notes associated with bacon. If you use raw bacon, the flavor of the bacon just won&apost come out.

3. Cook Your Beans

Decide how you would like to cook your beans. Certainly, stovetop boiling is fine, but I like the easiest, most carefree method—the crockpot. Throw your beans in a crockpot, and you can forget them until mealtime. If you cook them in a crockpot, it takes about 4 hours on high for them to become tender.

Put your soaked beans and fried bacon in the crockpot. Drain a little of the fat from the bacon pan, saving those flavorful bits in the bottom of the pan. Using whatever liquid you&aposd like to cook your beans in—water, stock, beer—pour a cup or so of liquid into the bacon pan and get to deglazing!

When you have removed all of the yummies from your fry pan, pour the goodness into your crockpot. Add more liquid to bring the level up to about an inch above the beans.

Turn the crockpot on high, cover, .and wait. Or not. Now is the time you can think about what additional seasoning you want in your beans.

4. Choose Your Seasonings

You might be wondering why I don&apost recommend putting the seasoning in while the beans are cooking. First, too much salt in your beans will keep them from becoming tender. Second, you&aposre going to be cooking these beans for awhile. Add seasoning now, and most of it will cook away.

Traditional seasoning is usually just a bit of garlic and onion, lots of salt, and pepper. Dried seasoning works well in beans, but if you prefer fresh garlic and onion, sauté them and add them to your crockpot about 30 minutes before you&aposre ready to eat.

  • Sugar (brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses): If your beans taste a little bitter, add just a bit of sweetener. Not enough to make them sweet, but just enough to cut the bitter notes.
  • Pepper (jalapeno, serrano, if you&aposre adventurous, habanero): Chili pepper or cumin can be used as well, but just be careful you don&apost end up cooking a pot of chili without the meat.
  • Hot sauce: Your favorite fiery hot sauce can add multiple dimensions to your beans versus the heat you get from straight pepper.
  • Tomato (sauce, fresh, Rotel): Any of these will add a different twist to beans.
  • Cilantro: Add just before serving your beans, or sprinkle on top after plating.

5. Let the Beans Continue to Cook

Check on the beans while they are cooking in the crockpot. As long as they are still covered in water, they&aposre doing fine. The only way to really mess them up is to let them go dry.

When your beans are tender, and you&aposre almost ready to eat, add the seasoning to the pot. Traditional ranchero beans still have a lot of liquid in them, almost like bean soup.

You can make your beans as soupy or thick as you like by adjusting the amount of liquid you add in the beginning. Remember, most of the liquid you add to a crockpot is going to stay put and not evaporate.

Tips to Make Your Sauce Creamy

My last trick to share with you—the last little secret—is how to make your bean sauce creamy. When your beans are ready to eat, take out about a cup of beans and put them in a food processor or mash them by hand. Return them to your pot. Voila, or, Ole, creamy pinto beans!

You can set your crockpot to warm when your beans are done and they will continue to mature in flavor. Beans just keep getting better with time. Leave them in the kitchen with some rice or cornbread on the side and let your family and friends help themselves. Set out some shredded cheese and sour cream for indulgent toppings.

Did I really tell you how to make the perfect pot of beans? Not exactly. But hopefully, I shared enough tips so you can create the perfect pinto recipe of your own.

Instant Pot Pinto Beans

  • Author: Toni Okamoto
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour + pressure release
  • Total Time: 1 hour and 5 minutes+
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings 1 x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


This is the perfect starter recipe if you have never used your Instant Pot or pressure cooker! Make a weekly batch and enjoy the lot of dishes you can create!


  • 1 jalapeno, minced or red pepper flakes (if you like spicy)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • ¼ teaspoon of cumin
  • More salt, to taste


  1. In a 6-quart pressure cooker, add the beans, water, salt, and any optional additions that you’re using. Set it to high pressure and cook for 25 minutes.
  2. After 25 minutes, release the pressure, remove the lid, and use the “saute” function to cook for another 25 to 35 minutes, or until the beans reach your desired softness. Stir occasionally.


Keywords: vegan, vegetarian, instant pot, preassure cooker, pinto beans, instant pot beans, mexican, refried beans

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No More Long Cooking Hours

Remember the days when you had to cook beans on the stove for hours? I don’t know about you, but any recipe that translates to having to watch something on the stove for hours and having to check every 15 minutes is something I completely avoid. Life is busy and there’s hardly any time to spare, so the quicker we can prepare a healthy and nutritious meal for our family the better.

This Instant Pot Pinto Beans recipe only takes about 1 hour to cook and almost no effort or advanced cooking skills are required. Once you try this and see how easy it is, you might be hooked for life. It will be a total game-changer when it comes to batch cooking for the days ahead. You can store them in the fridge and use them for different meals throughout the week. Burritos, veggie bowls, or our favorite bean salad, you’ll be one step ahead of the game.

Can I Freeze Cooked Pinto Beans?

So you’ve mastered how to cook pinto beans on your Instant Pot (or stovetop if you’re old school!) and you would love to spread your efforts into the future so you wonder whether you could freeze the newly cooked beans to eat later (whenever the cooking inspiration is running low). We are very happy to report that you can indeed freeze them, amazing, right?

But, how? Let them cool down, measure them into the desired portions, and then place them in freezer-friendly bags (like these silicone ones!). We recommend writing the date they were cooked and the portion on the outside to make it easier to use them later.

The Perfect Instant Pot Green Beans Recipe

Ello, folks! I hope that you are having a wonderful week so far? As I have officially transitioned from the summer to fall season, I wanted to start with two wonderful Instant Pot recipes. Last week we did a Mexican Rice which is absolutely perfect for the upcoming fall season, but today I have something even better. This Instant Pot Green Beans Recipe is to die for and will remind you of your grandma&rsquos. When it comes to green beans, they have to be one of my favorite veggies and here in the mountains of North Carolina, they are a staple in most homes. Many people can a lot down here, and having an abundance of green beans on hand is perfect for the chilly winter season.

No matter what type of meat you are cooking green beans usually goes perfectly with any meal. I know I serve a lot of green beans over the winter season. I pair it with everything from chicken to beef. Most everyone nowadays has an Instant Pot (aka Insta Pot) in their kitchens. Instant Pots make everything so much easier not to mention quicker to prepare meals for your family.

Below you will find the full recipe card and a couple of in-process images to help you create these amazing Green Beans. I do hope that you enjoy this recipe and if you are looking for another side dish check out our Super Cheesy Potato Bake Casserole. This might not be made in an Instant Pot, but it would pair perfectly with these green beans.

How to make Instant Pot Green Beans With Bacon

So let&rsquos get started. As I have said, this is really super easy to make, but images are a must with any recipe. I am more of a visual person myself. The first thing you will want to do is to set your Instant Pot to saute mode and add your chopped bacon. You will cook your bacon until crispy.

Next, you will turn off the Instant Pot and remove the bacon pieces. Pour the chicken broth into the pot and deglaze the pot by scrapping the bottom of the pot to remove stuck-on pieces. This, for me, is the most important step and really will give your green beans a beautiful flavor. If you are not certain what deglazing means it is simply taking the bits and fat that is left behind from the bacon. This adds more flavor to your chicken broth.

Since I know many people don&rsquot actually can their own beans as many do around here, I used frozen green beans for this recipe. You will Pour the frozen green beans into the pot and season with salt and pepper. Simply stir everything together.

Place the lid on the Instant Pot and set to pressure cook for 4 minutes. When the time is up use the quick release. When the time is up, and the pot has depressurized, remove the lid and add the bacon to the pot. Stir and combine the ingredients before serving to your family.

This Instant Pot Green Beans with bacon is super yummy, and I know your family will enjoy the simplicity as well as the flavor from the chicken broth and bacon. It really is the perfect combination. This recipe is tried and time tested. This is one of the most common recipes used here in the mountains of North Carolina when cooking beans. Happy Cooking 🙂

Recipe Summary

  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • ½ pound bacon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) bottle dark lager-style beer (such as Shiner Bock®)
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper

Place pinto beans into a large container and cover with several inches of cool water. Soak beans 8 hours to overnight.

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon slices to a plate lined with paper towel to drain, reserving the bacon drippings. Chop the bacon.

Drain and rinse pinto beans transfer to a large pot. Pour enough water over the beans to cover by several inches Stir salt and garlic powder into the water bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Add bacon, reserved bacon drippings, beer, cilantro, green onions, diced tomatoes, and jalapeno pepper to the water bring mixture to a simmer and cook until the beans are completely tender, 90 minutes to 2 hours.

How to Slow Cook Pinto Beans in The Instant Pot, Step 4:

  • Push the slow cook button on your Instant Pot – until you see MORE.Each time you push the slow cook button the setting changes. The three setting options are LESS, NORMAL, AND MORE. LESS is the same as the warm setting on a regular slow cooker. The NORMAL setting is the same as medium and MORE is the same as high on a regular slow cooker.


Can I cook other beans besides pinto ? Soaking and then cooking in a crock pot works for all types of beans such as navy, white, kidney, black, etc. I haven’t used those other types with the ingredients in this recipe so I can’t comment on the taste, but the method will work.

Instant Pot Directions: If you are wanting to speed things up, you can also make them in the Instant Pot. Here’s how:

  • Use a 6- to 8-quart pressure cooker to make a batch of beans. Add the recipe ingredients. Be sure there’s enough liquid to cover the beans by a few inches, but that the pot is not more than halfway full.
  • Set the pressure cooker for:
  • Unsoaked pinto beans 25-30 minutes – Presoaked beans 10-25 minutes
  • Once the timer is done allow the pressure to naturally release for as long as possible.
  • Check beans: If your beans aren’t cooked all the way, simply replace the lid/valve and set the pressure cooker for 5-10 more minutes depending on how long you think they need.

How to store? After bean have cooled STORE them in an airtight container, and put in the refrigerator. Use the beans within 4 days of putting them in the refrigerator. FREEZE the beans if you know that you will not be using them within 4 days.

What can I use beans in?

There are so many delicious recipes from salad to soup that you can use these beans in: