Cooking Pinto Beans from scratch in the Instant Pot couldn't be easier! With this simple no-soak Instant Pot Pinto Beans Recipe, you can make the perfect, creamy, comforting dish that can be used as a main protein or side.
I live in a country where canned pinto beans are hard to come by; the ones I can get have a strange texture. Thankfully these Instant Pot Pinto Beans are quick, easy, and hassle-free. This no soak method takes a little over an hour -- but only requires about 5 minutes of prep. So you can set it and forget it. The results are creamy and delicious pinto beans that are perfect for adding to all sorts of dishes, from simple beans and rice to burrito bowls, tacos, soups, and more.
You'll love this recipe because it's:
- Warm & Comforting
- Great for Batch Cooking & Meal Prep
- Simple & Easy
- Vegan / Vegetarian
- Benefits of cooking in an Instant Pot
- What kind of Instant Pot do you use?
- A word of caution
- Are pinto beans budget-friendly?
- Can I make refried beans?
- Can I make this in a crockpot?
- Can I make this on the stove?
- Can I presoak the pinto beans?
- How to serve
- Can I make it ahead?
- Tips for storing and reheating
- Related recipes:
- 📖 Recipe
Benefits of cooking in an Instant Pot
I am a somewhat forgetful person, and I always forget to soak beans overnight. I used to use a crockpot, but the instant pot is so much quicker! With no soaking and very little effort, you can make all sorts of beans and legumes in an Instant Pot.
I also really love the sauté feature. You easily can sauté onions or other veggies right in the instant pot, which means you've got one less dish to wash! Plus, my Instant Pot has a slow cooker feature, so it's like having multiple appliances in one.
What kind of Instant Pot do you use?
I use the handy and affordable Instant Pot 6-Quart Duo. I think the size is just right for how I want to use it for my family of four. It's perfect for making big batches of beans, rice, legumes, soups, and more!
A word of caution
Whenever using an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, be sure to follow all safety precautions and instructions. Most importantly, never open the lid of the instant pot when it is in the pressurized state. If this is your first time using an instant pot, or you're brushing the dust off one you haven't used in a year, take a moment to review safety instructions. This online tutorial can help or you can read the manual (here is a link to the duo series manual).
Are pinto beans budget-friendly?
Definitely! Beans are already inexpensive, but using dried beans over canned cuts the price by at least half. One pound of dried pinto beans makes between 6 and 7 cups of cooked beans, which is equivalent to about 4 cans of beans. As of this writing a 1-pound bag of Kroger-brand pinto beans in Cincinnati, Ohio, costs $1.19, which puts it at half the price of the equivalent 4 cans of store-brand pinto beans. You can save even more if you buy beans in bulk or at an ethnic shop. Since dry beans have a shelf life of 1 year and don't take up a lot of space, it's easy to buy in bulk and save.
Can I make refried beans?
You sure can! After the pinto beans are done cooking, switch the Instant Pot saute. Add one cup of unsweetened vegan milk (maybe a little less if you have a lot of liquid) and half a cup of nutritional yeast. Blend with a stick blender or use a potato masher to mash. Season to taste, serve, and enjoy!
Can I make this in a crockpot?
Yes! In fact, before I had an Instant Pot, I made these pinto beans in the crockpot all the time. You can either saute the onions in a skillet or just add them chopped but raw. Then add the beans, seasonings, and 6 cups of water. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. No need to soak the beans.
Can I make this on the stove?
To make this on the stove you will need to soak the beans for 12 hours or overnight (be sure to cover the beans with 2 to 3 inches of water). Rinse the beans and then add them along with the seasonings and onion to a large pot and simmer on medium-low heat for 1.5 to 2 hours.
Can I presoak the pinto beans?
Yes! If you use pinto beans that have been presoaked for 12 hours, then it will take about 20 to 25 minutes to cook them in the Instant Pot.
How to serve
Pinto beans make a great side dish for vegetable fajitas or tofu tacos. You can let them be the center of attention in a vegan burrito bowl. I love to serve pinto beans with a side of salsa and vegan sour cream or unsweetened yogurt. Garnish with cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.
- 1 pound dry pinto beans (roughly 2 cups)
- 4 or 5 cups of water (use 4 cups for a thicker sauce and 5 cups if prefer to have more liquid with the beans.)
- 1 medium/large white onion (or two small)
- 2 tbsp granulated garlic (or fresh minced)
- 2 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp sea salt (adjust to taste)
- fresh cracked pepper
- fresh chopped cilantro
- lime juice
- Weigh or measure the pinto beans. Rinse them under cold water in a fine-mesh strainer. Quickly sort through the beans to be sure there are no pebbles or other types of beans. Set the beans aside.
- Press the "Sauté" button on the Instant Pot.
- Chop the onion. Add the onions and a pinch of salt to the Instant Pot and sauté for about 3 minutes, or until they start to smell nice and look translucent. (You don't need oil. The nice brown bits on the bottom will deglaze when you add the water in the next step.)
- Add the spices and mix to combine. Then add the water and beans. Give everything one last stir.
- Close the lid of the Instant Pot. Turn the steam-release handle to "sealing." Press the button for "Pressure Cook" (on some models it's called "Manual"). Set the time for 50 minutes.
- The Instant Pot takes between 5 and 10 minutes to pressurize. Once the instant pot is pressurized, the float valve will switch to the pressurized position (down on some models, up on others). The time will start to count down. DO NOT open the lid of the instant pot while it is pressurized!
- When the time runs out, you can either let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes before releasing the steam or you can carefully switch the steam release handle to "venting" for a quick pressure release. I've tried both ways and the main benefit of the natural release is that the beans don't split as much and the skin stays intact better.
- When the float valve returns to the nonpressurized position, then the Instant Pot is safe to open.
- Taste to adjust seasonings. Serve right away or store for later.
Can I make it ahead?
This is a great meal prep recipe because it requires so little work and makes a large batch (10 to 16 servings, depending on how you use the beans). This would be a perfect recipe to make on a Sunday afternoon and use for dinners and lunches throughout the week.
Tips for storing and reheating
- Store leftover pinto beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- For easy dethawing, portion into smaller containers or freezer-safe bags.
- You might lose a little moisture in reheating, so add a few tablespoons of water or plant milk to keep the beans from getting too dry.
- Freezing the beans can cause some textural changes. I recommend using the reheated frozen beans to make refried beans.
Instant Pot Pinto Beans
- fresh chopped cilantro
- lime juice
- Weigh or measure the beans. Rinse them in a fine-mesh strainer and do a quick check for stones or debris. Set the beans aside.
- Turn the Instant Pot onto the "saute" setting.
- Dice the onion, add it to the instant pot with a pinch of salt, and cook for 3 minutes, or until the onion starts to turn translucent.
- Add the seasonings and stir to combine. Add the water and the beans. Give everything another stir.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot in the locked position. Turn the handle to sealing. Then press the button for pressure cook (manual on some models). Set the time for 50 minutes.
- When the time has elapsed let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes and then flip the handle to venting. **Always wait for the float valve to return to the pressure released state before opening the lid of the Instant Pot.**
- Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Garnish with cilantro and a squeeze of lime and serve right away or store for later.
- Always be sure to follow safety instructions when using an Instant Pot or pressure cooker.
- Never open the lid of the Instant Pot before the pressure is fully released.
- These beans are lightly seasoned to fit various types of meals. Feel free to increase or change up the seasonings to fit your tastes.
- If your Instant Pot is large enough, you can double the recipe. Do not triple this recipe. Never fill the instant pot past the "max" fill line.
- I prefer creamier beans. For slightly firmer beans, pressure cook for 45 minutes.
- 4 cups of water will make the beans thick with less liquid; 5 cups will result in more liquid.
- I tested this recipe at various cooking times (35, 40, 45, and 50 minutes). 50 minutes was consistently the best.
Did you try this recipe? Have a question? Just leave a comment below and I'll get back to you ASAP!