Dry pinto beans cook up perfectly tender in a deliciously seasoned sauce in about an hour! These saucy Instant Pot Mexican Pinto Beans are a fantastic side dish option for a variety of entrees.
Did you get an Instant Pot for Christmas? I actually got mine a couple of weeks before the holiday and after staring at the box for several weeks, I finally put it to work. I have to add my voice to the crowd of IP fanatics and say that I’m loving it! I’ve had many crazy busy days recently and it has allowed me to create some really tasty dinners I’d have never been able to pull off otherwise.
After several weeks of research and recipe testing I’m happy to be sharing my very first Instant Pot recipe with you today!
I’ve written a separate post detailing the information I’ve absorbed over the past several weeks. Hop on over to Instant Pot Tips for Beginners for a condensed set of basics to help you get started.
I’ve discovered through trial and error that some recipes make more sense than others to be prepared with the pressure cooking method. One of the most exciting results for me was cooking dry beans. I was stunned at how quickly they became tender, with just the perfect bite. And, it is so easy! This recipe has been tested three times with a wonderful result each time.
Soaking Dry Beans
No matter what method you use to cook dry beans, I recommend soaking them overnight or for at least 6 hours prior to cooking. I use my Instant Pot insert and cover the beans by at least a couple of inches with cool water. After soaking, pour off the water and rinse them well with fresh, cool water.
Even though the Instant Pot is capable of adequately softening the beans without this step, there are more reasons to soak beans besides ensuring a tender result. The soaking process will remove any dirt or debris and begin to break down the sugars on the outer surface of the beans. This makes them more easily digestible and is believed to aid in your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients.
The first step is to sauté the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic in some vegetable oil.
Next, in go the dry pinto beans that have been soaked, rinsed, and drained.
Important note – don’t be tempted to double this recipe. You should never fill your Instant Pot more than half way when cooking items that expand, like dry beans.
The remaining ingredients are added to the Instant Pot. Chicken or vegetable broth, tomato sauce, yellow mustard, chili powder, cumin, oregano, fresh ground black pepper, and a couple of bay leaves.
That’s it! Give it a stir, lock the lid in place and set it to MANUAL for 25 minutes.
Kitchen Tip – When calculating the total time it will take to prepare an Instant Pot recipe, you’ll need to include the time it takes for the Instant Pot to pressurize, typically 10 to 15 minutes, and for the natural release period after cooking which can take from 10 to 20 minutes.
I was going for saucy beans but if you’d like a thicker consistency it’s easy to control the texture by modifying the amount of liquid added. See the Notes section on the recipe card below for more information.
Instant Pot Mexican Pinto Beans
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Instant Pot Mexican Pinto Beans
- 1 pound dry pinto beans
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup diced white or yellow onion
- 1 good sized bell pepper, seeded and chopped (I used red)
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 3 to 3-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (see recipe note below)
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Place beans in the Instant Pot insert and add enough water to cover by 2" to 3". Allow to soak overnight or for at least 6 hours. After the soaking time, drain off and discard the soaking water and rinse the beans with fresh cool water, draining well. Set aside.
- Add oil to the Instant Pot and press the SAUTE button. When display reads "Hot" add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until onion and bell pepper are beginning to soften. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute then press CANCEL.
- Add soaked beans, broth, tomato sauce, chili powder, yellow mustard, cumin, oregano, black pepper, and the bay leaves. Stir well to combine. Lock the lid in place, and turn the vent at the top to the SEALED position. Set Instant Pot to MANUAL and cook for 25 minutes.
- When time is up, allow the steam pressure to naturally release which should take 15 to 20 minutes. After the natural release, move vent on top to the RELEASE position to allow any remaining pressure to release before removing the lid. Taste and season with salt as desired.
For saucy beans like the beans pictured in this post, use 3-1/2 cups broth. For a slightly thicker texture use 3 cups broth.
Cooking time stated does not include the time it will take for the Instant Pot to reach full pressure (approximately 15 minutes) and the natural release time (approximately 20 minutes).
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