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
- 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 ½ cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, see recipe note below
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 dried bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Place beans in the Instant Pot insert and add enough water to cover by 2- to 3-inches. 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.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
Questions and Reviews
Made the beans today and they were delicious! I had to cook them an extra 5 minutes but it wasn’t a big deal. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!
How many cups of dried beans make a pound?
Can you can these after they are cooked thank you
I made this today, but I was wary of the long cooking time. My instant pot book says soaked pintos should take only 4-6 minutes. Changes I made: I used a fajita seasoning from my fav spice store instead of the cumin and chili powder. After sautéing the veggies in veg broth (not oil), I reduced the IP cooking time to 8 minutes, using the “natural” release of about 20 minutes. The beans were great (well cooked but not mushy)! I would add a reminder to remove the bay leaves at the end. I will definitely make this again! Thanks for sharing the recipe.
Great tips, Susan. I found the recommended shorter cooking time for soaked beans to be short of what was needed for my taste but glad you were able to get a good result. Thanks so much for the feedback. 🙂
My beans still undercooked after soaking overnight and cooking 25 minutes. Disappointed.
Hi Louann. You can always add a little more time than the recipe states however soaked beans should cook up to a nice texture with a 25 minute cook time. Take a look at the Pressure Cooking Timetable published by the makers of the Instant Pot for more information http://instantpot.us/cooking-time/dry-beans-legume-and-lentils/.
Also, please be sure you are using fresh beans as older beans can become dehydrated and not soften well during the cooking process.
From one Valerie to another, this was very good!!
Well, thank you very much, Valerie! 😉
I followed full recepe as it is, turned out very delicious, me and my family enjoyed thoroughly, yummy, 10/10 marks for this??
I made these without pre-soaking and they turned out amazing! I bumped up the water to 5.5 cups to make up for not soaking.
Wanted the like this, but honestly I would not make it again (sorry!). Follow another review and added an onion soup mix to try to help with taste (it helped some but still not the best).
Sorry. Beans also took 2 cycles to cook and I added 3 cups of broth but it needed more as it was starting to burn on the bottom
I’m sorry the recipe didn’t work out for you, Amanda. It sounds like several things may have gone wrong. I would not recommend straying from the original seasonings listed in the recipe. Adding a packet of onion soup mix makes this a completely different recipe. Also, based on your comments I wonder if you may have skipped the step of pre-soaking the beans. This will speed up the cooking time significantly which I spoke about in the post. There could also be an issue if you were using beans that have been sitting in your pantry too long. When made as directed there is plenty of sauce (as shown).
Wow. Just made this recipe and it is sooooo good. I am practicing WFPB diet and so I omitted the oil. I salted the veg in some vegetable broth. This recipe is going into permanent rotation at my house.
That’s so great to hear, Josie! I was so impressed with the result and will definitely be making lots and lots of beans in my Instant Pot.
Thanks so much… I of course added my own lil twist. 1 Packet of onion soup mix. That was instead of salting in the end… Excellent recipe… I’ll make it again and again. Thanks so much… Lynne @ Vicki Lee Bags. :))
Did you use the manual high or low pressure setting?
You should cook them on the High setting, Lauren. The IP will default automatically to High so once you press MANUAL, all you’ll need to do is adjust the cooking time and you’re good to go.
So, what does this thing do that a pot on the stove or a slow cooker doesn’t? I think I’m missing something! Great recipe, tho!
It is a pressure cooker. It cooks things faster.
Not only does it cook things much more quickly it also retained a higher amount of vitamins and minerals … not lost during cooking.
Oh, it does so much! Pressure cooking is just one of the many cooking functions this one appliance is capable of. For this particular recipe, it cooks dry beans without you having to babysit a pot on the stove in about half the time it takes on the stove or in the oven. It’s a hands-off method. The unit automatically shifts to the Keep Warm setting when the cooking cycle is complete so you can go about your business and the dish will be ready for you when you are ready for it. I wrote a separate post detailing all of this and more here – Instant Pot Tips for Beginners.
Half the time? More like 15% to 20% of the time. Or less. I’ve cooked beans many times in a crock pot. They take ten to sixteen hours, depending on freshness. With the IP, it’s about 70 minutes, and it’s consistent. That’s a huge difference. I can get home from work, put a pound of beans in the Instant Pot, and have them with dinner that night. Not possible with a regular pot or a crock pot.