Hearty, smoky Instant Pot pinto beans are an easy, versatile dish that you'll come back to again and again. No soaking required!
The best part: you only need six ingredients to make them (not counting salt).
Making pinto beans in the Instant Pot without soaking
One of the joys of using a pressure cooker, like the Instant Pot, is its speed, and that speed really shines in the beans department.
Unlike on the stovetop, where unsoaked beans take hours to simmer, Instant Pot pinto beans only cook for about half an hour.
No, for real. These beans are that easy, because pressure cookers are made of magic. Or science. One of those!
To make these pinto beans start with a quick saute, then add your remaining ingredients to the pot. Cook at pressure for 25 minutes, salt to taste, and you're ready to devour.
The result is a pot of beans that's:
What I love most about this recipe, besides its ease, is its versatility. There are so many ways to serve up these flavorful beans!
Why cooking times can vary
Any time that you cook dried beans, cooking time varies depending on the age of your beans and how you stored them.
Older dried beans take longer to get tender, because they can lose moisture as they sit in the pantry. If you don't use an airtight container, they may take longer, as well, because they lose more moisture that way.
Just keep adding a couple of minutes at a time until you reach your desired consistency. If the pot starts to look dry, add ¼ cup of water or broth before sealing and cooking again.
How to serve Instant Pot pinto beans
You can use these pintos anywhere you'd use seasoned pinto beans. Here are a few ideas to get you going:
- Dish them into a bowl with the broth, soup-style with a scoop of guacamole on top.
- Pile them onto corn tortillas with your favorite taco fillings, top with vegan cheese, and bake for easy vegan tostadas.
- Serve them in tacos with crispy avocado.
- Dish them up over rice or quinoa with your favorite veggies for a quick burrito bowl.
- Spoon them onto vegan nachos.
If you do have leftover pinto beans, there are two storage options: fridge or freezer.
- Keep your beans in the refrigerator in a sealed container for around three days. They taste even better the next day, so this is a great make-ahead dish!
- Store them in the freezer. Transfer your cooled beans to an airtight container, and store in the freezer for up to three months. They'll still be good beyond that, but after three months, the flavor won't be as good as the day you made them.
Vegan Instant Pot Pinto Beans Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped sweet onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic - or more, if you like things more garlicky
- 2 cups dry pinto beans - picked over and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika - or 1 tablespoon chili powder and 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- salt - to taste
- Use your Instant Pot's saute function to heat the oil, then add the onion and garlic along with a pinch of salt. Saute for a few minutes, until the onion starts to brown. Press Cancel on your pot.
- Add the beans, paprika, and broth. Stir, then lock the lid. Cook at high pressure for 25 minutes, and do a 10-minute natural release. After 10 minutes, quick release the remaining pressure, and taste one of the beans. If they're not at your desired softness, replace the lid and cook for another 5 minutes, quick release, and taste again.
- Once the beans are at your desired texture, season with salt to taste and serve.
Frequently asked questions
You can freeze Instant Pot pinto beans for up to three months. Thaw them overnight in the fridge, then warm them up on the stovetop before serving.
They certainly can be! Many pinto bean recipe use bacon or other pig products as seasoning, but you can make deliciously smoky pinto beans without involving any pigs. The secret is smoked paprika.
Soaking beans, pinto beans included, reduces their cooking time. Because the Instant Pot cooks them so quickly, you don't need to soak them beforehand.
If you're cooking your pinto beans on the stovetop, I would recommend soaking them overnight, so you won't have to cook them for as long.
You don't need an Instant Pot specifically, but you do need some sort of pressure cooker.
You can make pinto beans on the stovetop, but the cooking time is much longer.