How To Cook Beans in an Electric Pressure Cooker

How To Cook Beans in an Electric Pressure Cooker

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Meghan Splawn
Sep 25, 2016
(Image credit: Christine Han)

Cooking dried beans always seems like such a chore — you have to soak the beans and then cook them low and slow on the stovetop for hours. While this can be a nice project for a low-key Sunday, there are times when you need a pot of beans right now for dinner tonight and you don't have time to soak and cook low and slow.

The electric pressure cooker is a bean-cooking dream. A "rapid soak" of just one minute at high pressure eliminates the overnight soak, and an average cook time of 10 minutes for most beans means that you can have a fresh pot in less than an hour. Here's how to do it.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Selecting Beans

Dried beans vary widely from manufacturer to manufacturer, which is why they often have a reputation for taking forever to cook. Older beans will take longer to cook, but the age of the beans is hard to determine. As such, buying beans from a reputable grocer will help ensure bean-cooking success. Discard dried beans that have been sitting in your pantry for more than a year — or use them for blind baking.

Beans are an agricultural product and, like fruits and vegetables, should be double checked for debris and rinsed before cooking. Small rocks are not all that uncommon in bagged beans and can ruin even the best pot. Spread the beans into an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet to quickly remove any broken beans or small bits of debris.

How to Rapid-Soak Beans

If you have time to soak beans overnight, you should — the results will be creamier beans with fewer split specimens — but the beauty of the electric pressure cooker is that you can mimic a long overnight soak by quickly bringing the pot of beans to high pressure for just one minute. This same step will make a more consistent pot of beans (again creamier and few split beans).

The other benefit of this quick soak is it sort of hints toward the required cook time for your particular pot of beans. A really fresh bag of dried chickpeas was nearly cooked through with one minute at high pressure, so reducing the actual cook time by two minutes made a near-perfect pot of beans. Ditto for the black beans that were still rock-hard after the quick soak — a few extra minutes of cook time rendered them tender and creamy during the longer cooking period.

Learning when to adjust the cook time may seem like time-consuming and earned intuition, but it will only take a few pots of beans to spot older beans that need a longer cook time.

Cooking Times for Beans in an Electric Pressure Cooker

These cook times are intended for electric pressure cookers. Electric pressure cookers have a lower PSI than their stovetop counterparts and therefore usually require a longer cook time.

Beans

Time*

Pressure

Black beans

15 minutes

High

Black-eyed peas

5 minutes

High

Chickpeas

15 minutes

High

Cannellini

8 minutes

High

Kidney

8 minutes

High

Pinto

8 minutes

High

For stovetop directons: How To Cook Beans in a Stovetop Pressure Cooker

Release Method

Pressure cookers have two methods for releasing their pressure: natural and rapid. Natural release means that once the cooker is set off, the cooker is left to release its pressure naturally over time; this is imperative for beans. Rapid release is when you open the pressure valve completely and quickly release the pressure. Refer to your cooker manual for guidance on natural and rapid release.

Read more: What's the Difference Between Natural Release and Rapid Release?

How To Cook Beans in an Electric Pressure Cooker

Makes 5 to 6 cups of beans, plus broth

What You Need

Ingredients
1 pound dried beans
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 yellow onion, left whole
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon oil

Equipment
Medium-sized bowl
Measuring cups and spoons
Colander or sieve
6- to 8-quart electric pressure cooker (see Recipe Note)
Timer
Slotted spoon
Ladle

Instructions

  1. Quick soak the beans: Rinse the beans under cool running water, and shake to drain. Add the beans to the electric pressure cooker and cover with 6 cups of water. Bring the water and beans to a boil using the electric pressure cooker's sauté function on high. Once the water comes to a boil, lid the pressure cooker and cook for 1 minute on high pressure. When 1 minute is up, carefully release the pressure manually. Stop and start as needed to prevent foam spurting up through the valve. Release the lid.
  2. Drain the beans and return to pressure cooker: Drain them in a colander or sieve and rinse with cool water. Return the soaked beans to the electric pressure cooker. Add 8 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of salt, onion, garlic, bay leaf and oil to the pot.
  3. Cook the beans: Secure the pressure cooker's lid and set the pressure to high for 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the beans you are using. Consult the chart above.
  4. Natural release: When the time is up, turn off the heat. Allow the pot to cool down and release pressure naturally. Follow your instruction manual to determine how you will know when the pot is ready to be opened. Unlock and remove the lid, tilting the lid away from you and allowing any condensation to drip back into the pot. Using a slotted spoon, fish out and discard the onion, garlic, and bay leaf.
  5. Use or store: Your beans are now ready to use. If you want to store them, measure out 1 1/2 cups of beans into 2-cup storage containers. Add liquid to cover, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Seal and store in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to one year. Be sure to label the jars with date and contents.
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