Homemade beans are much tastier and more economical than what you can find in the store. But they can take hours to make using conventional methods. Using an Instant Pot, however, you can take beans from dried to delicious in one hour! And there’s no soaking required! This really is the easiest and fastest way to cook dried beans at home.
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I first started making my own beans a couple of years ago in attempts to be more frugal and homemade. I did not yet have an Instant Pot (I didn’t even know about them), so I made them in my slow cooker. And while I liked the result, the process took for-ev-er. And I had the hardest time remembering to soak them the night before. So, as much as I wanted to make all my own beans, I quickly reverted to my default beans from a can.
But everything changed once I got my Instant Pot. Everything.
And then I discovered that the soaking step was actually not at all necessary. (Say whaaat? Yep. I’m serious. I’ll talk more about that in a minute.)
The final straw was when I started cooking my beans with savory add-ins. After getting a taste for those delicious beans, I didn’t want to go back to boring beans from a can. They ruined me for canned beans forever.
So if you’ve ever wanted to make your own beans but didn’t think you had the time (or if you’ve never even considered it but now you’re intrigued), let me show you the fast and easy way to make dried beans in 1 hour.
WHY MAKE YOUR OWN BEANS?
There are several reasons you may want to consider making your own beans:
- They’re cheaper
I get bags of beans at our favorite bulk foods store for about $.80 – $1.00 a pound. And I get about 3 cans worth per pound. That means I’m getting beans at $.27 – $.33 a can! Even ALDI beans are $.60 or more. Added up over many cans of beans (I’m a big fan), that equals some serious savings.
- You can control the ingredients
This is one of my top reasons for making anything from scratch — you know exactly what’s going into them and you can control the amounts. Now, I don’t think there’s anything too nefarious going into your canned beans, but sodium content is a big deal for a lot of people, and canned goods are a key culprit. Making them from scratch means you can control exactly how much salt goes in them.
- They are delicious!!
Canned beans from the store don’t hold a candle to homemade, especially made like the recipe below. Oh my goodness, these beans will make your mouth water and your home smell delicious. My husband is not a big bean fan, but even he is converting because of these beans.
WHY USE AN INSTANT POT?
Do they have to be cooked in the Instant Pot? Of course not! Like I said, I used to cook them in my slow cooker, so you can definitely do it that way if you don’t have an Instant Pot. (You can also do them the old-fashioned way on the stove, but um, why? That requires babysitting, and I have enough to watch with my own babies, thank you very much.)
But I won’t cook them any other way than in the Instant Pot for one simple reason:
It’s so stinkin’ fast!
I mean, cooked beans in 1 hour? Are you kidding me? Cooking beans used to take me an entire day in the slow cooker. And now I can do more than one bean session in a day!
I probably sound like a crazy person for getting so excited about cooking beans, but I love efficiency! Because it means I can get more done. And what mom doesn’t love finding ways to get more done in a day?
So if you’ve been on the fence about getting an Instant Pot (read my first Instant Pot post to hear my thoughts about why you should), it’s almost worth it just for the homemade beans in an hour. (If you’re not convinced that’s worth a hill of beans (hah), there are many other reasons to get one.)
TO SOAK OR NOT TO SOAK? THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION
“But I thought you were supposed to soak your beans, and that takes hours.”
Yes, I used to think that, too. And it was the biggest obstacle to homemade beans for me because I was terrible at remembering to pre-soak them.
But then I started to read that you don’t have to soak your beans after all. One less step to take? I was all over that. So I stopped soaking my beans. And I haven’t noticed a lick of difference, except that I have to cook them a bit longer (which isn’t a big deal in the Instant Pot). So I stopped soaking, and I have never looked back.
But because I’m a rule follower and I always try to find the “right” way to do things, I looked to see what the experts had to say about soaking.
Basically, I learned that “to soak or not to soak” is the age-old question of bean cooking. Some say yes, some say no. Some say soaking improves texture and flavor, others say it actually detracts from it. Some say it aids digestion, others say that’s bologna. However, it seems more and more cooks are coming to the dark side of soak-skipping.
Here are a couple really interesting articles about why you should skip the soak:
I’ll let you do the research and decide for yourself. You can always try it both ways and see which you prefer. All I can say is, I didn’t see any benefit in soaking, so to me, it was an unnecessary step. And I’m all about skipping unnecessary steps.
- The only difference I noticed was that soaked beans tend to hold up better than non-soaked beans. So if keeping beans intact is very important to you, then you might want to soak them first. Just know that it will affect the cooking times.
- Be careful with kidney beans! There is a toxin in kidney beans that must be destroyed by cooking them thoroughly. So while I’ve seen plenty of evidence that says soaking is still unnecessary, you do want to make sure you cook them completely.
HOW TO MAKE BEANS IN THE INSTANT POT
And now on to the main event. This is my favorite way to cook dried beans:
1 pound dried beans
8 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil (this helps prevent foaming, which can clog the pressure valve)
1-2 teaspoons salt (I prefer closer to 2)
2-3 cloves garlic (I prefer 3)
1 bay leaf
- Combine all ingredients in your Instant Pot
**Make sure you don’t fill it more than halfway full!**
- Secure the lid. Make sure the valve is on “sealing”
- Select manual and adjust to the cooking time of your beans
Cooking time for unsoaked beans:
Black beans: 20-25 minutes
Cannellini beans: 35-40 minutes
Garbanzo beans (Chickpeas): 35-40 minutes
Great Northern beans: 25-30 minutes
Navy beans: 25-30 minutes
Pinto beans: 25-30 minutes
Kidney beans: 35 minutes
**Note: The Instant Pot will take about 15-20 minutes to come to pressure before the cooking time begins.
- Once cooking is completed, let the pressure naturally release on its own. This will take about another 20 minutes.
- Drain the beans, keeping a bowl under your colander to catch the cooking liquid.
Freezing your beans for later:
Let your beans cool, then portion into 2 cup (1 3/4 to be really exact) portions into either freezer-safe containers or Ziploc bags. Chill in the fridge for a bit before transferring to the freezer to reduce the chance of freezer burn.
I posted a video of the process on Facebook a couple weeks ago. You can click on the link below or the video screenshot to watch.
Making your own beans from scratch may sound like a waste of time or effort, but it’s really quite simple and it produces the best beans you’ll ever eat. Certainly better than anything you can get from a can!
And with the Instant Pot, it hardly takes any time at all. You can easily make a couple month’s worth of beans cooked in a day. Try it once and see if it doesn’t ruin you for canned beans, too.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that you’re inspired to try your hand at some beans. If you do, please leave a comment and let me know how they turned out!
TOOLS I USE
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