Instant Pot Pinto Beans come out perfectly every single time! Studded with poblano peppers and seasoned with cumin and oregano, these Mexican pinto beans are delicious and flexible. Enjoy them as a side dish or stuff them into burritos, enchiladas, and tacos.
I still remember the first time I cooked dried beans in the instant pot. It kind of felt like witchcraft. I couldn’t believe I had spent years soaking and slaving over a stove, when pressure cooker beans came out this perfectly, and in just one hour!
Dried beans are one of the healthiest staples you can stock your pantry with – not to mention super frugal. We love beans as part of a balanced flexitarian diet, but I’m terrible at remembering to soak them in advance. Luckily you can skip all that forethought using the magic of the instant pot.
Cooking dried beans in the instant pot is quick and super hands off. It’s also much cheaper than buying canned beans, and the result is very, very delicious. Honestly, I didn’t know how much I loved pinto beans until I made them myself. I’m kinda hooked now.
These instant pot pinto beans are seasoned with fairly traditional Mexican ingredients – poblano peppers, oregano, cumin and lime juice. The texture is tender and creamy, and the flavor is vibrant. Enjoy them as a side dish, or stuff them into tortillas for vegetarian tacos.
What are pinto beans?
Pinto beans are fairly common, and are the most popular bean in the Southwest and Northern Mexico. You’ll most often find them in recipes for making refried beans, but don’t stop there! They’re a perfect vegetarian stuffing for burritos and tacos, or to include in your favorite chili recipe.
Pinto beans are creamier and softer than black beans and have a slightly nutty and earthy flavor. They’re a really beautiful bean with pale skin and dark speckles that turn tannish-red after cooking.
Pinto beans are high in plant-based protein and fiber, with an array of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals (source).
How to make instant pot pinto beans
Confession – I bought an instant pot with for the sole purpose of cooking dried beans. I’m terrible at remembering to soak my beans, and it’s been a literal meal saver on more than one occasion. Instant pot pinto beans are perfect every single time. The method couldn’t be easier, and the reward is far in excess of the effort.
- Sort through the dried pinto beans and remove any stones, bits of debris, or broken beans.
- Combine the pinto beans with a diced onion and diced poblano peppers, then season with oregano and cumin. Add enough chicken broth to cover the beans by roughly two inches (I used 5 cups). Stir everything together, then top with a bay leaf. Do not salt at this stage.
- Program the Instant Pot to High Pressure for 30 minutes; keep in mind that it will take about 15 minutes for the pot to come to pressure. Allow for a 10-minute natural pressure release, then release the remaining pressure manually.
- If eating right away, drain the beans in a large colander, then return them to the pot or a serving dish and season with salt and lime juice.
- If you’re making these to freeze, add the salt now, but reserve the lime juice for when you defrost and reheat (see freezing instructions below).
Do I need to soak beans before pressure cooking?
No, you don’t need to pre-soak the pinto beans before cooking! This is the magic of the pressure cooker. Even without soaking, the instant pot creates evenly cooked, tender beans.
That being said, there are a few reasons you might want to pre-soak your beans. For one, they come out prettier. Yes, really! Batches of pre-soaked beans tend to have less broken and bursted beans. This doesn’t really bother me, so I typically skip the soak.
Secondly, soaking beans may help to reduce some of the gas-causing sugars naturally present in beans, theoretically making them easier to digest.
If you’d like to soak the beans first, place them in a large bowl and cover with cool water by 2 inches, cover with a tea towel or saran wrap, and soak at room temperature for 12 hours (in this case, longer is actually better when it comes to reducing gas-producing sugars. Source).
Soaked beans do cook faster, so reduce the cooking time by half (15 minutes on high pressure).
Storing cooked pinto beans
One can of store-bought beans is equivalent to 1 3/4 cups of cooked beans. A pound of pinto beans cooked from scratch will yield about 6 cups of cooked beans, or roughly 3.5 cans. I typically round up to 2 cups of cooked beans when substituting “one can” of beans in a recipe, so essentially this recipe yields about 3 cans of cooked beans.
To store in the fridge: store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge. They’ll last for about 5 days. Reheat in a pot on the stove over medium high heat or in the microwave.
To store in the freezer: do not strain first, but do season with salt. Let the beans cool completely, then combine 2 cups cooked beans and about half a cup of cooking liquid in a freezer-safe container. I like these plastic deli storage containers and have also had lots of success using quart-sized freezer-specific ziplock bags. Make a note on the bag to add lime juice to the cooked beans after defrosting and reheating.
Are these beans vegan?
You can easily make these beans vegetarian and vegan by swapping the chicken stock with vegetable broth or water.
Tips for making perfect instant pot pinto beans
- Poblano peppers get milder the longer you cook them – for a spicier dish, include the seeds.
- Be sure to add enough liquid to cover the beans by about two inches, as they will absorb a ton of liquid while they cook.
- It’s important to salt the beans after they’ve been cooked – cooking beans with salt can make them tougher.
- Older beans (1 year+) may take longer to cook. If you find that your beans are still too firm after cooking, reseal the pot and cook on high an additional 5 minutes.
- Don’t double this recipe if using a 6-quart instant pot, as the liquid will foam as it cooks (just like when you cook beans on the stove!). As a general rule, don’t fill the pot more than halfway with cooking liquid when preparing beans in a pressure cooker.
More easy recipes featuring beans
- Southwestern Black Bean Quinoa Salad
- White Bean Salad with Parsley and Tomatoes
- Black Bean Buddha Bowls with Sweet Potato and Quinoa
- White Bean Soup with Bacon and Kale
Did you make this these instant pot pinto beans? I’d love to know how they turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below
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Instant Pot Mexican Pinto BeansPrint Recipe Rate this Recipe Pin Recipe
- 1 pound dry pinto beans
- 1 sweet onion, diced to ½”
- 2 poblano peppers, diced to ½”
- 1.5 tsp oregano
- 1.5 tsp cumin
- 5 c chicken broth, or vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- Combine the pinto beans, onion, peppers, oregano, and chicken broth in an instant pot. Stir the ingredients, then top with a bay leaf.
- Program to High Pressure for 30 minutes; it will take approximately 15 minutes for the pot to come to pressure. Allow a 10-minute natural pressure release, then perform a quick release for the remaining pressure.
- Drain the beans in a large colander, then return to the pot or a serving dish. Stir in the salt and lime juice.
- Serve immediately as a side dish, or spoon into tortillas for vegetarian tacos.
- One pound of dried beans yields approximately 6 cups of cooked beans. One can of beans is roughly 1 3/4 cups of cooked beans, so substitute accordingly.
- Poblano peppers get milder as they cook - for a spicier dish, include the seeds.
- Make these vegan by simply using vegetable stock.
- Beans absorb lots of liquid, so add enough broth to cover them by about two inches.
- Wait to salt the beans after they've been cooked - cooking beans with salt can make them tougher.
- If you find that your beans are still too firm after cooking, reseal the pot and cook on high an additional 5 minutes.
- Don't double this recipe if using a 6-quart instant pot, as the liquid will foam as it cooks (just like when you cook beans on the stove!) and could cause pressure issues. As a general rule, don't fill the pot more than halfway with cooking liquid when preparing beans in a pressure cooker.
- To store in the fridge: store in a sealed container in the fridge. They'll last for about 5 days. Reheat in a pot on the stove over medium high heat or in the microwave.
- To store in the freezer: do not strain first, but do season with salt. Let the beans cool completely, then combine 2 cups cooked beans and about half a cup of cooking liquid in a freezer-safe container. I like these plastic deli storage containers and have also had lots of success using quart-sized freezer-specific ziplock bags. Make a note on the bag to add lime juice to the cooked beans after defrosting and reheating.