The beautiful thing about an instant pot is that whether or not you soak your beans or not, they will cook much faster than on a stove top. If you presoak beans they tend to finish up with fewer split skins, and some people contend they are easier to digest. If you’re short on time, unsoaked beans are just fine. Cooked beans freeze well, so it’s a good idea to cook more than you need so you can save some for another meal. Just spread the beans out on a sheet pan, let them cool to room temperature, and then transfer 2 cup portions to quart size ziplock plastic freezer bags. They can be frozen for up to 6 months.
- 1 pound beans (about 2 cups)
- 8 cups water, plus 6 cups if you soak and drain the beans before cooking
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- To soak the beans, put them in the instant opt and add the 8 cups water and the salt. Leave the pot turned off and let the beans soak for 10 to 12 hours or up to overnight. You can then either drain the beans in a colander or not. If you drain them, they will be less flavorful because you have discarded the salt along with the water. If you drain them, return them to the pot and add the 6 cups water.
- If you decide to cook the beans without soaking them, put them in the instant pot and add the 8 cups water and the salt.
- Secure the lid and set the pressure release to sealing. Select the bean/chili setting and set the cooking time to the correct number of minutes at high pressure.
- Let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes, then move the pressure release to venting to release any remaining steam. Wearing heat-resistant mitts, lift the inner pot out of the instant pot. You may either store the beans in their liquid in the refrigerator or drain them in a colander to freeze or use right away.
- This recipe is easily halved. I often cook beans in 8 ounce batches (about 1 1/8 cups) instead of cooking 1 pound. Be sure to halve the water and salt as well. The cooking times remain the same
- If you like, you can add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the beans before cooking. The oil will help prevent the beans from foaming too much as they cook. For extra flavor, add a few garlic cloves, a bay leaf, and/or a diced onion before securing the lid.
- Serving Size: 6 cups