Thanks to the Instant Pot, you no longer have to worry about soaking your beans the night before you need them. With this method, your beans can be ready to go in under an hour. Plus, the beans will be partially cooked so you’ll save time when making your meal as well.
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Soaking Beans Can Be A Real Bummer
Have you ever had this problem?
You get up bright and early ready to tackle the day. Everything starts off so smooth.
Breakfast went off without a hitch. The kiddos were fed well and you were able to get a bite to eat as well. That almost never happens. You were able to actually get the kids ready and out the door on time today. Without any arguing or complaining.
You’re thinking to yourself, what gives? This is almost too good to be true.
This day is humming along like a well-oiled engine. You’re really starting to settle into the absolutely perfect day that this is turning out to be. The housework is such a breeze that you’re able to run a few errands before heading out to pick up kids and shuffle them around.
Just like the morning, the afternoon goes without a hitch. You get home and are actually looking forward to starting dinner. You have a great meal planned. You head to the kitchen when it’s time to start prepping and then it happens.
You forgot to soak the beans!
So much for the perfect day. Your dinner plans are foiled. Cereal for dinner everyone?
You Can Skip The Overnight Soak
Your perfect day doesn’t have to end like that. If you have an Instant Pot, it doesn’t matter if you forgot to soak the beans. You can achieve the same results in under an hour. All you’ll need to do is clean the beans, add some water and a few special ingredients, and set your cook time. That’s it! Your beans will be ready in no time.
A Few Special Ingredients
As I mentioned, we will be adding a few special ingredients. Each ingredient has its own special purpose for helping us get the best quick soaked bean we can.
- Olive Oil: When cooking beans in the Instant Pot, the starch in the beans can cause a foam to build up inside the pot. This foam can end up causing a mess. To avoid this, we’ll add olive oil to the pot.
- Salt: Adding salt to the water in the pot will help soften the skin of the beans. This will, in turn, help reduce the number of beans that will burst during the power soak.
- Baking Soda: The baking soda will speed up the cooking time of the beans. This helps us achieve more tender beans in much less time. Plus, baking soda has another superpower: it lessens the chance that the beans will make you gassy. This stuff has some serious superpowers. Yay for baking soda!
They’re Not Only Soaked But Partially Cooked
Well actually, they are more than partially cooked. If you allow the beans to do a full Natural Pressure Release, they end up almost fully cooked. I’d say that this method gets them to about 90-95% fully cooked. That means they will cook very quickly in any recipe you use them in.
In general, another 15 to 30 minutes (depending on the bean) of cook time should get them to 100%. They’re great for any chili recipe.
For instance, I use this power soak method for red kidney beans when I make my Instant Pot Chili Recipe. I’ll add the beans to my chili immediately after they have completed a power soak. My chili recipe calls for a 15-minute cook time with a 15-minute NPR. The beans come out perfect every time.
It Works In All Pots
I have both a 3-quart and 8-quart and have tested this method in both and had the same great results in both. I do not have a 6-quart, but there is no reason that this recipe wouldn’t work just as well in it.
There Is A Catch
In a perfect world, we’d be able to benefit from the time savings that the Instant Pot gives us without giving up anything. However, this is the real world and in order to gain something we must give up something else.
In the case of the beans, we’re giving up a bit of beauty to gain a tremendous amount of time. That means that using this method we will have more beans that burst when compared to the overnight soak method.
In my testing, the number of burst beans has been minimal. We are doing everything we can to help prevent that issue – adding salt, baking soda, and allowing for a full Natural Pressure Release.
So, all-in-all, the tradeoff is more than fair. I mean, when given these two options:
- Option 1: you can have the prettiest beans on the planet, or
- Option 2: you can have dinner on the table in a flash and the kids in bed on time.
I’ll take option two every time!
Does It Work For All Beans?
It should, but I have only tested it with red kidney beans and pinto beans. As a method for soaking, it should work for all beans. The amount of cook time required to complete the cooking after the power soak will likely be different for each type of bean. For both red kidney beans and pinto beans, an additional 15 to 20 minutes at High Pressure does the job for me.
Just note that the times I have given are based on my own testing using both my 3-quart Duo and 8-quart Duo to power soak red kidney beans and pinto beans. So use this information as general guidance only. Depending on your type of pot and the beans you are cooking, final cook times will likely vary somewhat. The best thing to do is use this information as a starting point and depending on your results, make adjustments from there.
I still have more trials to do and as I continue testing with other beans, I will continue updating this post with that information.
What If My Beans Are Too Hard?
If, after completing the power soak and adding an additional 15 to 30 minutes of cook time, you find that your beans are still hard then your water could be the culprit. Hard water can make for hard beans. The minerals in hard water can cause the skins of the beans to harden which makes it more difficult for water to penetrate and be absorbed by the bean. Here’s what you’ll need to do to complete the cooking:
- Make sure that you added both the salt and baking soda to your beans. This will help prevent this issue from happening. If you forgot to add them, now is the time to do it.
- Close your pot back up, set it to “Sealing” and cook for an additional 5 minutes at High Pressure with a 5-minute Natural Pressure Release. Since the pot is warm, it will come to pressure very quickly. Repeat this process until the beans are tender and then note how much additional time you added so that you can set your Instant Pot to include the extra time the next time you cook the beans.
Now it’s your turn to try power-soaking beans in the Instant Pot!
If you are an Instant Pot beginner I have included a step-by-step below and the recipe card follows. You’ll also find some tips and tricks in the recipe card to help you create a delicious meal with your beans.
How to Power Soak Red Kidney Beans
Soaking beans can be a pain. If you happen to forget to leave them soaking the night before your meal, that can throw your whole day off. That delicious pot or chili or the red beans and rice may have to wait another day.
Thanks to the Instant Pot this is not an issue anymore. Using this method, you can have your beans soaked and ready in under an hour.
GATHER YOUR INGREDIENTS
For this recipe, you will need dry red kidney beans, olive oil, salt, and baking soda.
REMOVE THE BAD BEANS
The first thing you’ll want to do is sort through the beans to remove any debris like loose dirt or small rocks and remove any bad beans. You want to look for beans that look shriveled, have holes in them, are broken, or are too dark.
RINSE THE BEANS
Now place the beans in a colander and give them a thorough rinse to remove any stuck-on dirt or debris.
ADD THE BEANS AND OTHER INGREDIENTS TO THE POT
Now that you have the beans rinsed and separated, it’s time to add them to the Instant Pot and then add the other ingredients.
Dump the beans into the pot
Dump the rinsed beans into the Instant Pot.
Add the water
Add the 6 cups of water to the pot. We’re adding plenty of water to ensure that the beans are fully submerged and have more than enough water to absorb.
The 1 lbs of dried beans and 6 cups of water will put the water close to the Max Line in the 3-quart Instant Pot Mini.
Add the olive oil
Add one tablespoon of olive oil.
When cooking beans, the starches in the beans can create a foam that builds up inside the Instant Pot. This foam can cause a mess. The olive oil reduces the foaming and prevents the mess.
Add two teaspoons of salt to the pot.
Adding salt to the water helps soften the tough outer skin of the beans. This helps to keep the number of beans that burst to a minimum.
Add baking soda
Add ⅛ of a teaspoon of baking soda to the pot. That’s all you need.
Baking soda magically speeds up the cooking process, giving us more tender beans in significantly less time.
Give everything a good stir
Mix all of the ingredients around thoroughly.
COOK THE BEANS
Now your beans are ready to be cooked. Time to close your Instant Pot, set the pressure release valve to “Sealing” and set the cook time.
Set the cook time
Set the pot to “Manual” or “Pressure Cooking”, High Pressure for 0 minutes. Yep, that’s a 0.
Allow for a full natural pressure release
Once the cooking time has completed, allow for a full Natural Pressure Release (NPR). A full NPR will take approximately 45 minutes to complete.
If you are in a hurry, you can release the pressure at 30 minutes, however, releasing the pressure early can cause more beans to bursts. Plus, the beans will require a bit more cook time afterward. I always just allow them to do the full release.
THE BEANS ARE READY FOR YOUR RECIPE
Remember, the beans are not fully cooked at this point but are really close. While this process is only meant to speed up the soak time for the beans it also greatly reduces the required cook time as well.
They are ready to be added to another recipe and cooked according to that recipe.
Rinse if necessary
If you are wanting to reduce the amount of sodium that is going into your dish, then place the cooked beans in a colander and give them a quick rinse.
Use Your Power Soaked Beans in One of These Great Recipes
An Instant Pot chili: Try my Instant Pot chili recipe. It’s so fast and easy to make.
A stovetop chili: Try my stovetop chili recipe. It’s so delicious and perfect for adding your power-soaked beans to.
More chili recipes: Check out these other amazing Chili Recipes that I’ve collected.
Power Soaking Red Kidney Beans
RED KIDNEY BEANS PRESSURE SOAKED IN SALTED WATER
- Measure one pound of dry red kidney beans (approx. 2 ⅔ cups).
- Remove any bad beans and rinse thoroughly.
- Add the beans to the pot, then add the water. Remove any floating beans.
- Add the salt, baking soda, and olive oil. Thoroughly, stir the ingredients in the pot.
- Close the pot, set the pressure release valve to “Sealing” and set the pot to the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” function for 0 minutes.
- Once cooking has completed, allow the pot to do a full Natural Pressure Release “NPR”. This will take approximately 45 minutes.
- Once the NPR has completed and the pin has dropped, open the pot.
- You may either rinse the cooked beans in a strainer or use the beans with the remaining liquid broth in the pot for your recipe. The amount of bean broth remaining in the pot can vary between 2 ½ to 3 cups. If using the broth, substitute for an equal amount of water and adjust the salt in your recipe accordingly.
These beans will not be fully cooked. These beans are not fully cooked and will require further cooking before consuming. This process is only meant to speed up the time you would need to soak your beans.
To finish cooking these beans. I have found that an additional 15-minute cook time at High Pressure with a 15-minute Natural Pressure Release will fully cook these beans.
Tips & Tricks
Don’t dump the broth. The liquid broth that’s left in the pot is so flavorful. It would be a shame to dump it. There will be approximately 2 ⅔ – 3 cups of liquid left in the pot after the beans have completed the power soak. If the recipe I’m making calls for water, I’ll usually substitute it for an equal amount of bean broth. If you do add the broth from the pot to your recipe, you’ll also want to adjust the amount of salt that your recipe uses. Otherwise, your dish may end up being too salty. Since we added 2 teaspoons of salt to the beans, I’ll usually deduct an equal amount of salt from any recipe that I’m using both the beans and the bean broth in.
Rinse the beans to reduce sodium. We use salt to power soak these beans in order to help them cook faster and keep the skins intact. If you are controlling your sodium intake, then I’d suggest that you dump the liquid and rinse the beans.
Don’t forget the special ingredients. The salt, baking soda and olive oil each have their own purpose in helping us get the best beans possible using this method. Make sure that you don’t forget to add them.
They’re not ready to eat. Remember that the beans are not fully cooked yet. We are just speeding up the overnight soak. However, the beans do begin cooking during the power soak and therefore will require much less cook time when cooking your meal. In general, you will want to cook them an additional 15 to 30 minutes at High Pressure and allow for a 15 to 30 pressure release to fully cook the beans through. This will vary depending on the type of bean.
Experiment with cook times. Different beans will require different cook times. As I have mentioned, this method replaces the time required to soak your beans and gains us some cooking time as well. However, to finish off your beans you will need to continue cooking them. The amount of additional time required for each type of bean will be slightly different. The times I have given are based on my testing using both my 3-quart and 8-quart Duos. So use this as general guidance only. I have tested both red kidney beans and pinto beans and have found that an additional 15 minutes at High Pressure and a 15-minute natural pressure release will fully cook the beans through. As I continue testing, I will continue updating this post.
Make a chili. A warm bowl of chili beans is so comforting. This is the perfect dish for those red kidney beans or pinto beans.
Red Beans & Rice. This is such a hearty, filling meal and a great way to make use of those red kidney beans.