Instant Pot Pinto Beans
Quick, convenient and healthy sums up my Instant Pot Pinto Beans! Cooked, dried beans are superior in taste, texture and more affordable than their canned counterpart and with this recipe can be made quickly!
Canned vs Instant Pot Beans
Both canned and dry beans have a place in our kitchen and our diets. Canned beans are quick, convenient and more instant than an Instant Pot. Alternatively, cooking dry beans in my Instant Pot Pinto Beans recipe is more affordable, flavorful, and has a superior mouthfeel. They are both part of a healthy diet, but canned beans often have more salt and the canning process can degrade some of the nutrients.
Using an Instant Pot to cook dry beans is certainly quicker than cooking on the stove, but the convenience of canned beans cannot be beat! When you want a meal ready in minutes, reach for those can of beans. So, canned beans win for convenience.
According to the Bean Institute, a serving of pinto beans made from dry beans costs about $0.15, and a serving of store brand canned pinto beans costs about $0.34. That savings of cooking with dry beans adds up! If a family of four enjoys beans once a week they would save about $80 per year by choosing dry beans.1 So making my Instant Pot Pinto Beans wins for cost.
The next thing to consider is taste. I think cooking dried beans are way tastier! When making my Instant Pot Pinto Beans you get to decide the flavor by adding your choice seasoning, using water or broth, and most importantly the salt content. Canned beans often have a high salt content requiring them to be rinsed, and the can, can also impart a metallic taste. This would be another win for using dry beans!
Alongside the taste of the beans is texture. What is also known as the mouthfeel, which is an often overlooked component of the food we choose to eat. I find my Instant Pot Pinto Beans have a smooth texture that is creamy, but not mushy. Compared to the canned beans that are often overly firm and formed from the addition of salt and sometimes calcium chloride. Calcium chloride is a firming agent that has a salty and bitter taste and is commonly added to canned beans. Cooking dry beans win for texture!
All beans are a great source of plant-based protein. A half cup of beans provides 7+ grams of protein and fiber. To learn more about bean nutrition check out my post for Instant Pot Bean Soup. There is research that states the nutrition content of cooked dry beans is higher than canned beans.
In a 2018 study in France published in Nutrients, the effect of cooking methods on the nutrient content of beans was investigated. It was found that canning caused a significant decrease in protein and fiber content (30% and 44%, respectively). It was found that the canning process causes protein and fiber to leach into the canning broth.2
Cooking Liquid Options
As noted in the recipe you can cook my Instant Pot Pinto Beans in water or vegetable broth. You can also use chicken broth, which increase the flavor, fat and protein content. Another option is bouillon cubes, which are like broth with the liquid removed.
Most bouillon has a high salt content, but there are great alternatives like Better Than Bouillon (Reduced Sodium). Another option is to make your own vegetarian bouillon, check out this recipe for inspiration. If using just water you can add whatever seasoning would complement the recipe you will be making such as garlic and onion powder, chili powder and paprika.
My Instant Pot Pinto Beans will yield about 6 cups of beans. Unless you are feeding a small army, you will most likely have leftovers. The best way to store them is by freezing them. I like to store in plastic bags, but feel free to use whatever freezer safe bags/containers you have. Make sure to freeze as individual servings so you only need to thaw out what you will use for a future recipe.
Pinto Bean Recipes
Pinto beans are creamy and delicious, they are delicious on their own and commonly used for making refried beans and chili. I also love adding pinto beans to veggie tacos, quesadillas, burritos, and grain bowls.
Let’s Get Cooking!
My recipe could not get any simpler! Feel free to double or even triple the recipe to have extra leftover beans for the freezer. Feel free to add additional seasoning for a deeper flavor combined with your preferred cooking liquid. Enjoy!
- Dry vs. Canned Beans: Which Is Better? Bean Institute. Accessed August 12, 2020. https://beaninstitute.com/dry-vs-canned-beans-which-is-better/
- Margier M, Georgé S, Hafnaoui N, et al. Nutritional Composition and Bioactive Content of Legumes: Characterization of Pulses Frequently Consumed in France and Effect of the Cooking Method. Nutrients. 2018;10(11). doi:10.3390/nu10111668
- pressure cooker
- 1 pound bag dried pinto beans
- 6 cups unsalted vegetable stock or water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Add dried beans and stock to the Instant Pot and mix well.
- Close the lid, turn the valve to "seal," and set the Instant Pot to cook on manual high pressure for 30 minutes.
- Once the time is done, allow a natural release for 10 to 15 minutes then quick release any remaining steam.
- Add salt and pepper and mix well.