Instant pot pinto beans might be the single most-made recipe in my kitchen. We love pinto beans for side dishes, refried beans, and for tucking into tortillas for bean enchiladas. Pintos are one of the most creamy beans, and kids love them, too! This instant pot recipe doesn't require you to soak the pinto beans ahead of time. You will love this method for making perfectly cooked creamy pinto beans!
Pressure cooker pintos
This instant pot pinto beans recipe was one of the first I mastered in my instant pot. After all, I only bought my instant pot to make beans and instant pot chicken stock, and I never imagined I would use it to make actual meals at first. So, first, I set about creating the most perfect beans in it. These days, I do make dinners in it, though!
The beauty of making pinto beans in the pressure cooker is that you don't have to soak them first! If it's 4pm, and you just started thinking about dinner, you can absolutely still make these beans.
I love having leftover pinto beans around to make refried beans, and please don't tell anyone that my favorite breakfast is a bowl of warm pintos with a scoop of cold pico de gallo on top. Don't knock it til you try it, friends! Beans have so much protein, that I consider them a healthy breakfast. One of the things I do the most with pinto beans is tuck them into green chile chicken enchiladas instead of the chicken for my vegetarian friends.
One of the most special parts of this recipe is the serrano peppers. I place a whole serrano pepper that I sliced in half length-wise to the pot while the beans cook. The peppers infuses a wonderful spiciness into the beans, and the heat hits your tongue after each bite. If you're scared of spice, remove the seeds from the peppers, or omit the peppers.
I've found that when I use these pinto beans in another recipe, I don't need to use freshly ground black pepper, because the serrano pepper brings all of the spiciness that I need. If you leave out the serrano peppers, add some freshly ground black pepper. Also, please note you can substitute jalapeños for the serranos, of course! This is a great way to use summer peppers from your garden, too.
Speaking of gardening, I want to share this story as a warning: if you plant bell peppers next to jalapeños or serranos in your garden, do not be surprised if your bell peppers are spicy! It's likely that the same bee visited both plants, and they can carry jalapeño or serrano pollen to the bell peppers plants and 'inject it' with some spice. I share this because one year, my 18 month old daughter was chowing down on some bell peppers from the garden and started screaming. I had to taste the bell peppers to figure out what had happened. The poor baby didn't trust bell peppers again for months!
Dry Pinto Beans. You need 2 cups of dry unsoaked pinto beans for this recipe. Look for plump beans that don't have any wrinkles, which might indicate old beans that have been stored for too long.
Serrano Pepper. This pepper is optional, but it provides such a lovely flavor to the beans as they cook in the liquid with a serrano. You can substitute a jalapeño or omit.
Garlic. Two cloves of raw garlic, smashed to release the garlic oils.
Onion. Half of a white onion, cut with the tip and root stem intact for easy removal after cooking.
Salt. We're going to salt lightly in the beginning and then add the rest of the salt after the beans have cooked. Sometimes, adding too much salt when the beans are raw can make them take longer to cook, so we only add a small amount at the beginning and then the rest at the end.
How to make instant pot pinto beans:
- Gather the ingredients: pinto beans, serrano pepper, smashed garlic cloves, onion and salt. Rinse and drain the dry pinto beans, just to remove any dust from storage.
- Place the pinto beans, onion, garlic, serrano pepper, and one teaspoon of the salt in the bottom of a 6-quart instant pot.
- Pour the water on top of everything, place the lid on the instant pot, and turn the valve on top to SEAL. Use the button to toggle to HIGH PRESSURE and set the timer for 35 minutes. Once the pot has reached pressure, then the 35 minute count-down begins.
- When the timer goes off, let the pot rest for 10 minutes to release some pressure naturally. After 10 minutes, use a long-handled wooden spoon to carefully open the valve to release the remaining pressure. Be careful--steam from a pressure cooker is very hot!
- Stir everything together, and taste 5 beans from the pot to ensure they're done. If not, place the lid back on and pressure cook for another 5 minutes. Once the beans are done, remove the onion, garlic cloves, and pepper from the pot and discard. Stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt, and let the beans soak in the liquid for at least 30 minutes before serving.
What to serve with instant pot pintos:
I like serving these with a scoop of pico de Gallo. I also like them alongside any type of enchiladas or Mexican dish, and I think these pintos are good on their own as a plain bowl of beans with simple chopped cilantro and white raw onion.
- 2 cups dry pinto beans
- 1 serrano pepper, sliced in half
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- ½ onion, root and tip attached
- 3 teaspoons salt, divided use
- 6 cups water
- Rinse and drain the pinto beans. Place them in the bottom of the instant pot. Add the sliced serrano, garlic, one teaspoon of the salt and onion. Pour the water on top.
- Place the lid on the instant pot, and turn it all the way closed. Turn the valve to SEAL.
Press PRESSURE COOK and set it to HIGH. Toggle the timer to 35 minutes.
When the instant pot has reached pressure, it will beep and begin counting down the 35 minutes.
- After the timer is done, let the instant pot rest for 10 minutes. Then, use a long handled spoon to carefully open the pressure valve to release the pressure. Once the pressure valve drops and indicates it’s safe to open the pot, remove the lid and give the beans a stir.
- Taste at least 5 bean to ensure they’re done, and if they are not, set the timer for another 5 minutes and continue pressure cooking. Beans vary based on storage time, and some can take longer than others.
- When you’re happy with the beans, stir in another 2 teaspoons of salt, and let the cool in the liquid for at least 30 minutes. The beans are ready to use in a recipe or be stored for future use.
Dry Pinto Beans: You need 2 cups of dry unsoaked pinto beans for this recipe. Look for plump beans that don't have any wrinkles, which might indicate old beans that have been stored for too long.
Serrano Pepper: This pepper is optional, but it provides such a lovely flavor to the beans as they cook in the liquid with a serrano. You can substitute a jalapeño or omit.
Garlic: Two cloves of raw garlic, smashed to release the garlic oils.
Onion: Half of a white onion, cut with the tip and root stem intact for easy removal after cooking.
Salt: We're going to salt lightly in the beginning and then add the rest of the salt after the beans have cooked. Sometimes, adding too much salt when the beans are raw can make them take longer to cook, so we only add a small amount at the beginning and then the rest at the end.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 229Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1075mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 10gSugar: 2gProtein: 14g