Instant Pot Black Beans — Learn how to EASILY make PERFECT black beans in an Instant Pot in just ONE hour! Substitute these superior tasting homemade black beans in any recipe that calls for canned black beans including soups, chili, casseroles, burritos, tacos, or your favorite Mexican recipes!
Making black beans from scratch is a little treat that is so easy to do! Before the popularity of pressure cookers like the Instant Pot, simmering a pot of beans on the stove was a day-long project. Not anymore!
These Instant Pot black beans are ready in 1 hour and are perfectly seasoned with just a bit of onion, garlic, bay leaves, and optional jalapeno if you want your black beans a bit spicier.
The texture is a soft and tender, almost creamy, without being mushy with intact unbroken skin.
Serve or use these Mexican-style black beans in any recipe that you’d normally used canned black beans.
Whether you want to add them to soups, chili, ground beef recipes, comfort food casseroles or burritos, in chicken dishes, in a vegetarian salad or side dish, or in seafood recipes, these black beans are perfect.
I have a dozen recipes showcased here but also have about 100+ black bean recipes on my site so there are no shortage of ways to use them.
Of course, just eating them straight from the Instant Pot is fine too, as is refrying them for refried black beans.
Ingredients in Instant Pot Black Beans
Making dried black beans in an Instant Pot only requires a handful of very common fridge and panty ingredients including the following items:
- Dried black beans
- White or yellow onion
- Bay leaves
- Jalapeno, optional
- Cilantro, optiona for seving
- Queso fresco, optional for serving
How to Make Black Beans in an Instant Pot
Making Mexican black beans in Instant Pot is a cinch! Follow these simple and very straightforward steps:
- Optional but recommended, soak the dry black beans for 4 hours or overnight, drain, rinse, and sort.
- Place the beans, water, onion, garlic,, bay leaves, salt, optional jalapeno in the Instant Pot.
- Attach the lid, set the machine to “Bean Mode”, and turn the time to 40 minutes.
- When the time is finished, allow the machine to slow release for 15 minutes. Then do a quick release.
- Optionally serve with cilantro, queso fresco, or carry on using the cooked Instant Pot black beans in any recipe you need canned black beans for.
How Long to Cook Black Beans in an Instant Pot?
When it comes to cooking Instant Pot dry black beans, they’ll need to cook for 40 minutes on “Bean Mode.” You’ll then need to slow release the beans for 15 minutes before doing a quick release to let the rest of the air pressure out.
Ways to Use Instant Pot Black Beans
Black beans are the number one most common bean I use in any recipe that calls for canned beans, with only garbanzo beans even coming close. Therefore, I have a ton of recipes that call for black beans!
This recipe makes a big batch of cooked black beans — about 6 to 7 cups — so you’ll have no shortage of beans in which to incorporate into your favorite black bean-containing recipes!
Your Instant Pot black beans are going to be perfect in any recipe that calls for drained and rinsed canned black beans. Just substitute these beans right in.
Here is a sampling of my favorite black bean recipes including soup, chili, beef, chicken, sausage, vegetarian, and seafood recipes <— Tip – click that link for 100+ additional recipes using black beans!
- Easy Black Bean Soup
- 30-Minute Chicken Enchilada Chili
- Beef Taco Salad
- Ground Beef Taco Salad Bowls
- 15-Minute Salsa and Black Bean Chicken Skillet
- Buffalo Chicken Burrito Bowls
- Lime Cilantro Chicken with Rice and Beans
- 15-Minute Mexican Rice and Beans Skillet with Sausage
- Loaded Vegetarian Black Beans and Rice Burritos
- Mexican Bean Salad
- Mexican Rice, Beans, and Quinoa Medley
- Lime Cilantro Shrimp and Black Bean Salad
What Kind of Instant Pot Is Best?
While the brand name Instant Pot is likely the most widely known in recent years, most any brand of pressure cooker will work.
Since many people have jumped on the Instant Pot bandwagon, that is what I use for sake of ease.
I use the 6-quart Instant Pot with the 7-in-1 Functions but there are “fancier” models with more bells and whistles that are of course fine.
Can I Make Black Beans in my Slow Cooker?
For those interested in making black beans in a slow cooker, I have this Borracho Beans recipe that I make in the slow cooker.
Follow the basic gist of the recipe for how to cook dried beans in a slow cooker, making sure to add onions and the seasonings called for in this Instant Pot recipe, cover with water by about 2 inches, and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until done.
However, it is so much faster cook dry beans from scratch in an Instant Pot compared to a slow cooker but as long as you’re prepared for the cook time, black beans turn out nicely in a slow cooker.
Additionally, for anyone wanting to make more of a “baked beans” style of bean recipe in your Crock-Pot, these Bourbon Maple Slow Cooker Baked Beans cannot be beat!
Is It OK to Add Salt When Cooking Black Beans in an Instant Pot?
Salting beans is a controversial topic and some people say that salting the beans during the cooking process prevents them or really delays the cooking process. And that salting them at the end is better.
This may be true for stovetop beans, but cooking beans in a pressure cooker with the salt added in the beginning seems to work just fine.
One tablespoon sounds like “a lot” of salt but one pound of beans produces 6 to 7 cups cooked beans. Therefore, in no way is 1 tablespoon too much salt for us. But of course, salt to taste.
As an aside, under-salted beans to me are actually more distasteful than overly salted.
How Long Do Cooked Black Beans Last?
Black beans will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Can I Freeze Cooked Black Beans?
Yes, you can also freeze black beans for up to 4 months. If you’re going to freeze them, consider making a double batch.
If you’re freezing them, I recommend using small to medium-sized freezer safe containers to make the thawing process faster. Plus, that way you only need to thaw what you plan to use for any given recipe you’re making. You can also use plastic baggies but I feel more comfortable using containers for the leakage factor.
Also, spray the plastic containers and ziptop bags with cooking spray to ensure the beans will “plop” right out and not stick.
Can I Make Refried Black Beans from Black Beans Cooked in an Instant Pot?
Yes you sure can!
Follow the Instant Pot black beans recipe as I outline and then:
- If you plan to mash your beans by hand, a basic potato masher is all you need. I prefer hand mashing because I like some texture in my refried beans. I don’t mind the bit of extra work but some people want quicker, faster, easier.
- For those that want to blend your beans in a blender, today’s high-speed blenders are incredibly powerful and it only takes a couple very quick pulses to get the beans blended. Therefore, be careful not to overdo it or you will end up with an ultra-smooth puree closer to baby food than black beans which is not my preference.
Tips for Making Instant Pot Dry Black Beans
I always soak the black beans to save time later. You can soak them for anywhere from a couple hours to overnight. Rinse and drain them after soaking.
You don’t have to soak your beans but if you don’t, it’s likely you will need to cook them about 10 minutes extra. Not a big deal but it’s worth pointing out.
When cooking, ff you do not have a Bean button, it could be also labeled as Chili. If you don’t have that either, simply select High Pressure and cook for 40 minutes and go from there depending on doneness.
All brands of pressure cookers, and even models within the Instant Pot brand, vary slightly so use the mode or setting that best fits what your machine has.
Always taste test a few beans when evaluating doneness. Beans should not be hard when done. If they are at all hard, they need more time. Don’t be afraid to cook them another 10-15 minutes on the Bean mode, or as necessary.
If the water has mostly already been cooked out, add 1 to 2 cups more. In order to soften, beans need to absorb water, so make sure there is sufficient water for them to absorb. Don’t just add more time on the Instant Pot and not add water. Time is useless without water.
You can also use vegetable broth if desired instead of water if you have some on hand. In that case, you may not need to as as much salt.
If you’re new to Instant Pot or pressure cooking, there are a couple things that surprised me when I first delved into it:
- First, it takes awhile for the machine to build up pressure and actually start “cooking”. In the case of high pressure cooking such as the “bean mode”, at least 10 minutes so don’t be surprised.
- Secondly, when releasing the steam, make sure to wrap a kitchen towel over the lid on the machine and/or use hot mitts on your hands because the steam that escapes is incredibly hot and can burn you.
Pin This Recipe
- 1 pound dry black beans, sorted and rinsed; soaking 4 hours or overnight recommended*
- 5 cups water
- 1/2 white or yellow onion, cut into chunky 2-inch pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
- 1 jalapeno, halved; optional
- Cilantro, optiona for seving
- Queso fresco, optional for serving
- To a 6 -quart Instant Pot or similar type of pressure cooker, add the beans, water, onion, garlic, bay leaves, salt, optional jalapeno (halve it lengthwise and add as much or as little as you want from 1/4 of it to all of it, remove the seeds for less heat) stir to combine, and affix the lid.
- Select the Bean button and set the time to 40 minutes. Notes - If you do not have a Bean button, it could be also labeled as Chili. If you don't have that, simply select High Pressure and cook for 40 minutes. All brands of pressure cookers and models within the Instant Pot brand vary slightly so use the mode that best fits what your machine has. It takes awhile for the machine to build up pressure and actually start “cooking”. In the case of high pressure cooking such as the “bean mode”, at least 10 minutes so don’t be surprised.
- When the time has finished, allow a slow release for 15 minutes.
- Then do a quick release. Note - When releasing the steam, make sure to wrap a kitchen towel over the lid on the machine and/or use hot mitts on your hands because the steam that escapes is incredibly hot and can burn you.
- Test a few beans to make sure they are done. If they are tender and done, great. If they are at all hard, they need to cook longer.**
- If you need to cook the beans longer, you will need to add more water, probably 1 to 2 cups more.***
- When the beans are done, remove the bay leaves.
- Optionally remove the onions and jalapeno if you used it, but I leave them in for extra flavor.
- Serve as desired or use the beans in any recipe that calls for canned black beans. Cilantro and queso fresco are optional but if eating them plain and not incorporating the black beans into another recipe, they are great garnishes. Beans will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Tip - Store them in small to medium-sized containers sprayed with cooking spray to make the thawing process easier and to ensure the beans don't stick.
*I recommend soaking the beans overnight, or for at least 4 hours, rinsing them again, and draining them. This helps them cook quicker and more evenly in the Instant Pot. If you do not soak them, it's possible you will have to cook them 10 to 15 minutes additionally, after the first 40 minutes.
**They will probably need an extra 10 to 15 minutes on the Bean setting again, but it will vary based on how underdone they were. Again, this is why soaking your beans ahead of time is recommended to reduce cooking time and guesswork here. Then do a quick release and repeat if necessary. If there is minimal water remaining but the beans aren't done, add 1 to 2 cups additional water because the beans need to absorb moisture in order to cook and soften.
***The amount of water or liquid remaining should be minimal when the beans are done - very slightly wet and just enough to keep them saucy, but not tons of excess. If there is, but the beans are done, fish the beans out using a slotted spoon.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 139Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 524mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 5gSugar: 1gProtein: 9g
Favorite Recipes Using Black Beans:
Easy Black Bean Soup — Smoky, savory, creamy black bean soup with roasted poblano peppers and an array of spices for layers of rich flavor! Hearty, comforting, and naturally vegan and gluten-free, this soup makes a great HEALTHY meal or robust starter or side!
Beef Taco Salad – Loaded with crisp romaine lettuce, sweet corn, juicy tomatoes, and more! It comes together in just 20 minutes and is topped with the most incredible cilantro lime dressing.
Mexican Corn and Black Bean Salad — An EASY corn salad with black beans, zucchini, red onions, cilantro, lime juice, and more!! So much Mexican-inspired FLAVOR in every bite of this family favorite recipe that’s sure to be a hit!!
Ground Beef Taco Salad Bowls — Making homemade taco salad bowls is so easy and they’re perfect for holding this family-favorite taco salad including seasoned ground beef, black beans, cheese and more! Everything is topped with a creamy lime-cilantro dressing that’ll have everyone finishing their salad!
Mexican Bean Salad — Such a fast and easy recipe to make! Plus, it’s loaded with flavor and textures galore. Two kinds of beans, juicy corn and tomatoes, crisp peppers, and green onions are tossed in a lime-chili-cumin vinaigrette that’s perfectly light!!
Mexican Rice, Beans, and Quinoa Medley – Hearty enough to be a meal or makes a FANTASTIC side dish with loads of textures in every bite!! A super FLEXIBLE recipe that’s HEALTHY and makes a big batch for planned leftovers!!
Lime Cilantro Chicken with Rice and Beans — This 15-minute recipe is made in a single skillet and tastes even better the next day! You can use it as a taco filling or enjoy as is. You’re going to love all that lime-cilantro flavor!
15-Minute Salsa Verde Chicken, Rice, and Beans — Fast, EASY, one skillet recipe!! Between the salsa verde, lime juice, and cilantro mixed with juicy chicken, rice, and beans, you’ll be hooked! Perfect for busy weeknights and meal prepping!!