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Instant Pot Black Beans

I make black beans a lot. I use the instant pot. Every web site about it is bloated with ads and talks about seasoning. Let’s strip that down to an actual general recipe with just the basics for one pound. If you want to try making more or less beans, go and visit the links. AFAIK you can put in other ingredients/modifiers as long as you aren’t affecting the liquid to bean ratio. If you experience differently, then yell at me when this doesn’t work. I also use a particular Instant Pot model so if you may need to adjust for yours. This is basically adapted from this site tho. Erin at Well Plated is “fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible”, and here her intrepid bravery has yielded great success, though I don’t really think you or anyone else should be scared of making healthy food taste incredible because it’s just not that much of a threat in contrast to coronary heart disease or cancer.

Basic Process


Black beans, 1 pound, rinsed (bolding because I remember to do this last minute every time. If anything, do the rinsing first and set aside, idiot. No, not you recipe reader, I mean future me).


4 cups of water


Combine the two above things in the instant pot. Cover and seal. Cook on HIGH pressure for 35 minutes. On mine that is just “manual” because I don’t have any other pressures. When timer goes off, let it go for 20 minutes longer “natural release” process where it depressurizes without you touching anything. Then actually release. Then eat or put in containers. Most beans freeze like a boss and thaw pretty well so consider getting freezer safe containers. I do and it’s dope.


A note on how this compares to the original cited web site.

Erin’s recipe actually says a 3 to 1 ratio of water to beans. You can try this! Some helpful folks in the comments put Erin on blast for having conflicting information on her post at one point where she had suggested 4 to 1 was the right ratio but 3 to 1 was in the actual ingredients. More important than informational inconsistency, tho, the same commenters claimed that 4 to one yielded better results. So I tried that the first time and it worked splendidly and I have not looked back. If 4 to 1 is too moist for you, go to 3 to 1. You’re an adult and I have faith in you. If you’re not an adult, then I am wondering who is potentially letting you use an Instant Pot unattended to cook beans and am questioning their judgement ever so slightly, but am also envying you for being into pressure cooking earlier than I ever was in life. Good job.


Ingredient Variations

So. The above instructions will make the equivalent of canned black beans basically. Which is great! You should be proud that you have made slightly fresher beans at also hopefully slightly lower cost because you bought your bad ass beans in bulk. I have never actually done the ROI (Return on Investment) calcs to determine whether this is worth the time cost, but my gut instinct is it probalby isn’t unless you truly think plain beans made through this method taste better than plain canned beans. I’ll happily accept someone sending me facts/figures proving me wrong that it is worth the time investment. If you do think this is fresher, maybe it tips the ROI ratio for you. I dunno. You do you.


For me, the actual benefit is the beans can have their own distinct flavor, so varying the ingredients is the interesting thing and what actually is worth the time investment. Want some heat? Add an habanero or jalapeno! Feeling more plain jane? Just go onion and garlic. Lazy? Go onion powder and garlic powder. Beans from a can are generally pretty bland tho so adding flavors is what gives me the win.

A lot of recipes will suggest sauteing onions and peppers with spices, which is reasonable and I have done to success. My instant pot makes that easy by having a sautee setting. You should feel free to do that - saute stuff and then cook the beans in what you sauteed. Stir after adding the water.


This recipe from Camelia Brand for Black Beans is a good starter recipe that is way simpler than Erin’s. No sauteing involved, no cutting vegetables, just spice rack stuff. Ignore their ratio stuff. At least I do. Just use the ingredients.

If I find other ingredient combos that are great, I’ll update this maybe, unless I’m lazy. I dunno. Tonight I’m trying onions sauteed in crushed chipotle, garlic powder, and white wine, then cooked with more garlic power and a bay leaf. Maybe that’ll taste great, maybe it’ll be terrible. Who knows! Me, in the future.

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