Maybe I’m a little late to the bandwagon but I’ve been all over my Instant Pot this winter. As far as easy budget foods go, black beans are one of my favorites to make in it. These Instant Pot black beans are savory and just the right amount of saucy because nobody likes dry beans; you need that delicious thickened up bean broth for your rice to soak up! And if you don’t have an Instant Pot, don’t worry, because you can make these in any pressure cooker or on the stovetop too.
Rice and beans were one of the first vegan foods I learned how to make. They were a staple meal for me in college and a Puerto Rican friend taught me how to make them with canned black beans and sofrito seasoning. I still make them that way sometimes too!
However, recently I’ve been making an effort to highlight more frugal recipes on the blog and if you want to save money and customize the flavor, dried black beans are the way to go. Where I live, the cost per serving is about 75% less when using dried beans. Even if you buy fancy organic dried black beans, you still save compared to tinned beans.
I know there are a lot of recipes for Instant Pot black beans out there already but I’m throwing mine into the mix because:
1) I polled my followers on Instagram and you overwhelmingly wanted the recipe!
2) I happen to think that mine have an extra nice flavor, because I give the saute mixture lots of love and I season aggressively. The key to tasty pressure cooked black beans!
3) I like my beans to have some sauce! One of the best things about black beans and rice is ladling that extra bean broth over the rice and filling every bite with umami deliciousness. Many other Instant Pot black beans recipes advertise that no draining is required, but for my preference, sauciness is a virtue, especially if you’re planning to batch cook and have leftovers that stay nice and juicy.
Thus, the beans to water ratio that I use has a bit higher liquid than other recipes. Not a lot more, just a little, to make it perfectly saucy for me :). Also, there’s no need to soak the beans for this recipe. Just give them and rinse and you’re good to go.
I use as little oil as I can get away with, but when making a pound of beans, you’ll generally need about 1 to 1.5 tablespoons so that you can coat the bottom of the pan. That way, the rice and peppers don’t dry out, instead they become tender and melt-in-your mouth, and taste more like what you would get at a restaurant. The oil-soluble spices and garlic are then gently roasted in the oil before adding the beans.
After they come together in a snap in your Instant Pot or other cooking implement, use these tender black beans in:
- Burritos or tacos, such as my BBQ sweet potato black bean tacos!
- Caribbean, Southwestern, or Mexican inspired recipes such as my chipotle black bean soup!
- Anywhere else you would use black beans normally!
If you want to make more of a small batch of these black beans, you can cut the recipe in half, but note if you are using a larger (8 quart) Instant Pot you will want to use a bit more than half of the liquid. In the 8 quart implement, the liquid evaporates a little bit more whilst the device comes to pressure and your beans will end up dry if you don’t compensate for that fact.
My Instant Pot black beans are not exactly Cuban or Puerto Rican, even though those were the first sort I learned to make. They’re more of an all-purpose black bean that you can use anywhere and customize the seasoning to your needs. Obviously, they’re vegan, so there are no pork products in here, but I think you’ll find they’re quite wonderful regardless and use simple, affordable ingredients. Bon appetit!
Basic Instant Pot Black Beans
Savory black beans made in the Instant Pot, for all of your bean-y needs. Omit the aromatics for neutral flavored beans or use this gently seasoned ,all-purpose flavor base!
- 1 lb dried black beans
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil (use whatever oil you like)
- 1 white or yellow onion finely chopped
- 1 bell pepper finely chopped (use any color)
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp salt-free chili powder (or use another all-purpose seasoning)
- 3 and 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/4 tsp salt plus more to taste
Rinse the dried beans and pick out any shriveled beans or rocks that you find.
Set the Instant Pot to its "Saute" function. Once warm, add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. I like to put one piece of onion in the oil to test the oil temperature, and once I see it sizzling I add the rest. Add the chopped onion and bell pepper with a pinch of salt, and stir. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion and bell pepper are softened and the onion is turning translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and chili powder, and stir to combine. Cook for about 60 seconds or until fragrant and toasted. Stir in the rinsed black beans, vegetable broth, and 1/4 tsp salt. Turn off the "Saute" function and put the lid back on your Instant Pot, flipping the switch to point to "Sealing".
Cook on "Manual" mode under "High" pressure for 35 minutes. IMPORTANT: do not flip the switch to vent after the time is up. Allow natural release, which takes another 15-20 minutes. The beans will continue cooking through during this time. You'll know the natural release has completed when you are able to open the lid without forcing it open or flipping the switch.
Taste your Instant Pot black beans for salt, and add more to taste (about another 1/4 to 1/2 tsp, depending on the saltiness of your broth). Serve hot. Store leftovers by transferring them into containers once cooled down to room temperature; refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to a month or more. Yields approximately 6 cups of cooked beans.
NEUTRAL BLACK BEANS: Omit everything except for the oil, black beans, broth, and salt.
NO CHOPPING: Skip the onion, garlic, and peppers and instead add 1/3 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, and a pinch of paprika along with the other spice.
OTHER PRESSURE COOKERS: You'll need to start by doing the saute step separately, transfer those ingredients to your pressure cooker, and then proceed with the recipe as written. Be sure to use natural release regardless of which pressure cooking device you use.
STOVETOP: Do all of this in a big stock pot and increase the liquid to 6 cups. Keep the lid covered throughout the cooking process. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce it to a strong simmer and simmer covered until tender, adding more broth if needed, about 40 minutes (your results may vary).
Reference: The Ultimate Pressure Cooker Time Chart