Keeping canned goods on hand is an easy way to have a lot in your pantry. As of recently I’ve started making the switch over to keeping dry ingredients in our pantry though. With a little more effort and planning they work just as well as canned goods. I’ve found the best way to cook them is to use the instant pot. This way they cook without me having to monitor them and it doesn’t take a lot of effort on my behalf. I tried a few different methods that didn’t work for me. I ended up with beans that were too mushy or still too hard to chew. Here is the best way that I have found to cook instant pot dry beans.
Why Are Cans Bad?
Within the cans of food there is a liner on the inside of the can. This can liner typically contains BPA! BPA has been associated with a whole host of issues. I even remember as I was growing up one of the big changes was that people started making water bottles that were BPA free. We avoid most plastics if at all possible because of BPA. Even if I am shopping for something plastic I try to make sure it is BPA free as a last resort. BPA has been linked to things like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cardiovascular issues. No matter how healthy your recipes are you could be negatively impacting your body simply by eating canned foods. I realize that live is still a balance. There are still some things that we purchase in cans (diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, etc). If at all possible it is best to watch your brands. I look for organic brands and they will generally list “BPA Free Can Liner” right on the can so you know. Kroger Simple Truth brand is a great one for this.
Bulk Storing Beans
My switch away from cans really came when I stopped purchasing food at the grocery store. Azure Standard makes it so much more affordable to get bulk dry items. I can get lbs of beans, flour, rice, etc at really reasonable prices. On top of that, they also sell the jars to store them in. One of the things that I always look for when I go to thrift stores is jars to make it even more cheap too. A canned good does have a very long shelf life. They sometimes last up to 5 years! Dry beans get 1 to 2 years based on the FDA. However, if you know anything about them you know that they will last practically forever. There typically has to be some sort of preservative included to make the shelf life that long too. Using dried goods ensures that there are no extra ingredients included with what you are getting.
Soaking Dry Beans
There is a lot flying around about soaking beans before cooking them. Soaking beans helps them to cook more quickly. It’s a super simple step. All you have to do is throw them in a bowl in your refrigerator overnight with a splash of apple cider vinegar. I’m not always good at planning that far ahead so sometimes I get this done and sometimes I don’t. There are theories out there that soaking them also helps your body digest them better too. The vinegar is supposed to pull different things out of the beans so that they are easier to digest. I honestly haven’t noticed a difference when I do or don’t soak my beans and how they make my system feel. Maybe I just don’t pay attention or maybe they are onto something. I’ll let you be the judge of that! Just know, if you soak them the method is slightly different because the cook time is adjusted.
Quantity & Time Adjustment
I’ve also halved this recipe. There are only two of us so we don’t always need a great big pot of beans. Most times I will keep them as leftovers or use them in multiple recipes so I opt for the bigger batch. Of course I tested it though, and the amount of time needed to cook the beans is still relatively the same. I tried to cut the time in half and the beans were still too hard. I found that if I used ½ lb of beans it’s best to cook them for 20 minutes with natural release for 10 minutes.
1 lb beans (approx. 2 ¼ cups)
6 cups water
Directions to Cook Instant Pot Dry Beans
After soaking the beans overnight, drain them and put them in the instant pot. Cover them with 6 cups of water. Cook them on high pressure for 12 minutes. Then allow them to naturally release for 10 additional minutes before quick releasing.
Cover dry beans with 6 cups of water. Cook them on high pressure for 50 minutes. Allow them to naturally release for 10 minutes before quick releasing.
For both methods, you can check to make sure they are done by using a fork to press one against the pan. If they are too hard they won’t squish.
I’ve done this with all different kinds of beans- pinto, garbanzo (chickpeas), black, etc. My favorite way to use them is to cook the chickpeas for homemade hummus! Closely followed by cooking up beans to throw in a big bowl of chili on a cool fall evening. Not a lot of effort to make some great food!
The instant pot is by far one of my most favorite tools in the kitchen. We actually have the Ninja Foodie brand and I’m thankful for it every single day. It’s saved me from having to do hours of cooking when I really only had the energy for a quick 30 minute meal. This guide for instant pot dry beans has saved me more times than I could count!