Cooking Under Pressure: Flavorful Pinto Beans

Andy Anderson !


Face it, beans are an inexpensive way to fill out your weekly meal planner, and when made correctly, not only deliver great flavor, but (believe it or not) that are actually good for you.

Beans on rice with a few spices, maybe a splash of hot sauce, is one of my guilty pleasures. Although these beans are not vegan (check out the ingredients), they are mighty tasty.

So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.


★★★★★ 2 votes

10 Min
35 Min
Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot



  • 1 lb
    dry pinto beans
  • 3 c
    chicken stock, not broth
  • 2 c
    filtered water
  • 2 slice
    raw bacon
  • 2 medium
    bay leaves
  • 1 tsp
    salt, kosher variety, or to taste

  • ·
    chopped onion
  • ·

How to Make Cooking Under Pressure: Flavorful Pinto Beans


  2. For this recipe, you will need an instant pot, or a pressure cooker.
  3. There is an entire mythos involved with putting salt into your beans when pressure cooking. Some say it adds flavor, others say that it increases the cooking time, still others claim it decreases the cooking time. Some even claim that it helps to prevent gas.
    So, what did I do… I cooked them both ways.
    The first thing I discovered is that adding salt does not alter the cooking time. I did salt/no salt at 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and 45 minutes, and the texture of the beans remained constant. In a pressure cooker, salt does not affect cooking time.
    However, I did find out that adding a bit of salt, generated a delicate change in the taste of the beans. In my opinion they had a bit more of an earthy taste that was not disagreeable. I attribute that to the salt ions interacting with the beans, and allowing them to pull some of the flavors from the bacon, stock, and bay leaves into their interior.
    So, if you are on a salt-restricted diet, no worries, just ditch it. You are still going to find them very flavorsome. But, if salt is not a problem, then I say, go for it.
  4. Another thought on using salt.
    This recipe uses chicken stock (as well as other bits-and-bobs). I make my own chicken stock, and use almost no salt in its production. Unfortunately, most canned, or box stock are loaded with salt… even the low-sodium versions. So, if you are using store-bought stock, then do not add the salt, or it will be woefully over the top in sodium.
  5. Gather your ingredients (mise en place).
  6. Rinse the beans in a colander.
  7. Add the beans, and the remainder of the ingredients to the bowl of your instant pot, or pressure cooker.
  8. Lock it down, and cook them for 30 minutes, and then let the steam naturally release, about another 20 minutes.
  9. Chef's Note: These beans can be frozen, in portions, and defrosted and heated up whenever you have the urge.
  11. I love serving these beans on rice with toppings like: ripe avocado, salsa, hot sauce… you get the idea. In addition, this is the way I cook my beans when I am making refried beans. Enjoy.
  12. Keep the faith, and keep cooking.

Printable Recipe Card

About Cooking Under Pressure: Flavorful Pinto Beans

Course/Dish: Vegetables
Main Ingredient: Beans/Legumes
Regional Style: American
Other Tags: Quick & Easy Healthy

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