Easy NO SOAK Instant Pot Kidney Beans in less than an hour! Save time and money by making your own pressure cooker kidney beans at home, with better flavour and less salt than canned.
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Today we’re taking a deep dive into cooking Instant Pot Kidney Beans where I’ll let you in on everything I’ve learned about cooking kidney beans in an electric pressure cooker.
If you’re someone who likes cooking dried beans from scratch but often forgets to soak them in advance, I've got good news for you: the Instant Pot is a total game-changer in the bean cooking department. Pressure cooked beans are fast, easy, and delicious, and there's no need to soak the beans! You'll have perfectly tender beans every time.
This Instant Pot Kidney Beans Recipe is similar to our Instant Pot Chickpeas - it produces plain, unseasoned (other than a bit of salt) kidney beans that can be used anywhere you'd normally use canned beans - but be prepared for much more delicious beans!
If you're looking for saucy, seasoned beans like our Spicy Instant Pot Black Beans, or Instant Pot Pinto Beans, which come out ready to serve, we'll talk through how to modify the recipe by adding some aromatics and simmering the broth.
Ingredients for Instant Pot Kidney Beans
You just need three ingredients, my friends:
- Dried kidney beans --> I used a full pound of red kidney beans here, but the recipe is easily scaled.
- Water --> From the tap is just fine.
- Salt --> Optional, but worth it.
You're going to need an Instant Pot or other kind of electric pressure cooker in order to make Instant Pot Kidney Beans. This is the model that I have (<-- Amazon link) and the only model I have personally tested these instructions with.
No Instant Pot? Please refer to our comprehensive post on How To Cook Kidney Beans for stovetop or slow cooker instructions.
Tip! Depending on what you're using your cooked kidney beans for, you may or may not want to add some aromatics for a bit of flavour. The beans you see in these photos are unseasoned (other than a bit of salt) and ready to use in any recipe. We'll cover some seasoning options below.
How to Make Instant Pot Kidney Beans
You'll find specific instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post, but for now, let's talk through it step-by-step.
Step 1: Start by giving your dried kidney beans a good rinse. Check for any stones other debris, and discard broken beans.
Step 2: Place the UNSOAKED dried kidney beans into the insert of your instant pot, along with any aromatics and salt.
Step 3: Pour cold water over top. The formula I use is one cup of water per every 100 grams of dried kidney beans. I used one pound (454 grams) of dried kidney beans here, together with 4.5 cups of water.
Step 4: Seal the lid on your Instant Pot and ensure the vent is flipped to "Sealing".
Step 5: Set to Manual / High pressure for 42 minutes. If you prefer slightly firmer beans you can opt for 40 minutes, or 45 minutes for softer beans. Usually I aim for the middle and do 42 minutes.
Step 6: After the pressure cooking cycle is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes. At that point, flip the vent to "Venting" to quick-release the remaining pressure.
Note! Letting the pressure release naturally results in a better bean. Quick-releasing the pressure causes the temperature inside the Instant Pot to increase dramatically, which causes the beans to bash around inside. This often results in mushy beans, which a natural release will avoid.
How to Serve Kidney Beans
These pressure cooker kidney beans are ready to serve as is. You can simply season them with a bit of salt, and add to any salad, meal bowl, or other dish. Or, use as an ingredient in soups, stews, curries, wraps, and more.
Seasoned kidney beans make a great side dish, and they're delicious served with rice and some vegetables on the side.
Depending on how you're planning to use your beans, all you really need to season them with is a little salt - go for a teaspoon of salt per every cup of dried beans.
If you want to make a batch of seasoned kidney beans that are ready to eat as is, you've got options! You can add your favorite flavors to the cooking water, such as onion, garlic, and bay leaf - among other things. I also love smoked paprika and oregano with my beans. Cajun seasoning is classic with kidney beans, as are bell peppers, celery, and parsley.
Be sure to taste your beans when they're finished cooking, and add a bit more salt and additional spices if needed. If you're going to add any acidic ingredients such as lemon or tomato, it's best to wait until the end. Fresh herbs are also a great option.
Storing Kidney Beans
If you cook up a big batch of kidney beans like I did (related: Batch Cooking for Beginners) you may want to divide them up for storage.
Storing Kidney Beans in the Fridge
Personally, I like to store kidney beans with a bit of the cooking liquid poured over top, as it prevents them from drying out. Your kidney beans will last for about 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
Freezing Kidney Beans
Can you freeze beans? You bet you can! This is a great option for having cooked beans on hand and ready to use, fast.
To freeze kidney beans, simply spoon them into freezer bags or another freezer-proof container. I love these resuable silicon bags for freezing cooked beans (and other things!). You can also use glass jars - just be sure you leave adequate space at the top for expansion.
Your kidney beans will keep for 3-6 months in the freezer.
Pro tip! Freeze your kidney beans in commonly used portions so you don't have to chip apart a block of frozen beans. Many recipes call for 14-ounce cans, which are equivalent to about one and a half cups of cooked beans. If you're making a soup or stew, you can just toss the whole frozen block in at once.
If you'd prefer to have a bag of loose frozen kidney beans that you can reach in and grab a handful from, then start by flash freezing them in a single layer on a sheet pan, then transfer the frozen beans to a freezer bag.
Cooking dried kidney beans in the Instant Pot is significantly faster than cooking them on the stovetop. You can cook a big batch and have them come out perfectly every time, with no soaking required.
Nope! No soaking required! To be honest, soaking dried beans only speeds up stovetop cooking by about 10 minutes, and Instant Pot Kidney Beans are so fast it hardly matters.
Some folks find beans that have been soaked overnight easier to digest, so if you have tummy troubles you may want to take that into consideration. If you do soak your kidney beans, you will need to reduce the cooking time accordingly.
It can be frustrating to spend ages cooking dried beans that just won't soften. The most common culprit for hard beans is actually the beans themselves - if you have old or poor-quality beans, they can take ages to cook.
If you live in a place with hard water, you may struggle to get your beans to fully cook as the calcium in the water can prevent the beans from softening.
Acidic ingredients, such as tomatoes or lemon juice, can also result in hard beans. It's best to add these ingredients after the beans are fully cooked.
Cooked beans have a relatively short lifespan. If stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, your kidney beans will last for 3-5 days.
Kidney beans will last for 3-6 months in the freezer.
Just follow your nose! If cooked chickpeas develop a foul, funky smelling odour, a strange appearance, or if they're moldy, please don't eat them.
Instant Pot Kidney Beans
- 1 pound dried kidney beans not soaked!
- 4 ½ cups cold water
- 1 teaspoon salt optional
- Place your dried kidney beans into a mesh strainer and rinse well. Check for any stones or broken beans, and discard those.1 pound dried kidney beans
- Place the rinsed beans into the insert of your Instant Pot, together with 4.5 cups of water and any aromatics.4 ½ cups cold water, 1 teaspoon salt
- Seal the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the vent is set to "sealing". Set to Manual / High Pressure for 42 minutes. It will take about 15 minutes to come up to pressure.
- Once the pressure cooking cycle is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes. Then, flip the vent to "venting" to release the remaining pressure.
- Open the lid carefully. Strain the cooked kidney beans, and use as you wish.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only and are based on 10 servings of cooked kidney beans.
- If the kidney beans are too firm when the cooking cycle is complete, you can pressure cook for an additional 3 minutes.
- Cooked kidney beans can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for 3-6 months.
- You can easily make more or less beans as needed. Use 1 cup water per every 100 grams of dried beans.