Quick and easy no-soak Instant Pot Black Beans! This recipe takes all of five minutes to prepare and just 28 minutes in the Instant Pot for perfectly cooked spicy black beans. Serve these beans as a side with tacos, over rice, or as a topping for vegan nachos.
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This recipe for Instant Pot Black Beans is the first thing I ever tried making in an electric pressure cooker, and man oh man it knocked my socks off. Who knew that the secret for to delicious, spicy, perfectly cooked black beans was starting with dried beans?!
Well, now YOU do! And not only are these beans delicious, this recipe is incredibly easy, with just five minutes of prep time, and doesn't require any soaking before you cook the beans. And they taste soooo much better than any recipe that starts with a can of beans.
(Psst: This recipe is for spicy, seasoned black beans. If you're looking for plain cooked black beans to use in any recipe, be sure to check out our guide on How to Cook Black Beans)
Ingredients for Instant Pot Black Beans
Time to gather up your ingredients! Here's what you need to make this recipe:
- Black beans --> We're using a pound of dried black beans today.
- Onion --> One big ol' yellow onion.
- Garlic --> Going in with a few cloves.
- Tomato paste --> Bringing a bit of tang.
- Spices --> Smoked paprika, oregano, bay leaves, and ground cumin.
- Chili flakes --> Optional, to bring the heat.
- Lime --> I used the world's oldest lime in those photos. Treat yourself to a fresh one!
- Salt --> For balance, yo.
In terms of equipment, you're going to need an Instant Pot (or other brand of electric pressure cooker) to make these Instant Pot Black Beans. However, I did make them on the stovetop for many years, so there are instructions for both methods in the recipe card at the end of this post.
How to make Instant Pot Black Beans?
You guys, it's so easy you're not going to believe it. Let me talk you through it step by step.
Step 1: Give your beans a good rise, and put them into your Instant Pot.
Step 2: Add the onions, garlic, spices, tomato paste, salt, and water. DO NOT add the lime juice.
Step 3: Set your Instant Pot to Manual / High Pressure for 28 minutes. Be sure that the vent is flipped to "sealing" and then let it do its business.
Step 4: Once the pressure cooking cycle has finished, allow the Instant Pot to release naturally. If you're in a rush, you can release the remaining pressure at around the 20 minute mark.
Step 5: Stir in the lime juice.
Season Beans Before Cooking
One of the reasons this Instant Pot Black Beans recipe is so delicious is all the layers of flavor that are built in before the beans have cooked. The cooking liquid is infused with cumin, salt, tomato paste, etc, all of which is absorbed by the dry beans while they are cooking. The result is tender, flavorful beans that can't be beat.
For Thicker Bean Broth, let Your Beans Simmer After Cooking
Depending on how thick or how saucy you want your black beans to be, let them simmer for more or less time. You can use the Instant Pot's sauté function on low and let the beans simmer until you've reached the desired thickness - keeping in mind that they will continue to thicken as they cool.
Don't Overfill Your Instant Pot
These Instant Pot Black Beans are so delicious you may be tempted to make a double batch. Go for it! Just make sure that the contents do not pass the max fill line on the insert.
Ways to use Instant Pot Black Beans
These Instant Pot Black Beans are so saucy and delicious, they're a perfect addition to any meal! Here's a few ideas for how to use them.
- As a vegetarian protein in a Meal Bowl. (Related: How to Make a Meal Bowl Without a Recipe)
- As part of your vegetarian taco spread. (Related: Tempeh Tacos)
- With some loaded vegetarian nachos (try these Air Fryer Nachos)
- As a big plate of rice and beans.
- In some tasty Black Bean Burritos.
- In a Vegan Wrap.
Really, you can use them in, or beside, or on top of whatever you like!
Storing Black Beans
I love to make a big pot of these Instant Pot Black Beans as a part of my weekly batch cooking (related: Batch Cooking For Beginners) and will use what I need during the week and then freeze the rest. Here's how to store them properly:
Option 1: Storing Cooked Beans in the Fridge
To store your cooked beans in the fridge, spoon them into any container that has a lid. I like these Weck Jars, but old jam jars, Ball jars, or even empty yogurt containers work fine as well.
These black beans will last 3-5 days in an airtight continer in the fridge.
Option 2: Freezing Beans
To freeze, I simply scoop out one-cup portions and smoosh them into freezer bags. These reusable silicon freezer bags are my favourite!
These beans will last up to 3 months in the freezer.
There are a number of reasons this could have happened. Your beans may be old, your water may be hard, or your Instant Pot may not have sealed properly. You can always add extra time in the Instant Pot, or try adding a pinch of baking soda to the cooking water.
Nope! Although some folks find that soaking the beans and discarding the soaking water can make beans a little easier to digest, it only increases cooking times by a matter of minutes.
This recipe uses dried beans that are cooked in a flavorful broth. Canned beans can not be used.
Bean math is hard! Let me do it for you.
1 pound dried beans contains of 2 cups dried beans. That works out to approximately 5 cups cooked beans.
Hey Nutrition Lady, are black beans good for you?
Yes my friends, yes they are.
Black beans are a good source of folate, dietary fiber, protein, phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium and vitamin K.
A one cup serving of black beans contains 15g of fiber (over half of the daily recommended intake), and 15g of protein. This protein-fiber combination is key in stabilizing blood sugar levels, as both protein and fiber move through our digestive systems at a moderate pace.
Black beans are also rich in soluble fiber, which is helpful for lowering blood cholesterol levels and supporting cardiovascular health.
Instant Pot Black Beans Recipe
- 1 pound dried black beans
- 3 cups water
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced or crushed
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 medium bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried chili flakes optional - use more to dial up the heat
- 2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice
- Start by preparing all of your ingredients. Chop the onion, crush the garlic, and measure out the spices.
- Rinse the black beans well, and then add them to the Instant Pot insert.1 pound dried black beans
- Add the diced onion, garlic, spices, tomato paste, salt, and water to the instant pot. Do NOT add the lime juice at this stage.1 medium yellow onion, 3-4 cloves garlic, 2 Tablespoons tomato paste, 1 Tablespoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon dried oregano, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 2 medium bay leaves, ½ teaspoon dried chili flakes, 2 teaspoon sea salt, 3 cups water
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot, and ensure the vent is flipped to "sealing".
- Set the Instant Pot to Manual / High Pressure for 28 minutes. It will take about 20 minutes to come to pressure. When the cooking cycle is complete, allow to vent naturally. If you're in a hurry, you can release the remaining pressure after 20 minutes.
- Add the lime juice to the beans, and stir through.1 Tablespoon lime juice
- Allow to cool slightly, and then serve.
- To make this recipe on the stove top, increase the water to 6 cups. Place all of the ingredients except for the lime juice in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, and simmer with the lid ajar until the beans are tender - this could take between 4-6 hours.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only
- Cooked black beans will last 3-5 days in your fridge.
- Leftovers can be frozen for up to 3 months.
This recipe was originally published September 9, 2013. It was retested, rephotographed, and updated with instructions for the Instant Pot on August 12, 2020. Last edited, updated, and re-published February 10, 2023.
Sarah - Sustainable Cooks
These were so perfect! I batch cooked them for the week and it was simple and delicious (even if I stupidly forgot the garlic).
So so good! I have another batch of these in the instant pot right now! I love how easily they freeze!
I made these for tacos along with some roasted peppers and onions and they are yummy! I doubled the recipe so I could have leftovers to freeze. I had to add 10 minutes for them to be done, but I'm sure that's because I doubled. Very easy, and I appreciate that they do not come out watery.
These instant pot beans are better than I've had in any Mexican restaurant. I spice them up or down depending on whether they'll be consumed by heat loving adults or delicate palate babies and children. It's a real winner of a recipe!
This sounds good! If I were to double this with one pound of pinto beans, how much longer do you think I should cook them?
Hi Lisa! I haven't tried cooking pinto beans in my Instant Pot, but I looked up some reliable sources that said to cook them with between 4-6 cups of liquid for 45-50 minutes at high pressure, with a 20 min natural release. Hope that helps!
These are awesome! I already had some cooked beans in the freezer so I threw in the rest of the ingredients and simmered for about 20 minutes. Totally tasty. Can't wait to try this the proper way and see how delicious they get.
These look great, can't wait to try them!
They are amazing! I really hope you try them out. Good reminder - I need to make some of these again soon!
So good to hear your voice over the web! I don't know how you're juggling all of that, but think of how much you will have accomplished after this 9 month stretch - hang in, friend! Love black beans, and this dish looks incredible.
Thanks Jess! It'll be busy, but I'll get through it. A big ol' pot of beans certainly helps get through the busy weeks.
These look incredible! I so want to give them a go, and I've recently got a pressure cooker which I think could be great for cutting down the cooking time too - must try it out.
Good luck with your studying along with everything else and don't let yourself feel guilty if you can't fit everything in - that's just the way life is sometimes!
Ooooh, a pressure cooker! I've never played around with one, so I have no idea how that would work. I imagine you could cook the beans (with all of the add ins) until tender, and then switch to a pot without a lid for the thickening / reducing phase. Let me know how it turns out!
That's what I was thinking - you can just take the lid off the cooker so no need to swap pots 😉 I'll let you know how it goes (once I figure out how to get hold of dried black beans!)
Thanks for the slow cooker tip! I use the same ingredients but much shorter cooking time, so if you say it's the key, I'll do it! And us loyal readers just want you to have a balanced life. If it means dipping in and out of blogging, so be it. Know that I'll be here waiting for your delicious recipes and incisive information and links. All best, for EVERYTHING
Yeah, you've really got to cook it down. These take a while, but they're well worth the time. I'll be dipping in and out a bit, but am making a real effort to carve out time for this place. See you soon!
These and the cauliflower pesto are my two favorite things in the SK cookbook-- aren't they to DIE for??! Every time I think of them, I think, 'It's been too long since I've made those,' and then I make them again. Yum! (Also: we have the same Dutch oven.)
And friend, you know life comes first. You know I/we love seeing you around these parts, but you've got to live, too. You'll rock that thesis defense and when you do, we'll be here to hear all about it!
I haven't tried the cauliflower pesto, but now it's on my radar! I love that Dutch oven, it's probably one of my favourite and most used kitchen pieces (well, as is all of my Le Creuset). Thanks for the kind words, as always! I'll be in and out, but I'd rather be here!