Forget to soak the kidney beans before going to bed? Who hasn’t? Use an electric pressure cooker to “power soak” the beans in less than an hour. Here I share my tips on how to use an Instant Pot to cook dry kidney beans quickly.
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I do admit one thing. Most of the time I prefer to use canned or jarred kidney beans. At least this was the case in the past before I learned the power soaking method.
Our goal on The Bean Bites is to make cooking beans easier. There’s nothing easier than using pre-cooked, canned beans.
Canned Versus Dried Beans
There are a few downsides, though, to using canned beans. Be sure to look for canned beans that have no added salt or sodium. Otherwise they can have a ton of sodium inside the can.
Canned beans are also about three times as expensive as dry beans. This makes dried beans a better option for households on a budget.
Last, canned beans tend to get a little mushy if you cook them too long. This is particularly true when cooking chili with kidney beans.
How To Prepare Dry Kidney Beans
On the opposite end is cooking with dried kidney beans. They tend to hold their shape better when cooking in a recipe like chili, but they can be a pain in the butt to cook with. It’s necessary to soak the kidney beans ahead of time – normally overnight.
I don’t often have the foresight to do this. Or the patience. Or I plan to do an overnight soak and I forget. Or, I get too lazy to set it up before bed.
So, yes, the easiest way to prepare dry kidney beans is to rinse and drain them in a colander. Place them in a large bowl and fill with cool water. Let them soak overnight. Before cooking, rinse the beans a few times under cool water.
So, yes, simple. If you plan a head. But there is another way.
See some of our other kidney bean recipes:
What Is An Instant Pot
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, it’s worth the investment. An Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker. Instant Pot is the brand that created the electric pressure cookers although other brands make them as well.
Kitchen scientists developed electric pressure cookers over the years to not only cook food quickly using pressure but to do other things too – even to make yogurt. We use ours mostly for pressure cooking, or quick-cooking, food.
We have the Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-1. It has a six-quart capacity, which is more than enough to cook for two people or for a small group. There is also an 8-quart option for families. For this recipe, use the bean function or the pressure cook function.
Why Prepare Red Kidney Beans In An Instant Pot
When preparing kidney beans in an electric pressure cooker, it is hardly “instant,” but there are benefits to it.
First, although not instant it is quicker than doing a soak ahead. It takes about an hour from beginning to end. If using the kidney beans in a recipe, this is the perfect time to prepare all of the other ingredients and do any needed prep work.
Second, when using an electric pressure cooker, the beans get a pre-cook. This means the beans actually hold their shape well once they are fully cooked.
When making chili or other recipes using the power soaked beans, the beans have a nice consistency. They hold their shape and they cook well. In the end, I find this to be the perfect way to cook kidney beans.
Ingredients Needed To Cook Kidney Beans In A Pressure Cooker
Three simple ingredients: Dried kidney beans, olive oil, and salt.
Add dried kidney beans to an Instant Pot along with some olive oil and salt. The olive oil prevents a foam forming on the top of the water. The salt helps to season the beans while they are cooking plus helps to soften them.
Cook these three ingredients in a lot of water. It should be enough water to completely cover the beans and then some. For about two cups of beans, I use at least five cups of water. Because the beans are drained before cooking with them it’s okay to use a lot of water.
How to Power Soak Red Kidney Beans In An Instant Pot
Here’s how to power soak the kidney beans in an Instant Pot. This in some way almost parboils or pre-cooks the beans. It skips the soaking step. And it prepares the beans to cook quickly in the Instant Pot.
Sort and rinse the beans like you normally would. Add them to the Instant Pot with water, olive oil, and a bit of salt. For two cups of dried beans, I use five cups of water.
Place everything in the Instant Pot. Close and seal the pot. Set the pot to the pressure cook function and set the time for one minute. Yes, only 1 minute! Then, allow the pressure cooker to manually release the pressure for about 35 minutes.
I have heard of people setting the time for zero minutes, but that does sort of stress me out. By setting the time to one minute, the beans soak and pre-cook through the process of pressurizing and then releasing pressure. In total, this process takes about 45 minutes.
Using The Beans In A Recipe
When the 35 minutes is up, use an oven mitt or a kitchen towel to finish releasing the pressure. Carefully open the lid away from your face.
Using two oven mitts, carefully remove the inner pot of the electric pressure cooker. Using a colander, drain all the liquid from the beans. Give them a quick rinse under cool water.
Then, use the beans in any Instant Pot recipe that calls for dried beans. In this case, I added the beans to a chili recipe. For the chili recipe, I continued to cook the beans for 15 minutes on the pressure cook function and let the pressure naturally release for an additional 15 minutes.
- 2 cups of dried kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 cups of water
- Sort and rinse the beans. Rinse them in cool water.
- Add the beans to the Instant Pot with water, olive oil, and ½ teaspoon salt.
- Close and seal the pot. Set the pot to the pressure cook function and set the time for one minute.
- Allow the pressure cooker to manually release the pressure for about 35 minutes.
- When the 35 minutes is up, use an oven mitt or a kitchen towel to finish releasing the pressure. Carefully open the lid away from your face. Using two oven mitts, carefully remove the inner pot of the electric pressure cooker. Using a colander, drain all the liquid from the beans. Give them a quick rinse under cool water.
The cooking time is the time set to pressure cook the beans. The additional time is for the time to pressurize the electric pressure cooker and then to depressurize the pot.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 340Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 287mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 14gSugar: 2gProtein: 21g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.
FAQs – How To Cook Dry Kidney Beans In An Instant Pot
It is possible to use an instant pot for dry beans of any kind. This power soaking method works for red kidney beans. It can be used for other beans, but the type of bean means the time is different. It is lower for some beans and higher for others.
A lot of people say that soaking the kidney beans with a bit of baking soda can help reduce the gas factor from eating beans. I’ve never done any sort of scientific research on this, i.e. with baking soda or without. I don’t generally add it. If you normally do, you can add about ⅛ teaspoon of baking soda to the Instant Pot during the power soak.
It depends on your recipe. When cooking kidney beans in an Instant Pot after this power soak, it will generally take another 15-30 minutes of cooking in the electric pressure cooker to get them soft enough to eat.