Pressure Cooked Beans: Most Beans Cook in Less than 10 Minutes

Today’s post is a guest post by Jill Nussinow, The Veggie QueenFor the past 16+ years, Jill, a registered dietitian, cooking teacher and cookbook author, has been teaching people how to successfully use the pressure cooker to get great meals on the table quickly. Her most recent book is The New Fast Food: The Veggie Queen Pressure Cooks Whole Food Meals in Less than 30 Minutes. Her previous book The Veggie Queen: Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment also contains a chapter on pressure cooking.

Jill recently sent me an ebook copy of The New Fast Food to review and graciously offered to guest post on Pressure Cooking Today.

The Veggie Queen

I am a vegetarian – a bean eating vegetarian which is how I came to use a pressure cooker.  Imagine cooking beans in just minutes. Often I can cook my soaked beans in less time than it would take to drive to the store for a can of beans. I only keep cans around for emergencies.

I’ve been pressure cooking, and teaching others how to use one, for more than 16 years. The pressure cooker is one of my most essential pieces of kitchen equipment. I’ve even packed and hauled it for car camping trips, and taken it with me to do cooking demonstrations across the country. If you use one, you know that it’s fast, uses less fuel or energy (saving 50 to 70) and best of all, it makes food taste great.

Cooking beans from scratch saves results in better tasting beans that are sodium free or low in sodium, if you use kombu seaweed as I suggest. You’ll also save money. One of my students figured out that the money that she saved on buying canned beans would pay for her pressure cooker in less than a year.

You can pressure cook dry or soaked beans. Presoaked pinto, black, small white or kidney beans take just 4 to 6 minutes at pressure, while garbanzo beans take just 12 to 14  minutes at pressure. To use unsoaked beans, multiply the cooking time by to start. (Black beans take around 25 minutes at pressure if they have not been presoaked.)

To soak beans, put them in a large bowl and thoroughly cover them with water and soak at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours. Drain and then cook.

A quick-soak saves time but uses more energy. Cover your beans with water by 3 inches. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Cover and let sit for 1 hour drain and cook.

To cook the beans, use ¾ cup of water for each 1 cup of dry beans that are presoaked. Bring to high pressure over high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain high pressure. Once your timer beeps, remove the pot from the heat and let the pressure come down naturally. Carefully remove the lid, tilting it away from you.

If you want to be sure that your beans remain intact, do not do a quick release with them as they are likely to split apart. Also, the beans continue cooking during the natural pressure release, thus using less energy. I suggest that you taste a few beans to determine if they are fully cooked.

Once you’ve cooked a large batch of beans, use them right after cooking or freeze them in zippered bags in 1 to 2 cup amounts, making sure that you date and label your bags. Add the cooked beans to your salads, soups, stews, chili or make hummus or another bean dip. Yum.

Basic Pressure Cooked Black Beans

Yield: 2-3 cups

Basic Pressure Cooked Black Beans

Pressure cooking takes so little time that there’s no need to buy canned beans any more (and be concerned about the BPA in the cans). They taste better from the pressure cooker, too. I like to always presoak my beans but you can do them from dried but they take much longer (25 mins) and require more water (3 cups)


  • 1 cup black beans, soaked overnight or quick soaked*
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 piece kombu seaweed
  • 1 sprig epazote, if available
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Salt for after cooking


  1. Put the soaked beans, water, kombu, garlic, herb and spices in the pressure cooker. Bring to high pressure over high heat. When the button pops up, start timing. After 5 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and let the pressure come down naturally. Taste to be sure that the beans are cooked through. If not, put them back on the heat and bring to pressure for another minute or two. Repeat bringing them to pressure and letting the pressure come down naturally.
  2. Open the pot, tilting the lid away from you. Remove the kombu and epazote. Salt the beans, to taste.


Quick soak: Cover your beans with water by 3 inches. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Cover and let sit for 1 hour drain and cook.

©2012, Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, The Veggie Queen™ or

Thanks so much Jill for sharing your technique. I have a bag of black beans in the cupboard just waiting to be pressure cooked. I’m loving The New Fast Food. It’s a great resource. Thanks!

 First photo provided by photo by Alan Bartl.

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    Leave a Comment:

  1. Robin Oleck says

    My friend, who is a vegetarian-to-vegan, said she made beans in her pressure but they came out unevenly cooked. So she said she was discouraged and hadn’t used her PC since (!!!). I suggested either she hadn’t pre-soaked the beans or they were an old batch (something I’d read a while back). Is that what most people would agree with?

    Also, does it make a difference in the end result (other than more time to cook) if you do a salted water 4-hour pre-soak, a quick in-the-pot preboil presoak, or an overnight presoak?

    • says


      Sometimes older beans cook unevenly. Your friend cook have just put the whole pot of beans back on the heat and cooked it until they were all cooked through. There is no accounting for food and what it dose>

      I tend not to do the salt soak because I don’t want all the sodium and I am not sure how it affects the outcome although I just tested a “baked” bean recipe in the PC and presoaked the beans in salt. They were wonderful but not sure about it affecting the cooking.

      Overnight presoak is best for keeping the color of the beans but they often turn out the same when using a quick soak. Any soaking method seems to work.

      I would think that with your friend’s impatience that the pressure cooker would be the perfect tool for cooking.

      Only tried it once and gave up? Surprising. She ought to buy some Rancho Gordo heirloom beans, which are always from the most recent crop, and give her pressure cooker another chance.

      I hope that this helps.

  2. jacquie says

    great post – lots of good information. also being a vegetarian i would love to see more veggie friendly recipes for the pressure cooker.

    • avid_cook says

      jacquie, if you’re interested in more veggie friendly recipes for the pressure cooker you must get Jill’s book, The New Fast Food. I’m not even a vegetarian and I think it’s a wonderful book. Her recipes are quick, easy and very tasty – a winning combination. Besides great recipes Jill includes a number of cooking charts so you know exactly how long to cook the 22 grains on the grain cooking chart, the 20 beans and the 35 veggies. I use Jill’s book for tasty recipes and as a great pressure cooking resource as well. I can also tell you that if you have any questions, Jill’s very responsive to e-mails she receives.

  3. Bonnie Clift says

    I have heard of using kombu when cooking beans in the pressure cooker, but not epazote. Please tell us a little bit about kombu and epazote, and the purpose of using them when pressure cooking beans.
    Thank you,

    • Barbara Schieving says

      Great question Bonnie – Epazote is an herb used in Mexican cooking. It’s used for it’s flavor, but also used to reduce the intestinal gas that occurs with a diet rich in beans. Kombu is seaweed and is also used to help reduce intestinal gas.

  4. says

    Very useful info. I had no idea there could be BPA in the canned beans. I am hoping Santa brings me a pressure cooker. Currently I do the soak method and simmer them with seasonings. But they do take a long time this way.

  5. says

    Great post, and I think this is one of the best uses of the pressure cooker. (I need to do it more often instead of just grabbing a can of beans!)