Don't skip the olive oil. This helps reduce foam during cooking, which could clog the pressure valve on the pressure cooker.
Avoid using red kidney beans, which require a different cooking method in order to break down toxins in the bean.
- 1 pound dried beans (see below for cooking times for specific beans)
- 8 cups water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 to 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 o 3 cloves peeled garlic, optional
- 1 bay leaf, optional
- 6- to 8-quart pressure cooker (I use a 6-quart Instant Pot)
1 Combine all ingredients in the pressure cooker. Do not fill the pressure cooker more than half full.
2 Secure the lid. Make sure the pressure regulator valve is closed. (On an Instant Pot, this means it will be set to the the "sealing" position.)
3 Cook the beans: Here are the cooking times for unsoaked beans in the Instant Pot. Cooking times will be similar for other electric pressure cookers; cooking time will be slightly less for stovetop pressure cookers. Double-check the manual that came with your pressure cooker for more exact cooking times:
Black beans: 20 to 25 minutes
Black-eyed peas : 20 to 25 minutes
Great Northern beans: 25 to 30 minutes
Navy beans: 25 to 30 minutes
Pinto beans: 25 to 30 minutes
Cannellini beans: 35 to 40 minutes
Chickpeas (garbanzo beans): 35 to 40 minutes
Cook beans at high pressure for the time recommended above. The pressure cooker will take 15 to 20 minutes to come to full pressure before cooking begins.
4 Let the pressure release: Once cooking is complete, you can let the pressure release naturally on its own, which takes about 20 to 30 minutes, or you can do a "quick release" by opening the pressure valve on the top of the pressure cooker. If doing a rapid release, protect your hands from the steam with oven mitts or use a long-handled spoon to manipulate the pressure valve.
I recommend letting the pressure release naturally for as long as you're able before the beans are needed. This helps the beans retain their shape.
What to do if your beans aren't quite done: Put the lid back on the pressure cooker and make sure the release valve is set back to "sealing." Cook at high pressure for another 5 to 10 minutes (depending on if you think your beans need just a little more time or a little more time to finish). The pot will quickly come back up to pressure because the contents are already hot. Check your beans after the extra cooking time and continue cooking for longer if needed.
5 Using and storing your beans: The beans can be strained and used right away, or cooled and stored in their cooking liquid. They will keep for up to a week refrigerated or up to 3 months in the freezer.