Easy Instant Pot Black Beans / Soaked or Unsoaked

Easy Instant Pot Black Beans with cilantro

Whenever someone asks me how to eat healthy on a budget, I always think of beans. They’re filling, nutritious, tasty, and dirt cheap. They can be the foundation for so many meals, which is why they’re a staple in diets the world over. Preparing them, however, can be a turnoff to a lot of home cooks, since they take a while on the stove. Enter Easy Instant Pot Black Beans, one of the quickest routes to a reliably tasty bowl of beans.

Should I Soak the Beans First?

The first consideration in cooking beans is whether or not to soak them first. That means immersing them in a generous bowl of water for about eight hours or overnight, during which time they expand. Soaking cuts down on cooking time and some believe it improves digestibility (which some folks believe decreases the pesky gas that can accompany eating beans). Others say soaking is unnecessary and that the improved digestion (ahem, fewer farts) is an old wives tale. I found this to be an enlightening write up on the topic, but overall recommend you do what works best for you.

Seasoning Instant Pot Black Beans

Once you’re ready to cook your beans, pile them in the pot along with the other ingredients. The recipe includes whole garlic cloves, oregano, cumin, chili flakes, and salt. Once cooked, the beans are mildly spiced and pleasingly salted. You can tinker with the seasonings however you like. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Add a ham bone or a few strips of bacon for a smoky flavor.
  • Turn up the heat by adding more chiles.
  • Stir in a handful of chopped fresh cilantro once the beans are done.
  • Cut the salt in half and skip the seasonings altogether, so your beans can be used in both savory and sweet dishes (see black bean brownie recipe below!).
Easy Instant Pot Black Beans with cilantro

Cooking Time for Instant Pot Black Beans

I made so many batches of beans in the process of developing this recipe, my family has since hidden my Instant Pot. I tried them soaked and unsoaked, in large batches and small, and with different brands of beans. One thing I know for sure is that black beans do differ, largely depending on how long they’ve been shelved at the store or in your pantry. In general, I got the best results cooking soaked beans on high for 11 minutes and unsoaked beans for 30 minutes, with about 15 minutes of natural release time.

How Nutritious are Black Beans?

As I said up front, beans are an excellent source of good, solid, affordable nutrition. One cup of black beans is a powerhouse of good health with more than 14 grams of protein, more than a quarter of your daily needs for iron and magnesium, more than a third of your daily needs for folate and thiamin, and as much fiber as most Americans get in an entire day , all at a little over 200 calories. That’s some bean!

Ideas for Using Black Beans

This recipe is for a full pound of beans, which is a little over two cups dried and about six cups cooked. You can absolutely cut the recipe in half or do as I do and freeze some of the cooked beans for another day. As for what to do with those beans, here are a slew of simple ideas:

  • Use as the main event for a DIY taco bar, along with bowls of salsa, grated cheese, cooked vegetables, salsa, and guacamole
  • Toss with cooked brown rice and top with salsa, diced avocado, and a little grated cheese
  • Add to your favorite taco salad
  • Make into a salsa with equal parts cooked corn, diced avocado, and a squeeze of lime with tortilla chips for scooping
  • Tuck into tortillas along with Jack cheese, spinach, and salsa to make nourishing quesadillas
  • Blend with some of the bean cooking liquid, salsa, and lime juice to turn into a warm Tex Mex dip
  • Scatter over a tray of nachos
  • Spoon onto a warm corn tortilla and top with a fried egg
Easy Instant Pot Black Beans with cilantro

For recipes using Instant Pot Black Beans, check out:

3 Ingredient Black Bean Soup

Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos

Sweet Potato Bowls with Glossy Green Sauce

Cheesy Tex Mex Skillet Supper

Quick Breakfast Tacos

Deep Dish Black Bean Enchilada Casserole by Hola Jalapeno

Black Bean Brownies by Liz’s Healthy Table (use just 1 teaspoon salt and no other seasonings for the beans if you’re doing this recipe)

Easy Instant Pot Black Beans with cilantro
2 from 1 vote

Easy Instant Pot Black Beans

The Instant Pot makes effortless work of cooking a pot of black beans. This recipe offers the method for both soaked and unsoaked beans. Feel free to cut the recipe in half, using three instead of six cups of water and half of all the seasonings.  

Course Dinner, Side Dish
Keyword Instant Pot black beans
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12 1/2 cup servings
Calories 109 kcal
Author Katie Morford


  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 3 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 6 cups water


  1. Put the beans in a colander, pick through them to remove any debris or tiny stones, and rinse. If you’re soaking your beans, put them in a large bowl and cover by several inches with water. Leave to soak for 8 hours or overnight. 

  2. When you are ready to cook, put the drained beans (soaked or unsoaked) into the Instant Pot and add the remaining ingredients. Secure the lid, close the vent, and set the IP on high for 11 minutes for soaked beans or 30 minutes for unsoaked.  

  3. When the time is up, allow for a natural release for 15 minutes. Open the vent to release any remaining steam, and remove the lid.

  4. Transfer the beans and some of the cooking liquid (it’s good to keep them moist and the cooking liquid can be great for bean soup) to a covered container. Store in the refrigerator, where they will keep for up to 5 days, or in the freezer in a tightly sealed container or freezer bag.

  5.  To serve, use a slotted spoon to lift them from the liquid. 


01.28.2020 at9:32 AM #


I put asafetida(Ayurvedic) when cooking beans to aid digestion and reduce flatulence.
Love beans and do believe they are a cornerstone to good eating!

02.06.2020 at4:40 PM #

Heidi Storm

Great write up on the black bean. I hope you find your Instant pot!
I LOL’d at my desk over the “less farts”!

One thing you can do with black beans too is go beyond the traditional Mexican style flavors. Black beans are great with other flavor themes including sage/thyme or just plain, to complement any meal.

02.06.2020 at4:40 PM #

Katie Morford

Thank you! And you make a great point about flavoring black beans. You could take this recipe in lots of different directions using different spices. Or, leave the spices out altogether and make black bean brownies 🙂

08.06.2021 at2:55 PM #

Kimberly Wilson

How much liquid needs to go inside of the Instant pot with soaked or soaked beans?

08.06.2021 at2:55 PM #

Katie Morford

6 cups for either soaked or unsoaked will do the job.

05.25.2023 at5:07 PM #


I made 2 batches in the instapot today, one batch soaked for 4 hours, the other unsoaked. Followed the recipe EXACTLY, including the amount of water and cooking time.

Both batches were overcooked and mushy. I will definitely reduce the water AND the cooking time next time.

05.25.2023 at5:07 PM #

Katie Morford

I’m so sorry to hear that. Using the IP for beans is so fabulous, since it’s so much quicker than on the stove. But, as I mention in the post, cooking time can vary depending on the age and storage of the beans. Perhaps you had very good beans that cooked more quickly. I will give this recipe another whirl and see what happens.

Post Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating