Welcome to my other post from Kitchen Basics. In this post, learn how to cook dried and soaked kidney beans using an Instant Pot. You can quickly cook kidney beans at home with my easy, detailed recipe with step-by-step photos.
What are kidney beans?
They are a popular ingredient in various cuisines worldwide, known for their deep, red color and hearty texture.
Types of kidney beans
These kidney beans come in different colors, patterns, and sizes. But commonly, we get two types of kidney beans. They are red kidney beans (the top left one in the image below) and speckled kidney beans (the bottom right one in the picture below).
Speckled beans will yield soft and buttery beans on cooking. Also, cooking time will be less for these speckled beans.
We also have white kidney beans (Cannellini Beans) that are larger and have a creamy texture.
Why you should cook kidney beans at home
- Buying beans in bulk and cooking at home is often cheaper and preservative-free. And it is so easy to cook at home from scratch.
- When you cook beans at home, you have complete control over the flavors. You can season them to your taste and adjust the texture to your liking, whether you prefer them firmer for salads or softer for soups.
I usually use an electric pressure cooker to cook kidney beans in bulk and store them in the refrigerator for weekday meals.
Benefits of soaking beans
Though soaking is optional, I will always soak kidney beans overnight. All we need is a little planning, and that will pay off!
Soaking beans has the following benefits: I suggest you try soaking them.
- Reduces the cooking time drastically.
- Soaked beans tend to have a more consistent texture and a better flavor profile. It yields uniformly cooked beans every time.
- Soaking beans also helps to clean them more thoroughly, removing any surface dirt and impurities.
How long to soak kidney beans
You must soak the kidney beans for at least 8 hours or overnight. If you plan to soak the beans for more time, soak them in the refrigerator so they do not ferment.
- Clean the beans to remove stones and other dirt. Wash them once and soak them in clean water for about 8 hours. You can do overnight soak as well.
- Beans will absorb the water and will increase in volume. One cup of dry beans will yield around 2.5 cups of soaked beans.
- Discard the water from soaked kidney beans and wash them a couple of times. There might be white foam on the top of the water. Rinse them well to remove the foam.
How to cook Kidney Beans in Instant Pot
Instant pot Instructions
- Add the rinsed kidney beans into the Instant Pot inner pot.
- Add water and salt. And close the Instant Pot with its lid.
- Start the instant pot in manual or pressure cook mode and cook on HIGH pressure for 10 minutes for soaked beans.
- Select the manual or pressure cook option and set the timer for 40 minutes on high pressure to cook dried kidney beans.
- Once the instant pot turns off, wait 15 minutes and manually release the pressure. You can do a natural pressure release as well.
- Perfectly tender beans are ready to use in your recipes!
You will enjoy my Kitchen Basics category, where you will find reliable and easy cooking guides based on my practical cooking experience. These include basic techniques for everyday foods like rice, beans, black-eyed peas, millet, and sauces with detailed step-by-step photos.
- Add the beans and water to the large pot.
- Place the pot on the stove and cook on a medium flame for about 45 minutes. Stir the beans in between for every 10 minutes or so and skim off the white foam. It might take up to 90 minutes to cook dried beans.
- Use 4 to 5 cups of water for every 1 cup of dried beans and cook until you reach the desired texture. Add more water if beans soak up all the water while cooking.
- Add salt at almost the end of the cooking. Adding salt at the beginning will increase the cooking time.
Tips, Variations, and Substitutions
- One cup of dried red beans will yield around 2.5 to 3 cups of cooked beans.
- Quick release of Instant Pot might yield undercooked beans, so wait for 10 or 15 minutes and carefully release the pressure.
- Do not throw away the excess cooking liquid in which you cook kidney beans. You can freeze this water, use it in soups, and cook rice pilaf. I even use this water to make the chili.
- Speckled kidney beans take a little less time to cook when compared to red kidney beans. Pressure cooking them for 8 minutes at high pressure will suffice.
- Adding salt before cooking can enhance the flavor, but it's optional. For additional flavor, you can add other seasonings like bay leaves, garlic, or onion.
- Instead of water, you can also use vegetable broth for more flavor.
- Usually, older beans take more time to cook. If beans are still hard after cooking, they may need a few more minutes.
Cooked kidney beans stay good for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator and up to 6 months in the freezer. So store them accordingly.
After cooking kidney beans, let them cool down and then drain water from them completely. Store this drained water and cooked kidney beans separately in the refrigerator and use them. In this way, beans will not spoil quickly.
As shown below, I always measure the beans and store them in steel containers according to my meal size. I also freeze them in the same containers. You can measure and store the cooked beans in freezer-safe containers and thaw them when needed.
Recipes to use cooked kidney beans
Now that we have cooked kidney beans let me share with you my easy and delicious recipes to use your cooked beans. Cook the beans on the weekend and keep them handy to make quick weekday meals.
You can place them in the refrigerator overnight and use them the next day like regular beans. If you are in a hurry, take them out and pour hot water over them to thaw them quickly.
Drain the water and refrigerate the soaked beans. They stay good for about two days.
Cooked kidney beans should be tender but still hold their shape. If they are too firm, they need more cooking time. If they start to become mushy, they are overcooked.
Yes, you can double the recipe in a 6-quart Instant Pot as long as you don't exceed the maximum fill line of your Instant Pot. Remember to adjust the amount of water accordingly.
Personally, I do not use baking soda. Baking soda can help soften the beans faster.
Instant Pot Kidney Beans (Dried & Soaked)
- 1 cup kidney beans dried
- 2 cups water 4 cups if cooking dried beans
- ½ teaspoon Salt optional
- Prep the Beans: Rinse the kidney beans under cold water to remove dirt or debris. Then, soak them overnight or for about 8 hours. After soaking, drain and rinse the beans again.
- Cook the Beans: Add the soaked and rinsed kidney beans, water, and salt to the Instant Pot.1 cup kidney beans, ½ teaspoon Salt, 2 cups water
- Set the Instant Pot: Secure the lid on your Instant Pot and set the valve to the 'Sealing' position. Select the 'Pressure Cook' or 'Manual' setting, and set the time to 10 minutes on HIGH pressure for soaked kidney beans. For dried beans, set the time to 40 minutes on HIGH pressure.
- Natural Release: After the cooking time is up, let the pressure release naturally.
- Check the Beans: Open the lid carefully once the pressure is fully released. Check the beans for doneness - they should be tender and intact.
- Drain and Serve: Drain any excess water, and the kidney beans are ready to use in your favorite recipes!