Save Time Using a Pressure Cooker

Pressure Cooking Fears

Some people have a fear of using a pressure cooker, often based on childhood memories of a rattling old pressure cooker on a family stove. However, today’s pressure cookers are nothing like Grandma’s. Like any modern piece of kitchen equipment, when you follow the directions carefully, it’s as safe and convenient as any other kitchen appliance.

Want to save some time and energy when cooking dry beans? Use a pressure cooker!

A pressure cooker is a great tool for preparing dry beans quickly. Pressure cookers combine high pressure and high heat, which dramatically reduces cooking time. Beans prepared in a pressure cooker will cook in about one-third of the time it takes to cook beans on the stove.

Place the beans in a shallow layer in a pie plate, baking sheet, or bar pan.

Pick out and discard any broken beans and foreign objects like leaves, small stones, or twigs.

Place the beans in a colander or strainer and rinse them under cold running water.

There are three soaking methods you can use: the Hot Soak Method, the Traditional Soak Method, and the Quick Soak Method. Soaking reduces gas-producing compounds the most and produces consistently tender beans.

Add seasonings and beans in pressure cooker.

Cover with about 1 1/2 inches of hot water over the level of the beans. Be sure to not fill the cooker over halfway.

Cook for 22 to 30 minutes, depending on the variety. Beans should be tender but not mushy.

Allow pressure to release. Drain immediately.

While cooking dry beans in a pressure cooker is a fairly simple process, they do have a tendency to froth and foam during cooking. Therefore, it is necessary to use the following guidelines when pressure cooking dry beans:

  • Never fill the pressure cooker more than the half full line, including beans, ingredients, and water.
  • Pressure cookers must contain a minimum of ½ cup of liquid in order to operate correctly.
  • Add 1 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil and up to 1 tablespoon of salt to one pound of beans during the soaking or cooking. Tests have shown that when oil and salt are added, dry beans keep their shape and exterior skin intact, and froth and foam less during pressure cooking.
  • Allow pressure to drop on its own. This will add another 18 to 20 minutes to the cooking time but requires no tending.

Note: Pressure cookers often come with product instructions. Refer to the manufacturer’s guide for specific cooking recommendations based on the model of pressure cooker you own.

The Instant Pot is a programmable electric pressure cooker and much more. It also functions as a slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and steamer. It’s custom-made for cooking beans since the Instant Pot includes several pre-set “smart cooking” programs— one of which is dedicated to beans. Just place one pound of rinsed dry beans plus six cups of water in the Instant Pot and seasonings, then choose the function for cooking beans. If you like especially soft beans, add an extra 10 minutes of cooking time to the program.