I’ll be honest, the main reason we bought an instant pot was for beans. I know, you can make anything in an instant pot, but all I wanted was to be able to take dry beans from the pantry and have them on the table as quickly as possible. We’ve tried making our own canned beans using a pressure canner, but it’s not quite the same as dry, shelf-stable beans to dinner in under an hour.
Great Northern Beans are a staple in soups and stews, and they’re the main ingredient in my easy cassoulet. If you use canned beans, they’re flavorless. But simple great northern beans cooked in homemade bone broth adds a richness that’s hard to get any other way.
Some recipes will tell you to add the salt and seasonings after cooking the beans. I disagree.
It’s true that adding salt before cooking beans can toughen them. The problem is, if you want the salt to incorporate into the beans and have them on the table in a reasonable amount of time, you need to put it in at the beginning. You can skip the salt if the beans are going to be used in another dish, like a soup, and they’re going to simmer for at least another hour along with salt and spices.
I start by adding in aromatic herbs like parsley, marjoram, thyme, and a little sage. The spice mix will depend on how they’re going to be used.
After the spices, pour in 4 cups of liquid for every cup of dry, unsoaked beans. If you’re using soaked beans, you can use 3 cups of liquid per cup of soaked beans.
Add in the great northern beans, and make sure that the pot is not more than halfway full. Beans can froth during pressure cooking, and an overfilled pot can be a hazard.
I generally start my great northern beans in the instant pot first thing in the morning. That way I can allow the pot to manually depressurize. When I go to incorporate them into dinner in the evening, they’re perfectly cooked and ready to go.
Sometimes things don’t get planned that far in advance. If you’re going to quickly depressurize your instant pot, be sure to give them another 3-4 minutes at high-pressure cook time to make sure they’re done.
For a no-soak recipe, cook the beans for 32 to 35 minutes at high pressure. If you soaked your beans ahead of time, you can reduce the liquid slightly, and reduce the cook time to 20 to 22 minutes at high pressure.
Quick and easy instructions for cooking great northern beans in an instant pot. With or without soaking. If you're going to manually depressurize the pot, add an extra 3-4 minutes of cook time to ensure that the beans are fully cooked.
Instant Pot Great Northern Beans
Quick and easy instructions for cooking great northern beans in an instant pot. With or without soaking.
If you're going to manually depressurize the pot, add an extra 3-4 minutes of cook time to ensure that the beans are fully cooked.
This looks delish!
I soaked my beans with 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar over night and when I cooked my beans in the Instant Pot for 28 minutes, they came out a little mushy. I decreased the time to 22 minutes and they came out perfect. Just wanted to let you know. Just an FYI-when you soak your beans with a little acid, you break down the phytic acid in the beans and it makes them easier to digest. Great recipe!! Thank you!
How much broth did you used for soaked beans?
These are phenomenal! Great “base” recipe or any spice combo you want. For the liquid, I always use at least half broth. Thanks for posting..I’m a newbie with pressure cooking.
Just curious… your photo is of the beans only. Do you use your recipe to make the soup or do you toss the broth.
I don’t toss the broth. If I just need the beans, for something like cassoulet, I’ll strain them and use the leftover broth for another purpose. But often, I’m cooking them in the broth and leaving both the broth and beans in the pot when I add other ingredients to make soup.
Thank you for your reply.
Based upon your response, if I am making bean soup and planning on including ham, sausage, corrots, celery, and onions, do you suggest putting them in with the beans for the 35 minutes? If not, what do you recommend adding the other ingredients and for how long? Thanks again.
ham, carrots, onions and
Thank you for your reply.
Based upon your response, if I am making bean soup and planning on including ham, sausage, corrots, celery, and onions, do you suggest putting them in with the beans for the 35 minutes? If not, when do you recommend adding the other ingredients and for how long? Thanks again.
Hi, does anyone know how many cups are in one pound of dry beans?
Roughly 2 cups of dried beans equal a pound.
How long do you let the beans naturally release??
I leave it until the seal pops down on its own. That little metal tab near the pressure release valve will fall on its own once the pot cools sufficiently. I’ve never timed it, but I think it’s about 20-30 minutes. I’m not sure that’s strictly necessary, and about 10 minutes would be enough before releasing the rest of the pressure.
One way to combat the foaming issue is to bring the beans to a boil using the saute setting and then skim off all the foam that forms on top as it comes to a boil. Then, add the salt and aromatics and put the lid on and start the pressure cooking cycle.
Or add a little oil on top.
I did this yesterday. I quick soaked 2 pounds of great norther beans for an hour or so. Drained them and put into the IP. I added water to about an inch or so above the beans. I also added ham cubes. Set the pot for 20 minutes and let it naturally release for 15 minutes. The beans were perfectly cooked and delish. For firmer beans, next tie I’ll use 15 minutes.
I was surprised there was very little foaming while sautéing them. I sautéed them until they came to a good boil.
Made this tonight. It was delicious. I had to cook longer, obviously because this was the first time I’ve used my instapot. (I usually do in crockpot for 8hrs. )I added a honey baked ham bone. They are on sale this week at our local store. 2 for $5! I always add a tablespoon of onion salt,, don’t soak beans and make ho cakes to serve with them. This is the first time I used a jiffy box mix for my ho cakes. I added a tablespoon of sour cream to cut the sweetness of the mix. An excellent meal! Woohoo!
I made these after soaking overnight and used 3/4 the amount of liquid at 6 cups. I would recommend about 4 cups instead as 6 was still a bit soupy. Thanks for the recipe!
Just needed a quick recipe for cooking dried beans in a Ninja. Put in some herbs and water and two bay leaves. Set the timer to 35 min. and awesome northern beans. Thank you for your recipe.
I love this recipe but my only problem is that adding salt while they are cooking in the instapot is heavily no recommended becuase the salt with the combined pressure will kill your instapot.
Have you found a way to negate this or what do you recommend?.
I’m skeptical about that. If you can’t salt food in the instant pot, then it makes it a heck of a lot less convenient. What about all those pasta/sauce/etc instant dinners people make in the instant pot that are set it and forget it?
Anyhow, if you’d like you can add the salt after cooking, but it will taste like there’s salt on them (rather than in them), which is what’s happening. Small distinction, and honestly some people might not notice anyway. It’s totally up to you.
I’ll chime in on this salt thing. For years, I’ve put salt in when cooking beans and other things (e.g., cooking elbow mac for mac & cheese) in my Instant Pot, and the pot is just fine.
I’m truly curious where you heard this from? I’ve never heard about it, I use salt in all my cooking, and never had any issues.
I like your recipe both because it specifies great northern beans and because it is not finicky. Twice in your recipe you refer to manual release when I THINK you mean natural release, judging by context. Just to mention,
I was told not to add salt until the end of cooking because it toughens the beans. Any truth to that?
This exact thing was addressed in the article. “It’s true that adding salt before cooking beans can toughen them. The problem is, if you want the salt to incorporate into the beans and have them on the table in a reasonable amount of time, you need to put it in at the beginning. You can skip the salt if the beans are going to be used in another dish, like a soup, and they’re going to simmer for at least another hour along with salt and spices.” So, yes there is some truth to the fact that adding salt can toughen the beans but there are some good reasons as to why you might want to add it in the beginning.
If you want to use the beans to make a bean dip would you reduce the amount of water any?
No I would keep the amount of liquid the same. You can always drain off any excess liquid after they are cooked if necessary.
So, if you start them in the morning for the evening meal, do you just leave them in the pot on the keep warm setting all day?
Yes you can do that.
I would love to see more “tried and true” basic recipes for dried beans in the Instant Pot, such as for Pinto beans, black beans, or chickpeas. I was so pleased with the results from this recipe, I immediately looked for more Instant Pot recipes on your site, but I didn’t find any. This recipe made the perfect texture beans that could be used as a base for many different recipes! Thank you for sharing it, and if you happen to know the best Instant Pot cooking times for other types of beans, please make another post to share!
You’re very welcome. We’re so glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you for that feedback. We will try and add that to our list of post ideas for the future.