Cooking beans can be quite an ordeal. How often have you been wanting to enjoy some freshly cooked beans when you realized “damn it, I didn’t soak them”.
Truth be told, I have never soaked beans. Ever. That’s because I’m a horrible planner when if comes to food. I would either forget to soak them, or find beans that have been soaking for a whole week (whoops!). When I cooked them from scratch using a conventional pot, I would either forget that they were still cooking (smoke was filling the kitchen) or they would boil over so that I had bean liquid all over the kitchen.
Everything changed when I got a pressure cooker. You don’t have to have an electric one (like my beloved Instant Pot), the first one I had was actually a stove-top model that I adored. The following instructions are, however, written for an electric pressure cooker. That’s not just because I don’t have the stove-top model anymore, but also because using an electric pressure cooker makes the task of cooking beans from scratch even less daunting.
What do you need?
• an (electric) pressure cooker
(• an electric kettle)
What do you do?
1. Figure out how many beans you want to cook. Keep in mind that you mustn’t fill your pressure cooker more than half (water AND beans!)
2. Add two cups of water for every cup of dried beans that you want to cook. If you have an electric kettle, bring the water to a boil and add it to your pressure cooker.
3. Add your beans.
4. Close the lid.
5. Put in the time (see this timing chart, I use it to great success).
7. When your pressure cooker beeps wait 10 more minutes and then either wait for the pressure to come to on its own (“natural pressure release”) or carefully release the pressure manually. I usually opt for the latter as I’m impatient, but the beans sometimes break apart if you do it this way. To avoid steam in your kitchen, carefully place a towel over the exhaust valve.
8. Enjoy your beans!
Why do I pre-boil the cooking water in an electric kettle?
One of the big downsides of the Instant Pot in particular is that it’s not very good at bringing water to a boil, this can take terribly long sometimes. That’s exactly why I use my electric kettle to pre-boil the water. It is very energy and time efficient: it takes just about 30 seconds to boil two cups of water. Starting with already hot water saves up to 10 to 15 minutes of total cooking time in some cases!
“But isn’t it toxic not to soak your beans?”
No, it’s not. Several beans (like kidney beans) do have toxic substances in them (but not toxic in the sense that you would die!) that are neutralized when the beans are cooked properly. Undercooked kidney beans are actually worse than raw ones, by the way! The high temperature and 30+ minutes cooking time in the pressure cooker guarantees that your beans will come out great – and not toxic 🙂