In my opinion, the Instant Pot is a must have gadget in the kitchen. It is a total time and money saver. If I were living somewhere with limited kitchen space, this gadget would on my must have list.
It can do such a wide variety of things in such a small handy package. The pressure cooking feature alone is worth it because it can reduce cooking times to mere fractions of what they would normally be (more on this below). However, it can also serve as a rice maker, steamer, roast/stew maker, yogurt maker, or just a simple burner alternative for cooking things in a pot.
If you don't have one already, keep an eye on it for sale at your favorite home store or online. Costco will even carry it every now and then at a great price and with an unbeatable return policy. I recommend the 6-quart size. It is small enough to not take up too much space but big enough to make sizable meals for larger families or as leftovers.
Perfect Instant Pot Beans
The thing I love most about the Instant Pot is the ability to pressure cook. One perfect use of this functionality is cooking beans. Dried beans are so much cheaper to buy and easier to store than canned beans, but it always took major advanced planning because beans can take 4-8 hours to cook on the stove or in the oven. With pressure cooking, beans can cook in 1-1.5 hours starting in their dried form. So now bean dishes are back on the weeknight menu for me.
Cooking beans this way also seems to give me the most control over the digestive side effects (i.e. the farts). I've found that by pre-washing the beans and then disposing of the liquid they are cooked in, it reduces my body's reaction. I can't say the same about canned beans no matter what I do.
I prefer to cook the beans as simply as possible in the Instant Pot. Then I have the other ingredients of a bean dish recipe ready to go. When the beans are done, I drain them, add the other ingredients to the pot and cook them, then add the beans back in. You can always cook the beans with the other ingredients together but I find the time it takes to cook the beans is too long for the other ingredients.
Here is my recipe for the Perfect Instant Pot Beans:
- 1 pound of dried beans (pinto, black, navy, kidney, etc.). This is 2 heaping cups.
- 6 cups of drinking water
- 1.5 teaspoons of Kosher salt
- Rinse the beans with tap water. I prefer to submerge them in a bowl or pot, swish them around, and then drain them. Remove any non-bean debris.
- Add the rinsed beans to the Instant Pot along with the drinking water and salt.
- Attach the lid and ensure the vent flap is closed for pressure cooking.
- Press the Bean/Chili button a couple times until the "More" light is on. The timer should be set at 45 minutes.
- Let it cook for that long. Note it is a bit longer than 45 minutes because the pressure has to build first and that is not part of the cooking time.
- Once the 45 minutes is up, you can do a quick release of the steam, but I find the beans turn out a bit firm for my liking. I wait 10 minutes after they are done cooking for them to continue to steam before I release the pressure. The Instant Pot will automatically start counting up in time once the 45 minutes is up so you know when 10 minutes is up.
- Once the pressure is released (when the stainless steel dot on the lid goes down), remove the lid, drain the beans and add them to recipes as you would canned beans. Or just enjoy as is. They are perfectly salted and perfectly delicious.