I love how there is always a positive side to things. Like right now how we are going through a pandemic and people are hoarding food. At first I was frustrated that I couldn’t get my normal items from my food shopping list. But new scenarios push you to try new things, and staying at home more means cooking at home more. When I couldn’t find a can of black beans at the store, I immediately thought of making Instant Pot black beans. This is such an easy way to eat healthy AND save money! I got a 16 oz. bag of dried black beans and ended up with four jars of black beans that I have on hand and ready to eat, or ready to freeze. Today I’m sharing how easy it is to make Instant Pot Black Beans, and suggestions on how to use this budget-friendly food.
How to save money on healthy food
I’ve been a big fan of buying in bulk over the years, and store many of these items in jars in my pantry. Getting the quantity you need is one of the benefits, as is saving money. Reducing waste is another reason that I buy in bulk. But during this pandemic, the bulk bins are empty due to possible contamination. When they are refilled, I’ll go back to buying some items in bulk* to save money, but regardless of where you get them, cooking dried beans is a wonderful way to save money on healthy food – plant based, too!
Instant Pot Black Beans: Why I like making beans from scratch:
The benefits of beans are plenty:
- A great source of vegetarian protein
- Lots of fiber, which is great for keeping you regular and also have been associated with a lower risk of heart disease
- Offer lots of nutrients, including folate
- Beans can help stabilize blood glucose
- Can help you feel full (goodbye unnecessary snacking!)
Are homemade black beans better than canned black beans?
Canned black beans have their strengths, and that is convenience. We all know how easy it is to purchase a can of black beans at the store when you need them. On the flip side, some cans may contain BPA which you want to avoid, but they also may have additives such as salt (sodium chloride) and even sugar. Beans cooked from scratch are far more delicious (in my opinion!) and also economical than canned beans. Yes it may take a little more time to prepare – but if you plan ahead, this part is easy!
How long will homemade black beans last?
Store Instant Pot Black Beans in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months. I like making a batch of these and putting them in the freezer; pull them out as needed. It’s super handy and economical, too!
Tips for making black beans in the Instant Pot:
- Soak your beans. I know that this is generally not a desired step, but it will help in the cooking quality and also help with digestion of the beans. Cover your beans with about 2″ of water and let them soak overnight or a minimum of 4 hours before cooking. You can leave them at room temperature for this step. All this said – you don’t need to soak your beans before cooking. If you’re in a pinch, they’ll work without soaking. Just know that soaking beans before cooking will help ease digestion. For this reason, I do recommend soaking your beans.
- Drain and rinse soaked beans. Remove any odd-shaped pieces – sometimes small pebbles are included! Place them in the Instant Pot.
- If you are seasoning your beans before cooking, add them now but don’t add your salt until after cooking. Salt can prevent beans from softening up so add them after they are cooked.
- Add enough water to be 2 inches above top level of beans.
- Place lid on pressure cooker and set valve to sealing position.
- Press Manual or Pressure Cook button and adjust for 25 minutes for beans that you’ll use in recipes – think enchiladas, on tacos, salads, etc. or 30 minutes for soft beans that are perfect for black bean soup.
- Let pressure release naturally for 20 minutes. Try to release remaining pressure by turning the knob. If it’s spitting out lots of liquid still, give it 5 minutes and try again.
Can you cook black beans in a slow cooker?
Yes! Making black beans in a slow cooker is just as easy. I just prefer using an Instant Pot since they cook quicker. The below recipe is for plain black beans. Feel free to add in cumin, onions, jalepenos or even garlic before cooking, or leave them plain and spice them as desired before using in a recipe.
To make black beans in a slow cooker:
- Rinse and drain your beans.
- Pour into your slow cooker.
- Fill with 6 cups of water – make sure water is 2 inches above beans.
- Turn on high for 3.5 hours.
How to make Instant Pot Black Beans & suggestions on how to use this budget-friendly food. Save money & cook ahead with this simple pressure cooker recipe.
- 3 cups dried black beans
Add beans to a large bowl and cover with filtered water. Quantity should be at least 4 times as much water as beans. Soak for 4-8 hours or leave overnight.
Drain beans and rinse well.
Add drained beans to Instant Pot and cover with water to cover 2 inches higher than top level of beans.
Put on the lid and turn the knob to the sealing position.
Press Manual or Pressure Cook & set to high pressure and adjust timing to 25 minutes if you want to use for salads, tacos, quesadillas, etc. or 30 if using in soup.
Let pressure release naturally for 20 minutes. Try to release remaining pressure manually; if it is spitting out lots of fluids, wait 5 minutes and try again. When pressure has released, remove lid and let cool.
*One note of caution – when buying from the bulk bins, be wary of cross contamination if you have food allergies.
If you are new to using an Instant Pot, you should check out 6 Ways I Use My Instant Pot and also try this recipe for Sloppy Joes or Tomato Soup. And otherwise, some ideas of what to do with those black beans:
Black bean recipes you may enjoy