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The real reason I love my pressure cooker, it’s the beans!

Cooking Tool of the Month – Pressure Cooker

The pressure cooker is a magnificent tool in the kitchen. It saves time, money, energy and space. It is hands-down one of my most prized kitchen gadgets. I often joke in my cooking classes that I love it so much I want to marry it. Or that it will be placed in my casket with me when I die. All jokes aside, the number one reason I purchased a pressure cooker was to be able to make beans from scratch very quickly. There is nothing like fresh cooked beans! The stuff out of a can doesn’t even come close to the taste and texture of beans cooked in a pressure cooker.

You will want to follow your manufacturer’s instructions for cooking times, but most beans after soaking 6-8 hours (or using the quick soak method described in Jill Nussinow’s book The New Fast Food) take anywhere from 8-12 minutes to cook. What I often do is put them on to soak right before I go to bed and make them in the morning. Or get them soaking before I leave for work (if I had a regular 9-5 type job) and cook them when I get home from work. Easy peasy. (keep in mind some beans and lentils do not have to be soaked)

Beans are SO versatile. You can make a beautiful bean and veggie soup with them.

Or you can make a bean pate with them. We’re not just talking hummus folks. You can puree all kinds of beans with different herbs and spices to make a variety of creamy bean dips. For Cookbook Mania last week I made the White Bean Spread from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson. This book was gifted to me and I was excited because I love her blog, 101 Cookbooks. Unfortunately, this cookbook is vegetarian all the way. There is some form of dairy in almost every recipe. I’m just too lazy to have to work around that, so I chose this bean dip. Using fresh beans from my pressure cooker made it pretty good.

Beans are my preferred plant-protein source. I love them all! I have yet to meet a bean or legume I didn’t like. They all have different tastes, textures, and uses. Full of fiber and protein they are my #1 superfood. Are you on the bean train yet? Maybe you have problems digesting beans. Maybe they give you gas and discomfort. If you make beans in the way I am about to describe, those problems will soon be far behind you. No more toot toot for you! 😉

Kombu is a sea vegetable and is essential for aiding in digestion when cooking beans. You can find it at any natural food store and since it is dried will last a long time. You only need a one square inch piece per cup of dried beans. For an in-depth video explaining how to use the pressure cooker and it’s features visit this video (and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel!).

Basic Beans

Makes 3 to 5 servings

1 cup dried beans, soaked 6 to 8 hours

1-inch piece kombu

Filtered water to cover beans

Spices of your choice

Sea salt or tamari


Combine beans and water to cover in the pressure cooker and heat over medium-high flame. Skim off any foam that forms when beans begin to boil. This is a trick to reduce gas and bloating. Add the kombu to the pot. Wet the gasket of the lid and lock it in place. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cooking times of different beans.

When beans are done, turn off flame and let the pressure come down. Or, if you are in a hurry, you can run cold water over the cooker inside the sink. Stand back if you do this. Unlock lid and remove kombu. Either drain the liquid, then season and add spices, or, if you want the beans more creamy, keep some of the water, season, and continue to cook over low flame in the cooker for a few minutes.

Blissful Tip

If you are using basic beans in another recipe they probably don’t need any spices added to them. If you plan on having beans as a side dish you can season them depending on what kind of flavor you want or if your meal is a certain ethnicity. Experiment with different spices with different kinds of beans.

What is your favorite way to eat beans? 

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  1. How did you decide which pressure cooker to buy?  I am looking for one now to make more macrobiotic vegan meals but don't know which one is the best.  Do you make a lot more than rice and beans in your pressure cooker?

    1. The Fagor 8 quart is the one I have and love. Use the Amazon search tool in the footer on this page to find it. Since I make beans every other day it's worth it just for making beans alone. Take a look at the post on the New Fast Food book, you can make SO many things in the pc. 

  2. Hi!! How long would you pressure cook black beans or chickpeas? I don’t have the instructions for my Fagor cooker, and its gathering dust!

    1. If beans have been soaked I generally cook them 11 minutes. They all have different cooking times via the manual, but that seems to be a good amount of time. Lentils would take way less time. I highly recommend Jill's book because she has cooking time charts for everything. 

    2. Me, too!  I almost never ate beans before pressure cooking because I didn't like the canned stuff and cooking them from scratch took too long!

      Jill's The New Fast Food has some great pressure cooker timing charts.  I also have pressure cooker timing charts on my website:


      Also, here is a lesson on how to quick-soak beans (everyone does it a little differently so my method I think differs from Jill's):


      And now that you've got the timing and soaking or quick-soaking down you can cook two different varieties at the same time using our steamer basket:





  3. I love cooking beans in my PC, but I find they often get mushy.  It helps to shorten the cooking time.  After some trial and error I know now that I can cook garbanzos for just 6 minutes.  (I use natural pressure release, so maybe that contributes to overcooked beans.)

    I also love Heidi's blog 101 Cookbooks (her photography is gorgeous), but am always disappointed to see so much dairy – both on the blog and in her books.  🙁

    1. I guess every pc is different and it really depends on soaking time, elevation, all kinds of things. Maybe the kombu helps prevent mushiness? I rarely have that problem. Glad you love yours too!

      1. I use kombu, too! I think it may have something to do with the age of the beans and/or how long they soak.  I always soak mine overnight and sometimes don't cook them until 24 hours later.  Who knows! I did just make kidney beans today, cooking them for 6 minutes, and they came out perfect! 🙂

  4. 8 to 12 minutes? Wow, that is great. When I was a kid pressure cookers were kind of new (in Germany). My grandmother and several other women had horror stories to tell about how those things exploded. It was funny but gifted me with a very unreasonable fear of pressure cookers. I think I really need to get over that.

    1. The new modern pc’s are really safe. I prefer the Fagor because it doesn’t have that little thing on top that knocks around. A LOT of people still fear them. I hope these posts help people get over their fears. They are so economical!

      p.s. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  5. Thanks Christy,

    Just ordered our "Fagor 8-Quart Stainless-Steel Pressure Cooker with Steamer Basket" per your recommendation. We include beans as a side dish or part of a main dish every dinner meal. Found it too much trouble to cook beans the "old fashion way" so diverted back to no salt canned ones. Didn't know about pressure cooking beans so I'm glad I stumbled upon your post. PS – sorry we missed you when you were in Marshall, Tx. Next time, thanks

    1. Wonderful Gary! You will not be disappointed. It’s probably my most used tool in the kitchen and there is nothing like fresh cooked beans! Go ahead and make bigger batches then you can freeze them.

  6. I love my PC too. It came with a basket type insert that can be pushed all the way to the bottom or, if you set it properly, can sit up at the top. 

    What is this for and how can I use it?


  7. I cooked some beans today in my pressure cooker but then I forgot to take them out! They were sitting in the pressure cooker with no heat for four hours before I remembered them. So I opened it up and drained the beans. They were still warm. I rinsed them and put them in a container in the fridge. Do you think they're going to be safe to eat? I saw a lot of answers to a similar question on the Internet but for beans that were cooked in a regular pot. Most people thought they were safe but some people recommended to boil them again before eating them. I just don't know if it's different since they were in a pressure cooker. Normally I wouldn't care to toss them but I bought these beans at the farmers' market at seven dollars a pound. Thanks for any help.

  8. Really struggling to get my black beans and garbanzo beans to turn out right, the beans are splitting really bad. My method has been to soak for 8-10 hours and then cook on high pressure for 10 minutes and do a natural release. My beans honestly looked better when I just cooked them in pot for two hours vs. the pressure cooker. If I cook any less time they are not done.

    I’m using a Kuhn Rikon 12qt with 6 cups of dried beans before soaking.

    Any suggestions?

    1. I have never had this happen before, but I never make 6 cups of dried beans at one time! It could be that they are just too crowded in there. I usually do batches of 2-3 cups at a time. Do they still split when you do smaller batches?

      Another thing could be the quality of the beans. Are you buying them from the same source every time? You are not salting them while cooking right?

  9. If you love your stovetop PC, you’d go over the moon for an electric one. I get forgetful cooking nowadays, and have burnt several pans. Now, I just put my ingredients in, push the timer, set the pressure, and wait for it to beep and self-depressure, or wait for me to instant release it. Then, eat, or keep it warm until I remember what I was doing. (That hasn’t been a problem, because now, I can have a fabulous meal in so much less time, and I have only one pan to clean, and I can’t burn it. Fabulous!
    I know what you mean about the beans. Now, I’m constantly looking at ways to use beans in meals. What a difference from just keeping cans around for hummus or chili or refried beans. I’m so done with canned beans! And now, I love my freezer even more, because I don’t like the same meal 3 days in a row, and like quick frozen food that I made myself. I’ve already improved my diet so much. Nice!

  10. Ah, the original reason I was writing was to thank you about the kombu tip. I’d forgotten all about it.

  11. I am such a big fan of pressure cooker I use it almost every day to cook meat. I like your recipe for beans. I will definitely try it next time I make beans.

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