Black Beans in Pressure Cooker

I’ve cooked black beans and rice a couple of times using an America’s Test Kitchen [this used to be free – now maybe not.] recipe: in January 2017 and originally in May 2013. In that dish the rice takes a big part of the stage – and it’s a long cook in a Dutch oven; I mean, it’s really, really good but we wanted just beans. We were planning on making Yum Bowls (if you live in the Portland area you may have had this delicious treat) – which is rice, beans, shredded cheese, avocado, tomatoes, and briny kalamata olives. All topped with Yum Sauce.  So I wanted a quick pressure cooker recipe.

The basic approach would be like my pressure cooker pinto bean recipe; but black beans are much smaller than pintos – how much would I have to reduce the cooking time? Seems like a simple question; I was hoping to find a nice chart with beans and cooking times. I had to search the web quite a while to get a good answer.  I finally stumbled upon Letty’s Kitchen which discussed cooking time for black beans.

  • Overnight-soaked beans with natural pressure release (6 minutes)
  • Overnight-soaked beans with quick pressure release (9 minutes)
  • Unsoaked beans with quick pressure release (20 minutes)

I kind of used her recipe – using beans brined/soaked overnight. To save myself searching again next time I make black beans, I made some notes for myself including an adjustment or two.

  • I like her idea of adding a dried red chili or two – I usually have some in the pantry so I removed the seeds and did it.
  • I chopped my onion as she suggests rather than adding 1/2 whole onion as I would normally do.
  • I didn’t mince the garlic – I skinned and squashed it, then added the squashed  cloves. Mincing would be fine – I was lazy and just wanted to save myself washing my garlic press.
  • I added 1/2 teaspoon cumin – I love cumin in my beans and it makes the kitchen smell great.
  • I had a cup of homemade chicken stock taking up space so I added that along with the water. Letty doesn’t call for that since hers is a vegetarian recipe.
  • Her recipe (and most others) call to cover the beans with water about 1 1/2 inches above the level of the beans. Dried beans are variable; for this cook, my one pound of beans expanded to about 2 quarts after soaking. Using a ruler the called for water came up to the 3 1/2 quart line in my Instant Pot.
    **** THESE ARE MY MEASUREMENTS FOR THOSE BEANS ON THAT DAY ***** Different beans will call for different amounts of water.
  • Sometimes people new to pressure cookers have a let down when they find that cooking something at pressure for 6 minutes doesn’t mean it only cooks for 6 minutes – you have to account for the time for the pressure to build. On this day, with my beans, and my water, it took the pot ~20 minutes to come to pressure followed by 6 minutes of cooking at high pressure, then followed by at least 20 minutes of natural release time.
  • Now that I re-read Letty’s recipe I realize she calls for starting with hot water. That would probably reduce the cooking time a bit – and would be super easy if you have an electric kettle.

The beans were excellent. Start with Letty’s recipe first and adjust to your own taste – if needed.

Where are the pictures? Well, I was cooking beans to stash in the freezer and refrigerator for later in the week. We were having friends over for a light bite to eat and I was in a bit of a hurry. And later in the week when we had our beans and rice I just didn’t get my camera out – next time.

While searching through the internet I started with Mike Vrobel’s Dad Cooks Dinner site and I was reminded of his post on Rancho Gordo beans and his post about Santa Maria Pinquito Beans.  I love Tri-Tip the main dish that goes with pinquito beans and I can’t find them here in Portland. So I went on-line to and ordered some beans.

20180415 Rancho Gordo Beans DSC-RX10M4 _HWT1137






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