Pressure Cooking DRY versus SOAKED Beans

Here’s a bowl of red kidney beans that I took right out of the package and put in the pressure cooker.

Do you see how unevenly cooked they are? There’s a more than a few that are over-cooked and falling apart, plus a handful of under-cooked beans that are shriveled-up. Those are crunchy beans. Then, some others are perfectly cooked but overall it’s kind of a mixed-bag.

And speaking of bags, from the same bag of beans, here are some red beans which I soaked first and then pressure cooked. Do you see how evenly cooked every single bean is? They’re beautiful, plump and perfectly cooked.

Here’s a review of the differences between pressure cooking beans from dry vs. soaked.

Pressure Cooking Beans From Dry

  • Retains a majority of their indigestible sugars – they’re the ones that can cause “intestinal discomfort.”
  • It also retains some anti-nutrients which actually prevent your body from absorbing all of the nutrients that the beans can provide.
  • The beans cook unevenly.
  • Results are split and broken beans- they look a bit of a mess.

Pressure Cooking Beans From Soaked

  • Reduces indigestible sugars by over 75%.
  • Removes a majority of the anti-nutrients, allowing the digestive process to absorb more iron, for example.
  • The beans cook evenly.
  • They’re nice to look at and also eat, because they’re evenly cooked so no more crunchy beans.





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  1. Lol!!!! Did you make this after I commented on your last post that I don’t soak my beans. I do have to say….I almost only cook red kidney beans, and then puree them for “refried” beans, so I’m not worried about spm it ones.

    1. Heather, don’t take it personally. You left your comment about never soaking beans just 30 minutes ago and we made the video last month! This article was just published because we’re rolling out the new Bean Essentials lesson for Pressure Cooking School right now.



  2. I love the data in the following article–admittedly he didn’t test pressure cooking, but I use the freshest beans I can find and have done fine with no soaking:

    1. Nancy, Thanks for linking to this article. I clicked-through and also red Kenjii’s story – not sure how significant the results of the tests from feeding un-soaked beans his dog are. But it definately adds to the story.

      I think un-soaked bean tolerance probably depends from person-to-person. My family literally bends over in pain if serve them un-soaked beans. There seems to be an old-wive’s tale going around that the more beans you eat the more you will get used to these indigestible sugars – I haven’t seen any science to back this up. And, personally, my family eats legumes at least twice a week (sometimes even thrice) and we’ve never “adjusted” to these sugars.

      Good for you for getting your hands on fresh high-quality beans!

      If I’m actually shelling fresh beans from their pod, I just pressure cook directly without soaking, too!



  3. For pinto and black beans, I give them 40 minutes in the pressure cooker with water only. Then I drain and rinse, put back in cooker, add stuff like onions, jalapenos, celery, tomatoes, and cilantro, with enough water, and cook for 30 minutes more. The cook water from that first cook eats my tummy alive.

  4. Please comment on whether you long-soak at room temp. I did my last batch in the fridge overnight and they didn’t expand–or only a few did. So, I used another method of pouring boiling water over them and letting them sit for an hour. Did the trick. BTW, have now done several types of rice in my Instant Pot and it comes out perfect. Thanks for the great tips.

    1. Hi Jan, I soak beans at room temperature. Changing the water keeps it from getting “weird and stinky” and actually promotes sprouting – which adds a whole other dimension of nutritional benefits to beans! If you have the time and patience, try long-soaking for 48 hours!



  5. Do you cook beans with the same amount of water whether or not they have been soaked over night?

    1. No, dry beans require more liquid. You can do 4 cups of per to 1 cup of dry beans – then strain. I don’t usually do this as my family cannot eat beans cooked from dry without severe abdominal pain.



  6. Can we have some Russian/Ukrainian recipes? I’ve got a house full of cabbage lovers!

  7. Apparently some folks find that a product called BEANO prevents or lessens gas problems caused by beans and other foods but I guess some folks are not helped. I had some in my pantry but I personally am not bothered by beans.

  8. Beano contains a chemical called alpha gal. This helps digest the sugar called oligosaccharide. Curiously, alpha gal is in all mammalian foods…beef, cheese,lamb, pork,milk,goat.
    People who have been bitten by lone star tick have become allergic to these mammalian foods. The allergy symptoms don’t show up til 5 hours later.

    Some vegans are overjoyed that this food allergy is developing in many people. But they don’t realize that the allergy is to alpha gal, the chemical in beano that helps digest the gas causing sugar in beans.

  9. Wonder if you have tried adding epazote – I add this to beans when I’m boiling/simmering them (old school style!) and this removes a lot of the “discomfort” issues. Have you added this (using either pre- or non-soaked beans) to the pressure cooker?

    1. Epazote grows wild in Mexico. You might find it fresh or dried in a Mexican market. It is difficult to grow from seed. A few sprigs are added to the cooking liquid near the end when making refried beans (without pre-soaking) mexican style.

  10. In your hip pressure cookbook is there a section on just the instant pot? Also the other one. I don’t know it’s name. Also I’m confused about the water or liquid ratio when you want to double a recipe. Guess it depends on if it’s soup or something else. Thanks so much!

    1. Deborah, all my books are written for all types of pressure cookers. Each recipe has instructions for “electric pressure cookers” and you would use that time on your Instant Pot using “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” function.

      You can see examples of how the recipes are written here:



  11. The same thing happened when I cooked my beans from dry as instructed by the directions. Some were overcooked, others hardly cooked. Then, the next batch, same brand of bean, I soaked in fridge for 24 hours and they came out even. So next I soaked over the weekend, first day on the counter, then placed in the fridge for the rest of the weekend. These could have been the best beans I’ve ever had. My family likes their beans soupy, so even after soaking I fill the water just above the level of the beans.

  12. I cook pinto beans and what do you use to season the beans in pressure cooker? do you use streaked meat,bacon grease or olive oil?

  13. I was looking to find out why my beans turn out not cooked properly in the instant pot and found your site. Thanks for all the info. Great info and great work by you. I will be sure and soak for a long time from now on. Also I think you are never sure of how beans where grown or stored, or how long they have been around which can affect your results. Again thanks for info.

  14. Brilliant video, as per usual. Even though I use pressure cookers a lot, I always learn something useful. Didn’t know about putting salt in if you’re using the quick soak method, for example.

    I love flageolet and lima beans and the skins on these are a bit delicate. I cooked some flageolets the other day at low pressure (after soaking) and the skins were perfect but they took a lot longer than at high pressure (maybe 22 minutes in total in several stages). Is there any way to calculate how much extra time might be needed over high-pressure cooking times if using low pressure? I’m guessing not, but maybe there is a proportional calculation that could be done. Thought I’d ask an expert…

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