Quick-soaking Beans in the Pressure Cooker

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with Cannellini & Mint Bean Salad Recipe (lesson 4)

pressure cooker bean salad with quick-soaked beans
Minty, zingy and nutritious.  This bean salad can be ready in less than 20 minutes from dry beans using the most useful and least known method to prepare them- you get the benefits of overnight soaking without the wait!

You can prepare dry beans in the pressure cooker three different ways,  each with benefits and drawbacks:

  • Soaking or long-soak – The traditional, and my most recommended method to prepare beans for cooking, removes most of the indigestible sugars (which can cause gas), re-hydrates the beans evenly so they are as plump and beautiful as they were when they were fresh. However,  this method needs  you to plan ahead – anywhere from 4-12 hours depending on the bean!
  • Quick-soak, speed-soak, or twice-cooking – A happy medium between long and no-soak methods.  It also removes the indigestible sugars and only requires, at most, an additional 10 minutes prior to beginning your bean recipe. However, the faster re-hydration of the beans may cause the skins to crack or separate rendering them slightly less attractive than their long-soaked counterparts.
  • No-soak – The fastest and easiest way to cook beans on the planet!  You just rinse the beans and begin the recipe by throwing the beans in with the other ingredients. However, this method does not remove the indigestible sugars and the quick re-hydration could cause the beans to break apart and split rendering them highly unattractive. Also, I have never gotten even results using this method.  Some beans are perfectly cooked, while some a crunchy and some have melted into a creamy mass. Only use this method for bean soups or spreads, though I do not recommend it at all!

Some bean varieties like lentils and split-peas can cook quickly on their own, have a low concentration of indigestible sugars, and do not need soaking prior to cooking (see the Cooking Time Chart).

Quick-Soaking Beans in the Pressure Cooker

Quick-soaking is a method of re-hydrating beans quickly by briefly pre-cooking them.  Once you have quick-soaked them, you can follow recipe directions, and cooking times for soaked, or pre-soaked, beans.  Here’s how to do it:

  1. Give the beans a quick rinse in a colander, by swishing them around and running water through them – this is a great time to remove any broken beans or debris.
  2. Put the beans in the pressure cooker. For each cup of rinsed beans, add four of water and 1 teaspoon of salt -this will help keep the skins intact.
  3. Bring the contents to a boil without the pressure cooking lid.
  4. Then, quickly close and lock the pressure cooker lid and pressure cook for 2 minutes at high pressure (for both stovetop and electric pressure cookers).
  5. Open the pressure cooker using the Slow Normal release – open the valve very slowly or if it can only go full-blast in short spurts.  I foam begins to exit the valve stop spurting and wait 30 seconds before you begin releasing pressure (this will give the foam time fall back down into the cooking liquid).
  6. Drain and rinse the beans under cold running water, again.
  7. Proceed with recipe that requires pre-soaked beans.
There are special considerations for electric pressure cookers (which will need to be opened by releasing vapor), and  first-generation weight modified valves and jigglers (which need to release vapor through their valves during cooking).  Beans tend to foam inside the pressure cooker and it is usually not a problem until the valve is open to expel vapor.  The foam could spurt out of the valve creating an obstruction. Most manufacturers recommend adding a spoon of oil in the pressure cooker while cooking to avoid this.  For electrics, you only need to add oil during the quick-soak because for cooking you will use the natural release.  For the first-generation pressure cookers that I mentioned earlier, you will need to add oil every time you cook or pre-cook beans in the pressure cooker. If you’re not sure what kind of valve your cooker has, just add the oil to be on the safe side.

I will provide more details for the long and no-soak methods in a future article dedicated solely to cooking beans in the pressure cooker.

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
6 L or larger none 2 min. & 6-8 min High(2) Slow Normal & 10-Min. Natural

Warm Cannellini Bean Salad - pressure cooker recipe
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: 4
  • Serving size: ⅙th
  • Calories: 72.1
  • TOTAL Fat: 0.3g
  • TOTAL Carbs: 12.6g
  • Sugar Carbs: 0.0g
  • Sodium: 528.1mg
  • Fiber Carbs: 4.1g
  • Protein: 4.9g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0mg
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This recipe will yield two cups or about 20oz or 450g of cooked beans - a small side dish. To make more, simply double the recipe. Just make sure that the beans and water in the cooker do not exceed the "half capacity" of the cooker.
  • 1 cup (200g) dried cannellini beans
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • additional salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 sprig Fresh Mint, or 1 teaspoon dry
To quick-soak beans:
  1. Rinse the dried beans, and then place them in the pressure cooker with 4 cups (1lt) of water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Make sure that the beans and water do not exceed half of the total capacity of the pressure cooker. Some pressure cookers have this clearly marked (read more about pressure cooker capacity).
  2. Before putting on the lid, bring the contents to a boil un-covered.
  3. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
  4. For electric pressure cookers: Cook for 2 minutes at high pressure.
    For stove top pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure (with the model I'm using, the pressure cooker has reached pressure when the indicator lifts to display two red lines), lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 2 minutes pressure cooking time.
  5. When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure very slowly. If the pressure release speed cannot be regulated by your cooker's valve, simply release pressure in short bursts. If anything other than steam comes out of the valve, stop and count to 10 before releasing the pressure slowly (or in small bursts), again.
  6. Strain the beans and rinse well under cold water. Give the pressure cooker interior a quick rinse.
To make the recipe:
  1. Put the beans, four cups or 1 lt. of fresh water back into the pressure cooker. Then add the smashed garlic and Bay leaf.
  2. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker, again.
  3. For electric pressure cookers: Cook for 8 minutes at high pressure.
    For stove top pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 6 minutes pressure cooking time.
  4. When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Natural release method - move the cooker off the burner and wait for the pressure to come down on its own (about 10 minutes). For electric pressure cookers, disengage the “keep warm” mode or unplug the cooker and open when the pressure indicator has gone down (20 to 30 minutes).
  5. Open the pressure cooker and give the beans a final rinse and strain.
  6. Taste a bean before dressing it with additional vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper
  7. Sprinkle with fresh mint leaves before serving.

Try the next Beginner Basics Lesson:  Ligurian Chicken – Braise and Glaze or view the entire Beginner Basics Course outline!

Now that you can quickly soak beans, you can try..



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