This tasty Instant Pot Pinto Beans recipe is packed full of flavorful veggies and spices. It’s highly customizable – you can keep it vegan, you can make it meaty with bacon or smoked sausages, and you can even adapt the spices based on what you and your family like best! Better yet, this pinto bean recipe makes a large batch so it’s perfect for feeding a crowd, meal planning, or simply freezing for later.
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Why I love this Instant Pot Pinto Beans Recipe
There’s not much that says Brazilian home cooking quite like a bowl of beans. It’s true, meus amigos. Our love for these hearty little legumes runs way deep, and no matter the type, you’ll always find a bowl full of beans, right there at the center of the Brazilian table.
Beans are delicious, yes, but they’re great for so many more reasons. They’re are easy to make, protein-packed and budget friendly! They also freeze wonderfully, are great for meal planning and are a pretty diverse side dish. Seriously, beans are the best!
This recipe for feijão Carioca, ahem pinto beans, is actually my mom’s!
One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it’s incredibly versatile and there are numerous ways to prepare it. You can change up the veggie mix, the spice mix or you can add meat, like smoked sausage and/or bacon (sort of like in this Brazilian Black Beans Recipe). It’s sooooooo good and indulgent!!
I hope you love my mom’s pinto beans recipe as much as I do!
Instant Pot Pinto Beans Ingredients & Variation Notes
This recipe is super delicious as it is, but, here are some substitution and variations recommendations, so you can switch things up when needed:
- Dry pinto beans
- Dry bay leaves
- Olive oil
- White wine vinegar
- Brazilian sofrito – or loads of garlic.
- Tomatoes – when I don’t have tomatoes, I just use about a half of a Tablespoon of tomato paste instead.
- Orange bell pepper – any color except for the green bell pepper will work.
- Green onions – I love using green onions in the sauté mix, and as a garnish. But, if I don’t have any at home, I just use more of the regular onion, and garnish with some freshly minced cilantro or parsley.
- Smoked paprika, ground cumin, black pepper – Sometimes I also add chili powder and dried chillies to make the recipe spicier. Works great for taco night!
Do You Have to Soak Beans?
When it comes to cooking beans from scratch, one of the questions I get asked the most is whether or not you should soak them. The short answer is no, you don’t have to. But, I strongly recommend you do.
Soaking the beans does a lot more than you think. Soaking helps degas the beans, reduces the overall cooking time, and it promotes even cooking (even when you are using an Instant Pot).
For more details on why to soak and how to soak beans check out this How to Cook Dry Beans Guide.
How to Cook Pinto Beans in a Pressure Cooker
- Decide if you want to soak your beans or not. If so, soak for at least 30 minutes, then drain the soaking water and rinse the beans.
- Add your pinto beans to the Instant Pot with the bay leaf and if you plan on adding sausage, add it at this point.
- Cover the beans with water and close the pot.
- Cook according to directions and let the pressure cooker do a natural release.
- Open the pot to season it.
Seasoning Note: The biggest secret to cooking delicious beans (or really anything!) in the Instant Pot is not just what seasonings you add to your recipe, but when and how to add them. In this recipe, we season the beans in this order, to strategically layer in the flavors so that they develop properly.
Tips for How to Season Pinto Beans
To be more time efficient prepare the veggies and seasonings while the beans are cooking.
When Your Instant Pot is finished cooking and is doing the 10 minute natural release, start cooking the veggies on the stove.
Start off by cooking the bacon (if using) and then add in the veggies as directed, sautéing until soft and smelling like magic.
When the beans have finished cooking and finished with the natural release, you can open the lid. Add in the spices, the vinegar, and the salt and pepper.
Then, pour in the sauteed veggies from your pan. Give it a stir and cook on sauté mode uncovered for about 10 mins, stirring occasionally.
For more ideas on how to season beans, check out How to Cook Dry Beans guide.
What to serve with Pinto Beans
- White rice or Carrot Rice to pack even more veggies into your meal!
- Fried Sweet Plantains
- Collard Greens with Bacon
Other Instant Pot Recipes to Try
- Vegan Black Beans
- Brazilian Black Beans Recipe
- Hot Dog Pasta
- Canja de Galinha – Brazilian Chicken and Rice Soup
Instant Pot Pinto Beans
- 1 lb dry pinto beans
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 small orange or red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 4 green onions minced (white and green parts) use some of the green for garnish!!
- 2 Tbsp Brazilian sofrito or 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- black pepper, to taste
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
Cooking the Beans:
- Pick, wash, then soak* the beans in cold water for 30 mins.
- After 30 minutes, drain all the water, and soak in new cold water for another 30 mins.
- Drain beans, wash them well, then add them an instant pot, or pressure cooker. Add the bay leaves**, and the 5 cups of water.
- Close the instant pot, and cook on manual for 30 mins.
- When your instant pot reaches 30 mins, wait 10 minutes for natural release.
Flavoring the Beans:
- Add the Brazilian sofrito, or minced garlic, and sauté until fragrant and lightly golden – about 2 minutes.
- Add in the last Tbsp of olive oil and then add in the green onions. Sauté for about a minute.
- Add in the diced tomatos, and cook for about 2 minutes.
- After 10 minutes of natural release, safely release any renaming pressure manually, and then safely open the pan. Change the now open/uncovered instant pot settings to sauté mode and pour in the sautéed veggies, the spices, the vinegar, and salt and pepper.
- Cook on sauté mode uncovered for about 10 mins, stirring occasionally.