These Instant Pot White Beans are creamy, buttery, and herbaceous. They’re perfectly tender, full of flavor, and take just a few minutes to throw together. With homemade beans prepped and ready in your refrigerator, you’re just a few steps away from a delicious and quick meal!
These white beans are made in an Instant Pot and do not require soaking, pre-planning, hard-to-find ingredients, or much time in the kitchen. 🎉
To get started, you’ll spend a few minutes sorting and rinsing the dried beans. Then it’s straight into the Instant Pot with some water, dried herbs, and spices. Cover, cook, wait for the pressure to release naturally. THAT’S IT.
After spending just a few minutes in the kitchen, you’ll have 6+ cups of delicious, perfectly cooked Instant Pot white beans that you can use in a variety of ways throughout the week.
About the Recipe
These vegan beans are scrumptious! No ham, no sausage, no oil, but plenty of flavor. They’re:
Benefits of Beans
There are so many reasons to love tasty legumes!
- The health benefits (high fiber, high protein, high iron, high antioxidants)
- So inexpensive 💰
- Incredibly versatile
- Linked to longevity!
- Perfect meat-replacement
- Lots of healthy prebiotics
- Will help keep you fuller for longer!
Personally, I’m bean-obsessed. If you’re not big on beans, though, keep trying them! There are so many types of beans and so many ways to prepare them. If you’re a bean beginner, maybe you’d like to try this beet hummus. 😉
Are Dried Beans Hard to Make?
There’s this myth that cooking dried beans is difficult, time-consuming, or old-school. However, cooking dried beans from scratch is actually super EASY and super ECONOMICAL.
To make homemade beans, all you need is dried beans, water, salt, seasonings of your choice, and a bit of time. You could boil your dried beans on the stovetop as people have done for years…
However, my favorite way to make dried beans is in the Instant Pot. An IP makes cooking beans easy and convenient–simply chuck all of your ingredients into the pot and walk away. 🎉
You won’t have to soak your beans the night before, babysit your beans while they simmer, or spend any time worrying that they’ll boil over. So are homemade beans hard to make? Nope!
Dried Beans versus Canned Beans
Any beans are better than no beans. If all you have time for is canned beans, eat the canned beans! However, let’s take a look at why you might like to make your own dried beans from scratch, at least some of the time. 😉
- Dried beans are an extremely economical pantry staple. You can usually pick up a pound of dried beans for just a dollar or two.
- Dried beans are a great way to stretch your food budget. A $1 or $2 bag of dried beans makes about 6 cups of cooked beans. On the other hand, a can of beans contains only about 1 and 1/2 cups of beans, yet costs almost the same amount.
- When you make your own beans from scratch, you control exactly what goes in them. You can control for the amount of salt and eliminate the oil and lard that is sometimes found in store-bought beans (think refried). You can also add healthy herbs, spices, and aromatics to make your beans even healthier!
- When you choose to make beans from scratch, you avoid potential exposure to BPA and newer BPA alternatives found in canned beans.
- Finally, making your own homemade beans allows you to make YOUR perfect batch of beans each time. Some canned varieties can be a bit too al dente. Some brands may be softer than you’d like, or less flavorful than you’d like. Do it yourself for perfect results every time!
Do I Need To Soak Dried Beans?
No! You’ll find a lot of conflicting answers to this question, but I really don’t find it necessary.
In general, beans are soaked to reduce cooking time, phytates, and gas. Let’s address these three concerns:
- Cooking time: Soaked beans definitely cook faster. However, you need to remember to soak them the night before, which adds an extra step to your bean prep. 😞 With Instant Pot beans, you don’t need to soak them to ensure that they cook evenly and quickly. Cooking dried beans under pressure allows the beans to get perfectly tender faster than they would on the stovetop.
- Phytates: These naturally-occurring plant compounds have been a bit vilified. However, the fear that phytates reduce the absorption of important minerals is likely not much of a concern with a healthy diet.
- Gas: Everyone knows beans give you gas, right? Well, not necessarily. Gas from beans seems to be largely overstated. In addition, the more often you eat beans and other high-fiber foods, the less gas you will have. See this post on beans and gas for more information.
IMPORTANT: The only kind of bean you definitely want to soak is the red kidney bean, which can be toxic when raw/undercooked.
- White Beans: Choose beans labeled Great Northern, Cannellini, or White Kidney for this recipe. The cooking times will vary slightly, depending on the type you choose.
- Garlic: One of the healthiest, cheapest flavor enhancers around!
- Bay Leaves: A classic flavor enhancer, especially in the Mediterranean region. Use dried bay leaves for a stronger flavor. If you can only find fresh bay leaves, though, double (or even triple) up.
- Italian Seasoning: A multipurpose blend of herbs and spices, it’s a great addition to your spice cabinet. If you prefer, feel free to mix up your own homemade mix instead.
- Rosemary: Rosemary and white beans are a classic combination for a reason. Though rosemary is typically included in Italian seasoning blends, we’re adding a bit extra!
- Sage: It’s an antioxidant powerhouse. While it’s part of the same family as rosemary and oregano, it has a flavor all its own. You might know sage best from holiday favorites, like stuffing and sage butter. However, in the Mediterranean, it’s more common to find it in healthy herbal teas.
- Kosher Salt: A bit of salt goes a long way in a pot of beans and helps to flavor the beans from the inside out. It also helps them to keep their shape.
- Lemon (optional): Lemon is super healthy and brightens these beans up beautifully. Moreover, lemons, and other foods high in vitamin C, help increase the amount of iron that gets absorbed from beans.
- The lemon is optional in this recipe. If you want to incorporate these white beans into a variety of dishes throughout the week, feel free to omit it.
- Alternatively, feel free to divide your beans and add lemon juice to just half of them, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds.
White Bean Cooking Times
Depending on the exact type of white bean you choose, your pressure cooking time will vary slightly.
The official Instant Pot site recommends 25-30 minutes for Great Northern beans. I have found that 27 minutes is perfect for me.
Meanwhile, their site currently recommends 30-35 minutes for Cannellini (AKA White Kidney) beans. I have found that a full 40 minutes is actually needed for these beans, though. (Note that their earlier printed materials indicated 25-30 minutes for white kidney beans, which will DEFINITELY not work.)
If you’re at the store wondering which ones to pick up, I would recommend the Great Northern variety. They cooked up evenly every single time in my (extensive 😉) testing.
How to Store & Use Instant Pot White Beans
Since a pound of beans makes more than 6 cooked cups, this recipe is perfect for meal prep! I recommend storing your cooked beans in air-tight containers in the fridge, in their cooking liquid, to ensure that they don’t dry out. Packed well, they store in the fridge for up to a week. (Beans can also be frozen for longer-term storage, if you prefer.)
Here are some ways to use your homemade beans:
- Fold whole beans into pasta dishes for an extra boost of protein and fiber. 🍝
- Blend them up to make a creamy, yet healthy, alfredo-style sauce.
- Add white beans (with their cooking liquid) to a variety of soups and stews to amp up their flavor.
- Mash them up to make a hearty bean spread that’s perfect on an open-faced sandwich or crackers. (For example, sub them in place of chickpeas in this chickpea salad.) 🥪
- Make a crowd-pleasing Mediterranean-style bean salad by combining white beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, quinoa, and kalamata olives.
- Blend beans in a food processor with spices, a bit of tahini, and a little lemon juice for a delicious oil-free salad dressing. 🥗
- Use them as a substitute for garbanzo beans in your favorite hummus recipe.
- Eat them plain with a salad and some crusty bread. 🥖
- Try out one of my favorite recipes: Braised Balsamic Tempeh with White Beans!
Troubleshooting & Tips
It depends on the bean! I recommend 27 minutes for Great Northern beans and a full 40 minutes for Cannellini/White Kidney beans, based on many tests.
The most likely culprit is beans that are old. Unfortunately, it happens sometimes. If the beans are still firmer than you’d like at the end of your cooking time, close the Instant Pot and pressure cook for an additional “0” minutes. The Instant Pot will come to pressure and then cook for 0 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally one more time. (You shouldn’t quick-release a pot of beans. Your beans will lose their shape and you may spray bean foam all over your kitchen.)
If you have a preferred brand of beans that you buy frequently, then I suggest finding their perfect cooking time. Each time you make a pot of your preferred beans, add or subtract a minute from this base recipe (only if necessary), and use the rest of the recipe as-is.
We’re flavoring the beans while they cook, so the cooking liquid is quite yummy. Use it in soups, stews, and pasta sauces throughout the week to add more flavor to anything you’re cooking.
Another option is to thicken the whole pot of beans. To do this, simply remove a few cups of beans and liquid from your Instant Pot, then blend them in your blender. Add the blended beans back to your Instant Pot and stir to thicken. Doing this reminds me of the braised white beans at Zoe’s Kitchen! 😋
Helpful Tools for This Recipe
- Instant Pot
- Measuring Cups & Spoons
- Large Cutting Board & Sharp Knife
- Mesh Strainers
- Food Storage Containers
*Originally published in September 2020. Photos have been updated and cooking times have been more thoroughly explained.
- 1 pound white beans, picked over and sorted*
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 and 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 7 and 1/2 cups water
- 1-2 lemons, rolled on counter and juiced (optional)
- Rinse your beans thoroughly under running water and place them in the Instant Pot. Add all remaining ingredients, except lemon juice, and stir well.
- Close your Instant Pot and set the steam release valve to "Sealing". Select the "Pressure Cook" button and set to cook for 27 minutes at High Pressure for Great Northern Beans and 40 minutes at High Pressure for Cannellini/White Kidney Beans.**
- Once the cooking time is up, allow the Instant Pot to release pressure naturally. After approximately 30 minutes, the float valve will drop. Turn the steam release valve to "Venting" and open the Instant Pot.
- Stir well, remove the bay leaves, and taste for salt and tenderness. Add optional lemon juice (if using) and stir again.
- Serve your beans right away or allow them to cool slightly before storing in glass containers for later use. Leftovers will keep for up to a week in the fridge.
*Selecting White Beans & Sorting: Choose Great Northern or Cannellini (AKA White Kidney) beans for this recipe. If both are available to you, I recommend Great Northern. To sort beans, look for broken beans, shriveled beans, stones, and anything else that looks off. Remove these items before rinsing thoroughly and proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
**Cooking Times: The official Instant Pot site recommends 25-30 minutes for Great Northern beans. I have found that 27 minutes is perfect for me. For Cannellini (AKA White Kidney) beans, they recommend 30-35 minutes. I have found that a full 40 minutes is actually needed for these beans. You may need to make adjustments based on the brand and age of your beans.
Salt: Everyone’s salt preference is different, and certain types of salt are "saltier" than others. Feel free to adjust salt to your taste.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 13 Serving Size: half cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 122Total Fat: .6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 187mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 9gSugar: 1gProtein: 8g
Nutrition information is an estimate only, based on the recipe as written. Nutrition was calculated based on cannellini beans. Data was obtained through MyFitnessPal's recipe creator.
The Background & Science Behind These Ingredients
The inspiration for these beans comes from Dan Buettner’s The Blue Zones Diet. I was hugely inspired by the eating patterns of the centenarians living in Ikaria, Greece. As a result, I created this herbaceous recipe that pulls together many of their traditional herbs and spices (sage, rosemary, and oregano), as well as their staple ingredients (beans, garlic, and lemons).
- A brief overview of the Blue Zone Diet program.
- A comparison of dried versus canned beans: Dried are cheaper and lower in sodium. Whichever kind you choose, just make sure that you’re eating them every day!
- “Beans, Beans, the Magical “Fruit”: The More You Eat the Less You Toot!”
- Information about naturally-occurring phytates in plant foods and reasons to keep eating the many healthy foods that contain phytates.
- A write-up about beans and flatulence.
What do you think?
Thanks so much for stopping by! If you make this recipe, then please leave a comment and rating. I would love to hear what you think and how it worked out for you!
If you like these Instant Pot White Beans, I URGE you to try my favorite Instant Pot Black Beans as well. They’re mind-blowingly delicious for something so simple! Please see all my Instant Pot recipes for more ideas.