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Pressure cooking beans is fast and easy, but you can’t just throw in the beans and clamp the lid on! For safety, you MUST presoak beans, removing loose hulls; measure water and add some oil when doing so; and watch your timing. Oil helps reduce the foam from the beans as well as helping keep the skins from popping off and clogging up the vent tube.

  • ALWAYS clean the lid and vent of the pressure cooker thoroughly BEFORE and AFTER cooking beans! Be sure to check and eyeball the vent tube and all around the rubber ring to clear any bean skins stuck in them.
  • NEVER leave the hearing range of the pressure cooker while beans are cooking.
  • Never fill the cooker over 2/3 full, counting both beans and water. This means a standard 6 quart pressure cooker can cook up about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of dried beans (3 cups of dried beans) at one time, provided they are soaked.
  • If the weight stops jiggling, or you hear foaming or sputtering, the cooker is clogged and must be handled immediately.
  • If the cooker does clog, remove from heat immdiately, place the pressure cooker in the sink and run cold water over the entire cooker to bring the pressure down quickly. When the pressure is completely released, remove and clean the lid, vent, and rubber gasket.
  • I never repressurize a batch that has clogged; I finish cooking a batch that has clogged the vent on the open stove (with the pressure OFF and the lid unlocked).

This is the basic formula for pressure cooking beans in a standard 15 pound pressure cooker:
1 cup dried beans, soaked before cooking plus 4 cups water plus 1 tablespoon oil (2 tablespoons for soy beans, fava or large lima beans) plus NO salt, acids, sugar, vinegar or tomato until after cooking.
When the cooking time is up, quick-release the pressure cooker under cold water to avoid foaming or sputtering at the vent.

Here are the details. Rinse and soak beans before putting in the cooking pot, carefully rubbing hrough the soaked beans and pouring off all loose or floating skins before cooking. Soaking beans for 12 hours (overnight) will also greatly reduce the cooking time and give a more tender bean.
Cooking time for the pressure cooking portion of time is according to the chart below. If the beans are not tender after recommended cooking times, continue cooking uncovered, adding additional water if the level is below the top of the beans. Cooking times may change depending on the quality and age of the beans. Cranberry, garbanzos and soybeans are the slowest cooking types. Black-eyed peas, split peas and lentils do not need to be soaked or even presoaked. You can cook them unsoaked and they cook very quickly. Be sure to presoak very old beans overnight before cooking by bringing to a boil and then covering.
If your beans are over one year old, they may take much longer to cook; in fact some very old beans never do get tender.

Pressure presoak: a 1 hour method

  • Measure the dried beans, write it down. You will need 1-2 tablespoons oil for each cup of dried beans.
  • Place the beans in the pressure cooker with 4 cups of water for each cup of beans
  • Bring the cooker up to pressure, so the weight on top will start jiggling
  • Turn off the heat, remove the cooker from the burner and let it sit for 1 hour
  • Open, notice the water level, you will need this level.
  • Stir to loosen skins and foam and pour off the all the soaking water, skins and foam. This also removes some gas-causing compounds
  • Then add fresh water back to the same level it was and add the oil, 1-2 tablespoons for each cup of dried beans.
  • Proceed by cooking the beans for the time indicated in the table.
      Beans,1 cup dry

      Soaked 12 Hours

      presoaked one hour

      Unsoaked (not recommended) Yield
      Adzuki 5-9 min 9-13 min 12-14 min 2 cups
      Anasazi 4-7 min 7-10 min 20-22 min 2 1/4 c.
      Black turtle 8-11 min 14-18 min 20-25 min 2 cups
      Black-eyed or field peas§ ----- ----- 9-11 min 2 1/4 c.
      small white beans
      9-12 min 14-17 min 22-25 min 2 cups
      Chickpeas (garbanzo) 10-12 min 21-25 min 30-40 min 2 1/2 c.
      Christmas spotted lima 8-10 min 10-12 min 16-18 min 1 1/4 c.
      Cranberry 8-12 min 20-25 min 30-35 min 2 1/4 c.
      Fava* 12-18 min 16-22 min 22-28 min 2 cups
      Flageolets 10-14 min 10-14 min 17-22 min 2 cups
      Great Northern 8-12 min 14-18 min 25-30 min 2 1/4 c.
      Lentils, large brown ------ ------- 7-10 min 2 cups

      Lentils, green

      ------ -------


      2 cups

      Lentil, soup

      ------ -------


      2 cups

      Lentils, red tiny

      ------ -------


      2 cups
      Lima or butterbeans, large** 4-7** min 8-12** min 12-16 min 2 1/2 c.
      Lima (baby) 5-7 min 8-12 min 12-15 min 2 1/2 c.
      Peas, split yellow or green ------ ------ 8-10 min 2 cups
      Peas (whole, green) ------ ------ 16-18 min 2 cups
      Pigeon peas (gandules) 6-9 min 15-18 min 20-25 min 3 cups
      Pinto 4-6 min 7-10 min 22-25 min 2 1/4 c.
      Navy (pea) 6-8 min 10-13 min 16-25 min 2 cups
      Red kidney 10-12 min 12-15 min 20-25 min 2 cups
      Scarlet runner 12-14 min 12-16 min 17-20 min 1 1/4 c.
      Soybeans** 9-12 min 15-20 min 28-35 min 2 1/4 c.

      *Skins stay chewy after cooking unless the beans are pureed.

      **Requires 2 tablespoons of oil for each cup of dried beans.

      § If you have adjustable pressure, reduce to medium (10 pounds) for dried field peas and lentils.


      This is the basic formula for pressure cooking presoaked grains in a standard 15 pound pressure cooker:
      1 cup grains, rinsed or soaked before cooking plus 2 cups water plus 1 tablespoon oil plus NO salt, acids, vinegar or tomato until after cooking.
      When the cooking time is up, quick-release the pressure cooker under cold water to avoid overcooking or foaming or sputtering at the vent.

      Rinse all grains under lukewarm water before cooking. Do not add salt to water for cooking grains since it will toughen the grains and inhibit hydration. Measure water and add 1 to 2 tablespopons oil when doing so; and watch your timing. Oil helps reduce the foam from the grains as well as helping keep the skins from popping off and clogging up the vent tube.

      §Before cooking tough or whole grains, such as wheat berries, unhulled or pearl barley, soak in four times their volume of lukewarm water for at least four hours or overnight. If unable to soak grains beforehand, add 15 minutes to recommended cooking time.

      *Do not presoak white rice before pressure cooking. White rice can be cooked without preparation, and converted long grain rice will give you the fluffiest, most unsticky results. If you are cooking brown rice, soak as a whole grain or bring it to a boil and boil 5 to 8 minutes before reducing heat and covering to pressure cook.


      Rinsed; see notes about soaking§*

      Barley§, pearl, 3 cups


      Kamut§, whole


      Oats§, steel-cut


      Oats§, whole


      Rice*, basmati, 1 1/2 cups


      Rice§, brown, 3 cups


      Rice*, converted, 1 1/2 cups


      Rice*, long grain, 1 1/2 cups


      Rice*, short grain, 3 cups


      Rice, wild, 3 cups


      Rye§, berries, 3 cups


      Wheat, berries§, 3 cups


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