Mexican-inspired, easy vegan Instant Pot pinto beans and rice is a fuss-free recipe using dried pinto beans and accessible ingredients with no added oil, inspiring heaping healthy portions and clean plate satisfaction.
Dried beans are made for the pressure cooker. It's inspired delicious vegan dinners like flavorful chili with three beans and sweet potatoes, Indian-spiced black beans curry, and savory Spanish chickpea soup - to name a few.
Pinto beans and rice are traditional Mexican cuisine. Add a few beloved vegan condiments like mango salsa fresca, salsa molcajete, Venezuelan avocado guasacaca, or simple cashew sour cream, and turn this pinto bean recipe into a fiesta!
Table of Contents
⭐ Why You'll Love This Recipe
- This is the ultimate in easy Instant Pot recipes with simple ingredients. We aren't even bothering with the sauté function!
- Pressure cooking transforms simple, healthy, and inexpensive ingredients into a hearty, high-protein (and gluten-free) meal that makes dinner a breeze.
- Take spice liberties to suit your pantry, grocery store specials, and tastes. You can easily modify the ingredients.
📋 Recipe Ingredients
Pinto Beans. Dried beans are a feature of this tasty dish. After testing several times, I recommend soaking dry pinto beans before cooking them.
Rice. I used brown basmati rice - my favorite for one-pot rice and black beans, but any brown rice works. Short-grain white will get overcooked.
Red bell pepper. Use any bell pepper (red, yellow, green) or a mix. Try a few baby peppers if you happen to have them.
Jalapenos. A word about fresh jalapenos. Love them? Use them. Grab a big bag and make classic pico de Gallo. Or use red chilies, or don’t use any at all. It’s your Instant Pot, your meal, and your taste buds.
Seasonings. It is a simple combination of cumin, oregano, and chili powder (I used my homemade chili powder blend). You can also use a prepared taco seasoning or try my special quick mix for Instant Pot taco filling.
Cilantro. Leave it out or serve it on the side if you aren't a cilantro fan.
Please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions.
📖 Recipe Variations
I made this recipe using other dry beans, including black beans and red kidney beans. You could also use white beans or small red beans.
After making borlotti bean pomegranate salad, I discovered that those tender, slightly sweet borlotti beans (cranberry beans) are close substitutes for pinto beans—another bean option to explore.
🥘 How to Soak Dried Beans
- Overnight soak – The most straightforward and least intrusive way is to add the beans to your Instant Pot or a large pot, cover them with about 3 times the water and leave them.
- 4-hour soak – Cover the beans with boiling water. Leave them to soak for about 4 hours.
- Quick soak – Add the beans and water to a cooking pot and boil the water. Boil the beans for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and leave the beans to soak for about an hour.
- Instant Pot soak – Place the beans and water in the Instant Pot. Cook the beans at High Pressure for 5 minutes and an additional 15 minutes of natural pressure release. Secure the lid and set the steam handle to the sealing position.
Denise's Tip: I've had the best results with overnight soaking. With older beans in particular, boiling them can cause them to break apart and lose their skins. This doesn't affect the flavor or enjoyment of your meal, though, so don't skip cooking beans if you only have time for quicker soaking methods.
⏲️ Step-by-Step Instructions
Step 1: Soak the beans.
Step 2: Stir all the ingredients except the tomatoes in the Instant Pot. Pour the tomatoes over the top.
Step 3: Cook on High Pressure for 23 minutes with 10 minutes NPR (natural pressure release).
Step 4: Mix the ingredients. Stir in lime juice and chopped cilantro.
🍴 Serving Suggestions
This Instant Pot pinto beans recipe is a complete and satisfying main course. Enjoy it with a few splashes of your favorite hot sauce, extra lime wedges, sliced black olives, or easy quick pickled red onions.
💭 Frequently Asked Questions
Although soaking is recommended, you can make this Instant Pot pinto beans and rice recipe with raw, unsoaked beans. Add 1 extra cup of vegetable broth and increase the cooking time to 27 minutes and 15 minutes NPR (natural pressure release). Check that the beans are tender, and if not, place the lid back on the Instant Pot and let it sit for another 15 minutes.
Store cooked beans and rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 days. To freeze beans and rice, let the ingredients cool to room temperature. Place them in a freezer container or sealed freezer bag. Place the container in the refrigerator to thaw and then reheat. You can keep them frozen for up to 3 months.
Wrap leftover rice with pinto beans in foil and heat leftovers in a basket steamer or Instant Pot steam basket. Depending on the portion size, allow about 15 minutes. You can also reheat it in the microwave. If you reheat it on the stovetop, add a little water to prevent scorching. Rice is best if only reheated once, so consider this as you reheat portions.
If you use canned beans, add the beans at the end of cooking. Cook the rice and other ingredients on the stovetop or in the Instant Pot. Instant Pot rice takes 16 minutes with 10 minutes of natural release. Cut the amount of broth to 1 ½ cups.
🧾 Related Recipes
Easy Vegan Instant Pot Pinto Beans and Rice
Rate this Recipe:
- 1 ½ cups dried pinto beans - soaked, see notes
- 1 medium onion - chopped, about 1 cup
- 1 medium red bell pepper - chopped
- 1-2 medium jalapenos - chopped, remove seeds and core for less spice
- 2 cups brown rice
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1-2 tablespoons chili powder
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 1 can tomatoes - diced or crushed, 15 ounces/400 grams
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- ½ cup cilantro - chopped, optional
- Soak the beans in 6 cups (or more) of water overnight. If you need a quicker method, hop up to the section in the post about soaking beans. Drain and rinse after soaking.
- Stir the onions, peppers, jalapenos, soaked pinto beans, rice, spices, and vegetable broth in the Instant Pot. Pour the tomatoes over the top (don't stir them in).
- Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and close the steam handle to the sealing position. Set the Instant Pot on High Pressure for 23 minutes. Click the warming button off.
- Once the pressure-cooking process is done, leave the Instant Pot alone for 10 minutes of NPR (natural pressure release). After 10 minutes, carefully open the steam handle. Once the silver pressure valve retracts, remove the lid.
- Stir the ingredients. Mix in the lime juice and cilantro (if using). Taste the beans and rice. Add salt or adjust the other spices as desired.
- Prep time does not include the time for soaking beans. Cooking time reflects an additional 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to start the pressure-cooking process. Times may vary.
- Soaking beans is recommended. If you use unsoaked beans, add 1 extra cup of vegetable broth and increase the cooking time to 27 minutes and 15 minutes NPR (natural pressure release). Check that the beans are tender, and if not, place the lid back on the Instant Pot and let it sit for another 15 minutes.
- Store cooked beans and rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 days. To freeze beans and rice, let the ingredients cool to room temperature. Place them in a freezer container or sealed freezer bag. Place the container in the refrigerator to thaw and then reheat. You can keep them frozen for up to 3 months.
- Reheat this dish by wrapping it in foil and steaming it on the stovetop or Instant Pot steamer basket. You can also reheat leftovers in the microwave. If you reheat on the stove, be sure to add vegetable broth or water to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.