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Instant Pot Pinto Beans (No Soak)

instant pot pinto bean soup with ham hocks

So, I’ve had my Instant Pot for some time now and I have to say that the allure of a new and shiny kitchen appliance hasn’t worn off yet.  I’m still using it often to try new recipes.  The Instant Pot makes life so easy, and it’s amazing how fast you can churn out good food.  I’ve made soul food collard greens, pulled pork, and roast beef in my Instant Pot.

I have yet to use it normally to cook things, I mostly use the pressure cooker function.  But I have sauteed or braised foods in it, primarily before I pressure cook.  The pinto beans I cooked in the Instant Pot came out just as good as everything else I cooked with the high-pressure method.

I cooked the pinto beans with smoked ham hocks, onion, and seasoning.  We ate it with good old Southern cornbread and fresh green onions.  I ate lots of beans growing up because they’re a cheap meal.  Today, I eat lots of beans because I enjoy them and they’re one of my favorite foods, especially lima beans and black-eyed peas with okra.

I love cooking beans and pinto beans in general in a crockpot or low and slow on top of the stove.  But, pressured cooked bean soup isn’t bad at all.

How to make pinto bean soup thick

The biggest problem I see with most people and restaurants who make pinto bean soup is that the beans aren’t cooked until tender and the soup is too thin.  Pinto bean soup should be thick and creamy.  If cooked right, the pinto beans should be thick like chili.

To make pinto bean soup thicker, you just have to cook them low and slow with seasoning meat.  The beans should cook for at least 2 1/2 hours.  The longer you cook them, the thicker they’ll get.  You don’t have to cook all of the liquid off of them, they’ll thicken during a long cook.  That’s how you make pinto bean soup thick.

How to season pinto bean soup

You don’t have to throw every seasoning in the pantry in pinto bean soup.  The most important seasoning you can use is a ham bone or any kind of smoked ham.

My favorite seasoning for pinto bean soup is smoked ham hocks, onions and salt, and pepper.  If I’m making them for red beans and rice or I want a chili-bean style pinto bean soup, I add a little chili powder and a bay leaf.

Can you freeze pinto bean soup?

Pinto bean soup freezes very well as long as it’s in an air-tight container.  Make sure to cool the beans before putting them in the freezer.  The frozen soup can be re-heated after thawed or heated from frozen.  The pinto bean soup tastes great after freezing and the texture and quality are really as close as when they were first cooked.

What should you serve with pinto beans?

You definitely have to serve cornbread with pinto beans.  What’s better than a creamy bowl of pinto bean soup with hot buttered cornbread crumbled in the bowl.

I love to get a big piece of buttermilk cornbread and put a couple of pats of butter on top and put that in the pinto beans along with some freshly sliced white onion.

That makes for a very hearty and comforting dinner.  Pinto beans can also be served on top of white rice.

instant pot pinto bean soup with ham hocks

Instant Pot Pinto Beans

Hearty and delicious no-soak pinto beans cooked in an instant pot with smoked ham hocks.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • 1 lb dry pinto beans
  • 2 smoked ham hocks
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp crushed pepper flakes
  • 4 1/2 cups of water
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Rinse the beans and put them in the Instant Pot along with the ham hocks, onion, salt, black pepper, and pepper flakes. Pour the water in and close the lid.
  • Set the Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for 40 minutes. After the beans are done cooking, let the Instant Pot naturally release for 15 minutes.


Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Serve with green onions and hot cornbread.
Keyword beans, Instant Pot, pressure cooking, soup
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