This Instant Pot Bean Soup is super quick and easy to get a hearty meal on the table in record time. It’s made with sautéd onions, colorful carrots, diced ham with plenty of hearty beans for the ultimate tasty quick soup. Stovetop directions included with a vegetarian option.
Using the Instant Pot is the quickest way to get a cozy bean soup to the table in less than an hour, with no overnight soaking needed. It pressurizes the ingredients to bring out full flavors and reduces the time you would normally have to stand over a stove top.
Just like this Instant Pot Tortellini Soup, it’s an easy, wholesome one-pot meal that is easy to clean up!
Because this bean soup includes diced cooked ham, you might want to check out this Air Fryer Ham! It’s perfectly seasoned and would make a great meal, so you can use the leftovers for this bean soup. If you don’t have an air fryer, oven directions are included.
With this bean soup recipe, you can turn simple, inexpensive ingredients into a wonderful meal.
- Yellow onion
- Celery stalk
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Chili red pepper with or without seeds (seeds will make it hot)
- Cooked ham
- Dried beans: pinto, red kidney beans, or a package of bean soup
- Chicken or vegetable stock
- Salt to taste
- Fresh parsley or chives to taste
How to make it
- Sort dried beans for debris and rinse.
- In the Instant Pot, sauté onions, carrots and celery in olive oil for about four minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add chili pepper, cooked diced ham, and continue to sauté for an extra 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add dried beans to the Instant Pot with the stock and stir.
- Seal the lid and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes (yes – 20 minutes! Although a lot of other Instant Pot Bean Soup recipes cook them much longer).
- Once complete, carefully do a quick release of the pressure.
- Season with salt and pepper, garnish and serve.
For full instructions, scroll to the recipe box at the bottom of the page.
From start to finish, you can serve this nourishing soup to 6 people.
The Instant Pot will take a little time to come to full pressure before cooking time begins. So I allow for a full hour to prep and cook the soup.
You can’t double this recipe in a 6-quart Instant Pot. It gets too full. You’re never supposed to fill the inner pot more than half full when cooking beans because they will swell.
- The pressure cooker will take 15 to 20 minutes to come to pressure, so if you’re timing this to serve guests, add this to the total time before serving.
- If the beans aren’t quite done, turn the Instant Pot to simmer and let it simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Oil will help beans keep their shape and skin intact. It also helps lessen froth and foam during the cooking process.
- If you don’t have leftover ham, you can use a ham bone or ham hock from a local butcher. Try to get one with a little meat on it so that it adds a little meat to the soup as it cooks.
- Stock or broth? Both add great flavors. I used chicken stock, but if you’re making it vegetarian, you can use vegetable stock.
- If you want to throw in some extra ingredients like tomatoes, make sure to throw those in after the beans have cooked. Anything acidic will bind to the outside of the beans and make it harder for the beans to cook. Once you do the quick release, add tomatoes and turn the IP to simmer for another 10 minutes or so to cook them a bit.
- Soaking beans is not required for this recipe.
- If you prefer to use a different type of meat, leftover turkey or sausage would also be a great combination.
- Depending on how salty the ham is, you might want to adjust the salt. To get it perfectly seasoned for my taste, I salt and pepper after the soup has been cooked.
- If you want to finish with a little brightness, add a squeeze of lemon juice just before serving.
How to store bean soup
If you have leftover soup, you can store it for up to 5 days in the fridge.
To do that, you want to quickly cool the soup to room temperature within two hours. This may mean you need to cool it in a shallow dish to meet the timeline.
Then put the soup in an airtight container and store it in the fridge.
Can I freeze the soup?
Yes, beans hold up well in the freezer, so if you don’t eat up all the soup, you can store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Let it cool completely, then transfer to a freezer bag or container, label and date it before placing it in the freezer.
How to reheat the soup
To reheat the soup, defrost it overnight in the fridge for a fast lunch or directly add the frozen soup to a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until it is thoroughly heated.
It’s easy to make this soup just the way you like it.
You can add some chopped garlic after you sauté the onions and add your own favorite seasonings.
If you like to use fresh herbs, you should add those just before serving. However, a woody herb like rosemary would need to cook a bit, so you would add that into the mix before sealing.
If I have spinach or kale in the fridge, I like to throw some added greens into the soup and let it sauté after pressurizing to wilt the greens, which also helps thicken the soup.
If you have veggies to use up, then go for it! Potatoes, green beans, zucchini, squash and tomatoes are all great additions.
If you add anything acidic like tomatoes, you want to add those after the beans have cooked. The acid binds to the beans, which make it harder for the beans to cook through.
If you prefer one bean over the other or a mix, it’s up to you to decide. Pinto and kidney beans are common in soups, but you could also use or include black beans, garbanzo, navy or Lima beans.
If you buy the pre-packaged mixed beans, even easier. It will usually come with a seasoning packet that also makes a great soup.
If you have a turkey or beef stock, this will also do the job.
Garnishing is to give the soup extra flare. I like to garnish soups with chives or a little parsley, but you don’t have to stop there. If you like it hot, you can add a dash of hot sauce or diced jalapenos and garnish with cilantro. Or even a swirl of sour cream.
Oh! And cheese! Cheddar cheese works great, and also crispy bacon to garnish is ultra tasty.
This soup is versatile so for best results, use what you like best.
To make it thicker
Use a slotted spoon to remove a cup of beans and set it aside. Purèe the soup in the IP until the soup has thickened. Then you can add the reserved beans back into the pot to add a few whole beans to the soup.
You can also let the soup sauté without a lid for a few minutes and let the stock evaporate for a thicker texture.
Don’t I need to soak the beans first?
When I’m making this soup, I do not soak the beans overnight. I just wash and rinse the dried beans and leave them in a bowl while I prep the other ingredients.
Soaking is not necessary for the Instant Pot because the unsoaked beans cook evenly and quickly under pressure.
If you want to soak them because you find they’re easier to digest you can. The easiest way is to soak the beans in water for 8 to 12 hours or overnight.
Then follow the directions, remembering to drain the soaking water before adding the beans to the Instant Pot. Pressure cook on high for 15 minutes with the soaked beans.
Do a natural release where you let it sit without doing anything and let the pot depressurize on its own for 15 minutes, then do a quick release of the remaining pressure. Salt, garnish and serve.
See more on natural or quick releases in the section below.
You can also do a quick soak method using the Instant Pot. To do that, add dried beans, lock the lid on the Instant Pot and select high pressure for 1 minute of cook time. When the timer goes off, let the beans soak for an hour without releasing the pressure.
Then drain and remove the beans and set aside and follow the original directions sauteeing the onions and carrots and adding the beans back into the pot.
I suggest reducing the amount of cook time to 30 minutes because the beans have had a quick soak. Carefully do a quick release and garnish and serve.
What is the difference between a quick release and a natural release?
A lot of pressure builds up in the Instant Pot while cooking. The fuller the pot, the higher the pressure. You can release the pressure naturally or do a quick release when cooking with an Instant Pot.
If you let the Instant Pot sit after pressurizing it will naturally depressurize and go back to normal, this is called a ‘natural release’. It will take up to 30 extra minutes to do so.
So if a recipe calls to do a natural release, once the cooking process has ended and the timer has gone off, just wait. Gradually the IP will release pressure and steam as it cools.
A natural release is best used for foods that can continue to cook after the cycle is over like this Instant Pot Turkey Breast. Which I must add is perfect for this Instant Pot Turkey Soup with Noodles!
Note that for a natural release the floating valve will start to lower, but won’t open until the pressure is low enough to do so. Don’t force it to open because it means it is still too pressurized.
If you press the knob to release the pressure right after cooking, this is called a quick release. It usually takes 2 minutes.
For a quick release, you can release the pressure very quickly. I recommend doing the quick release for this bean soup. It just takes less time and comes out perfect.
This method comes with a word of caution! ⚠️ When you do a quick release, the steam will come out very quickly, so you want to be extremely careful not to burn yourself. You might notice some spattering depending on what you are cooking and how full the pot is.
Make sure you read instructions thoroughly before attempting a quick release for the first time.
In general, you’ll wait for the timer to go off signaling the end of the cooking cycle.
Turn the venting knob from sealing position to venting position. This releases a burst of steam. I recommend using an oven mitt instead of turning the knob with your bare hands just to be safe.
Keep the venting knob open until the steam has stopped and the floating valve has completely dropped before opening the lid.
Once you’ve got it down, you’re on your way to many delicious quick meals.
It just takes a little more time and attention to make this bean soup on a stovetop, but it’s totally doable.
- You’ll definitely want to soak the beans overnight to help reduce the cook time.
- Heat a large stockpot over medium heat, add oil, and sauté the onions, carrots and celery, like you would in an instant pot. For about 1 minute or until onions turn translucent.
- Add drained, soaked beans with stock and other ingredients and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2 to 2 ½ hours, stirring intermittently.
Once the beans are done, garnish and serve.
- To make it even quicker, you could use canned beans. This would take considerably less time (like 30 minutes). As long as the carrots are tender, you’re good to garnish and serve.
Slow cooker directions
If you want the freedom to walk away and have the soup done in the evening, you can use a slow cooker.
- Soak the beans in a large pot with water to cover about 2 inches above the beans. Let them soak for at least 8 hours or overnight to make it easy. Then drain.
Transfer the beans to the slow cooker pot.
- In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium-high until it shimmers. Sauté the carrots, celery and onion until soft for less than 10 minutes and transfer to the slow cooker.
Stir in the stock and ham and other seasonings.
- Cover and cook on high for 4 to 5 hours then reduce to low for 8 to 10 hours or until beans and veggies are tender.
- Dish, garnish and serve.
Why use an Instant Pot?
The Instant Pot is the modern pressure cooker that makes soups and stews with lightning speed compared to other methods.
The slow cooker takes all day, whereas the Instant Pot literally pressurizes food, melding all the flavors, tenderizing tough meats and doing it in minutes, not hour after hour.
It’s super easy to clean because with most recipes, everything goes into the pot, and it’s done so there is only one pot to clean. It’s also a safer option compared to some older pressure cooker models that you use on the stove top.
It’s not just a pressure cooker! It does a whole lot more like sautés and sears, some models come with a yogurt maker function, you can use them to bake bread and even cheesecakes, AND it can act just like a slow cooker.
So, it’s a multi-functional, safe, and versatile kitchen appliance that makes food in less than an hour and cleans in a snap!
What to serve with the soup
I love this soup as a main meal, but sometimes I like to add a little green to family dinners. My first choice is an easy salad like this Panzanella Salad, it’s greens and bread in one exceptional side dish.
I also like a slice of homemade Overnight Sourdough Bread. It takes some planning and effort the day before but is perfect for a nice Sunday lunch.
If you serve this soup as a starter then this Chicken Leg Quarters Recipe is perfect.
Have a smoker? Then try this Smoked Chicken Quarters or this Smoked Corned Beef Brisket.
But if I’m keeping it simple, my go-to is Dairy-free Cornbread! This Keto Cornbread also looks great.
Other Instant Pot recipes
Instant Pot Broccoli
Instant Pot Potatoes Colcannon
Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip
Instant Pot Hot Chocolate
But don’t stop there! I have tons of easy wholesome meals that are quick to get on the table.
If you try this recipe, leave a comment below, I’d love to hear how it turned out! Or give me a shoutout on social just tag #easywholesome so I can be sure to see it!
Instant Pot Bean Soup
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 2 large carrots peeled and diced
- 1 celery stalk diced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 red chili pepper, with or without seeds (seeds will make it hot) finely chopped
- 2 cups cooked ham diced
- 20 ounces (570 grams) dried beans pinto, red, or a pack of bean soup beans
- 7 ½ cups (1.75 l) chicken or vegetable stock
- salt to taste
- fresh parsley or chives to taste chopped
- Remove beans from the package, sort for debris or unwanted beans, wash and leave on a large bowl filled with water until ready to cook.
- Meanwhile, turn your Instant Pot on to saute mode. Add the extra virgin olive oil, onions, carrots and celery and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the chili pepper, ham, and continue to cook for an extra 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove beans from the water, rinse, drain and add to the Instant Pot along with the stock and salt.
- Give a stir, place the lid on and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes.
- Turn the Instant Pot off and switch the steam release handle from sealing to venting position for a quick release carefully. Check if the beans are tender, if not, continue to cook for a few more minutes.
- Sprinkle with fresh parsley or chives and serve.
Comments & Reviews
This is undoubtedly the best recipe for pinto beans….ever!! I’ve been cooking pinto beans all my life and now I have found the Grand Winner! Thank you!!
Erin @ Food Doodles says
I’m so happy that you enjoyed the soup! Thanks a ton for your feedback. 🙂 It means a lot, especially as you’re an experienced bean cooker. 😀