Pinto beans and rice comes together really quickly and cooks in the instant pot. This simple recipe is a great base to add lots of flavorful ingredients to. Use dried beans and brown rice and they'll be done at the same time.
Table of contents
Rice and beans are staples in cuisines around the world. It's a great combination because they're easy to store, relatively inexpensive, and endlessly versatile.
Pinto beans and rice is one way to enjoy this fiber-filled vegetarian combo for dinner.
I created this recipe because it's very inexpensive and a great intro to cooking dry beans. It really is easy, and can be multiplied for leftovers or freezing for later.
You'll cook the rice and beans together in the Instant Pot, but separately. It's a one pot meal.
The best thing about this pinto beans and rice recipe is that you don't need to plan ahead to quick soak or soak the beans overnight. Pressure cooking them is quick and effortless. It's a set it and forget it kind of recipe.
Scroll down to the pinto beans and rice recipe card for the amounts of each ingredient, but here's a quick visual + description of what's in this recipe.
- Dried Pinto Beans: Dry pinto beans are great in this recipe, black beans would work too, they'll soak up seasonings in the cooking liquid.
- Baking Soda: Helps the beans cook faster, and reduce the amount of gas produced by the beans (leaving you less gassy). It's a great pantry helper. It also turns your beans dark red. They seem burned, but it's baking soda.
- Salt: Add salt to the cooking liquid for some flavor.
- Garlic Powder: Also added for flavor. You can add minced garlic (to eat after cooked) or a garlic clove to discard after cooking your pinto beans and rice.
- Water: You'll need to add liquid to the beans to cook (at least 1 cup). They'll soften and cook safely in the Instant Pot that way. Cook rice in an equal amount of water. I don't add seasonings to the rice before cooking, you can.
- Brown Rice: The whole grain version is best in this recipe because it takes longer to cook, so you can cook it with, but separately from the beans in an Instant Pot. White rice would be overcooked if you cooked them together.
Scroll down to the pinto beans and rice recipe card for more detailed instructions. Here's a quick overview + photos to see how to make this recipe in general.
1. To start making your pinto beans and rice in the Instant Pot, remove any little rocks or debris, then rinse beans.
2. Add ingredients for beans to Instant Pot bowl: beans and baking soda. Then add water and stir until baking soda dissolves.
Note: adding baking soda to beans will turn them dark red. They aren't burned. They would be a light reddish tan after cooking, without adding baking soda.
If cooking the beans in baking soda, don't use/eat the cooking liquid. It's, well not good. If you like a thick beany sauce, omit the baking soda and bring it to a boil to reduce the liquid, after it's been cooked and rice has been removed.
3. Place rack in Instant Pot bowl. You'll place the bowl with rice on top. This way you can cook both your pinto beans and rice at the same time, but cook them separately.
4. Add brown rice and water to a glass bowl, that's safe to use in an Instant Pot. Place on rack.
5. Lock lid, set knob to sealing. Cook on BEAN/CHILI for 32 minutes.
6. Add salt and garlic powder to beans. Remove with strainer. Season rice with salt, lime juice, and cilantro.
7. Add pinto beans and rice to a serving bowl, add desired toppings. Enjoy.
Cook Pinto Beans on the Stove
Starting with the same ingredients, cook pinto beans 1 ½-2 hours over medium heat. Beans will be done once you can easily pierce a bean with a fork. Texture should be creamy and soft.
You don't need to quick soak or soak your beans overnight, since you're adding baking soda, the beans don't need to be soaked. Soaking them in water with flavors will add more flavor, but likely won't shorten the cooking time by much.
Store leftover pinto beans and rice in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week. They should be safe to eat as long as they look/smell good. You can cook extra servings of beans and rice and freeze them for later.
Freeze in individual servings.
- Make more than 1 serving for leftovers. Pinto beans and rice will freeze well. And they're not seasoned much, so you can add lots of different toppings/seasonings for later. This is a great meal prep recipe.
- I recommend cooking the rice and beans together in an Instant Pot, but if you don't have one, you can cook both on the stove. The beans will take about 45 minutes- 1 hour to cook though.
- You can make canned pinto beans and rice if you're short on time, you don't need to cook the beans, just quickly warm them up in the microwave, add salt and garlic powder to them.
- You can cook the beans in vegetable broth or chicken broth instead of water, if desired.
- Great topping ideas: Spicy Pickled Onions, avocado, salsa, sauteed vegetables, cilantro, sliced red bell pepper (or any color), cheese, a sprinkle of cumin, oregano, or chili powder, etc would be great over pinto beans and rice.
Yes, beans typically have higher amounts of the amino acid, lysine (it's found in lower amounts in grains).
Grains typically have higher amounts of methionine, unlike beans. This combo gives you all 9 amino acids to make proteins.
It isn't necessary to eat foods with all 9 amino acids in each meal, just eat a variety of protein containing foods. But, rice and beans is a classic, tasty combo that does that anyway.
Pinto beans and brown rice in this recipe are both good sources of fibers, protein, folate. Oligosaccharides and resistant starches in beans are prebiotics, which help the bacteria in your gut.
The fiber in both also can help stabilize blood sugars.
Other good vegetarian recipes:
- Cheesy White Bean Tomato Bake
- Sticky Tofu
- Lentil Spinach Curry
- Single Serving Mac & Cheese
- Ugandan Inspired Chapati Roll
- Honey Garlic Tofu
How to repurpose
What to do with leftover ingredients
When you're cooking for one, you often have leftover produce, cans of whatever ingredient, etc. Here are a couple ideas on how to use up the leftover ingredients from pinto beans and rice.
It'll help you save money by wasting fewer ingredients.
- Rice: Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Rice, Chicken Fried Rice, Miso Butter Salmon over Rice.
- Beans: Vegetarian Pasta with Beans, Pantry Rice and Bean Soup, Chili without Tomatoes.
- Salsa: Vegetable Quesadilla, Veggie Bowl with Queso, Refried Bean Tacos.
Did you make pinto beans and rice? Leave me a comment & rating to share how it turned out!
Pinto Beans and Rice (Instant Pot)
- Instant Pot or pressure cooker
- wire rack for Instant Pot
- medium glass bowl pressure cooker safe
- Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
- ¼ cup dry pinto beans
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup water
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder or small garlic clove
- ⅓ cup brown rice
- ⅓ cup water
- optional ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt, 1-2 teaspoons lime juice, 1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro or to taste
- Quickly rinse beans and remove any little rocks or debris.
- Add ¼ cup rinsed dry pinto beans, ⅛ teaspoon baking soda to Instant Pot bowl.
- Add 1 cup water. Stir together. Place wire rack in bowl, this will separate the beans and rice.
- Add ⅓ cup brown rice and ⅓ cup water to medium glass bowl (or a bowl that's safe to use in an Instant Pot). Ensure all rice is covered by the water. Place bowl on top of wire rack.
- Close lid and lock. Set to sealing.
- Set Instant Pot to BEAN/CHILI setting. Set timer for 30 minutes. Remember that it usually takes about 10 minutes to get up to pressure, so it will probably take 40 minutes for your rice and beans to cook.
- When done, quick release pressure. Test rice and beans for doneness. Cook another 3-5 minutes, if necessary. After, add ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder. Stir together.
- Add seasonings to rice, if desired. ⅛ teaspoon salt, 1-2 teaspoons lime juice, and 1 Tablespoon cilantro are great.
- Add toppings such as: salsa, pickled onions, sauteed vegetables, avocado, cilantro, etc.
- You can definitely use canned beans (don't cook them in the Instant Pot) and any kind or rice if you're short on time. But this is a very easy, very inexpensive recipe when using dry rice and beans.
- Adding baking soda helps the beans cook faster, and reduce the amount of gas produced by the beans (aka: leaving you less gassy). Note: Adding baking soda will likely turn your beans a dark red color. They aren't burned.
- If cooking the beans in baking soda, don't use/eat the cooking liquid. It's, well not good. If you like a thick beany sauce, omit the baking soda and bring it to a boil to reduce the liquid, after it's been cooked and rice has been removed.
- You can cook the beans in vegetable broth or chicken broth instead of water, if desired.
- Easily multiply this recipe to make a few servings of rice, beans. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers for later. Keeping the rice and bean seasonings simple makes these ingredients more versatile. You can add seasonings later.
- Keeping the seasonings for your beans and rice simple gives you lots of options for flavorful toppings.
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