Instant Pot Basic Bean Soup

Are there better things than a world that’s currently under isolation? Lots. And chances are we have some non-perishables that have been collecting dust just waiting for a chance to be used. But before we panic we won’t be able to cook something satisfying, I am willing to bet you already have the essentials for an INCREDIBLY SIMPLE AND DELICIOUS soup right in your Instant Pot

All it takes are TWO basic ingredients to get this soup started: beans and broth (or water). The rest of the seasonings are likely to be found in your cupboard and are totally up to you to customize this Basic Bean Soup into a hearty and delicious meal. 

And since dried beans cook rapidly under pressure with no overnight soaking required, this is going to be done in record time.

Here’s How I Made It! (scroll to the bottom for the fully-written recipe):

This part is totally optional, but like so many recipes adds such a rich flavor foundation. If you can get your hands on some (and you should be able to), grab an onion… 

…and dice it up. 

Then, add some butter (or olive oil) to the Instant Pot and give it some heat. 

Once melted/heated… 

…add in the onions. 

Sauté for a few minutes… 

…and then add some garlic (if you have it on hand). 

Sauté for a moment longer and PRESTO! You just created a super flavorful foundation for this soup! 

If you didn’t have the butter, onion and garlic, you’ll be starting here. Add in some broth of your choice (or water if you don’t have broth)… 

…as well as some dried beans (NO need to have pre-soaked them for hours overnight!) Secure the lid and cook at high pressure. 

When done, give everything a stir! 

To achieve a thicker soup (which I prefer), use a slotted spoon to remove a cup of the beans and set aside. 

Next, take an immersion blender or potato masher… 

…and purée until the soup has thicken beautifully. 

Add the reserved beans back to the pot. 

And now, season using your favorite seasonings/spices already on-hand in your cupboard! (Check the yellow “Jeffrey Sez” section for what I used). 

If you DIDN’T have onion and garlic on hand, you can also add in garlic and onion powder to achieve that flavor now as well! 

Got some fresh, crumbled bacon or bacon bits? Great! Feel free to toss some in there! 

Great! Feel free to toss some in there! 

And if you want a little spice, a little hot sauce should do the trick! (You see where I’m going with this. You can basically add whatever you want – just be sure to not overdo the spices. Start with less and adjust everything to taste). 

Give it all a final stir… 

…place in bowls… 

…show what you’ve accomplished out of basically nothing. 

Try it out… 

…and WHO KNEW?! Basic Bean Soup all of a sudden ain’t so basic! 

Dinner is saved and so is your culinary reputation! 

Enjoy, stay safe, be kind and eat well.

Instant Pot Basic Bean Soup
Yield: 6

Instant Pot Basic Bean Soup

Instant Pot Basic Bean Soup

When the pandemic of 2020 hit, this soup was critical because it focused on a bag of beans and literally any other spices you had in your cupboard to create a heart-warming and comforting soup full of rich flavor. I suggest which spices to add for great flavor, but you can do it however you wish given the spices you already have on hand.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 1 minute
Total Time 1 hour 6 minutes


The Two Main Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried Great Northern or Cannellini beans (with dud beans picked out – no need to rinse or soak!)
  • 6 cups broth of your choice (I used 6 teaspoons Garlic Better Than Bouillon + 6 cups water. You can also just water if you don’t have broth but broth adds more flavor)

The Optional Flavor Enhancers:

  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) salted butter OR 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoons (3 cloves) garlic, crushed or minced

Covered In Your Cupboard:

  • ANY spices in your cupboard that you enjoy (NOTE: see the yellow “Jeffrey Sez” section for what I used)


  1. This step is optional for extra flavor! Add the butter or olive oil to the Instant Pot. Hit Sauté and adjust so it’s in the More or High setting. Once the butter’s melted and the oil’s heated (about 3 minutes), add in the onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Then, add in the garlic and sauté for 1 minute longer.
  2. Pour in the broth followed by the beans. Stir, secure the lid, move the valve to the sealing position, hit Keep Warm/Cancel and then hit Pressure Cook or Manual at high pressure for 35 minutes. When done, allow a 20 minute natural release (meaning you do nothing for 20 minutes) and then follow with a quick release.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, remove 1 cup of the beans and set aside. Take an immersion blender (suggested) or potato masher and purée/mash the beans into the soup. Then, return the reserved cup of beans (NOTE: Should you wish to have a thin soup without puréeing, simply skip this step).
  4. Add in any spices you see fit to taste (NOTE: see the yellow “Jeffrey Sez” section for what I used).
  5. Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

Jeffrey's Tips

The whole point of this recipe is for you to best make use out of your favorite seasonings you likely already have on-hand in your cupboard to achieve a flavor result that is beyond satisfactory and elevates basic beans and broth into a spectacular soup! There are NO right or wrong rules here – just be sure to start with smaller amounts of spice to avoid overkill. From there, you can adjust to taste.

For what I experienced myself (and greatly enjoyed), the spices I used are:

  • 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or oregano)
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • A few dashes hot sauce
  • A few shakes of bacon bits (either 4 strips, freshly crumbled or jarred)

While I sautéed an onion in butter and garlic in Step 1 for a great flavor foundation, you do NOT need to do this if you don’t have these ingredients on hand. Instead, you can add in 1-2 teaspoons each of garlic powder/granulated garlic and onion powder in Step 4. But if you don’t have these spices either, don’t fret! Make up for it with anything that’s tasty to you.

Want to add in some frozen veggies? Good call! Stir them in at the very end with the spices in Step 4. The heat of the soup will warm them up in a few minutes.

Want a ham hock tossed in with the beans? Yum! Do it in Step 2 and remove in Step 3.

While not necessary, if you DO soak the beans in water for 4-8 hours before using, they are prone to be slightly softer with more even cooking than if you don’t soak them.

Don’t have dried beans and only canned? Use 3-4 cans and reduce pressure cook time to 5 minutes with a quick release.

Reader Interactions


  1. Michael Roberts

    I browned some spicy sausage with the onions and garlic. I used beef broth instead of chicken, I added frozen peas toward the end. I cut fresh herbs from my garden and placed them in when it was finished. Came out divine.

  2. Sierra

    Hi! Could you use dried pinto beans instead? Would you need to adjust pressure time or anything? Thank you very much!

    • Steve

      Agree…I did 2x on both pressure and then the natural release (~2 hrs) and still had hard beans.

      It’s not altitude…I’m in East Texas (less than 500′) so must be bad batch. I would suggest a backup plan should you get a batch like this.

      Flavor was good and flexibility of ingredients would make this great. I’ll try again but I’d use canned beans or soak them first. And like your other recipes this was easy to follow and had great taste.

  3. Gisele Phipps

    I used dried pinto beans and added carrots and celery to the onions. I also added leftover Christmas ham and bacon as I had no liquid smoke. I spiced it like you did except my hot sauce was chipotle sauce which added a little smoke also. I added a 10 minutes to the cooking time as I am at altitude and wanted the beans done. It came out amazing! Thank you for such a versatile recipe Jeffrey!

  4. Sheri Kelley

    We live at just higher than 6,000 feet, and I hear that high altitude will have a marked effect on cooking beans. What allowances, if any, do you suggest?
    I have just started using my instant pot, and have made several your recipes. I am super impressed! Thank you so much for the great experience with my IP (I never really liked cooking much).

  5. Auntie Doni

    I’m a Instant Pot® newbie. I’ve made Copycat Campbell’s Bean & Bacon Soup on the stovetop and love the flavors. I like a bit of Tomato Paste as well some Carrots and Celery, at what point would I add these?

  6. Maggie

    I followed your recipe all the way, except I left all the beans in. We like ours soupier. I tried it with all your seasoning suggestions and loved it! The beans were cooked perfectly. Thank you for this easy, great recipe!

  7. Laurie

    As per all of your recipes that I’ve tried, this was a super yummy hit. Husband even said he’d like to have this again!

  8. Barbara

    I have made this once and getting ready to make again because it was so good and even my picky eater husband liked it!! A question: I am new to instant pot cooking. Why do you put the seasonings in after cooking? Can you put them in before cooking the beans or is there a reason you don’t do this with an instant pot?

    • Marion G Blakely

      You really can’t taste test the seasonings before your soup is cooked. All you would taste is crunchy beans and water… You could add a bay leaf, but don’t add salt until after the beans are cooked. It sometimes keeps the beans from softening. That’s why I use my unseasoned homemade broth instead of purchased broth with salt added. The flavor is brighter when the seasonings are added near the end.

  9. Nicole

    If I prefer to soak the beans, how long should I pressure cook them? And still 20 minute natural pressure release?

  10. Mary HH

    Hi. I’m Jamaican so beans are in EVERYTHING! That said, beans have a certain “toot” quality that some find annoying, others embarrassing, or in our family, hilarious. We had competitions on loudness (“Wow Mom! That was a 7.5 on the Richter scale!!”). But I digress. I find Soaking the beans (with or without a teaspoon of baking soda) then rinsing before throwing in the insta-pot works well. Also ground allspice (“Pimento” to the Jamaicans and other West Indian folks reading this), chopped ginger 1-2 teaspoons/ package of beans, and Fennel and/ or CUMIN (seeds or ground) also help (that I learned from my South Asian and Middle Eastern Friends. Hope those ideas being on the flavour and keep the gas to a 1-2 on the Richter. :)))

  11. Cyndie

    This is so good! I used a pound of a 13-bean mix and added a can of diced tomatoes when I added the beans. Used all your suggested seasonings and we love it!

  12. Huskertarr

    I have made this twice, both times I had about 70 minutes. I am at 400 meters. once you have the time worked out it is a great recipe.

  13. Alice Blair

    After beans are cooked I add a roux of garlic, flour and a couple tablespoons bacon grease (preferred) or oil. Add to simmering beans with maybe a tablespoon of vinegar and stir good. I also add caraway seeds to the mixture. Now don’t laugh but these are great cold on toast.

  14. Krystal

    Hi. If I cut the recipe in half with half pound of beans and 3 cups of water, do I still cook for 35 minutes with 20 minute natural release? Thanks!

  15. Pat Nicholson

    IMO high quality beans guarantee a great end result. I used Camellia. ElGordo is a good brand as well. I used 8 cups of water and the soup turned out great. Well done Jeffrey.

  16. Pamela Palmer

    Oh, how good this recipe is! I made this and used ham from my leftover Christmas ham and this is the best bean soup I have ever tasted!! I have never blended beans until this recipe and that made a world of difference. I now have a great new recipe to use!! Thank you so much Jeffrey!!!

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