This video is a long time in the mak­ing. After years of hear­ing fears, urban leg­ends and other gen­eral belly aching about pres­sure cook­ers, I decided it was time enough to put this silli­ness to rest and demon­strate how truly easy it is to make awe­some food using a pres­sure cooker. I assure you, I’m not the most mechan­i­cally inclined per­son so if I can do this, you can too.

[vid­dler id-77ec5c06 h-451 w-545]


My own pres­sure cooker of choice is an elec­tric counter top model that also acts as a slow cooker and a rice cooker.

Lorna Sass is the pres­sure cook­ing queen. This book is a must-have.

Here is a bean cook­ing chart. I’d like to note that I never pre­soak my beans and they always turn out fine.

For Christ­mas this year, one of my broth­ers got me a lovely array of spices from our family’s favorite place– Penzey’s. He went through the store look­ing for spices he’d never heard of before and gave them to me on the con­di­tion that I had to make up recipes with them. This week­end I made the most amaz­ing pinto beans using one of the spices, epa­zote, with the help of my pres­sure cook­ing friend.

Sorta Slow-Cooked Pin­tos
In a world were most veg­gie bur­ri­tos are filled with black beans in place of the typically-bacon-laden pinto vari­ety, these tasty beans are a wel­come smoky and deli­cious treat. Eat them rolled up in a tor­tilla or on top of a bed of brown rice, topped with your favorite salsa and some gua­camole. The “slow” cook­ing method pro­vides lots of time for the fla­vor to build. Bueno!

1 cup dried pin­tos
3–4 cups water
2 tbsp. veg­etable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. liq­uid smoke
1 tbsp. epa­zote (or use 2 teas. oregano)
1–2 teas. cumin

In your pres­sure cooker, com­bine the pin­tos, water and a tea­spoon of the oil. Cook for 10 min­utes at high pres­sure then release beans using a quick release method. Drain and rinse and then set aside. In the bot­tom of your pres­sure cooker pot, saute an the onion in the remain­ing oil. Cook until onion is translu­cent. Add the soy sauce, liq­uid smoke, epa­zote and cumin and stir well, cook­ing until fra­grant, about 2 min­utes. Add the beans and just enough water to come about halfway up the beans (about a cup and a half). Sim­mer on low, stir­ring occa­sion­ally, cov­ered (like a reg­u­lar pot, not bring­ing it to pres­sure) for about an hour to two hours, until ten­der and fragrant.

Alter­na­tively, after sautee­ing every­thing, you can bring the full recipe back up to pres­sure for about 5 min­utes. Release from pres­sure using the quick release method and then let the beans cool for 20 min­utes before serv­ing, to help the fla­vor develop. I per­son­ally pre­fer the slow cook method, as it lets the beans really absorb and develop the flavor.

Serves 7–8

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12 Responses to pressure cookin’!

  1. Hi there,
    Thanks for the video. I just put the book on hold from the library. I agree… the amount of sodium in canned beans make me cringe, but they are con­ve­nient. I would like to get a pres­sure cooker though. I’m going to check out some dif­fer­ent mod­els on amazon.

    Be well,

    • Kris says:

      Hi Car­loyn– thanks for stop­ping by!

      What’s great about beans is that they freeze really well, so if you cook en masse, you can freeze por­tions for later and then you don’t have to worry about cans! But yes, they are con­ve­nient, it’s very true. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t use some beans from cans.

  2. Josiane says:

    Thanks for the video! In her pres­sure cooker, Mom only ever cooked one spe­cific thing that we only ate a cou­ple of times a year, and that was when I was a kid (she later started cook­ing that thing in a reg­u­lar pot). So at the time, what I took away was that this pressure-cooking thing was com­pli­cated and poten­tially dan­ger­ous… and that stuck with me, no mat­ter what peo­ple would say about it not being the case. See­ing your video greatly helped reas­sure that part of me, and I may con­sider get­ting one. Seri­ously, beans ready in a mat­ter of min­utes? That’s really tempting!

  3. Tonto Yoder says:

    Thanks Kris,
    One other thing about cook­ing dried beans (IMO) is that you can vary the
    firm­ness of the cooked bean. I love home­made hum­mus made by man­u­ally smash­ing al dente gar­ban­zos rather than puree­ing canned beans into a mushy blend.
    I like the tex­ture of my hum­mus much bet­ter than any­thing I’ve ever bought.

  4. Ana says:

    GREAT video! I feel so silly now for hav­ing wor­ried about the Big Bad Pres­sure Cooker. :-) I’m already pric­ing them out and think­ing about pur­chas­ing one. I make my own beans already, but I have to soak them overnight and then cook them for 1 1/2 hours. Twenty min­utes sounds FABULOUS! One last thing: can I say that watch­ing the video reminded me that I miss you? Maybe I’ll take a road trip some­time soon …

    • Kris says:

      Aw, thanks Ana! Yes, road trip! It’s only about 1hr 45min when it’s not a rush hour time. It’s a quick trip!

  5. Vegyogini says:

    Thanks for the awe­some video, Kris! I’ve had a stove-top model for years and still haven’t been brave enough to try it. I feel a lot more com­fort­able after watch­ing your tutorial.

  6. Amanda N says:

    Thank you for the video! All I’ve made so far in my pres­sure cooker (the elec­tric one that you have) is brown rice. I’m so excited to branch out now and make beans! :)

  7. I love cook­ing beans in my pres­sure cooker, I think it saves so much money com­pared to buy­ing canned ver­sions of beans (and def­i­nitely tastes bet­ter!) I love your recipes on here, thanks so much for shar­ing with the world!