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Instant Pot Northern Beans Recipe

This Instant Pot Northern Beans Recipe is delicious and easy.

Experience the ultimate comfort food with our Instant Pot Northern Beans Recipe—a delicious and easy-to-make dish perfect for cold days that warms both the soul and belly. Known as Great Northern Beans or Navy Beans, these delicate white beans are smaller than cannellini, with a lima bean shape.

Whether you’re from the North or South, this versatile recipe adapts seamlessly to your taste. Forget standing over a hot stove; the Instant Pot handles the heavy lifting. However, if you love the traditional touch, this adaptation preserves the essence of a cherished family recipe passed down by my mother-in-law—a true Instant Pot Basic Beans Recipe.

Join the bean-loving club and savor the heartiness and warmth of this soul-soothing meal with every comforting bite. Get ready to experience the timeless taste of tradition, upgraded with modern convenience!

Don’t have an Instant Pot? Try our traditional slow cooker navy beans recipe.

Instant Pot Northern Beans

Instant Pot Northern Beans Soup

Servings: 6

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 1 pound dried Northern Beans, rinsed and sorted
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered (optional)

Recipe Method:

  1. Prepare the Beans: Rinse the dried Northern Beans and sort through them to remove any floating beans or debris. Discard any beans that appear damaged or discolored.
  2. Instant Pot Setup: In the Instant Pot, combine the sorted beans, water, salt, apple cider vinegar (if using), bay leaf (if using), and the quartered onion (if using).
  3. Lock Lid and Set Time: Securely place the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the pressure valve is set to the “sealing” position. Select the Manual or Pressure Cook function and set the timer for 30 minutes.
  4. Cooking Process: The Instant Pot will start building up pressure, and the cooking process will begin. After the 30 minutes of pressure cooking is complete, allow for Natural Pressure Release for at least 10 minutes. This will allow the pressure to come down naturally.
  5. Quick Release: After the Natural Pressure Release period, carefully turn the pressure valve to the “venting” position for a quick release of any remaining steam. Be cautious of the hot steam escaping.
  6. Optional Thicken Step: For a thicker bean soup, use a fork to gently mash some of the beans against the side of the Instant Pot bowl. This will help thicken the soup.
  7. Serve: Ladle the Instant Pot Northern Beans Soup into serving bowls and enjoy a warm and comforting meal!

Note: You may also add a ham hock and other optional ingredients like carrots and chopped onion to enhance the flavor of the soup. Simply add them in Step 2 along with the other ingredients before pressure cooking.

Cook’s Tips:

  • For a smokier flavor, consider using a ham hock along with the beans in Step 2.
  • If you prefer a more vegetable-forward soup, add peeled and cut carrots and coarsely chopped onion to Step 2.
  • This soup pairs well with crusty bread or a fresh green salad for a complete and satisfying meal.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Instant Pot Northern Beans Soup:

Q1: Can I use canned beans instead of dried Northern beans? A: While this recipe is designed for dried Northern beans, you can use canned beans if you prefer. If using canned beans, adjust the cooking time accordingly, as canned beans are already cooked and only need to be heated through.

Q2: Can I omit the apple cider vinegar from the recipe? A: Yes, the apple cider vinegar is optional and mainly added to help soften the beans and reduce cooking time. If you prefer not to use it, you can omit it without affecting the overall result of the soup.

Q3: How should I store leftover soup? A: Allow the soup to cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. Store the leftover soup in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To extend its shelf life, you can also freeze the soup for up to 3 months.

Q4: Can I make this soup vegetarian-friendly? A: Absolutely! Simply omit the ham hock and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. You can also add more vegetables like diced tomatoes, celery, or bell peppers to enhance the flavors.

Q5: How can I adjust the soup’s thickness to my liking? A: If you prefer a thicker consistency, use a potato masher or an immersion blender to blend some of the cooked beans in the soup. This will help to thicken it. Alternatively, you can add a slurry of cornstarch mixed with water to the soup while it’s simmering to thicken it.

Q6: What can I serve with this Instant Pot Northern Beans Soup? A: This soup goes well with crusty bread, cornbread, or a side of rice. You can also serve it with a fresh green salad for a light and satisfying meal.

Q7: Can I make this soup in advance for a gathering? A: Yes, you can prepare the soup in advance and reheat it when needed. The flavors may even intensify with time. Store the soup in the refrigerator or freezer, following the storage instructions provided in the recipe.

Q8: Can I double the recipe to serve more people? A: Absolutely! You can double or halve the recipe based on your serving needs. Just make sure your Instant Pot can accommodate the increased quantity without exceeding the maximum fill line.

Q9: Can I add additional seasonings to the soup? A: Yes, feel free to customize the soup to suit your taste. You can add herbs like thyme, rosemary, or parsley for extra flavor. Adjust the salt and pepper levels to your preference as well.

Q10: Can I use other types of beans for this recipe? A: While this recipe specifically calls for Northern beans, you can adapt it to other bean varieties like navy beans, cannellini beans, or pinto beans. Cooking times may vary slightly depending on the type of bean used.

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