I cooked pinto beans in an electric pressure cooker and ended up with a few overcooked mushy beans, few cooked ones, if slightly al dente, and the majority of beans so severely undercooked that they seemed to be hardly cooked at all. Over- or undercooked beans wouldn't have surprised me, but both at the same time? What happened?

I used my newish electric pressure cooker to cook dried, not soaked, pinto beans. I cooked 250 g (9 oz) in 1 litre (4 cups) of water on high pressure for 22 min (the accompanying booklet recommended 22-25 min) and did a quick release (I did 24 min and natural release before; this resulted in beans so mushy you cannot eat them as anything else other than puree; internet research pointed towards 22 min and quick release). Where was my mistake?enter image description here

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    Did you use beans from two differently dated batches? Have you retried with a soak? Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 20:33
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    I used beans from the same 500 g packet, bought only last week and cooked today, and I deliberately didn't soak because apart from shorter cooking times, soaking doesn't really do anything to help (and also I based my cooking times on unsoaked beans). But my question isn't why most beans didn't cook but how is it possible that some were over- and others were undercooked at the same time, in the same pot. I mean, I guess it's not that I forgot to stir, given that I used a pressure cooker... Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 20:58
  • aside: Most do say that soaking helps leech undesirable oligosaccharides.
    – zanlok
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 21:18
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    Soaking might, especially with larger or older beans, help get them evenly hydrated though... and that probably is exactly what hasn't happened here. Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 21:30
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    The "same packet" question was because some kinds of dried beans are known to take longer to cook the longer they have been stored... still possible that the brand you use mixes variously aged beans in one bag.. Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 21:32

1 Answer 1


You didn't mention if the beans were completely submerged in the water, so if not, please make sure they are.

Second, assuming all the beans were of the same age, I find that soaking the beans evens things out. The speed of the pressure cooker can only overcome so much resistance to moisture in the beans themselves.

I have cooked very old beans that have some beans that never get soft, but that doesn't seem likely here since your beans are from the same bag.

Lastly, that could have been an odd bag. You might give it another try and see if you have different results.

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