Pressure cooked beans of my dreams

This recipe is my interpretation of brazilian beans with some added smoke via peppers. I also add a bit more flavor than traditional brazilian beans via some extra veggies. I use an Instant Pot, so the instructions are for it, but refer to your pressure cooker manual for dried beans. Anyway, let’s go to the recipe!

Note 1: my recipes usually have very little measurements (I rarely measure) and these are approximations. Tune it to your tasting. Pro-tip: do you measure often? Measure the ingredient and put it in your hands. That will give you a visual indication of what that amount of the ingredient looks like for the measurement you chose.

Note 2: this recipe is vegan by design. Brazilian beans can be very porky but I actually prefer it this way. If you use good beans (I LOVE Rancho Gordo beans), they will shine through without distracting flavors.

Note 3: Take your time on this one and you will be rewarded.

Note 4: I know kelp sounds weird but it adds a delicious richness and also, in my personal experience, reduce the… side-effects beans often are associated with.


  • half an onion, diced

  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, smashed

  • 1tsp cumin (I like whole and use a mortar and pestle)

  • 1 or 2 bay leaves

  • 1 ancho and/or mulato and/or chipotle dried pepper (sometimes I replace with dried powdered chipotle when I am lazy, which is often)

  • salt

  • 1 part beans (pinto or black or whatever beans you love <3, washed and bad beans removed)

  • 2 parts water? Maybe?

  • a piece of kelp

  • trimmings from your veggies (carrot, mushrooms stems, celery tops, onion skins, whatever suits your heart)


Turn on the IP on sautée mode, put the onions, stirring occasionally. When it seems it’s getting too hot, keep adding a bit of water and sautée for 5 to 10 minutes, so that the onions are very tender and caramelized. While the onion is cooking, prepare the spices (cumin, bay leaves, salt and the peppers). If using whole peppers, clean them, tear them in pieces and keep the seeds or add them, I don’t care. Although your guests might, depending on how spicy they like it. Add garlic, sautée until fragrant (30s? 10 minutes? what is time?). Add the spice mix and mix quickly, just so they bloom.

Add the beans (I often cook 1 or 2 cups of beans), kelp and enough water to cover it as if there’s a thumb-size depth. We can fix it if it’s too watery, don’t worry too much about it. It sucks to have too little water though, so err on the watery side. Add the trimmings or whole veggies if you’re splurging.

Pressure cook for 30 min and let it release pressure for 20. Open your pressure cooker and smell the warmth of all the smokey deliciousness. Remove the trimmings and the bay leaves. Now the next step is optional. I put a ladleful of beans in a separate vessel and use an immersion blender to get all the starch-y goodness out. I adjust the salt if needed. Return the blitzed contents to the main pot and stir until it’s velvety and beautiful. If it’s too watery, let it cook down in sautée mode until the broth is creamy. Or remove the excess of broth and enjoy it as an appetizer soup, adding hot-sauce, lime and cilantro.

Have it on its own, with bread, or better yet, on rice. It tastes better the next day, so save some. Store in an ice-cream container in the freezer so any kids that think they scored some sweet ice cream feel the disappointment of finding frozen beans. (This trauma is shared amongst all brazilians).

Written by Vinicius Baggio Fuentes, who works in tech in NY and loves being in the kitchen in the remaining time. Twitter Instagram