Dried beans are one of the healthiest and cheapest options you can make for dinner, but cooking them can take several hours, unless you have a pressure cooker. By raising the pressure inside of the pot, it raises the boiling point of water and you can cook foods at higher temperatures than with traditional methods. Keep an eye on your pressure cooker, since a difference of one minute can determine whether you have perfectly cooked beans or mush. Keep in mind that you need to soak dried beans overnight before cooking them.
Soak the beans covered in water overnight for up to 12 hours. Do not soak for more than 12 hours, or the beans will turn mushy. Or, boil dried beans on high for 22 to 25 minutes.
Add the soaked beans and the water to the pot of the pressure cooker.
Place the lid on top of the pressure cooker and place the pot on the stove. If you have a weight on top of the vent to regulate the pressure, remove it first.
Increase the pressure in the pot by placing it over medium-high heat until steam comes out of the steam top. Place the pressure regulator weight (if your pressure cooker is an older model with one) on top of the vent.
Determine that you have the correct pressure. If you have a weight regulator, it will move back and forth three to five times per minute when high pressure is achieved. If you have a newer model, it will have a gauge with the pressure reading. Wait for it to reach 15 psi.
Lower the heat on the stove to keep the pressure maintained at 15 psi. Set the timer for 8 minutes for most beans like pintos, 6 minutes for lentils and peas, and 12 minutes for larger beans like chickpeas.
Turn the stove off at the end of the time.
Wait until there is no longer any steam coming from the vent before attempting to open the pressure cooker lid. This can take 10 to 15 minutes, but you can speed it up.
Take the pressure cooker with the lid on and run the pot only under cold running water until the lid easily comes off. If the lid will not come off, continue to run cold water over the pot, but avoid getting any water in the vent.
Remove the lid after it has released. Season and serve the beans.
Do not fill the pressure cooker more than half way with the beans and water. Beans will create a starchy foam as they cook, which could block the vent if the pot is overfilled. Do not add salt to the beans before cooking. Do not leave the pressure cooker unattended, even for a minute. Do not try to force the lid off of the pressure cooker.