Instant Pot Lima Beans

Instant Pot cooked lima beans in a dish with parsley.
The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  • Total: 35 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Pressure Build/Release: 22 mins
  • Yield: 2 quarts

These basic Instant Pot lima beans are delicious as they are, but you might want to add your own special touch. Feel free to add a ham bone or smoked ham hocks to the pot, or add some extra flavor with some sliced smoked sausage or chorizo. Or change up the seasonings with some fresh rosemary, dried Italian herbs, or a Creole spice blend.

The lima beans may be frozen and used the way you would use canned lima beans. Add them to calico beans, Brunswick stew, cowboy beans, barbecue beans, or this beefy 3-bean chili. Or add corn and cream for a delicious Southern-style succotash. Or make a tasty bean and sausage soup.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried baby lima beans
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon table salt)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Instant Pot lima beans.
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  2. Rinse the lima beans with cold water and pick them over. Remove any small stones and malformed or damaged lima beans.

    rinse the dried lima beans.
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  3. In the inner pot of the Instant Pot pressure cooker, combine the lima beans, water or broth and water mixture, the chopped onion, garlic, bay leaves, and kosher salt.

    If your broth is full salt and not low-sodium, use only half the kosher salt or wait until after the beans are cooked to taste and season with salt.

    Combine the lima beans with the remaining ingredients in the Instant Pot.
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  4. Place the lid on the pot and check to make sure the knob or switch is in the sealing position. Select the pressure cook or manual button, high pressure, and set the timer for 25 minutes. It will take about 15 minutes for the pot to come to pressure and begin cooking.

    Instant Pot lid sealing.
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  5. When the time is up, let the pressure come down naturally for 5 minutes, and then move the knob or switch to the venting position to release the remaining pressure quickly. The quick-release will take approximately 2 more minutes.

    Instant Pot lid in the venting position.
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  6. When the float valve drops, remove the Instant Pot lid.

    Note: If your beans are a little older or your water is hard, it may take longer. If the beans are still somewhat hard after the 25 minutes, replace the cover and cook for an additional 2 to 5 minutes on high pressure. Do a quick release and check again. 

    Instant Pot lima beans cooked in the pot.
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  7. Enjoy the lima beans with a meal or refrigerate them within 2 hours in closed containers for up to three days. Freeze the lima beans for longer storage.

Tips

  • If you suspect your hard water is hindering your beans, add about 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda for each pound of beans to be cooked. 
  • If the beans are very old, they may take much longer to become tender, so check for a best by date on the package before you begin.

Recipe Variations

  • For Southern-style lima beans, add a ham hock or meaty ham bone to the Instant Pot along with the beans, water, and stock. When the beans are ready, remove the bone and dice the ham. Add the diced ham back to the beans and serve immediately.
  • Fry 6 strips of bacon until crisp. Drain and crumble. Add the crumbled bacon to the lima beans along with the remaining ingredients.
  • Lima Beans With Vegetables: Add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the Instant Pot and select the sauté button. When hot, add the chopped onion and about 1/2 cup each of diced carrots and celery. Sauté for about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook as directed.
  • Feel free to add some sliced smoked sausage or chorizo once the beans have cooked.
  • Change up the seasonings with some fresh rosemary, dried Italian herbs, or a Creole spice blend.