Instant Pot Butter Beans are very flavorful large white beans cooked with bacon and onion, as well as other tasty seasonings. When you are looking for a super comforting meal that is also inexpensive, and can be ready in about an hour, give this amazing pressure cooker Butter Beans recipe a try! This may become one of your favorite Instant Pot bean recipes!
Instant Pot Butter Beans with Bacon
Butter beans are a versatile and nutritious legume that can be used in a variety of dishes. This classic Southern dish features tender and creamy white beans cooked in chicken broth with smoky bacon, onions, garlic, and celery.
Your Instant Pot is the best way to make creamy butter beans quickly and easily, while also infusing them with rich, flavorful broth that is perfect for sopping up with some cornbread.
Lima Beans vs. Butter Beans
• They are from the same plant. There is no difference between large lima beans and butter beans. The name is used interchangeably. This recipe could also be called Instant Pot Lima Beans.
• They are often available in the grocery store at different stages of maturity (may be canned, dried, or frozen).
• The smaller, younger green colored beans are also known as Green Baby Limas (or Baby Lima Beans), and are a bit more tender and have a different flavor than the larger, mature white ones. Choose the dried large lima beans that are white for this recipe.
- Using an electric pressure cooker for cooking beans produces tender and flavorful beans in a fraction of the time.
- The high pressure cooking process does the hard work and helps to break down the tough outer layer of the beans quickly, reducing the overall cooking time.
- The sealed environment in the Instant Pot helps to retain nutrients, moisture and flavor. The result is tender, delicious beans with a creamy texture that are perfect for bean soup, stews, and other delicious recipes.
Why Use an Instant Pot to Cook Beans?
Do I Need to Soak the Dried Beans?
No need to soak them, just rinse well. They will cook in under an hour in the pressure cooker.
Can I Use Canned Beans Instead of Dry Beans?
Yes, you can use canned butter beans instead of dry beans. However, you'll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly, as canned beans are already cooked. You'll need to reduce some of the ingredients as well. See recipe card for instructions.
What Meat Can I Use Besides Bacon?
There are so many options! I do believe that using a smoked or smoky-flavored meat of some kind gives the most wonderful flavor.
You can use pancetta, Ham Hocks, a meaty Ham Bone, smoked ham, smoked turkey legs or wings, or smoked sausage for a similar smoky flavor.
Can I Make This Recipe Vegan?
Yes, you can make a vegan version of this recipe by omitting the bacon and using vegan bacon for a similar smoky flavor. Smoked paprika or liquid smoke is a great way to add a smoky flavor without using bacon. Use vegetable broth in place of chicken broth.
• Dry White Large Butter Beans - Large white dry lima beans, well rinsed as they are an agricultural product. You can use other types of beans, such as navy beans or cannellini beans, instead of butter beans. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
• Onion - You will want to use a large yellow onion or a white onion. Use shallots if you prefer a mild flavor.
• Chopped Celery - Adds a nice aromatic flavor that compliments the dish.
• Garlic - I like to use at least 5 large cloves as we are flavoring a big pot of beans. You can use garlic powder if needed.
• Bay Leaves - I use 2 of them as the flavor works so well with the beans. If you only have one bay leaf, that's okay!
• Bacon - Regular or thick-cut bacon will work. The smokier the better!
• Chicken Broth - Chicken Stock will also work. I usually cook with low sodium broth, but use what you have and adjust salt if needed. I like brothy beans, but you can use 1 cup less for a thicker consistency.
• Chicken Better Than Bouillon® - Or ham flavored. This adds richness and a deeper flavor. Omit if you don't have it.
• Black Pepper - Just add to taste after, if you don't want to add before cooking.
• Salt - I don't add salt, but if you want to it will depend on how salty the meat you use is, as well as the broth.
• Experiment! - Try some herbs like Fresh Thyme or Rosemary for extra flavor. Cajun seasoning is a zesty addition as well (watch the salt content!).
How to Make Instant Pot Butter Beans
1. Gather all of the ingredients together and get the prep out of the way. Chop the bacon and veggies, and measure out all of the other ingredients.
2. Turn the pot on to the Sauté setting. When the pot is hot add the bacon, onion, and bay leaves. cook for a minute, stirring using a wooden spoon.
3. Add the celery. Stir and cook until the onion starts to turn translucent and the celery softens a little. Make sure to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pot with the wooden spoon (deglaze).
4. Add the garlic and then add the black pepper. Stir well, and cook for another minute.
5. Pour in the chicken broth.
6. Then add the chicken bouillon and mix it in.
7. Add the rinsed butter beans and then stir well.
8. Pressure Cook for 40 minutes. High pressure. 15 minute Natural Release (Always use Natural Pressure Release with beans). Taste to test for tenderness and for salt, and add salt if needed.
See recipe card for full recipe. I used a 6-quart Instant Pot for this recipe.
Can I Make Butter Beans in a Slow Cooker?
Yes, you can cook dry beans in the good old crock pot!
Cooking butter beans in a slow cooker takes a longer amount of time than pressure cooking them, but it's still a convenient and hands-off way to prepare this tasty dish and get tender beans. The slow cooking process allows the flavors to develop and the beans to become tender and flavorful.
See recipe card for instructions.
What to Serve With Instant Pot Butter Beans and Bacon?
Instant Pot butter beans with bacon is a hearty and flavorful dish that pairs well with a variety of side dishes. Here are a few options to consider:
Cornbread: A classic Southern side dish that is perfect for soaking up the delicious broth from the beans.
Collard Greens: A flavorful and nutritious green that is often served alongside Southern-style dishes.
Roasted Vegetables: Roasted green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes, or Brussels sprouts are a great way to add some color and nutrition to your meal.
Coleslaw: A crisp and refreshing side dish that complements the richness of the beans.
Rice or Quinoa: Serve the beans over a bed of fluffy rice or quinoa for a complete meal.
Biscuits: Another classic Southern side dish that pairs well with the rich and savory flavors of the beans.
I have tons of great Instant Pot Recipes, here are more IP bean recipes:
Instant Pot Mexican Pinto Beans
Instant Pot Cuban Black Beans
Instant Pot Drunken Beans (Frijoles Borrachos)
Instant Pot Ham Hock and Bean Soup
Leftover Beans Storage
Keep leftover Butter Beans in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Can I Freeze Leftover Butter Beans?
Yes, you can freeze leftover butter beans in an airtight container for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, thaw the beans in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on the stove or in the microwave.
If you make this Instant Pot Lima Beans recipe, please let me know! Just leave a comment below with a star rating. I'd love to know how you liked it!
Instant Pot Butter Beans (large Lima Beans) are savory and smoky from the bacon, and even more flavorful from the aromatics and seasoning. These are excellent beans!
- 1 12-oz package Bacon, chopped
- 1 large Onion, chopped
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 cup Chopped Celery
- 4 cloves Garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 pound Dry Butter Beans (Large Lima Beans)* rinsed, not soaked
- 7 cups Chicken Broth (6 cups for thicker)
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 2 Tablespoons Chicken Better Than Bouillon® (or use ham flavor, if you have it)
Gather all of the ingredients together and get the prep out of the way. Chop the bacon and veggies, and measure out all of the other ingredients.
Turn the pot on to the Sauté setting. When the pot is hot add the bacon, onion, and bay leaves. cook for a minute, stirring using a wooden spoon.
Add the celery. Stir and cook until the onion starts to turn translucent and the celery softens a little. Make sure to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pot with the wooden spoon (deglaze).
Add the garlic and then add the black pepper. Stir well, and cook for another minute.
Pour in the chicken broth. Then add the chicken bouillon and mix it in.
Add the rinsed butter beans and then stir.
Cancel the sauté function and press the Pressure Cook (or Manual) button or dial, and then the +/- button or dial to choose 40 minutes. High pressure. The pot will take several minutes to come to pressure.
Once the cooking cycle has finished, let the pot sit undisturbed for 15 minutes (15 minute Natural Release). Then turn off the pot. Turn the steam release knob to the Venting position to release the remaining pressure/steam. Please use caution and do this in bursts at first.
When the pin in the lid drops down, carefully open the lid, and set aside. Gently stir the beans. Taste to test for tenderness and for salt, and add salt if needed.
If beans aren't tender enough (sometimes old beans take longer), just put the lid back on and cook them for 5 more minutes under pressure, and a 10 to 15 minute natural release.
Serve with cornbread or biscuits.
To Use Canned Beans
*If you use canned beans ( 4 15-oz cans), rinse and drain them, adjust broth to 5 cups, bouillon to 1 Tablespoon. Add the beans at the same time you would add the dry beans. Cook time is 5 minutes, with a 10 minute natural release (controlled). Canned white beans are already soft, so they may break apart easily.
I used a 6-quart Instant Pot® for this recipe.
Slow Cooker Instructions
- Rinse the dry butter beans well.
Sauté onion, celery, and garlic, in a skillet in olive oil or butter until tender.
- Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker along with the bacon, beans, bay leaves, black pepper, salt, and chicken broth. Stir to combine.
- Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours or until the beans are tender.
- Remove bay leaves and serve hot.
Note: If you prefer a creamier texture, mash some of the beans with a fork or potato masher before serving. You can also add some chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley or thyme, for added flavor and freshness.
Resources to Make This Recipe and More
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