Simple Instant Pot White Bean Soup

By Amanda Paa – Updated October 7, 2021
4.53 from 17 votes
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Using great northern beans from Nebraska, this instant pot white bean soup recipe is creamy, full of flavor, and easy to prepare. Prep time is just 10 minutes! Also, if in the past you’ve struggled to cook the perfect bean from scratch, I share helpful instructions for how to cook beans perfectly, each time, in an instant pot.

bowl of instant pot white bean soup with spoon and sprinkled on top with thymeThis Simple Instant Pot White Bean soup recipe, and my visit to Nebraska was sponsored by the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission. Post contains amazon affiliate links. 

Nebraska. A blank space in my mind, except for visions of corn fields and cattle spread across the flat landscape. And yet I found myself booking a plane ticket for the state at the end of September, on assignment for the state’s Dry Bean Commission.

I arrived in Scotts Bluff county on the western edge of Nebraska, to find something completely different and beautiful, with an overwhelming sense of solitude. The wide-open landscape, the enormity of the sky, the incredible rock formations… the magnificent sunsets and sunrises. And “salt of the earth” people.

I was there to capture the bean harvest, and the passionate farmers who grow more than 85% of the country’s great northern beans (small white) and the second leading state in pinto bean production. Chances are if you’ve eaten either of these varieties they’ve come from the hands of Jim, or Burdette.  Jeff. Dean. Or another family farm just down the road.

Bean Farmers // western Nebraska // dry beans
Nebraska bean fields
Bean Farmers // western Nebraska // dry beans
bean farmer with dry beans in hand, in a Nebraska bean field

Their hands tell the story.
Of long nights and early mornings.
Of the good years and the bad.
Of the love they have for such a humble, nourishing crop.

I walked the fields with them over the course of the next two days, and climbed into their combines for a birds eye view of harvesting. We talked about the technical things involved with the soil, and how techniques for harvesting have evolved over the years.

But one thing has always stayed the same. The risk, the uncertainty. Whether it’s the weather, the fluctuations of government pricing, consumer demand….. their success rides on so many factors that are completely out of their control. And that takes a special person, one whom has passion, dedication, and care engrained in their way of life, providing for their family and ultimately, all of us.

bean harvest, machine dumping beans into semi truck

Dry beans are quite unique in the fact that they are food that flourishes as a living plant, dries in the field, and are harvested for the seed within their pods. They’ll stay that way until rehydrated by way of cooking, turning into a delicious, healthy, protein rich part of our meals. They’re highly economical, and versatile. I use them in everything from soups to desserts, and main dishes to appetizers.

But maybe like you, cooking beans from scratch has been my nemesis. I never knew whether to soak them at room temperature or in the refrigerator, let alone remember to soak them. And then salt, when do I add it? And why aren’t these getting soft, or the opposite, these have no texture left and all are split. Sound familiar?

Basically I’d never cooked perfect beans. Until the Instant Pot did THIS for me. Tender and creamy, not falling apart, and flavorful. 

cooking great northern beans in a glass bowl with spoon
Great Northern Beans
girl cutting onions, preparing ingredients for a soup made in the instant pot

All the thought and debate is taken out thanks to this cooking device taking the world by storm, which is basically pressure cooker combined with other functions that you’d normally have to do on the stovetop separately, like sauté. It’s smart.

I’m convinced it makes the perfect pot of great northern beans every time.

How to cook beans in the Instant Pot

First things first!

You can soak or not soak. The beans will be tender and creamy regardless. Cooking time will be a little longer if you don’t soak, but still only takes 28 minutes. (Just 8 minutes when you soak!) The only difference besides this was when I didn’t soak, the appearance wasn’t quite as pristine. Meaning there were a few more beans that didn’t stay together. The decision rests in how I’m going to use them.  If I’m going to be using the beans whole in a recipe, I don’t soak if I’m going to be pureeing them. Like soup!

  1. Salt before cooking. Yes! This doesn’t inhibit the tenderness, it infuses them with flavor and helps to create a delicious broth that you can use in other recipes.
  2. A teaspoon of oil in the pot is necessary so that the foam created when you cook beans at a high pressure does not overflow.
  3. Extra herbs and onion in the pot is also key for infusing the beans with subtle flavor.
  4. The fresher your beans, the better result. Buy from farmers directly, or from the bulk bins in your coop/grocery store, where the turn over is high.
  5. How long do I set the timer for?
    • 8 minutes if you’ve soaked the beans, 30 minutes if they’re unsoaked

This simple instant pot white bean soup has quickly become our favorite. Super creamy… and it’s simple to make, with simple ingredients. Once the beans are cooked, you sauté shallots in the bottom of the instant pot, then add back the beans, some of their broth, tahini, and olive oil.

You can use an immersion blender to puree right in the pot and serve! I like to reserve a 1/2 cup of beans to add to the top of each bowl, with a little more fresh thyme. It gives a nice contrast in texture and I love how the beautiful white beans look to the eye.

Simple Instant Pot White Bean Soup {vegan}

More Instant Pot Recipes To Try:

Gluten-Free Instant Pot Pumpkin Cheesecake

Vegetarian Instant Pot Pinto Beans

Tuscan White Beans with Fried Sage

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Super Creamy, Basic Instant Pot White Bean Soup

Creamy Instant Pot White Bean Soup

Creamy white bean soup made in the instant pot, and flavored with lemon, tahini, and miso. Easy to make and a healthy weeknight soup recipe!
4.53 from 17 votes
Prep Time :10 minutes
Cook Time :30 minutes
Additional Time :20 minutes
Total Time :1 hour
Yield: 6 servings
Author: Amanda Paa



  • 1 cup dried Great Northern beans
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme divided
  • 1/2 of a medium sized onion
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon high quality olive oil divided
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 shallots minced
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons white miso


  • *You can soak or not soak your beans. I usually prefer to soak overnight in the refrigerator, covering with 4 cups of water. If you don’t, that’s okay too, cooking time will just be different. 
  • Add beans (soaked or unsoaked) to instant pot. Cover with 4 1/2 cups of water. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 3 bay leaves (fresh or dried), 4 sprigs fresh thyme, onion, and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Attach cover to instant pot. Make sure vent is turned to sealing. Press on, and then hit manual. Make sure you are on high pressure.
  • For soaked beans, set timer to 9 minutes. For unsoaked beans, set timer to 31 minutes, and cook on high pressure.
  • When done cooking, let pot naturally release. If you are in a hurry, you can release the valve after 10 minutes, just know that your beans will lose some of their texture. 
  • Pour beans and broth into a separate bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup beans, for topping at the end.
  • Return the empty instant pot bowl back to the machine. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, and set machine to saute. Add minced shallots and cook 5 minutes, until tender, stirring. Add garlic, and saute for 1 minute.
  • Turn instant pot off, and add beans + 2 1/2 cups chicken broth to pot. Then add 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 3 tablespoons olive oil, tahini, lemon juice and zest, and miso. For ultra creaminess, add everything to a high powered blender. Or use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. Add more chicken stock or leftover bean broth to reach desired thickness, if needed. Then taste, and season with extra salt or lemon juice if desired.
  • To serve, top with reserved whole beans and a drizzle of good quality olive oil (this is a must, as it adds a lot of flavor!), remaining sprig of fresh thyme.


These times are only for cooking Great Northern beans. I use this handy time sheet directly from Instant Pot, which shows every bean and how long to cook them for both soaked and not soaked (dry). 

Did you make this?

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November 18, 2017


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  1. Katharine in Virginia

    5 stars
    Whoa, whoa, whoa! One taste and it’s an instant classic. This soup is amazing 👏 My husband too took one spoonful and said I should make it more often. Delicious!

    • Amanda Paa

      Great news, I’m so glad you both enjoyed it!

  2. Wesley

    What size Instant Pot is this recipe for because I have the 3 quart Duo? Also, is there a way to make it low sodium?

    • Amanda Paa

      Hi Wesley!

      I use a 6 qt instant pot, but the smaller size will work too. This recipe is quite low sodium the way it is currently written.

  3. Nawana

    I made this recipe and it was absolutely delicious!! Wish you could have seen my 1yr old devour it, he loved it and made a glorious mess. Your instant pot timing was spot on too, thanks so much.

  4. Savannagal

    I thoroughly enjoyed this article. It’s great to be reminded that most every bite of food we eat, unless we’ve grown it ourselves, comes from the hands of a farmer somewhere on this blue marble. My thanks go out to all of them for their hard work and perseverance. Thanks for sharing

    • amandapaa

      thank you so much for reading! i feel so fortunate to be able to tell the stories of those who grow our food, and nourish our bodies. what a gift.

  5. Inas

    Where does the half a white onion come in? Its in the ingredients list but not in the cooking instructions?

    • amandapaa

      Sorry, it goes in the pot prior to cooking! I updated the recipe to reflect. Thank you for catching.

  6. Michelle

    I haven’t made beans in so long because they take forever to make! I do love cooking red beans and rice though. My grandparents always made them for us and I love making my grandma’s recipe. Honestly, if I win this instant pot I’d cook red beans and rice weekly!

  7. Grace Rusch

    This soup looks amazing! I’m in full on soup mode right now. Beans are basically my favorite food so they go in every soup, salad, pasta, taco etc. Can’t wait to try this creamy white bean soup!

  8. Michelle Crisp

    My favorite thing to make with beans is bean burritos! Really, LOL. I LOVE them! I make them at home often. I smother mine in green chili, and top it with avocado, tomato, and onion. Sometimes I add rice, beetles crumbles, and/or vegan cheese to the beans. Yum!

    • Michelle Crisp

      I obviously meant “BEEFless” crumbles – ha! I thought I fixed that… : )

  9. Tammy Shelton

    We love our chili beans here in Texas.

  10. amy

    I love making brownies with black beans!

  11. Amy Beinfest

    My favorite is white beans and kale (with red pepper flakes and lemon) 😋

  12. Amy W.

    Good old fashioned ham-hock and beans. Sometime I use a smoked turkey leg. Have to add carrots, celery and herbs, too! Yum!

  13. Kathy

    Spicy black bean soup.

  14. Susan B

    Make a big pot of pinto beans and then I eat them plain or add them all sorts of things – baked russet potatoes, sweet potatoes, casseroles, salads, etc.

    Following you on Instagram and signed up for your newsletter too :)

    • amandapaa

      love all these ideas!

  15. Melissa Baena

    This looks so yummy, will be trying soon!

  16. Sarah

    Right now I’ve been making a lot of traditional Ayurvedic kitchari with mung bean dal or lentils and basmati rice with lots of spices and fresh ginger.

    • amandapaa

      sounds so flavorful!

  17. Mayo b

    Calico beans or chili

  18. Kristen

    I like to make sweet potatoes stuffed with black beans (and other good things!)

  19. Kels

    It’s chili season! Nothing better when the weather turns cold. Been dying to try out my chili recipe in an instant pot!

  20. Kim Jamison

    Thank you for sharing your experience in Nebraska. It sounds like a beautiful state. I’m excited to try your recipe. And I’ve always wondered about when to add the salt too, but I’ve always soaked my beans lol. Thanks for the chance at an Instant Pot, it’s definitely better than cooking for hours!

  21. Johnna Dawn

    Everything looks yummy on here!!😋😍🙋🏻‍♀️

  22. Lauren Swilley

    Omg – so amazing! Love this so much! – and keeping my fingers crossed for your giveaway!!!!!

  23. Kristy

    My favorite thing to make and the crew loves it in the field on a cold day is southwest chili!

  24. Autumn

    I love using northern beans in sautéed greens and beans.

  25. Pari Kemmick

    This is so great! Love all the photos

    I’d love to use one of these. I have access to lots of dried beans from a farm I volunteer on. I also just started an Americorps job working with refugees and while it’s amaizng, we get a modest living stipend. Finding ways to cook on a budget is essential!

    Thanks for your great blog and for giveaways!!

  26. Chris

    Ooh! Would love to win this!

  27. Kristen

    Hummus of course !!!

  28. Lisa Brown

    Ham & Bean soup

  29. Jessica

    This looks amazing. I’m a midwestern girl turned southerner and this sounds like it’ll hit the spot!

  30. Danielle

    This looks amazing!!! Would love to try the instapot! 🙌🏽

  31. Kate

    Love this soup!

  32. Amber

    I love your recipes! Really hoping to get an instapot this year so that I can finally embrace all the amazing instapot recipes on the blogosphere right now.

  33. Kristi H

    I love making ham bean soup with beans and also white beans in a light sauce, garlic and rosemary sprigs on toast.

  34. Anna Gangadharan

    Can’t believe the instant pot will make beans creamy without soaking! Thank you for sharing such a neat story about bean harvesting in Nebraska. The hands where our food comes from is as important as the food it creates. ❤️

  35. Victoria Kuntz

    Pinto beans for all the tacos/bowls

  36. Chris Wolf

    Love a simple Bean and Ham soup!

  37. Karen Dale


  38. Lisa S

    I am so happy to have stumbled across this blog today! Excited for new recipes and information!

    • amandapaa

      thank you for stopping by, happy to have you here!

  39. Karen

    My favorite thing to make with beans is navy bean pesto pasta. That soup looks amazing! Your writing is fantastic. Please enter me in the instapot drawing. Thank you!

    • amandapaa

      that sounds amazing! and thank you for the kind words about my writing.

  40. Melissa

    This recipe caught my eye and looks delicious. I do not make a lot with beans but am definitely going to try this for sure!

    Thank you for this opportunity for the giveaway!


  41. Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles

    I always love farm stories, and yours made me homesick for how I grew up, the scenes so similar. I have never cooked dry beans…but you are convincing me to try it. First, I need an Instant Pot!!

  42. Julie L

    Love black bean burgers.

  43. Kristin Wood

    Amanda! The photos are divine. I love the photo of the farmer. Truly caught every trial and success of that man. I love great northern beans – especially in soup! Keep on inspiring us and taking is” with” you. ❤