Learn to make Instant Pot lima beans (AKA butter beans)! This dried lima beans Instant Pot recipe is cheap, easy, and delicious! Get the cooking time for Instant Pot butter beans, nutrition information, vegan and vegetarian variations, and more. Everyone loves this Southern food staple that’s packed with plant-based protein. (And if you’re more carnivorous, you can always add ham, sausage, or bacon!)
I have loved lima beans all my life, since childhood. Unfortunately, I always seem to end up living with people who are not so fond of them. On the bright side, that means I get these Instant Pot large lima beans all to myself.
Cooking lima beans in Instant Pot is so incredibly simple I hesitated to post this recipe. However, there’s just something so incredibly satisfying about these Instant Pot creamy butter beans that I could not resist.
And that, folks, is how I want my lima beans. Super creamy, almost like mashed potatoes. With some caramelized onions mixed in and bacon crumbled on top, I am in absolute heaven.
I know not everyone feels the same way about their beans; some prefer lima beans in Instant Pot that aren’t mushy. To honor that, I’m going to give you two cooking times here. One for picture-perfect beans that should hold their shape, and that other for the creamiest, most delish lima beans around. (Not that I’m biased or anything.)
I like to make this butter beans Instant Pot recipe with chicken bone broth. For vegan and vegetarian butter beans in Instant Pot, use veggie broth instead. Carnivores can throw some ham hocks in with the beans for extra flavor.
- ⭐ Instant Pot Lima Beans Benefits
- 🥘 Instant Pot Lima Beans Ingredients
- 🍽 Equipment
- 🔪 How to Make Instant Pot Lima Beans
- ⏲️ Cooking Time and Temperature
- 🌡️ Instant Pot Lima Bean Leftovers
- ❓ What goes with lima beans?
- 📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
- 💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- 👩🏻🍳 Other Instant Pot Recipes
- The Disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
⭐ Instant Pot Lima Beans Benefits
Why make this large lima beans Instant Pot recipe? Here’s why you should try this recipe:
- Cheap: A 1-lb bag of dried large lima beans only costs $1-2 at many U.S. grocery stores. Dried beans are super for cheap eating! Camellia brand and Goya are two favorites.
- Plant-based protein: Lima beans are also nutritious, packed with plant protein and fiber. They are considered a heart healthy food.
- Gluten free: Beans are a healthy carb that are naturally gluten free. (Unless you add gluten-containing ingredients to them, of course.)
- Hands off: When you use the Instant Pot, you don’t need to tend the pot of beans like you do when using the stove. You can set the pressure cooker and go put your feet up!
- Customizable: As mentioned earlier, you can customize this lima bean dish however you wish. Make vegan lima beans, use different seasonings, etc.
- Tasty: This one is subjective, but I think lima beans are delicious. If you’re in the same club, you should like this recipe.
🥘 Instant Pot Lima Beans Ingredients
To make the basic Instant Pot lima bean recipe, you need:
- 1 cup large dry lima beans
- 4 cups chicken bone broth
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper
If you’re using chicken broth from the store, skip the salt. Store bought broths (even lower sodium ones) tend to already have a lot of salt in them. A good homemade broth is key to the great flavor of these beans, IMVHO.
To go all out and make the beans pictured, you’ll also need:
- 4 pieces cooked and crumbled bacon
- 1 onion (thinly sliced and slowly caramelized in bacon fat)
- Finely chopped chives
You can find directions for caramelizing onions in my smoked mac and cheese post.
You need an Instant Pot or multicooker to make this recipe. I use a Crock-Pot express crock programmable multi-cooker with a 6-quart capacity.
It’s important to stay between the min and max lines inside the pot when pressure cooking. If you have a very small pressure cooker, you may need to halve this recipe.
🔪 How to Make Instant Pot Lima Beans
Rinse and pick through your dry lima beans and put them in a large food-safe container. Cover them with 1-2 inches of water and let them sit out for 8-12 hours (or overnight) to soak. Cover the beans while soaking to keep out dust.
After soaking, drain the beans well and pick out any loose skins. Put the beans in the Instant Pot along with the broth, garlic, bay leaf, salt (if using), and pepper.
Put the lid on the Instant Pot and close the steam release valve. Time to pressure cook!
⏲️ Cooking Time and Temperature
What’s the large lima beans Instant Pot cook time? Pressure cook dry lima beans for 25 minutes on high (“beans chili” setting). Then let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes before carefully opening the pressure valve. This gets you mushy beans that are creamy like mashed potatoes.
For beans that hold their shape, pressure cook for 20 minutes on high (“beans chili” setting). Quick release the pressure.
Open the pot once the pressure has finished releasing and remove the bay leaf. You have several options at this point. You can use the beans with the broth as a base for a yummy soup. Alternatively, you can drain the beans before using them as an entrée or side.
I was able to use a colander to remove liquid from the creamy beans without losing too many of my beans. If you want to drain mushy beans, a fine strainer or cheesecloth may be better ways to go.
I should note here that there are a few other factors that can determine how your beans turn out. Old lima beans are more likely to keep their shape (and may need a longer cooking time). The hardness of the water used in the broth can also impact how the beans turn out.
I don’t normally find beans very exciting, but I thought the creamy beans were really good. I stirred some caramelized onions in there and topped with bacon and chives for a homey dish. It wasn’t the prettiest food I’ve made, but I loved it nonetheless.
What’s best though ultimately depends on what you want. If you want a dish that’s better for company or more photogenic, you may prefer having beans that hold together.
🌡️ Instant Pot Lima Bean Leftovers
You can keep drained Instant Pot lima beans in covered food storage containers in the fridge for 3-4 days. Technically, you can freeze these lima beans, but their texture changes when they are thawed. If you want beans that hold together well, only make what you need and don’t freeze them.
❓ What goes with lima beans?
Instant Pot lima beans and ham is a common way to serve lima beans. Here are some other foods that go with large lima beans:
📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
One serving of large lima beans has 170 calories, 22 grams net carbs, and 11 grams protein. Nutrition information is for one fourth of the recipe (side dish portion) without the broth or any toppings. Double the serving size for a main dish portion.
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 2 recipe (transition or weight maintenance). Beans, including large lima beans, are king when it comes to plant-based protein. You can use the creamy, cooked down version of these beans as a high protein alternative to mashed potatoes. (Just make sure to drain off the excess liquid first!)
This recipe is easy to modify based on your dietary needs. If you are on a low sodium diet, use homemade no salt bone broth and skip the bacon. Those looking for an option low in saturated fat should also omit the bacon.
However, if you just want to include more tasty beans in your diet, you can leave things as-is. I really think these are the best Instant Pot lima beans in terms of flavor. Using broth in place of water to cook the beans definitely elevates this dish.
A lot of folks like to make butter beans with ham. Adding bacon after cooking is a good alternative when you don’t have ham around.
Unless you use thick-cut bacon, one slice of crisp bacon is typically only 30-50 calories, so it won’t break the calorie bank. Compare that to the nutrition information in your average cupcake. Then consider whether you’d find the beans and bacon or the cupcake more satisfying.
In terms of maintaining a healthy weight, it may be easier to see why I encourage whole foods and fewer sweets. Certain food patterns will help you to feel full on fewer calories than others. This, in turn, can make it possible to maintain a healthy weight with less reliance on sheer willpower.
I don’t recommend skipping soaking dried lima beans for this Instant Pot recipe. When I tested using a no soak method, the beans never softened in the middle (even after pressure cooking). Some have success skipping the soak and pressure cooking lima beans on high for one hour.
Yes, you can make Instant Pot baby frozen lima beans. Cover the beans with water or broth and cook on high pressure for 7 minutes. Quick release the pressure and drain the beans before enjoying.
My Instant Pot Italian sausage soup uses large dried lima beans and might be just what you’re looking for. The lima beans cook along with the other ingredients in the soup, so grab your dried beans and head over there to make it!
Yes, you can make frozen baby lima beans in the Instant Pot using the directions above. (Cover with liquid and cook on high pressure for 7 minutes, quick release the pressure, and drain.)
👩🏻🍳 Other Instant Pot Recipes
Looking for more ways to use your Instant Pot? Try these next:
- Instant Pot Almond Milk Yogurt
- Palak Paneer (Instant Pot)
- Instant Pot Beef Vegetable Soup
- Instant Pot London Broil
You might also enjoy the entire collection of Instant Pot Recipes.
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Instant Pot Lima Beans (Butter Beans Pressure Cooker Recipe)
- 1 cup dry lima beans (large lima beans AKA butter beans)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper, to taste
Optional lima bean toppings:
- 4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced and caramelized
- fresh chives, chopped
- Rinse and pick through the dry lima beans and put them in a large food-safe container. Cover them with 1-2 inches of water and let them sit out for 8-12 hours (or overnight) to soak. Cover the beans while soaking to keep out dust.
- After soaking, drain the beans well and pick out any loose skins. Put the beans in the Instant Pot along with the broth, garlic, bay leaf, salt (if using), and pepper.
- Put the lid on the Instant Pot and close the steam release valve.
- Option 1: Pressure cook dry lima beans for 25 minutes on high (“beans chili” setting). Then let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes before carefully opening the pressure valve. This gets you mushy beans that are creamy like mashed potatoes.Option 2: For beans that hold their shape, pressure cook for 20 minutes on high (“beans chili” setting). Quick release the pressure.
- Open the pot once the pressure has finished releasing and remove the bay leaf. You can use these beans with the broth as a base for a yummy soup. Alternatively, you can drain the beans before using them as an entrée or side.
- To use the optional toppings, drain the beans and stir in the caramelized onions. Top with cooked, crumbled bacon and chives. Enjoy!
- Note: Old lima beans are more likely to keep their shape (and may need a longer cooking time). The hardness of the water used in the broth can also impact how the beans turn out.