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instant pot lima beans

Instant Pot Lima Beans (Butter Beans Pressure Cooker Recipe)

Summer Yule
Learn to make Instant Pot lima beans (AKA butter beans)! This dried lima beans Instant Pot recipe is cheap, easy, and delicious!
5 from 3 votes
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 170 kcal


  • 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.


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.
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.


Calories: 170kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 11gFat: 0.5gFiber: 10gCalcium: 3% DVIron: 21% DV
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