Whole beans have their time and place for sure, but creamy, saucy beans are where it’s at! I learned how to make beans in this style while living in New Orleans; notorious Crescent City red beans are always cooked down for hours and hours until they cream and make a gravy. 

Making a big pot of beans every week is pretty standard at our house. We heat them up all week and eat them as is with hot sauce and sides, or in tacos, gorditos, enchiladas, Tamale Muffins, etc. depending on the type of bean and how it was seasoned.

Black beans are especially versatile, and one of my favorite things is eating then for breakfast with toasty corn tortillas and avocado. Seriously fast, delicious and healthy food.

Creamy dreamy vegan, gluten-free black beans.

Creamy dreamy vegan, gluten-free black beans, mac made with Zippy Cheese Sauce, and local asparagus!

The recipe outlined below is very similar to how I make red beans and pintos. The ratio of beans to water is the same, but the seasonings are a bit different. I use an Instant Pot, which makes these beans very fast and easy, but you will need a little bit of patience to get the beans to cream and make a “gravy.”

Feel free to use this recipe as a blueprint, or jumping off point. If you don’t have all of the seasonings you can switch them out with what you do have. I usually use this as a starting point for my own black beans, and then just futz around with it depending on what’s in the fridge and pantry. Besides always sticking to this ratio of beans to water, I also always add vinegar or another acid to the beans after cooking, this really makes the flavors pop, so I wouldn’t leave it out. But, you can experiment with different flavored vinegar, pickled jalapeño brine, lime juice, hot sauces, etc.

This recipe was designed for an Instant Pot, but will work just fine on the stove; the beans will just need a lot more water, attention and time.

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Instant Pot! Creamy-Dreamy Black Beans.
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Rating: 3.83
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Feel free to use this recipe as a blueprint, or jumping off point. If you don’t have all of the seasonings you can switch them out with what you do have just keep the bean and water ratio the same and add some kind of vinegar after the beans have cooked.
Creamy dreamy vegan, gluten-free black beans.
6 cups
Creamy dreamy vegan, gluten-free black beans.
6 cups
  1. Press the saute setting on the Instant Pot, and let it get hot while you prep the vegetables.
  2. Add the olive oil, and quickly add the diced onion, celery, sweet pepper and salt. Cook, stirring regularly, until the vegetables soften and begin to brown.
  3. Add the garlic, granulated onion, chipotle chili powder, if using, oregano, paprika, and bay-leaf and stir to combine. Continue to cook and stir for another minute. Don't let the garlic brown!
  4. Add the water, beans, bouillon and liquid smoke, if using. Stir to combine. Cover, lock the lid of the pressure cooker, close the vent, and cook on high pressure for 50 minutes (temporarily turn the Instant Pot off to change between the saute setting and high pressure). Carefully, quick-release the beans. They should be very soft with quite a bit of liquid on top.
  5. Remove the lid and stir, Bring the beans to a steady, full simmer (I use the bean/chili setting--watch for splashes). Add the orange juice and canned chipotle, if using and stir often, mashing a few spoonfuls of beans against the inside wall of the cooker, until the water has reduced, the beans are creamy and the liquid has turned into a thick, gravy. This will take about 10-12 minutes of devoted attention, but can be easily attended while you prep a salad or another side.
  6. Season to taste with salt and vinegar (1-2 tablespoons should do it!). Serve immediately. The beans will continue to thicken as they cool.
Recipe Notes

These beans can be seasoned with chipotle chile powder and/or chipotle en adobo sauce. If using the chile powder, be sure to add it with the onion so it can saute and cook a bit before the beans are added. If you use chipotle en adobo, add it AFTER the beans have cooked, to taste. The adobo sauce contains some vinegar, which could affect the beans and make them difficult to soften. All acids should always be added after the beans are soft.

If you're gluten-free: many brands of chipotle en adobo contain wheat. Be sure to check labels carefully!

To quick soak beans: put the dried beans in a heat proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover the bowl and let rest for an hour. Drain and rinse.

If you’re looking for more Instant Pot recipes, we have many here

New Orleans Style Red Beans here 

Creamy Dreamy Pintos here.

We hope you love this recipe! If you make any of our stuff, please share and tag us so we can see! #julieandkittee.

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