Instant Pot Lima Beans (Fast, Tender, Perfect!)

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Vintage spoon in a bowl of perfect Instant Pot lima beans

With an Instant Pot and 30 minutes (after soaking), you can make perfectly cooked baby lima beans every time! Let us show you how.

Spoon and bowl of baby white lima beans

Instant Pot Lima Beans

The Instant Pot is our preferred method for cooking lima beans because it’s quick, easy, and yields perfectly tender beans!

While most beans don’t need to be soaked before cooking in the Instant Pot, we highly recommend soaking lima beans. We tested not soaking them, but the center of the beans wouldn’t fully cook.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Soak the beans for at least 6-8 hours, then drain
  • Ratio = 1 part baby lima beans : 3 parts water
  • Cook Time = 5-7 minutes
  • Release = 15 minute natural release, then release any remaining pressure

Baby lima beans have a mild, creamy, buttery flavor and texture, making them incredibly versatile and delicious. They can be enjoyed in stews, soupssalads, and more. And they’re even delicious by the spoonful!

Soaking baby lima beans in water to make them perfectly tender
Pouring water into a pot of soaked baby lima beans

Did you find this helpful? If so, be sure to check out our Instant Pot Cooking Times Guide for perfectly cooked grains and beans every time!

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Instant Pot of cooked baby lima beans

*Note: recipe updated 12/10/21 to address reader issues with texture.

Instant Pot Lima Beans (Fast, Tender, Perfect!)

How to cook lima beans in the Instant Pot! Our easy technique yields perfectly tender lima beans perfect for salads, soups, and more!
Author Minimalist Baker
Bowl of cooked baby lima beans
3.09 from 12 votes
Prep Time 6 hours 23 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 6 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4 (3/4-cup servings)
Course Helpful How-to, Side Dish
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 5 Days


  • 1 cup baby lima beans (white, not green)
  • 3 cups water (or vegetable broth for more flavor)


  • Add lima beans to a bowl and cover with cool water by about 3 inches (ensuring they’re well submerged). Soak overnight, or for at least 6-8 hours at room temperature.
  • Drain lima beans, then add to the Instant Pot. Add water and stir to prevent sticking. Pressure cook on high for 5-7 minutes (it will take about 8 minutes for the Instant Pot to pressurize before cooking begins).
  • Once the timer goes off, allow to naturally release for 15 minutes, then release any remaining pressure. Carefully remove lid once steam has fully escaped and strain off any excess cooking liquid.
  • Enjoy immediately in stews, soupssalads, and more. Store cooled leftovers in the refrigerator up to 5 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat in a saucepan on the stovetop, adding a little water, as needed, to prevent sticking.


*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
*Total time includes active cook time, release time, and the time it takes for the Instant Pot to heat up (~8 minutes).
*Prep time does not include soaking beans.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 three-quarter-cup serving Calories: 169 Carbohydrates: 31.7 g Protein: 10.4 g Fat: 0.5 g Saturated Fat: 0.1 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.21 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.04 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 7 mg Potassium: 709 mg Fiber: 10.4 g Sugar: 4.2 g Vitamin A: 0 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 40.91 mg Iron: 3.13 mg

Reader Interactions

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My Rating:

  1. Carrie says

    I did use dried baby lima beans. I soaked for only 6 hours, drained then cooked 5 minutes as directed with 6 3/4 cups water/broth to 2 1/2 cups lima beans and some salt. I lost track of time on the natural release and left it almost 20 minutes. The beans were pretty firm in the center still (probably needed more soaking). I ran it for another minute and half of the batch is a little overcooked. Probably should have simmered it for a few minutes rather than pressure cooking again since it was close. Next time I will soak longer. Just wanted to share my outcome!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Carrie! It does sound like soaking a little longer will do the trick. If not, possibly the beans are old? Keep us posted!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Paige, sorry that happened. Yes, add more time. If the beans are old, they will take longer and may have trouble softening.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Rose, we tested with large lima beans when doing some troubleshooting on this recipe and found that after soaking, even 4 minutes was too long for those. We’re not sure why they cook faster than the baby lima beans though!

  2. Ilana says

    This was a complete disaster!! I ended up with a pot of moosh floating in a bunch of water :-( I soaked them overnight, put one cup of soaked beans and three cups water in the pot with some onion for flavor. Used Pressure Cook for 4 minutes and released the steam after waiting 12 minutes. What happened????

    • Ilana says

      I was using full size beans. Maybe the title should include “baby lima beans”? I had no idea it could make that much difference. Learning something new… Thanks :-)

  3. Thora902 says

    I soaked the baby lima beans and cooked for 5 min and nat release as directed. It was a mushy mess. I tried it twice and same results. Should it be 2 min and no natural release?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Sorry they didn’t turn out right for you! We’d still recommend a natural release because it doesn’t have much impact on the texture, but prevents a mess. You could try pressure cooking for less time though!

    • Daisy says

      Me too! I wanted them cooked but they came out obliterated. I can’t eat them this way, it was a waste of beans.

  4. Vivala says

    So many variables cooking dried beans. Overall this method works , the timing took some experimenting. I used baby limas and soaked overnight, pressure cooked about 8 minutes and got really mushy cooked beans. So those ones became soup pretty quickly.

    Second go, I soaked for about 5 hours and pressure cooked for 5 minutes and got them out quickly. They have come out really well, a little bite in the centre but that’s ok because they are going to go into a stew/crock pot and will get some more cooking time.

  5. David says

    I tried this recipe amd results are horrible.

    I am a personal chef and trues this for the quickness. Beans are completely mushy.

    I follwed recipe EXACTLY and was cautious with the timing amd only did the beans 5 minutes and did the natural release for 15. I used a 6 quart Instant Pot.

    Terrible results. THANK GOD I didn’t do this recipe for a client and that I needed normal cooked beans!

    Dried beans are inexpensive so don’t care about this nightmare of a method.

    On a POSITIVE note I turned themush into a mango curry hummus thta was so delicious. Wish I could post the picture of the hummus. It was incredibly delicious. I saved the hummus for my guestswho absolutely loved it.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi David, sorry to hear they turned out mushy for you, but glad to hear you ended up with a delicious hummus. Is it possible you were using large lima beans? This recipe is specifically for baby lima beans, which in our testing take more time to cook (seems counterintuitive, but that’s been our experience).

    • Allie says

      I love Lima Bean Hummus even better than Hummus made with Chickpeas.
      It was a happy accident the day that I over-cooked the Limas in my airpot!
      The fact that the Limas were overcooked is what brought me to this site because I cannot find the original recipe back a few months ago when they were overcooked.

  6. Mary says

    Perfect recipe with overnight soak. Giant limas kept their integrity for adding in salads and baked beans – not mushy.

  7. Jen says

    Hey, thanks for this recipe! I found this to be a great reference.

    I chose to go 4 minutes instead of 5, released pressure after 10 minutes instead of 15, because I’d soaked longer and they turned out great.

    3:1 water to beans seems pretty standard to me :)

  8. Nadiel Yecaled says

    I agree with everyone who got a poor result. It was far from clear that the ratio for a cooking was not 3 1 this was a horrible recipe.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Nadiel, so sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy the result. Are you referring to the water leftover? That is normal when cooking beans in the Instant Pot because the water needs to fully cover them so they don’t cook unevenly. You can drain it off at the end.

  9. Kristen says

    Hi! We had the same issue as Donna and Sonia, we used a 3:1 ratio for water to soaked beans and ended up with just mush and shells. Soaked the beans overnight, as the recipe recommends, and followed all the other steps as outlined. Any ideas to what we did wrong, or what we could do differently in the future? Sounds like other people (Nancy and Angela) are having better success with a 2:1 ratio?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Sorry to hear that, Kristen! We’re thinking the age of the beans and hardness of the water (which will vary by location) may be leading to differences. We’d suggest reducing the cook time to 5 minutes next time to see if that helps.

  10. Donna says

    This was the very first time I used my instant pot. I have to say that your directions were not clear enough. I ended up with a big pot of mush. It would’ve been helpful if you would’ve clarified that the 3 to 1 ratio is strictly for soaking. I read the booklet for a second time and had to remove some of the water before starting the cook cycle. In the future, please emphasize how much water to put in the pot for cooking. Thank you.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Donna, sorry for any confusion here. The 3:1 ratio is for the water:soaked lima beans, so it sounds like you followed the recipe correctly, but then removed some of the water? As for there being water leftover, that’s the nature of the Instant Pot. It won’t all get absorbed and needs to be strained off at the end of cooking. If you reduce the amount of water, the beans are prone to cooking unevenly because they won’t be fully submerged throughout the cooking process. Hope that helps for future Instant Pot recipes!

      • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

        Oh no! Sorry to hear that happened, Sonia. How long did you soak the beans? We’re wondering if it may have been too long.

  11. Nancy Johnson-Cramer says

    Bulk Butter Beans:
    I needed a full 15 minutes to cook with 2 cups of beans soaked overnight using 3 cups of broth and 1 cup of water. I make bulk foods for freezer storage. I put in a metal pan insert with holes in the bottom on a rack so beans are really steamed and nutrients kept. This avoids that burn message that my pot frequently gets.

    thank you for your post.

  12. Liz says

    Hi Dana,

    How would you recommend cooking Jumbo Lima beans in an instant pot? Do you know how much (if any) extra time we would need to add?

    Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Liz, we haven’t experimented with jumbo lima beans, but would estimate maybe an additional 5 minutes? Let us know how it goes!

    • Tessa says

      Lesson learned🙄I read really quickly and found the lima beans not soft at all. Because I didn’t soak. Yes.🗣️ Told us so… We only have “lima beans” by the way. Are borlitti beans the ones you call big lima’s?
      How can I support you because i use this site a lot and don’t want to get everything “for free”

      • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

        Aw, sorry to hear they didn’t turn out, Tessa. We think borlitti beans are a different variety and we haven’t tried them. Your ratings and review are helpful – thanks so much for asking!

        • Tessa says

          I put them back for 5 minutes on high and they turned out perfect!!!! Maybe the fact that I rinsed them with hot water wasn’t a great idea either.
          I meant moneywise😬patreon or so..

  13. Angela says

    I started soaking two cups of beans before I realized the 3:1 ratio is for one cup. I put four cups of water in the soaking pot. I’ll keep and eye on them.
    With that in mind, is the pressure cook time still seven minutes?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Angela, just make sure your Instant Pot can handle that volume. According to the manufacturer, with foods that expand, it’s best not to fill past the “1/2” line. As for timing, yes, 7 minutes will work even with a larger batch. Hope that helps!