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How do you cook beans in a ninja?

Cooking beans in a ninja food processor is a great way to save time and effort while still ending up with tender, flavorful beans. Ninja food processors like the Ninja Foodi or Ninja Chef are versatile kitchen appliances that can be used for a wide variety of cooking tasks, including dry beans. With their powerful motors and specialized attachments, Ninjas make quick work of beans without the need for lengthy soaking or simmering on the stovetop. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about cooking beans in a ninja, from soaking and prep to settings and cook times. Whether you are a beginner ninja user or a seasoned pro, this guide will walk you through each step of the process. By the end, you’ll be fully prepared to start whipping up batches of perfectly cooked beans in your ninja with ease.

Advantages of Cooking Beans in a Ninja

There are several key advantages to using a ninja food processor to prepare dried beans:

Speed – With their powerful motors, ninjas can cook beans much faster than conventional methods. Most types of beans are fully cooked in 45 minutes or less in a ninja, versus 1-2 hours or more with stovetop simmering. This saves a significant amount of time.

Convenience – Cooking beans in a ninja is incredibly easy and hands-off. You simply add the ingredients, select a setting, and let the ninja do the work. There’s no need to watch a pot or check for doneness.

Consistency – The enclosed cooking environment of a ninja leads to even heating and moisture distribution, resulting in beans that are properly hydrated and tender throughout. It’s hard to over or undercook them.

Flavored beans – Adding aromatics like onions, garlic, herbs, and spices right in the ninja infuses the beans with flavor as they cook. The beans soak up all those tasty flavors.

Multitasking – With a ninja, you can cook beans while you do other kitchen tasks. The ninja doesn’t require actively monitoring like the stovetop does.

Energy efficient – Ninjas use less energy than keeping a pot of beans simmering on the stove for 1-2 hours. The timed cooking cycles help conserve energy.

Choosing the Right Ninja Model

Nearly all Ninja models can handle cooking beans, but some are better equipped than others. Here are the key features to look for when selecting a ninja:

– A minimum capacity of 6 quarts – This provides enough room for the beans to boil and move around during cooking.

– Multiple cooking functions – Look for models with pressure cook, slow cook, and other bean-friendly modes.

– Timer and adjustable temperature – These allow precision cooking of beans to your preferred doneness.

– Non-stick pot – This prevents beans from sticking and makes cleanup much easier.

Some top Ninja models for cooking beans include:

– Ninja Foodi – The pressure cook and slow cook functions are bean-cooking all-stars. Its large capacity fits big batches of beans.

– Ninja Chef – With a choice of pressure, slow cook, or steam, this model provides flexibility for beans. The huge 8-quart capacity is a major plus.

– Ninja Foodi NeverStick – The NeverStick pot and pressure features make this ideal for cooking beans and easy cleanup.

– Ninja Dual Zone Air Fryer – The added air fry function lets you crispy up leftover beans into air-fried snacks.

Prep Tips for Cooking Beans in a Ninja

Proper prep is key to achieving tender, evenly cooked beans in your ninja. Here are some important tips:

– Pick over beans and rinse them – Sort through the dried beans to remove any debris, then rinse them thoroughly.

– Soak most beans – Soaking softens the outer shell of beans and shortens the cooking time. Soak for 8-12 hours or use the ninja’s express soak function. Lentils and split peas don’t need soaking.

– Drain and rinse soaked beans – Draining removes excess water and any indigestible sugars that can cause gas. A final rinse freshens them up.

– Use a 1:3 bean to water ratio – This hydrates the beans properly without too much excess liquid. Use the ninja’s fill lines for easy measuring.

– Add aromatics for flavor – Onions, garlic, herbs, spices, and other aromatics infuse the beans with flavor. Avoid acidic ingredients like tomatoes until the end.

– Don’t fill ninja over max line – Overfilling can lead to clogging the vent or blocking the valve. Stick within the marked max fill range.

– Adjust cook time as needed – The preset programs provide a handy starting point but you may need to tweak cook times based on bean variety and age.

Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these simple steps for foolproof beans in your ninja:

1. Pick over and rinse the dried beans. Discard any pebbles or shriveled beans.

2. Soak the beans in water for 8-12 hours if needed. Drain and rinse soaked beans.

3. Add the drained beans to the ninja pot. Follow the 1:3 bean to water ratio, using the fill lines for guidance.

4. Add any aromatics, herbs, spices, or other flavorings to the pot.

5. Lock the lid in place, making sure it’s fully sealed.

6. Select the pressure cook setting and set the cook time based on the bean type:

Bean Type Cook Time
Black beans 25 mins
Pinto beans 25 mins
Navy beans 25 mins
Garbanzo beans 12 mins
Kidney beans 30 mins
Lentils 8 mins
Split peas 10 mins

7. Allow the pressure to fully release when cooking is complete before opening the lid.

8. Check beans for tenderness. Quick release any remaining pressure and continue cooking if needed.

9. Drain excess liquid from beans if desired. Season and serve beans warm.

Tips for Adjusting Cook Times

The preset cook times are a handy starting point but you may need to adjust the time based on:

– Older beans take longer – Beans lose moisture over time so older beans often require longer cook times. Add 5-10 extra minutes.

– High altitude – Above 3,000 feet, cook times should be increased by 5-15% due to lower boiling temps.

– Desired texture – Cook times can be reduced slightly for firmer beans or extended for ultra-soft beans.

– Natural pressure release – This adds 5-15 extra minutes to the overall cook time. Quick release instead for faster cooking.

– Large batches – An extra-full pot may need a few extra minutes for even cooking.

– New ninja model – When using a ninja for the first time, check beans early and adjust as needed.

Check beans periodically and adjust cook time until you find your ideal time for that ninja model and bean variety. Make notes so you remember for next time.

Tips for the Best Flavor

Besides convenient cook times, a ninja also enables you to infuse beans with lots of flavor. Here are some tips:

– Sauté aromatics first – Quickly sautéing onion, garlic, celery in the pot before adding beans boosts flavor.

– Layer in spices – Sprinkle in spices like cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika at the bottom before adding beans.

– Use flavorful liquids – Substitute vegetable or chicken broth for some or all of the water.

– Finish with acidic ingredients – Add tomatoes, vinegar, citrus juice just at the end to preserve brightness.

– Toss with herbs – Fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, oregano add a flavor punch when tossed with cooked beans.

– Top with sauces – Drizzle cooked beans with salsa, tahini sauce, chimichurri, or other flavorful sauces.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with global spice blends, fresh herbs, zesty sauces, and other flavor combinations to liven up your ninja beans.

Troubleshooting Common Bean Problems

Even when following the best practices, you may occasionally encounter some issues when cooking beans in a ninja. Here are some handy troubleshooting tips:

Beans are undercooked:
– Increase cook time in 5 minute increments until beans reach desired tenderness.
– Make sure liquid covers beans by at least an inch. Add more if needed.
– Use the quick pressure release method for faster cooking.
– Check that pressure valve is not obstructed.

Beans are mushy or falling apart:
– Reduce cook time by a few minutes.
– Use natural pressure release to prevent overcooking.
– Skip soaking beans to retain firmer texture.
– Add acidic ingredients like tomato at end.

Beans are scorched or burnt:
– Make sure beans are fully submerged in liquid. Add more water if needed.
– Avoid using saute or browning function before pressure cooking.
– Scrape bottom of pot well when stirring in aromatics.

Beans are foaming out of pot:
– Don’t fill past max line. Foaming needs room.
– Allow natural pressure release to prevent foam buildup.
– Skim off any foam before opening lid after cooking.

Beans are bland:
– Use more seasonings, herbs, aromatics, and spices when cooking.
– Finish beans with flavorful sauces and garnishes.
– Saute aromatics before pressure cooking to enhance flavor.

Best Beans to Cook in a Ninja

While almost any dried bean variety can be cooked in a ninja, some types particularly shine when made in a ninja. Here are some top options:

Chickpeas – Their firm texture holds up well to ninja cooking. They make excellent hummus.

Black beans – A ninja accentuates their rich, earthy flavor. They work in so many dishes.

Pinto beans – Perfectly smooth and tender pintos for tacos, nachos, chili, etc.

Kidney beans – Ideal for hearty bean soups and vegetarian chilis.

Navy beans – Great consistency for bean salads, baked beans, and white chili.

Cranberry beans – Gorgeous beans that become meltingly tender in the ninja.

Mixed beans – Try a bean medleys for texture and color variety.

Whatever your favorite bean, a ninja can cook it to perfection with minimal effort on your part. Explore all the possibilities.

Top Ninja Bean Recipes to Try

Here are some delicious recipe ideas for putting your perfectly cooked ninja beans to use:

Ninja Cuban Black Beans – Black beans cooked with Sofrito seasoning for incredibly flavorful beans.

15 Bean Ninja Soup – A hearty soup loaded with a bean mixture and veggies.

Ninja Refried Pinto Beans – Smashed pinto beans with onion, garlic, and spices.

Curried Chickpea Salad – Infused with Indian spices and perfect for sandwiches.

Ninja Texas Chili – A classic Texas-style chili made extra conveniently with ninja kidney beans.

White Chicken Chili – Chicken, white beans, green chilies, and a yummy mix of seasonings.

Ninja Baked Beans – Smokey and sweet baked navy beans cooked to perfection in the ninja.

Ninja Bean Burgers – Made with your choice of beans like black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, etc.

Ninja Falafel – Garbanzo beans spiced with cumin, coriander, and parsley.

Let your perfectly cooked ninja beans star in all kinds of globally inspired dishes from Mexican to Mediterranean and beyond.

Storing and Freezing Cooked Beans

Here are some tips for storing leftover beans:

– Let beans cool completely before storing. Divide into portion sizes.

– Refrigerate in airtight containers. Use within 3-5 days for best quality.

– Add a little cooking liquid to containers to keep beans moist.

– Freeze for longer term storage. Beans keep well frozen for 4-6 months.

– Portion beans into freezer bags or containers, leaving 1-inch headspace. Flatten to freeze faster.

– Add a bit of citrus juice or vinegar to help maintain color and texture.

– Label bags or containers with bean type and date before freezing.

With proper storage in the fridge or freezer, you can enjoy convenient beans for multiple fast meals and sides throughout the week.


Cooking dried beans in a ninja opens up a whole new world of ease and convenience. Perfectly cooked beans can be enjoyed in a fraction of the usual time thanks to the pressurized environment of the ninja. Follow the tips in this guide regarding bean selection, prep, cook times, flavoring ideas, troubleshooting, and storage, and you’ll become a bean-cooking ninja master in no time! Explore all the possibilities and whip up batches of your favorite beans like never before. Here’s to fast, flavorful homemade beans on the table any night of the week.