Comfort Food

Instant Pot Cajun White Beans

Cooks in 1 Hour 30 Minutes Difficulty Easy 26 comments This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn money from the companies mentioned in this post.

Cajun White Beans combining navy beans, coconut milk, and Cajun seasonings resulting in an Instant Pot recipe full of flavor. Where New Orleans is known for its red beans, you’ll find white beans to be the staple side dish at spots across parishes in Southern Louisiana.

I’m participating in the 2020 Juneteenth Cookout Takeover. This initiative was established to encourage the celebration of Juneteenth – a jubilee of freedom to commemorate the end of slavery – and to amplify the food traditions of black culinary creatives. You can check out other recipe favorites from participating talented bloggers at the bottom of this post.

Juneteenth (a merge of the words/date June Nineteenth) marks the date in 1865 that the last enslaved people learned of their freedom.

And for over 150 years since, Black American families, home-cooks, chefs, and culinarians have commemorated the summer holiday with a wide range of food traditions that tell a story of the perseverance of a people.

Cajun White Beans

I wanted to share my version of a recipe that brought me so many memories. Growing up in Louisiana, I had the privilege of being around two grandmothers who loved hard and were awesome cooks. One of the most memorable dishes my grandmothers made was their white (navy) beans.

A little background on beans and their significance in black history:

Beans and rice is an iconic dish in Louisiana and depending on which parish you grew up in, you would either find the red or white variety. Where New Orleans is known for its red beans, you’ll find white beans to be the staple side dish at spots across Southern Louisiana.

In Louisiana, a hot meal usually involves rice and some type of beans. In fact, Mondays (since the 19th century) have been deemed the official day to enjoy them. Since Monday was typically laundry day, the ladies of the house were so busy doing other things it left almost no time to cook. Leftover meats from Sunday’s supper were thrown in with beans that simmered on the stove for hours. This tradition continues today.

Do I need to pre-soak my beans for this recipe?

Traditionally-prepared bean recipes take quite a bit of time to prepare. First, you have to soak your beans for hours as this shortens the cooking time. Soaking doesn’t add to the flavor or texture so it’s great that the Instant Pot helps speed up the process exponentially and removes most of the effort. For this recipe, you will not need to pre-soak your beans. Add the dry beans directly to the Instant Pot.

Can I use a slow cooker?

Yes, a slow cooker should work just fine. You will have a longer cooking time, but it should still turn out great. Rule of thumb: Begin checking the beans after 5 hours and then every 30 minutes until they’ve reached your preferred level of tenderness (without being mushy). Basically, I would give 5-6 hours of cooking time for un-soaked beans.

Making my Cajun White Beans using an Instant Pot:

Start with cooking your onions until they are translucent in the Instant Pot (in Saute mode). Once complete, slice your beef sausage into small cubes. Add them to the Instant Pot and cook for 5 minutes.

Once your beef is ready, you can add the remaining ingredients. Be sure to add your crab boil seasoning bag last before closing the lid. This makes it easier to remove the bag after the beans are done.

Change your mode setting on the Instant Pot to Pressure Cook (at high pressure) for 45 minutes. Close your lid and turn the steam release valve to the sealed position.

When the cooking time ends, allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 15 minutes. Then you can begin the “venting” process to release the steam.

To minimize/eliminate any spillage, slowly remove the bag using a large spoon. In case the bag opens while cooking, carefully remove any spillage.

Note: If you don’t have Zatarain’s Crab Boil (affiliate link) available in your area, here is a great recipe for how to make an alternative.

Cajun White Beans

The flavors you get from the combination of the coconut milk and the Cajun seasonings will have you feeling just like you’re at a mom and pop restaurant in southern Louisiana. It doesn’t get more comforting than a bowl of rice and beans.

When you want a recipe that will leave the entire family satisfied give this Instant Pot Cajun White Bean recipe a try and you will not regret it.

Cajun White Beans

Looking for other side dish recipes? You’ll love my…

I collaborated with my fellow black food bloggers for this Juneteenth cookout takeover and they are highlighting some of their favorite recipes as well. Here are a few of my favorites. Check them out! You can find the complete list of participants here.

Note: These recipes do not contain pork or shellfish

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Cajun White Beans

Instant Pot Cajun White Beans


  • Author: Eric Jones
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 80 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 7 1x

Description

Cajun White Beans combining coconut milk and Cajun seasonings resulting in an Instant Pot recipe full of flavor. Makes for the perfect meal or side dish.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Navy Beans
  • 3 cup Chicken Stock
  • 15 oz. Coconut Milk
  • 1/2 cup Onion
  • 1/2 cup Green Onions
  • 1 Zatarain’s Crab Boil Bag (3 oz.)
  • 13 oz. Beef Sausage
  • 3 tbsp Minced Garlic
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 1/8 tsp Red Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Ground All Spice
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. Set your Instant Pot to Saute mode and wait until it displays “Hot”.
  2. Chop your onions, then add butter, chopped onions, green onions, and minced garlic into Instant Pot. Cook until translucent.
  3. Slice your beef sausage into small cubes and add to the Instant Pot. Cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add remaining ingredients to the Instant Pot placing the crab boil bag on the top before closing the lid.
  5. Change your mode setting on the Instant Pot to Pressure Cook (at high pressure) for 45 minutes.
  6. Close the Instant Pot lid and turn the steam release valve to the sealed position.
  7. When the cooking time ends, allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 15 minutes by leaving the Instant Pot alone.
  8. Once the beans are done cooking, turn the steam release valve to the venting position to ensure all pressure has been released. Once the pin has dropped down, carefully open the Instant Pot lid.
  9. Using a large spoon, carefully remove the Cajun seasoning bag. Serve immediately with rice. 

Notes

If the Cajun seasoning bag breaks during cooking, using a large spoon, make sure you have removed any excess that could have spilled out.

If you don’t have Zatarain’s available in your area, here is a great recipe for how to make an alternative: https://www.food.com/recipe/zatarains-copycat-crab-boil-mix-179335

I use the Instant Pot DUO Plus 60, 6 Qt 9-in-1 for this recipe.

  • Category: Beans
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Cajun

Nutrition

  • Calories: 434
  • Sugar: 3.5g
  • Sodium: 722mg
  • Fat: 19.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 42.5g
  • Fiber: 16.2g
  • Protein: 23.4g
  • Cholesterol: 35mg

Keywords: Cajun White Beans, Instant Pot beans, white beans, beans, navy beans

26 Comments

  1. This was so good! I made it with plant based sausage since my daughter is a vegetarian. Great aroma and flavor!

  2. Looks delicious! However- unfortunately I don’t have an InstaPot or slow cooker.
    How can I modify for stove top, or should this go in the oven?
    Thanks

    • Eric Jones

      Hello, Hila! You can certainly use the stovetop for this recipe. As a matter of fact, my Red Beans & Rice recipe provides stovetop instructions. Basically, you’ll need to pre-soak them prior (I’d go for 8 hours) and cook for about an hour.

  3. I made this on Sunday and it was delicious. It had so much flavor and composition. I really enjoyed it very much. Thanks for providing the crab boil recipe, which I improvised a little bit because I wasn’t able to get all of those ingredients. I made two versions since I had two pounds of white beans. I made one without coconut milk and one with. I thought both were really good. I think the coconut milk makes the dish creamy without being overpowering, but the version without it had a really good spice flavor too. I think this could be a one pot main meal and not just a side. Thank you so much for sharing this and for providing some background too. I only knew about the red Camilla beans from my time in NOLA, so now I know more and am the better for it! 🙂

  4. This recipe sounds wonderful. Is it possible to make it in a slow cooker?

    • Eric Jones

      Hello, Crystal! Yes, a slow cooker should work just fine. You will have a longer cooking time, but it should still turn out great. Rule of thumb: Begin checking the beans after 5 hours and then every 30 minutes until they’ve reached your preferred level of tenderness (without being mushy). Basically, I would give 5-6 hours of cooking time for un-soaked beans. Please let me know how it comes out.

  5. Lauren Dean

    I wasn’t sure how the combination of coconut milk and Cajun flavors was going to be, but WOW I am in love with this recipe. Sweet, savory and spicy all at once. I absolutely love it.

    • Eric Jones

      That’s awesome, Lauren! Ever since I tested my grandmother’s recipe using coconut milk, I have been sold! Thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed it!

  6. Hello Eric,

    First off–thank you for sharing this recipe. We made it for dinner tonight, and frankly, I didn’t know the simple navy bean could taste this good.

    That said, we had some issues following the InstantPot cooking directions provided here. I’m no InstantPot pro, but when we followed the directions to set to Slow Cook for 45mins with the pressure unvented, the beans were still very undercooked. We have an InstantPot Duo Nova (if that matters?). We persevered, and reset the pot to Pressure Cook>High for 15mins, and then let vent naturally for 20mins afterward. The end result was absolutely delicious, but I can’t figure out the discrepancy in cook times. I think it’s something you should revisit, as it looks like there is some confusion on the subject.

    Despite the problems we had with the cook, I will absolutely make this recipe again, perhaps using the Pressure Cook method from the start, instead. That is the reason for my 5 star review (because really, in the end, the flavor blew us away and I don’t care how we got there).

    I’ve never had Cajun style white beans before this, but I can’t imagine them tasting any better. Thank you again for the recipe.

    Best,
    Theresa

    • Eric Jones

      Hello, Theresa! After seeing your comment, I spent some time this evening reviewing my cooking notes. I am so glad you took the time to share your feedback. I incorrectly documented this recipe stating you should set the function to “Slow Cook” and it really should be “Pressure Cook”. I make this recipe at least once a month and was clearly mistaken in my write up here as I personally use the Pressure Cook function as well. I want to apologize and I’m glad to hear you’ll be making it again — and glad you still enjoyed it. The next time should go a lot smoother!

      • No worries, Eric! The recipe really has wonderful flavors, and this was my first time cooking dry beans in the InstantPot. I won’t hesitate to make it again!

  7. ZuZu Freyer

    This recipe looks amazing! Plus you have shown us a new way to use the slow cook function by closing the vent and turning it into a pressure function. Didn’t know you could do this! I regularly make New Orleans style red beans and rice but remember longingly my dad’s white beans. I’m sure he didn’t use coconut milk, but I’m really looking forward to trying this with a new twist. Thank you! And Happy Junetenth!

    • Eric Jones

      I had to revisit my cooking notes today as I’ve had that same question before. The mode should be Pressure Cook and not Slow Cook. I have corrected the recipe above. Glad you’ll be giving it a shot. Enjoy and happy Juneteenth!

  8. Hi Eric,
    This sounds amazing and I can’t wait to try it. But up here in western Massachusetts there’s not a great chance of getting the Zatarain’s Crab Boil Bag. Any suggestions for a substitution if I can’t find it? Thanks so much!

  9. Pingback: Delicious Instant Pot® Beef Stew | Dude That Cookz

  10. Hello Sue. I have the Instant Pot DUO Plus 60, 6 Qt 9-in-1. My Instant Pot has a “Slow Cook” function/mode and one for “Pressure Cook” as well. I use Slow Cook for this recipe.

    • Eric, That doesn’t make any sense. “Slow Cook” isn’t a pressure function. In step 6 you give directions for releasing the pressure, but there wouldn’t be any pressure on “slow cook”. Also, on “Slow Cook” I doubt the dry beans would get cooked in 45 minutes.

      • Sue, because I am using the standard Instant Pot lid and closing the valve to lock in the moisture and steam, it is theoretically “pressure cooking”. You are right. However, I did use the “Slow Cook” function with the valve closed and released the steam at the end. This process has consistently produced great tasting beans. I admit this method may sound counterintuitive, but it’s the way I prepare them. Others would use a glad lid (or leave the valve all the way open), which would negate the need to release the pressure and truly be “slow cooking”; which would also require a longer cooking time. I hope I am not confusing you here, but let me know if this is not clear.

  11. Your first instructions say manual release then in the cooking directions it says slow then manual. Which one do you do?

    • Hello Michele. For this recipe, allow the Instant Pot to release pressure naturally (slowly) for 25-30 minutes and then switch the Pressure Release/Quick Release valve to “venting” to quickly release any remaining pressure. Hope this helps!

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