Instant Pot Cajun White Beans
Cajun White Beans combining navy beans, coconut milk, and Cajun seasonings resulting in an Instant Pot (paid link) 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.
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 (paid link).
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 (paid link) (in Saute mode). Once complete, slice your beef sausage into small cubes. Add them to the Instant Pot (paid link) 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.
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.
Looking for other side dish recipes? You’ll love my…
- Southern Red Beans & Rice
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Brussels Sprouts
- Creamy Cheddar Mashed Potatoes
- Easy Carrot Soufflé
- Broccoli and Cheese Casserole
- Korean-Style Glazed Mushrooms
- Quick & Easy Creamed Spinach
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
- Beautiful Eats & Things | Spiced Grilled Peaches
- Black Girls Who Brunch | Brown Butter Sweet Potato Cake
- Britney Breaks Bread | Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Sour Cream and Honey Sauce
- Butter Be Ready | Chicken and Waffles
- Dash of Jazz | Golden Pineapple Pound Cake
- DMR Fine Foods | Blackberry Ginger Soda
- Dom N’ The City | Pound Cake
- Domestic Dee | Easy Berry Fruit Salad
- Food Fidelity | Nigerian Beef Suya Skewers
- FoodLoveTog | Braised Cabbage & Johnny cakes
- Geo’s Table | Curried Potato Salad
- Jamieson Diaries | Crockpot Smoked Red Beans
- Kenneth Temple | Red Velvet Biscuit with BBQ Brisket
- Kenya Rae | Pork free baked beans
- Lenox Bakery | Sweet Potato Cheesecake
- Maple Points | Peas & Rice – Guyanese Style
- Meiko and the Dish | Strawberry Cornbread Skillet Cobbler
- On Ty’s Plate | Watermelon Limeade
- Peaches 2 Peaches | Vanilla Cake With Caramel Poached Pears
- Pink Owl Kitchen | Strawberry Buttermilk Biscuits
- Savory Thoughts | Jus Citron (Haitian Lemonade)
- Sense & Edibility | Blackberry Cobbler
- Simply LaKita | Candied Yams
- Sweet & Sorrel | Baked Jerk Chicken
- Sweet Savant | Black Eyed Peas and Sweet Potato Salad
- The Dana Renee Way | Sweet Potato Cornbread
- The Hungry Hutch | Southern-Style Sweet Tea
- The Kitchenista Diaries | Grilled Lemon Pepper Wings
- This Worthey Life | Strawberry Soda
Instant Pot Cajun White Beans
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Yield: 7 1x
Cajun White Beans combining coconut milk and Cajun seasonings resulting in an Instant Pot (paid link) recipe full of flavor. Makes for the perfect meal or side dish.
- 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
- Set your Instant Pot to Saute mode and wait until it displays “Hot”.
- Chop your onions, then add butter, chopped onions, green onions, and minced garlic into Instant Pot (paid link). Cook until translucent.
- Slice your beef sausage into small cubes and add to the Instant Pot (paid link). Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients to the Instant Pot (paid link) placing the crab boil bag on the top before closing the lid.
- Change your mode setting on the Instant Pot (paid link) to Pressure Cook (at high pressure) for 45 minutes.
- Close the Instant Pot (paid link) 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 by leaving the Instant Pot (paid link) alone.
- 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 (paid link) lid.
- Using a large spoon, carefully remove the Cajun seasoning bag. Serve immediately with rice.
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 (paid link) DUO Plus 60, 6 Qt 9-in-1 for this recipe.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 80 minutes
- Category: Beans
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: Cajun
- 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
Hi. I’ll be attempting this on the stove top tomorrow and did see your comment about soaking the beans already. Are there any more tips to give for doing it on the stove? Would a stock pot be better or a Dutch oven? Also, would it taste weird to somehow combine some of the ingredients here with the red bean recipe. Like could I usually just add celery and bell pepper to it without changing much of how it’s supposed to taste like? Thanks in advance. 🙂
*easily just add
When cooking on the stove, a stock pot would work great. Dutch ovens tend to be shorter, so it depends on how much you are making. I have used both successfully.
I think you could add celery and bell pepper with no major changes in taste. I actually like that idea. The recipes are similar in prep so go for it!
Deciding to soak your beans really depends on how much time you have. I don’t soak my beans when I want a creamier bean. When you soak beans, they release some of their starch, which can reduce their creaminess. However, a soaked bean is more “plump”. If you soak, do so overnight.
And timing can be a little tricky, too, as it varies. It will depend on the freshness of your beans. A good gauge would be 60 minutes but no longer than 2 hours. I typically check them every 30 minutes after the first hour. Cook them until they’ve reached your desires tenderness.
I hope they turn out great!
Hi! I’m excited to try this recipe tonight. Will it make a huge difference if I would like to use the canned beans in my pantry?
Unfortunately, since this recipe calls for unseasoned and uncooked beans, and I’ve never tried this recipe with canned (pre-cooked) beans, I don’t know how it would turn out. It is also difficult to know how many cans you would need (the yield) since you would need to compare uncooked/dry beans to cooked/canned beans. Sorry I could not help more.
My bag broke and so much came out that it was impossible to get the spillage out with a spoon.
I don’t know if that was why, or if there is just way to much allspice but my mouth is literally on fire even with rice.
I might try it again and put the boil bag in cheese cloth and lessen the allspice.
Spencer sorry that happened to you. It can be a hassle when dealing with the spilled bag not being able to scoop out with a large spoon. If you give it another try add the seasoning bag into a coffee filter or tea bag filter using kitchen twine. That should help with keeping the spices from spilling from the bag. Worse case you can try boiling the bag with the broth first then strain the broth from the bag then proceed with the recipe. Hope that helps.
I saved the recipe to try soon, but wanted to say your photography is gorgeous. I just wanted to lick my screen!
Thanks so much! My wife does a great job. 🙂
I’m so excited to try this! Thanks so much for sharing! Much love
Awesome! I know you will enjoy it!
Any chance this could work with canned beans? I guess I would only need about ~1 cup of water? I’m having trouble finding dry white beans unfortunately. I found the spice bag and am excited to make this!
Thanks, Camille for stopping by and sharing that you will be giving this recipe a try. If you choose to use canned beans you can probably disregard the Instant Pot and cook it over the stove (since the beans would already be cooked). You will definitely have to use less liquid but you may have to eye the levels once you add the beans into the pot. If one cup isn’t enough you can add a 1/2 cup at a time until the liquid levels right. Hope that helps. Thanks!
Made it just as written (other than doubling so I could have leftovers with an 8qt instant pot). Delicious! Love the level of spice and coconut milk. Thank you!
Melissa thank you so much for sharing. I’m really glad you enjoyed it!
This was so good! I made it with plant based sausage since my daughter is a vegetarian. Great aroma and flavor!
Thank you, Kim! I just started using plant based sausage as well!
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?
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.
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! 🙂
This is so awesome! Thank you for sharing. I’m really glad you all enjoyed it.
This recipe sounds wonderful. Is it possible to make it in a slow cooker?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
Hi, Kristen! Here is a great recipe on how to make a substitute for the Zatarain’s crab boil bag. There are 8 ingredients to crush together, but it can be done. Here is a great link to the steps required: https://www.food.com/recipe/zatarains-copycat-crab-boil-mix-179335
I really appreciate it, huge thank you, Eric! Looking forward to exploring more of your site and recipes.
You are very welcome! So glad you stopped by.
I found you through Food52’s “68 Recipes from Black Creators to Celebrate Juneteenth.” 🙂
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.
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!