Brazilian Beans


I spent a couple months in Brazil last year and, of all the delicious food that I ate while I was there (including no less than 176 mangoes), …

… one of my favorites was the Brazilian beans.

Let me tell you, those Brazilians know how to make beans!

Many Brazilians eat beans every day. Beans and rice. Beans and potatoes. And beans on top of their spaghetti. (I couldn’t quite get used to that one.)

Best Tasting Beans

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After one particularly delicious bowl of beans, I asked my sweet friend Juliana if she would be willing to give me her recipe so I could share it with you all, and she happily said yes. The remainder of the conversation went something like this:

Juliana: (looking at me strangely)
“Você não sabe fazer feijão?”
(“You don’t know how to make beans?”)

Me: (Straining to understand because I don’t speak or understand Portuguese very well)
“Devagar, por favor?”
(“Could you say that more slowly, please?”)

Juliana: (Smiling)
“Você … não … sabe … fazer … feijão?”
(“You … don’t … know … how … to … make … beans?”)

Me:
“Sim, eu faço feijão muitas vezes em casa, mas seus fe…”
(“Yes, I make beans often at home, but your be…”)

Juliana: (still with a puzzled look)
“Então, por que você quer uma receita para feijão?”
(“Then, why do you want a recipe for beans?”)

Me: (laughing)
“Devagar, por favor.”
(“Slowly, please.”)

Juliana: (laughing)
“Então … por que … você … quer … uma … receita para feijão?”
(“Then, … why … do … you … want … a … recipe for beans?”)

Me:
“Porque seus feijões são muito muito bom.”
(“Because your beans taste really, really good!”)

Juliana: (still bewildered)
“Os feijões da América não são bons?”
(“Don’t the beans in America taste good?“)

Me:
“Deeeevaaaagar”
(“Slooooowly”)

Juliana: (laughing)
“Os … feijões … da … América … não … são … bons??”
(“Don’t … the … beans … in … America … taste … good?“)

Me:
“Não é tão bom quanto o feijão no Brasil.”
(“Not as good as the beans in Brazil.”)

Juliana:
“Por que?”
(“Why?“)

Me:
“Eu não sei.”
(“I don’t know.“)  That’s what I was trying to find out! : )

Juliana:
“Como você faz o seu feijão?”
(“How do you make your beans?“)

I started to explain how I make beans, but in the midst of the explanation, I said:
“Os americanos não comem feijão tão frequentemente quanto os brasileiros.”
(“Americans don’t eat beans as often as Brazilians.“)

Juliana: (astonished)
“O que os americanos comem?”
(“What do Americans eat?”)

Me: (wracking my brain, trying to remember what Americans eat. We eat a lot of things!)
“Comemos como você, mas não comemos feijão todos os dias e eles não são tão bons como feijão de Brasil”
(“We eat similar to you, but we just don’t eat beans every day, and our beans don’t taste as good as Brazilian beans.“)

Anyway, I eventually got Juliana to actually write out the recipe. In her recipe, she used a seasoning that they have in Brazil which is a mixture of certain herbs, so I replaced that seasoning with the actual herbs. I also translated it to English. (You’re welcome 🙂 )

Note: To all my Portuguese-speaking friends, sorry for slaughtering your beautiful language. I am still learning.

Brazilian Beans

Beans in the Instant Pot

My friend Juliana cooked her beans in a stove-top pressure cooker, but since the Instant Pot has become so common here in the U.S., that’s what I used. If you want to use a stove-top pressure cooker to cook these Brazilian beans, you absolutely can do that. (You may reduce cooking time by a few minutes, but it isn’t necessary.)

Bean Nutrition

Beans are a good source of iron, calcium, folate and other B vitamins, protein, and fiber. Their remarkable nutrition profile also makes them one of the most powerful disease-fighting foods and one of the best foods for weight loss.

Delicious Recipes that Use Beans

Here are my favorite recipes that include beans.

Bean FAQ

The Best Beans (Brazilian)

1. Don’t I have to soak the beans before cooking them?

Totally unnecessary. Soaking causes them to lose flavor.

Soaking can help beans to digest better for some, but so can very long cooking times – which is what this particular recipe calls for.  If you still have digestion problems after cooking your beans for the time given in the recipe, feel free to soak your beans first.

2. What if my beans are not tender at the end of the cooking time?

If you followed the directions, and your beans didn’t soften, then it is possible you have old beans. Or maybe you are cooking them in hard water.

Solution: Buy another bag of beans and/or use distilled water if you have hard water.

3. What if my beans are overdone?

Are they burned? No? Then they aren’t overdone. I know some people like to keep their beans all nice and pretty-shaped, but these delicious Brazilian beans are not the beans for that. These beans are wonderfully tender and creamy.

(The beans in the photo were not cooked as long as the recipe calls for because they were getting anxious for their photo shoot. Cooked for the full amount of time, they look creamier.)

4. Can I make these beans in a crock pot (slow cooker)?

I almost always cook my beans in a slow cooker, but these Brazilian beans are definitely better in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot. But you can cook them in a slow cooker.

Follow the instructions in my post about cooking beans in a crock pot and only add the bay leaves to the crock. After the beans are done, saute the onions and the garlic, add them to the beans along with the remaining ingredients, and cook for an additional hour in the crock pot.

5. Can I cook beans in a stove-top pressure cooker?

Yep. Use the same directions as above, but be sure to read your pressure cooker manual to know how to use your pressure cooker correctly. (The Instant Pot takes just a couple minutes longer than a stove-top pressure cooker, so you could reduce cooking time by a few minutes, but it isn’t necessary since these beans are supposed to be tender and creamy.)

6. How do I store leftover cooked beans?

Whenever I cook beans, I always cook extra to have on hand for future needs. I store my leftover cooked beans (with their liquid) in a glass container in the refrigerator for up to 4 to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

BE SURE TO REMOVE THE BAY LEAF BEFORE STORING! Otherwise, your beans will tastes minty. Not sure why this happens, but Peppermint Patty beans are just weird.

Brazilian Beans

Brazilian Beans (Feijão)

Brazilians make the best beans ever!  Here’s how you can make them.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 35 mins
Inactive Time 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Course Main Course
YIELD 5.5 cups
All recipes on jenniferskitchen.com are property of jennifer’s kitchen and cannot be republished without written permission.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups dry, uncooked pinto beans
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped small - divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed - divided
  • 3 bay leaves - (Don't skip this ingredient! It is the secret to delicious beans.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt - or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 pinch dried oregano
  • 1 pinch dried savory

Instructions

  • Spread beans out on clean counter top (or a clean dish towel) and sort through beans, removing small rocks or debris.
  • Place beans in a large colander and rinse well.
  • Transfer beans to Instant Pot. You can also use a stove-top pressure cooker. Be sure to read your pressure cooker manual before using.)
  • Add water, half of the onion, half of the garlic, bay leaves, and salt.
  • Lock the lid on and set the Instant Pot to "Manual"and "High Pressure" for 45 minutes. Be sure the valve on top is set to “Sealed
  • When cooking time is done, turn off the heat, and allow pressure to release on its own (natural/slow release method) before opening lid.
  • Remove lid and turn Instant Pot back on. Add remaining onion and garlic and stir into beans along with the remaining seasonings. (If desired, onions and garlic can be sauteed before adding to beans.)
  • Boil beans uncovered for an additional 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Beans will become super soft and creamy.
  • Remove bay leaves before serving.

Notes

For the photos in this post, although the beans are well cooked, I didn’t cook them as long as I would if I weren’t taking a photo of them (because they are quite un-photogenic when I cook them longer).  For the best beans, you’ll want to cook them until they are more creamy.
Extra beans can be frozen for a quick meal on another day.

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32 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe. I’ve had a bag of organic pinto beans sitting in my kitchen for several days, trying to decide what to do with them, knowing I wanted to use my IP to cook them. I’ve only made two other recipes in it so it’s still very new to me. I only have smoked paprika so will sub with that and will probably increase the garlic. I love a bowl of well cooked pinto beans and am really looking forward to making these..

  2. 5 stars
    Good morning! This may be a silly question since I haven’t used alot of settings on my IP. But what setting is it that you can leave the lid off and boil in the IP for the remainder of this recipe?? Thank you for keep us on track with healthy recipes☺!

    1. Hi Callie,
      Great question! I had to figure it out on my IP and some models are different than others, so that doesn’t make it any easier.

      For my IP, I press the “MANUAL” button and then the “+” button to adjust the time … and it starts cooking. 🙂 If your model has a “MANUAL” button, then that would be what you would do.

      With newer models there is no “MANUAL” button, so I think you need to use the “SAUTE” button, but I’m not absolutely positive about that.
      **Any one else out there know how to boil food in an Instant Pot using a newer model? **

      If you have a newer model, you could test it by putting water in it and seeing if you can get it to boil using the “SAUTE” mode.

      Jennifer

  3. Hi Jennifer,
    I’m eager to try these beans but I don’t think I’ve ever used savory…is that a common herb to find at the grocery store?
    Thanks, Beckie

    1. Hi Beckie,
      Yes, most grocery stores carry it in the spice/herbs/seasonings section of the store. It is sometimes called summer savory. (I’ve seen it at both Meijer and Kroger’s).

      You can also get savory from Amazon.

      If you can’t find it ground, just crush it between your fingertips before you add it to the beans.

      I hope you enjoy. 🙂

      Jennifer

  4. 5 stars
    I made these today and they were amazing! I’m already looking forward to eating more of them tomorrow. Thank you for the great recipe.

  5. 5 stars
    I’m excited to find this recipe. My husband is from Brazil and I have lived there before but it’s hard to find instant pot recipes for Brazilian food. I have made Brazilian black beans in the IP but not the “normal” kind of beans. I love those creamy beans.

    One thing I will probably do differently though is to use the sauté function to saute onions and garlic in a little bit of oil before adding the beans and water. That’s how I do it in a regular pressure cooker and it turns out very nice.

    1. Hi Julie, I’m so happy you found this recipe too! I hope your husband likes them.

      I was actually in Brazil again a couple weeks ago and had these delicious beans nearly every day. They are so good!

      Yes, I agree. Sauteing the onions and garlic is a delicious option.

      Aproveite!

      Jennifer

  6. Hi Jennifer, I’m still new to the Instant Pot world, and still a bit afraid of getting proportions wrong for the pressure cooker settings. For which size of IP is your recipe, please?
    Thanks for sharing this recipe btw. I’m Brazilian and can’t wait to try it 🙂

  7. I lived in Brazil for a short time and loved the red beans so much; I ate them every chance I got.
    I have tried to find a recipe for them in cookbooks and on the internet without any luck. After trying “Brazilian red bean recipe” and only finding recipes for feijoada (which I also love and have made) I tried “recipe for red beans eaten by Brazilians every day” and your website came up. I am so thrilled I may go out and buy a Instant Pot. In the meantime, I’m going to try it in my slow cooker. Thank you!

  8. 5 stars
    So fabulous! My husband lived in Brazil for two years and adores their beans and this recipe is our favorite. We make it regularly. Thanks so much for posting!
    We have also drained some of the liquid and mashed the beans for refried bean style and they are delicious that way too. I keep this recipe bookmarked on my browser. 🙂

  9. Thanks for the recipe. New to instant pot AND to Brazilian beans. Do you know if I cut recipe in half do I also cut cooking time in half? Of course I am asking with cooking already underway 🙂

    1. The cooking time would stay the same.
      Also, you may want to monitor your water amount. Due to the way an Instant pot works, a half recipe may need more than half the water amount.
      I hope you enjoy!

  10. Hi there!

    I don’t have an instant pot or a pressure cooker unfortunately 🙁 do you know roughly how long it will take on the stove top?

    Thanks!!

    1. Hi Colleen,
      I’ve never tested these on the stove top, but I think I would cook them for at least 5 hours to get them nice and soft and creamy. You would also need to keep an eye on the water amount. A pressure cooker uses less water than stove top cooking, so you’ll probably need to add more water during the cooking time.

  11. You really should have posted a more authentic picture. These look like baked beans and feijao looks more like a gravy with beans Cut up some cooked chorizo sausage and simmer in the beans for the last half hour to get even more flavour and then serve the beans over top of a bowl of rice. That’s Brazillian!

    1. I KNOW!!! 🙂 The real deal is just so un-photogenic! But if I can find the time, I would like to do another more authentic photo. (Although, I won’t be adding any sausage. This is a plant-based blog and my friend from Brazil didn’t eat meat so she made plant-based beans as well.) 🙂

  12. 3 stars
    Step 8 says, “ Boil beans uncovered for an additional 45 minutes”. Is it possible to boil something uncovered with an instant pot?

    1. Hi James,
      Yes, boiling uncovered is totally possible in an Instant Pot. The exact how-to is dependent on what model of Instant Pot you have.

      For my IP, I press the “MANUAL” button and then the “+” button to adjust the time … and it starts cooking. If your model has a “MANUAL” button, then that would be what you would do.

      With newer models there is no “MANUAL” button, so you can use the “SAUTE” button

      P.S. Why the 3-star rating? 🙁 Did you try the Brazilian beans and not like them very much?? 🙁

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