Instant Pot Mexican Casserole

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I’ve been promising recipe for a while but keep putting it off. Today I’m going to share my Instant Pot version of my Mexican Rice and Bean Casserole, a.k.a. Mexican Casserole. It uses dry beans so you don’t have to cook anything ahead of time.

If you’ve tried the Crock Pot version, the Stove or Oven version you know that this is really good and really easy. Some people don’t like the texture of the rice when cooked in the Crock Pot. Β The Instant Pot Mexican Casserole comes out perfect every time; if you have a pressure cooker I challenge you to make this.

Instant Pot Mexican Casserole

Instant Pot Mexican Casserole


  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice
  • 1 cup uncooked dry beans
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 6 oz can of tomato paste (or 1 8 oz can tomato sauce with slightly less water)
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt (optional)


  1. Dump all of the ingredients into your pressure cooker and stir once or twice.
  2. Close the lid and cook on manual for 28 minutes.
  3. Once done, allow the pressure to come down and open carefully. If you are in a hurry you can do a quick release.


This meal can be eaten alone or served with tortillas or chips and salsa. It travels well and we often take it in our lunches.

If you are new to the Instant Pot or pressure cookers in general it’s important to know that it takes time for them to come up to pressure and time for the pressure to come down when they are finished cooking. This will take about 45 minutes to an hour even though it only “cooks” for 28 minutes.

Note: If using beans other that black beans make sure you are cooking this long enough. The rice takes 28 minutes to cook but some beans may take longer. Consult the Instant Pot cooking guides and cook it as long as necessary.

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  1. This was absolutely lovely! But… I changed things a bit and my pinto beans were too firm. What did I do wrong please? I’m new to the Instant Pot. We don’t care for too much for the “tomato paste” kind of taste with rice, so I eliminated that and added a can of chopped tomatoes instead. I cut back on the water by 1/2 cup. What did I do wrong please because this was just delicious (spices just right)

    • Hi Nancy,
      I should have mentioned something more about the cooking times. I’ll go back an add a note. Pinto beans take longer to cook than black beans. I recommend cooking this for 30 minutes if you are doing a natural/slow release and maybe 35 if doing a quick release. That is just an estimate because I haven’t cooked it with pinto beans yet, two of my family members have an intolerance to pintos so we mostly eat black beans now.

      I’m not sure if you’d want to cut back on the water since you also cut back on the tomato paste but if the texture worked then go for it. Pressure cookers are a thing of mystery so it’s difficult to know which changes can be made sometimes.

      I’ve also added diced tomatoes after it was finished cooking and put the lid back on for a few minutes. It was really good.

      I hope it works perfectly for you next time Nancy!

      • Thank you, Holly! May I ask one more question of you? I have a wonderful recipe that I make on the stove-top with chickpeas, red lentils, sweet potatoes. How do you time this? Because each thing would cook at a different time, wouldn’t they? I normally use canned chickpeas, but since I have the new I.P., I bought dried chickpeas… any idea how I would do this? I mean, would you cook the dried beans first, then add the lentils and sweet potatoes kind of thing or is it possible to do it all at once? Thanks Holly. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your recipes!

        • Nancy, I don’t think you could cook them together. The lentils cook so quickly. I’d recommend cooking the chickpeas first, you may be able to cook the lentils and sweet potatoes together but I haven’t tried anything like that.
          I hope you find a way to make it work. It sounds great!

        • HI Nancy Nurse, I’d love to hear your recipe for the lentils, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes. Could you share here? Or is that “legal”?

          • Of course; my pleasure to share it, but sadly, I don’t know the person to whom to credit this fabulous recipe? It’s possible it’s a Dr and Mary McDougall recipe. Here is the stove-top/crockpot recipe:

            This stew was off the charts delicious!


            EDITED BY ADMIN
            Here is the link to the recipe

          • I edited the last comment because I found the recipe.
            Bloggers and website owners work so hard on their recipes that I want to give them full credit. I’ve link to the recipe you mentioned.
            While some bloggers/website owners don’t mind their content being shared most prefer that it is shared through a link so they get proper credit and so readers can visit them for more recipes. This recipe is a repost but they have permission from the publisher (and I don’t) to have it on their website. πŸ™‚

            It looks like a fantastic recipe! πŸ™‚

    • Cyndi Moore says:

      you can trying the beans this would give them a shorter cook time

  2. If I were to just use 1 cup of rice instead of two, how much water should I use?


  3. I just realized we only have white rice in the house, could it be easily interchanged?

    • Hi Marina,
      I haven’t tried it but I think It can work.

      Just follow the time in the Instant Pot book for white rice and for beans. If they are close enough it would work. If the times are too far apart one would be overcooked/undercooked.

  4. Is the garlic fresh or is it garlic powder like the slow cooker recipe? Thanks!

  5. Just got my Instant Pot! (yay!) and want to make this. If I were to add fresh onion, celery, carrot, etc to get extra veggies in would it change cooking time or water levels at all?

    • Those veggies cook very quickly. You wouldn’t want them to cook the same time as the beans and rice. The best option is to cook them separately and add them in. If you really want to keep this a 1 pot meal the after the recipe is done, release the pressure, add the veggie and cook for a few minutes longer. I haven’t tried it so I don’t know how long exactly. I’ll often add canned tomatoes or corn to Instant Pot meals after they finish cooking and just put the lid back on for a while without cooking longer.

  6. I just got an instant pot and I really wanted to try this recipe as we are trying to eat more plant-based foods. I used uncle Ben’s whole-grain natural brown rice and Goya black beans and the rice came out mushy and the beans are still crunchy. I’m trying to figure out what I did wrong since I am new to this whole pressure cooker thing. I cooked it on high pressure for 28 minutes and I let the pressure naturally release for 26 minutes and then opened the lid. I followed the recipe exactly. Any thought? I’d like to try it again.

    • Hi Sue,
      I’ve never cooked with Uncle Ben’s rice but my guess is that since it is parboiled it has a quicker cooking time than the regular brown rice. I typically buy organic short grain brown rice that takes 45 minutes of simmering to cook. It can cook in the Instant Pot in about 22. When cooked to long it goes get a little mushy but it works for the casserole.
      The black beans are more of a mystery. I know that older beans take longer to cook and I’ve had some instances lately with beans taking longer than they used too. I’ve been cooking beans for 30 minutes and doing a natural pressure release.
      With your quicker cooking rice, I think it might be best to cook the rice and beans separately then mix them together. I do this occasionally when I want extra beans for other meals. Just add all the seasoning to the rice, you’ll only need about 2 1/2 cups of water for 2 cups of rice.

      • OK, thanks. My beans were a bit older so maybe that was part of the problem. We will try again with fresh beans and longer cooking rice. The funny thing is, after it sat for a day in the fridge the beans were a little less crunchy and everybody ended up eating it, so the flavor was good!

      • When I make beans in the IP, I always do a quick cook first. A cup of dried beans, 4 cups of water, salt and cook for 2 minutes on manual. After rinsing the beans, they are ready to cook. Black beans usually take about 26 minutes this way. Have you ever tried the pre-cook method?

  7. This is in my IP right now! I made a few tweaks: I used 2 cans chicken broth, the juice from 2 cans of stewed tomatoes, plus a tiny bit of water to make 5 cups of liquid. I also threw in a pound of cooked ground beef from the freezer. I’m really hoping it turns out nicely!! Thanks for the recipe and inspiration. πŸ™‚

  8. Hi Holly, I want to thank you seriously for this recipe! I had been wanting to do more beans and rice regularly with my family and just never thought ahead to soaking so I never served beans and rice. This recipe is so incredibly easy and fast and my family including my three children LOVE it. We have made it so many times, adding a few variations, and serving alone or on tortillas or chips. I love your recipe so much I have told people that my Instant Pot was worth it even if we only used it for beans and rice! We love stirring in a can of diced tomatoes and garlic after it comes down from pressure and we serve with Texas Pete on the table. LOVE! Thank you!!! Please check out my Loaded (with Veggies) Potato Soup Recipe for the Instant Pot.

  9. Thanks so much for this recipe! Just made it tonight and it turned out perfect. I loved the consistency and the flavor. I could eat this every day!

  10. Stacie M says:

    Since I got my IP I’ve mostly just used it for plain beans or grains to eat with/add to another dish. So I figured I’d try this out to eat for lunch this week and mmm so good! I just added cumin and left out the salt (since I put hot sauce on everything). Delicious, healthy, and easy! Loved it πŸ™‚ Love your blog too and looking forward to making more IP (and regular plant based) recipes. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks so much Stacie! I really appreciate your kind words.
      I want to create some more IP recipes but like you, I do a lot of plain beans and grains. πŸ™‚
      Enjoy your Instant Pot and thanks for reading!

  11. I’ve made this a few times and still having problems. I didn’t see the note below the recipe that stated it was just for black beans – so that may be the problem as I’ve been using pintos. I will try 35 minutes and see how that goes.

    One question though – how does it do a natural release? Once it finished cooking, I turned it off and waited and nothing happened after 40 minutes. I finally just quick released it and was mushy that time. If you could explain the natural release? I’m wondering if I have a faulty lid because it won’t release anything naturally for other recipes either.

    • Hi Bev,
      Pinto beans take longer to cook than black beans so that is part of the problem.
      If you use pinto beans and cook it longer the rice will over cook and turn mushy. You can try soaking the beans first so they don’t need to cook for as long.
      Sometimes when you cook rice it can clog the release so the metal pin doesn’t drop. You can wait for 10 minutes then so a quick release.
      Make sure you clean the release valve. Sometimes I’ll shake the lid a bit if it doesn’t fall on its own. I’ve heard some people have issues with it dropping.
      Let me know how that works. πŸ™‚

  12. Lynn Kinney says:

    How many servings in this recipe?

  13. I would like to try this recipe and I wonder if the beans are soaked before hand. I love the idea of cooking the eho meal in the pressure cooker!

    • HI Kathleen,
      I do not soak the beans first. I cook it all together. Some people have had trouble with it all being done together, I think it depends on how fresh your beans are and what rice you use. I usually use short grain brown rice. This takes a while to cook but turns out well in my Instant Pot.

  14. I’m wondering if the problem that people are having with the beans not softening is due to the acidity of the tomato paste. I learned to cook beans with the understanding that you add acidic things after they are as soft as you’d like them.

  15. Hi, Can I use canned pinto beans? If so any idea on the time adjustment?

    • Hi Lisa,
      You can used canned beans but I would just cook the rice with spices on manual for 22 minutes with a NPR. Then add the tomato sauce and can of rinsed pinto beans.
      Let me know how that works for you!

  16. I made a mistake. I only had white rice, given by a friend. Only use brown rice. Having to simmer to finish the black beans and praying my rice does not become mush. May have to add some corn to break up texture.

  17. Just made this as my first IP recipe! So good and easy! I added about a cup of chopped onions, 4-5 cloves of garlic, 2 tsp of New Mexico mild red chile powder, a tsp cumin and a pinch of Mexican oregano, then added 2 chopped fresh tomatoes and cilantro after it was done. Thanks for a great, easy to follow recipe!

    • Yay! Congrats on your IP! I love this recipe because it’s so easy to add to based on what you have on hand! Your versions sounds delicious!

  18. Is there a reason why the crock pot recipe has Cumin and this one does not? I was just wondering.

    • Not really Jenna. I was probably out of cumin when I recreated it for the IP. Come to think of it, I’m still out of cumin. You can definitely add it though.

  19. Christina says:

    Very good and easy! And less pots to clean/ time than to do the rice and beans separately. I didn’t have onion powder but used some fajita seasoning instead, and used salsa instead of the tomato sauce and it still turned out very yummy!

  20. Has anyone used canned pinto beans in chili sauce? I’m thinking of cutting back the water a cup

  21. is it okay if you add some sliced sausage? has anyone tried that?

What do YOU think?

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