This easy Instant Pot Lima Beans was a hit with my family. Whether you call them lima beans or butter beans, this simple recipe will create a flavorful side dish that your family will love!

With the memorial weekend coming, this is the perfect dish to prepare along with my Gluten-Free Vegan Cornbread, Southern Green Beans And PotatoesVegan Mexican Street Corn, or one of these Vegan Rice Recipes. 

I love the flavor of butter beans because it is one of the beans that I grew up eating, Traditional butter bean or lima bean recipes are usually prepared with meat. To prepare a vegan version that was flavorful, I decided to go for a Southern-Style version. 

I turned to smoked paprika as the main flavor profile along with vegan bouillon cubes and Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and it was a success!

Cooking my lima beans in the Instant Pot was so quick and easy. I literally just added the ingredients to my 6 quarts Instant Pot, close the lid and set the timer. 

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Rich Southern Flavors: These butter beans are packed with the rich, soulful flavors of Southern cuisine, making them a delightful taste of the South.
  • Vegan Twist on Tradition: If you love traditional butter bean recipes but are looking for a vegan version, this dish is the perfect choice. It captures the essence of the original with a cruelty-free twist.
  • Quick and Easy: Cooking these butter beans in the Instant Pot is incredibly easy and quick. Just add the ingredients, set the timer, and let the Instant Pot work its magic.
  • Flavorful Seasonings: Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and smoked paprika add an extra layer of flavor to this side dish.

Ingredients Needed

  • Dried Lima Beans – I used the dried baby lima beans but the large ones would work as well.
  • Onion, Garlic, Celery, Red Bell Pepper – added for flavor, 
  • Thyme – I used fresh thyme but you can use dried instead.
  • Smoked Paprika – gives a smokey flavor to dishes. 
  • Cayenne Pepper – for a little heat but you can omit.
  • Vegan Bouillon Cubes – I used Edwards And Sons Vegan Bouillon, but you can substitute with your favorite bouillon.
  • Bragg’s Liquid Aminos – added for flavor, substitute with soy-free Coconut Aminos if you can’t have soy.
  • Hickory Liquid Smoke – add for an extra smoky flavor.
overlay chopped veggies and ingredients for Instant Pot lima bean

How To Make Lima Beans Instant Pot

  1. Rinse and sort your butter beans, discarding any debris or broken beans.
  2. Add butter beans to the Instant Pot, add onion, garlic, celery, red bell pepper, thyme, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper.
  3. Turn your Instant Pot on. Place lid on the Instant Pot and close the lid. Turn the knob to the sealing position.
  4. Press Manual setting and cook on High Pressure for 25 minutes.
  5. Allow to naturally release pressure for about 20 minutes.
blue serving spoon holding cooked lima beans over the instant pot

Expert Tips

  • Before cooking the beans, it’s important to rinse and sort them. This means going through the dried beans to remove any debris, broken beans, or stones. Rinsing helps remove any dust or impurities.
  • The recipe calls for baby lima beans, but you can also use regular-sized lima beans. Make sure they are dried beans, not canned, as the cooking times and liquid requirements differ.
  • The recipe mentions using fresh thyme, but dried thyme can also be used. If using dried thyme, remember that it’s more concentrated in flavor, so you’ll need less than the fresh sprigs. Start with about half the amount and adjust to taste.
  • After cooking in the Instant Pot, allow for a natural pressure release for about 20 minutes. This step helps the beans become tender without becoming mushy. Avoid quick pressure release, which can make the beans tough.

Substitutions and Variations

  • If you don’t have vegan bouillon, substitute the water for 4 cups vegetable broth, and when the butter beans are done add salt to taste.
  • Stir in slices of lightly fried vegan sausages. 
  • Add 1 teaspoon creole seasoning instead of Bragg’s 

Storage Tips

Refrigerator: Allow the cooked butter beans to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Transfer them to an airtight container or a food storage container with a lid.

If there’s excess liquid, you can choose to store the beans and the liquid separately. This helps prevent the beans from becoming overly mushy and maintains their texture.

Cooked butter beans can be refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.

Freezer: If you want to store the beans for a longer period, you can freeze them. Place the cooked and cooled beans in an airtight, freezer-safe container or freezer bags. Remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.

Cooked butter beans can be kept in the freezer for up to 3-6 months.

Reheating: To use frozen beans, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. Then, reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave until they reach the desired temperature.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use canned butter beans instead of dried beans?

While you can use canned butter beans, the cooking times and liquid requirements will differ. If using canned beans, you won’t need to pressure cook them, but you can still follow the recipe for the flavorful sauce.

Are there any substitutes for Bragg’s Liquid Aminos?

Yes, you can substitute Bragg’s Liquid Aminos with soy-free Coconut Aminos if you have a soy allergy or prefer an alternative. Both provide a savory, umami flavor.

Can I make this recipe in a traditional stovetop pot instead of an Instant Pot?

Yes, you can prepare this dish in a traditional stovetop pot. Simmer the beans on low heat after bringing them to a boil. Keep the pot covered and stir occasionally until the beans are tender, which may take 1-2 hours or longer.

Can I make this recipe in advance for a large gathering?

Yes, you can prepare this recipe in advance for a large gathering. You can store the cooked beans in the refrigerator and reheat them when needed. Alternatively, you can freeze them for longer-term storage.

Other Vegan Instant Pot Recipes To Try

Overlay photo of southern style Instant pot lima beans garnished with thyme sprigs, on a grey background

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Nutrition

(Per serving)
  • Energy: 77 kcal / 322 kJ
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Carbs: 14 g

Cook Time

  • Preparation: 15 min
  • Cooking: 25 min
  • Ready in: 40 min
  • For: 8 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place butter beans in the Instant Pot, add onion, garlic, celery, red bell pepper, thyme, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper.
  2. Add water or vegetable broth, vegan bouillon cube, Bragg's Liquid Aminos, and hickory liquid smoke.
  3. Turn your Instant Pot on. Place lid on the Instant Pot and close the lid. Turn the knob to the sealing position.
  4. Press Manual setting and cook on High Pressure for 25 minutes.
  5. Allow to naturally release pressure for about 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid, if your butter beans have too much liquid.
  7. Turn off the Instant Pot and turn it on again, press the Saute mode, and allow to cook until it has reached the desired thickness. Mash some of the beans.

Notes

  • Rinse and sort dried beans to remove debris, broken beans, or stones. Use dried baby lima or regular lima beans, not canned, as cooking times differ.
  • After cooking, allow a 20-minute natural pressure release for tender beans.
  • Cool cooked beans to room temperature before refrigerating in an airtight container. Refrigerate cooked beans for up to 3-4 days.
Recipe author's Gravatar image

Michelle Blackwood, RN

Hi, I’m Michelle, I’m the voice, content creator and photographer behind Healthier Steps. I share vegan and gluten-free recipes because of past health issues. My goal is to help you make healthier choices and show you how healthy eating is easy and delicious.