Instant Pot Baby Lima Beans

Instant Pot Baby Lima Beans

Baby lima beans (aka butterbeans) are one of my favorite foods in the whole world. And that’s not an exaggeration. I’ve even been known to eat a bowl of these for breakfast. Before the Instant Pot entered my life, making baby lima beans was a 45 minute process that involved simmering on the stove top.  But now, with just two minutes of prep, these Instant Pot baby lima beans couldn’t be any more simple to make – not to mention incredibly delicious!


Instant Pot Baby Lima Beans | The Foodie Eats


The Difference Between Butter Beans and Lima Beans

There seems to be some debate over the difference between butter beans and lima beans. Some people swear they’re different beans. Others say that lima beans are a mature butter bean, while butter beans are baby limas. And even some others state that there is no difference at all.

So, is there a difference? The short answer is: No. Butter beans and lima beans are simply different names for the same bean. In the US south and in the UK, they’re commonly referred to as butter beans, while going by the name of lima beans in most other areas. So, you say lima bean, I say butter bean (and vice versa). Still not convinced? You can read more about the difference between butter beans and lima beans, along with several other names they go by, here.


Baby Lima Beans vs. Lima Beans

Now that we’ve established butter beans and lima beans are actually the same thing, what’s the difference between baby lima beans and lima beans? Baby lima beans are fresh and green, while regular lima beans (which are more mature), are typically dried and beige. For this recipe, you’ll want a bag of fresh frozen baby limas.


The Process

(Easiest on the Whole Internet!)

Instant Pot Baby Lima Beans | The Foodie Eats

Place beans, water, black pepper, butter, and bay leaf in IP. Lock lid, close vent, and set manual time for 7 minutes on high pressure.


Instant Pot Baby Lima Beans | The Foodie Eats

Open lid and add salt. Mix well, then allow to sit for at least 10 minutes on warm setting. Serve and enjoy!


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Instant Pot Baby Lima Beans | The Foodie Eats

★ Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating below!


Instant Pot Baby Lima Beans | The Foodie Eats

Instant Pot Baby Lima Beans

Super simple meatless butterbeans that are tender and sweet. Vegetarian or vegan recipe (depending on the butter you choose).
5 from 17 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 23 minutes
Resting: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 126kcal
Author: The Foodie Eats


  • 28-30 oz. fresh frozen baby lima beans
  • 3 cups water really just enough to cover beans
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. butter can sub vegan butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. salt


  • Place beans, water, black pepper, butter, and bay leaf in IP. Lock lid, close vent, and set manual time for 7 minutes on high pressure.
  • Once cook time is complete, quick-release the pressure.
  • Open lid and add salt. Mix well, then allow to sit for at least 10 minutes on warm setting.
  • Serve and enjoy!


If you add the salt before cooking, the skin of the beans will be tougher. It is kind of a rule-of-thumb to always add salt to beans AFTER they are cooked.


Calories: 126kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 257mg | Potassium: 358mg | Fiber: 4g | Vitamin A: 225IU | Vitamin C: 6.6mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1.8mg

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  • Reply
    Liga Auzins
    March 10, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    I have fresh butterbeans from the farmers market, much larger than the baby frozen limas. How long should I cook them? Thanks in advance for any advice.

    Liga Auzins

    • Reply
      Chef Gary
      March 13, 2018 at 10:47 am

      Hi Liga! That’s a great question. I’ve never actually cooked them fresh before. But I would try starting with 15 minutes at high pressure with a QPR. Then, if needed, cook them more in maybe 10 minute intervals. Probably not the best help, but it’s what I’d try to figure it out. Good luck! And please let me know how it comes out.

  • Reply
    March 12, 2018 at 8:11 am

    How bout a recipe for dry Lima’s ?

    • Reply
      Chef Gary
      March 13, 2018 at 10:39 am

      Ok, I’ll do my best to post one soon!

    • Reply
      Summer Raborn
      September 5, 2018 at 4:13 pm

      We bought fresh lima beans and we cooked exactly as the recipe indicated and they turned out perfect! Seriously so good!!!! They were not mushy!

  • Reply
    Anna Eastman
    April 9, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    I love these! I used my pressure cooker but I never time it. I just cook till I think they’re done. I really like your recipe. I also add ham. Uncured, low sodium. It is actually cured but without nitrates and nitrites. I cut up the ham in big cubes, brown it in the skillet add water then dump that in with the limas and cook them in the pressure cooker. Funny growing up, my grandpa & grandma always called it a pressure cooker. Now it’s a hot pot. 🙂

  • Reply
    May 4, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Love these! They are perfectly done, just as they should be.

  • Reply
    May 4, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    I’d give this a 5-star rating if I could figure out how!

    • Reply
      Chef Gary
      May 5, 2018 at 12:28 pm

      You just did. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed them!

  • Reply
    May 8, 2018 at 11:04 am

    I thought I was the only person that had lima beans as a favorite food!! I can eat them hot, cold, or lukewarm!

    • Reply
      Chef Gary
      May 8, 2018 at 11:43 am

      Thanks for the reminder… I have some leftover in the fridge! Glad you enjoyed them.

  • Reply
    May 17, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    Why is the cook time listed as 23 minutes but the directions say cook for 7 minutes

    • Reply
      Chef Gary
      May 17, 2018 at 4:57 pm

      That includes time for the pressure cooker to come up to pressure.

  • Reply
    May 26, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    I love this recipe, and have already made and eaten multiple batches by myself. Would love a recipe for dry lima beans, as I h=am more likely to have them on hand.

  • Reply
    July 15, 2018 at 9:45 am

    So that’s 2lbs of beans?

    • Reply
      Chef Gary
      July 16, 2018 at 8:19 am

      I’ve found that different brands of frozen beans are different sizes. And honestly, it doesn’t really matter as long as the beans are covered in water. But yes, it’s around 2 pounds of beans.

  • Reply
    Janet Johnston
    August 14, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    I have to admit – the Inst pot seems very complex. Your recipe for Lima beans was my second attempt. 5 stars from me. So delicious, so easy!

  • Reply
    Robert Bruncati
    August 18, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    I had fresh butter beans from the farmer’s market. Followed this process, no bay leaf though, and added some beef stock. Cooked for the 7 minutes and they were perfect! I too eat these for breakfast!

  • Reply
    Kate West
    September 2, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    Amazing! Tastes like I have been slaving away for hours on these beans, but so quick and simple to make. I really love the flavor of the bay leaf too!

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    Mark DeGross
    September 7, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    Well sorry, vegans/vegetarians- I want to add some smoked pork to them.. how much do you have to alter the recipe? I looked up another recipe, but it was for stove top directions, though- it called for chopped onion and minced garlic, I think…

    • Reply
      Chef Gary
      September 8, 2018 at 8:43 am

      Hey Mark. What I would recommend is this. Cook your pork first (probably for 20 minutes at high pressure) to create a broth, then release the pressure. Add the beans and then cook for 7 minutes at high pressure. Unfortunately, since the beans have such a short cook time, cooking them together probably won’t yield the best result because the meat won’t have time to release their goodness.

      I’m telling you though… I grew up eating them with pork (and still love it that way), but this method with butter and bay leaf is really great too! I think I may actually prefer it this way now. Maybe give it a shot?!

  • Reply
    September 8, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    Adding salt to beans softens the skins and makes them less likely to break. This is contrary to what our grandmothers taught us, but new experiments have proven it to be a myth. You can also add salt when cooking dried beans.

    • Reply
      Chef Gary
      September 8, 2018 at 12:43 pm

      I’ve actually tested it for myself before writing this article. So I respectfully disagree. But hey, whatever works for each of us in our own kitchens is just fine!

      Thanks for the rating and feedback!

  • Reply
    October 3, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    I made these last weekend and they were so good. I added bacon grease to mine because I am a southern girl and not a vegan (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I also added salt at the beginning and they turned out great!

  • Reply
    Annick Mcneil
    January 6, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    This was my very first Instant Pot recipe this morning. I love lima beans and thought I’d try something easy. They taste really good, but are a bit more mushy than i would have liked (i used to eat them from a can and love that they keep a slight firmness). I will try again but i wonder if i put too much water?
    I soaked them all night and cooked them on high pressure for 7 mins. I had 1.5 cups of dry beans when i started.

    Thanks for your help!

    • Reply
      January 6, 2019 at 12:31 pm

      This recipe was not meant for dry beans. It was written for fresh or frozen green baby limas.

  • Reply
    Laura Ann Gaskins
    January 15, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    Amazing! Tastes just like my mother in laws from the garden!

  • Reply
    February 7, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    I made this with soaked lima beans (soaked overnight) and according to your suggestions in a comment above, tried 15 minutes. They were still a little firm so I added another 7 minutes and they were perfect! Love this recipe and can’t believe there is no onion: makes it such a simple and tasty recipe from what I usually have to do on the stove top.

    • Reply
      February 8, 2019 at 8:47 am

      Thanks Kate, glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    February 27, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    How do these taste v southern style (bacon or ham in them, etc)

    • Reply
      February 28, 2019 at 2:00 pm

      Pretty different. These have a lighter, fresher taste. They’re still surprisingly flavorful though.

  • Reply
    Ann Corbin
    March 22, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    I am cooking for a big gathering and wanted to double. I guess that would be ok as long as water doesn’t go past the fill line and it would be for the same amount of time??

    • Reply
      March 24, 2019 at 7:44 am

      I would just barely cover the beans. You may not need to double the liquid.

  • Reply
    April 14, 2019 at 9:03 pm

    Great recipe, I used it as a base to get the texture of the limas right, added ham to make it a meal, but it’s an awesome snack.

    Also respectfully, salting beans doesn’t make them tough, but other factors can. The scientist in me abhors anecdotal evidence and I wouldn’t want anyone believing an old wives tale is true in the face of facts. My duty is done. 😊

    I am a member of Cooks Illustrated but I realize that everyone isn’t; I think the Kitchn is reputable enough. They do reference the corresponding Cooks article.

    • Reply
      April 15, 2019 at 7:15 am

      Thanks for the comment and checking out our recipe. However, I respectfully disagree about the beans 🙂

  • Reply
    April 20, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    Made these for a family Easter event this weekend. I doubled the recipe and they were perfect!

  • Reply
    April 21, 2019 at 8:09 pm


  • Reply
    June 17, 2019 at 4:34 pm


  • Reply
    June 18, 2019 at 6:42 am

    Great recipe & soooooo easy. Thanks

  • Reply
    Edie M. Streetman
    June 20, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    Thanks so much for the recipe. However, on the nutritional info it doesn’t say how large a serving is.

  • Reply
    June 24, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    I have some speckled butter beans (one of my favorites) I bought from a local produce market and have a new instant Pot. I am anxious to try this recipe out. I will let you know how they turn out.

    • Reply
      Gary White
      June 25, 2019 at 6:50 am

      This recipe is written for fresh or frozen beans, not dried beans. So I’m not sure that it would work with this method.

  • Reply
    July 8, 2019 at 6:35 am

    good recipe, i used vegetable broth and added garlic.

  • Reply
    Norma Hulgan
    July 15, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    Entire family loved them from my 92 year-old dad to my husband. Thank you.

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