Mung beans are incredibly nutritious and one of the quickest legumes to cook, especially in the Instant Pot. They are a brilliant source of plant-based protein to add to your everyday cooking. Use this simple formula for cooking perfect mung beans in the Instant Pot every times (stovetop instructions also included). And, check out all the different ideas I have listed for delicious ways to use these nutty little beans in your meals.
Why you will love this Mung Bean recipe!
- Mung beans are nutritious and delicious
- Quick and easy to cook on the stove and even easier in the Instant Pot!
- Lots of ideas for how to use your mung beans!
What are mung beans?
Mung beans are small oval-shaped pulses that are part of the legume family alongside lentils, chickpeas and peanuts. The dried whole mung beans are small and green and, once cooked, are firm and nutty. They are extremely nutritious, easily digested and often used in Indian cuisine and other Asian cooking.
In the shops you can buy mung beans in a few different forms:
- Whole mung beans – this is the kind that we need for this recipe. They are a sludgy green colour and small and slightly egg shaped. In Indian cooking, they are often called whole green moong dal or green gram.
- Split mung beans – these are not the right ones for this recipe but it is important to recognise them so you know what not to buy for this! These are the inside part of the bean and are a creamy yellow colour, small and usually disc shaped with a flat side and a curved side. They cook more quickly than whole mung beans to make a soft dal (yellow moong dal) but they have less fibre since the outer skin has been removed.
- Sprouted mung beans – usually found in the salad section, these bean sprouts look like little green or yellow beans with long white tails. They are simply whole mung beans that have been soaked and sprouted to get rid of the antinutrients that plants contain that inhibit digestion. You will often see mung bean sprouts in Asian stir fries or salads. They are crunchy and fresh tasting when eaten raw.
Mung beans are a really healthy plant-based protein to incorporate into a vegan diet, being approximately 7% protein and 7.6% fibre (Medical News Today). As whole grains, they are also an excellent source of complex carbohydrates to provide the body with long-lasting energy. Mung beans are also rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B, (particularly folate - vitamin B9), magnesium and potassium.
Research into the particular health benefits of mung beans is ongoing but early studies indicate that mung beans may be helpful for lowering blood pressure and lowering LDL blood cholesterol (Healthline) both of which could reduce your risk of chronic disease. They may also help to regulate blood sugar.
Obviously, the main ingredient here is whole green mung beans. You will also need water and a pinch of salt. You could add some other flavourings as well, such as vegetable stock, spices or herbs. See the suggestions in the Variations section below.
Instant Pot Mung Beans
Cooking mung beans in the instant pot (or any stovetop pressure cooker) is so easy because you can literally just set it and go (well, I’d stay in the room just in case of any incidents needing your attention!). Pressure cooking speeds up the cooking time and it does its own thing without needing any stirring or watching.
To write this blogpost, I experimented with so many different variations of how to cook mung beans in the Instant Pot. I was looking for consistent results for perfectly cooked mung beans that:
- hold their shape (don’t burst open); and
- still have some bite but are not too hard.
It turns out that you need to balance the cooking time and the pressure release time to get the perfect texture. You need a short cooking time (they cook while coming to pressure and during the pressure release too) to make sure the beans don’t overcook. But you also need some natural pressure release time to ensure even cooking of the beans so that you don’t get some that are mushy and some too hard.
Instant Pot Instructions
To cook mung beans in the instant pot, use the following guideline:
Ratio – 1 : 3 – use 1 part mung beans to 3 parts water (and a pinch of salt).
Yield – 1 : 3 – 1 cup of dried mung beans cooked in 3 cups of water will give around 2 cups of cooked mung beans.
Cooking time – 1 min. HP + 5 mins. NR + QR
You need to pressure cook the mung beans on high pressure for 1 minute. Then leave it for 5 minutes to naturally release the pressure, and after that turn the sealing knob to quickly release the rest of the pressure.
This should give you nutty little mung beans that are intact and firm but perfectly cooked through.
If you want softer mung beans, you should increase the cooking time by 1-2 minutes or increase the natural pressure release time.
Once the beans get softer, they often burst and become less useable for salads and buddha bowls as they get quite mushy and sticky. This softer texture can be perfect for saucy food like soups, stews and curries.
Stovetop Mung Beans
For stovetop cooking, boil the mung beans in a saucepan of water on a medium heat as follows:
Ratio – 1 : 3 – use 1 part mung beans to 3 parts water.
Cooking time – it should take around 30-40 minutes to cook your mung beans until they are firm and still holding their shape. If you pre-soak them first, then you can reduce this time to 25-30 minutes.
Please see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this page for full instructions.
Instant Pot instructions are also included in the recipe card.
How To Use Cooked Mung Beans
With a fairly bland flavour, it is easy to incorporate mung beans into healthy meals as the plant-based protein element of a dish. Here are some ideas for different ways to use your cooked whole green moong beans.
Soups, Stews & Curries
Use them as a substitute for lentils or other legumes in soups, salads, stews and curries.
- You could also use this lentil and vegetable noodle soup recipe and switch out the lentils for the cooked mung beans instead.
- See also my mung bean curry recipe for a delicious mung bean curry recipe to make in the instant pot, thermomix or stovetop.
- For a different take, spice them up and use as a filling for these stuffed peppers.
Salads, Wraps & Buddha Bowls
Dress the cooked mung beans with a good squeeze of lemon juice, some wholegrain mustard, salt and pepperand a sprinkling of cayenne pepper or smoked paprika. Then use:
- as part of a buddha bowl with some roasted vegetables and some quinoa or sorghum, and then a yummy dip like humous, guacamole or sun-dried tomato tapenade to bring it all together.
- In a sandwich with lettuce, tomato and vegan mayonnaise.
- In a wrap with rocket, cucumber and spicy sriracha sauce.
Green Moong Dal
Before cooking the mung beans, first sauté 1 chopped onion in 1 tablespoon oil for about 2-3 minutes.
Then add 3 chopped garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds. Continue to sauté for another minute, stirring constantly.
Then add ½ teaspoon garam masala, ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, ¼ teaspoon coriander powder and ¼ teaspoon salt. If you want it to be spicy, you could also add ½ teaspoon red chili powder too or some sliced green chilies. Sauté for 30 seconds only.
Finally, add ½ cup dried mung beans and 1½ cups water and pressure cook on high pressure for 3 minutes (or 5 minutes if you want it really soft) with a natural release of 10 minutes before quick releasing the pressure.
The extra flavourings will make it really tasty and the extra cooking time will change the consistency to make it saucy with a softer, almost creamy texture. Serve with plain rice or jeera rice.
- Using pre-soaked mung beans – you will need to reduce the cooking time for soaked mung beans. It will take around 25 minutes on the stovetop or 0 minutes pressure cooking with 5 minutes natural release in the instant pot.
- Using split mung beans – unfortunately these are not really suitable for this recipe as they will go too mushy. They are great for dal, soup or making pancakes and dosas though.
- Adding flavour – I like to add some vegetable stock powder and some garlic cloves to the water when I cook these mung beans. You could also add spices like garam masala, cumin seeds, turmeric powder and maybe some red chili powder too.
This easy recipe is perfect for batch cooking! Cook up a big batch at the weekend and store some in the freezer and some in the fridge for using in meals throughout the week. You can keep cooked mung beans in an airtight container or plastic bag in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Defrost by dipping them in boiling water for a minute or two.
Yes! They freeze brilliantly so it’s always worth making more than you need and then popping any leftovers in a bag in the freezer. Re-heat by boiling again until warmed through or simply adding directly into the sauce that you want to cook them with.
No. Unlike other dried beans and legumes, you can cook mung beans without soaking first. They are so little that they cook fairly quickly without the need to pre-soak them. However, if you have time, they will always benefit from a quick soak of 30 minutes just to even out the cooking to make sure that you don’t get any uneven patches. If you do soak them, you can reduce the cooking time to 0 minutes HP in the Instant Pot or 25 minutes on the stove.
📖 Recipe 📖
How to Cook Mung Beans (Instant Pot or Stovetop)
- 1 cup dried whole green mung beans
- 3 cups water
- 1 pinch of salt
- Place the mung beans in a saucepan with 3 times as much water (1 cup mung beans : 3 cups water) and a pinch of salt. Put the lid on and place on a high heat to bring to the boil. Once it starts boiling, pull the lid slightly ajar, turn the heat down to medium-low and leave to simmer for 30-40 minutes until the mung beans are still holding the shape but soft enough to bite. (taste one to check!).1 cup dried whole green mung beans, 3 cups water, 1 pinch of salt
- Once cooked to your liking, drain through a sieve and use as needed.
- Place the mung beans in the inner pot with 3 times as much water (1 cup mung beans : 3 cups water) and a pinch of salt. Put the lid on, lock, turn the valve to seal, then set to pressure cook on high pressure for 1 minute. (It will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure first and that’s when most of the cooking is done)1 cup dried whole green mung beans, 3 cups water, 1 pinch of salt
- Leave the Instant Pot to naturally release the pressure for 5 minutes and then turn the valve to quickly release the rest of the pressure. When the little silver valve drops, open the lid and drain the mung beans through a sieve. Use as required.
- Soaking: if you have the time, you can pre-soak your mung beans in a jug of water for half an hour before cooking. This will help to even out the cooking to ensure there are no uneven patches and will allow you to reduce the cooking time to 0 minutes on the Instant Pot (with a 5 minute natural pressure relase before the quick pressure release) and to about 25 minutes of cooking on the stovetop.
- Variations: You can add additional flavourings to the cooking process by substituting vegetable stock for the water and adding some garlic cloves and a bay leaf. Or add sautéed onion, garlic and giner and some spices to make a delicious Indian green moong dal. Please see the blogpost for other recipe ideas.
- Uses: Squeeze with lemon juice, add a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard and sprinkle with cayenne pepper for a delicious addition to salads and buddha bowls. Or add to curries, stews and soups.
- Storage: Batch cook and store some in the fridge for weekday meals and some in the freezer for another time. These cooked mung beans keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a ⭐ star rating ⭐ on the recipe card!
If you like this Instant Pot mung bean recipe, you may like these other delicious vegan and gluten-free recipes too: