The best easy pinto beans from scratch, with stove top and slow cooker directions. They are an easy, flavorful and healthy side dish to go with all of your Tex-Mex, Mexican, and BBQ meals, or a simple, hearty vegetarian dinner. (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian option)
For as long as I can remember, almost every one of my family gathering on my dad’s side (except for Thanksgiving) was sure to have one thing – a big pot of homemade pinto beans.
My aunt always made the best easy pinto beans, and she taught my mom, my cousins and me to make them at our family lake house, where we would spend the weekends cooking, fishing, and eating lots of delicious food. My dad usually smoked a brisket or ribs, while the girls made potato salad, beans, and pie inside. It’s where I learned how to make many of our traditional family recipes.
These pinto beans are amazing for many reasons. First, they go with almost anything. From Tex-Mex meals like enchiladas and taco salads, to BBQ brisket and ribs, to just a steaming bowl with cornbread, pinto beans are great with so many meals!
These pinto beans are also so easy to make and super affordable. You start with a pound of dried beans and add a few simple flavoring ingredients, and you end up with a big ol’ batch of delicious, steamy beans with so much flavor. And they take so little effort!
Beans are also a great vegetarian source of protein, and they also provide fiber, iron, B vitamins, and potassium. I love having a big pot of these beans to eat throughout the week with dinners and lunches. Sometimes I freeze half of them for later, or make some baked beans with them. They’re so versatile!
These beans are so flavorful and delicious, and take so little effort. Just remember to soak them the night before, or you ‘ll have to do a quick soak the day you want to cook them. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s easier if you soak them beforehand.
If you need a super easy weeknight dinner or side dish, make a pot of the best easy pinto beans from scratch, and you have an easy, healthy solution to help you out all week long!
The Best Easy Pinto Beans
The best easy pinto beans from scratch, with stovetop and slow cooker directions. They are an easy, flavorful and healthy side dish to go with all of your Tex-Mex, Mexican, and BBQ meals, or a simple, hearty vegetarian dinner. (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian option)
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: About 6 cups
- Category: side dish
- 1 lb dry pinto beans
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- Small ham hock, slice of bacon, or pork bone*
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (optional)
For Mexican version:
- Add 1 can diced tomatoes, 1/2 tsp chili powder, and 1 tsp ground cumin
- Soak beans overnight: Pour beans into a large bowl or pot. Sift through and pick out any small rocks that may be present. Cover beans with water (at least 3 inches over beans) and let sit on the counter overnight. If you forgot to soak the beans (it happens!), use the quick soak method** (see notes).
- Drain and rinse beans. Place in a large heavy-bottomed pot with a lid. Add onion, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, and ham hock, if using. Add spices (this is also the time to add tomatoes and Mexican spices if you are making that version). Add chicken broth if using and fill with enough water to cover beans at least 2 inches with water.
- Place lid on the pot and heat over medium-high heat. Boil beans for 1 minute, then turn heat to low. Simmer 2-4 hours or until beans are tender.
*omit for vegetarian.
**For quick soak method, rinse and drain beans. Add to a pot and cover with at least 3 inches of water. Cover, turn heat to high, and bring to a rapid boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let soak, covered, for 1 hour. Then drain and proceed with the recipe.
**For slow cooker, follow directions as written, but add beans to your slow cooker instead of a pot on the stove. Cook on high about 3-4 hours or until tender.
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