Learn how to make the best easy pinto beans from scratch, or with a stove top, slow cooker, and even with Instant Pot instructions.
Pinto beans are easy to prepare, flavorful, and healthy. As a side dish, pinto beans compliment BBQ meals, fried chicken, ham, and cornbread and mashed potatoes.
If you’re a vegetarian, pinto beans are a source of protein and naturally gluten-free.
What Are The Different Types Of Pinto Beans?
There are many pinto bean varieties. Here are a few of the most popular pinto bean strands available on the market today.
- Alava are dark red pinto beans that originated in the town of Anana in northern Spain’s Basque region.
- Lariat pinto beans were developed by North Dakota State University in 2007. The beans are larger than other varieties and have a high seed yield.
- Stampede pinto beans, also developed in 2007, produce a high seed yield.
- Maverick pinto beans are from the Northern Great Plains.
- Burke pinto beans are the newest addition to the pinto family, according to the US Department of Agriculture. The beans are adept at fending off harmful plant viruses.
- Grand Mesa pinto beans were developed by Colorado State University. The pinto seedlings produce high yields, are resistant to rust races, and have a higher field tolerance to white mold.
Family Holiday Pinto Bean Recipe
Pinto beans go with almost anything. From BBQ brisket and ribs to a steaming bowl with cornbread, pinto beans are an excellent side-dish for many meals. Sometimes I freeze half of them for later or make baked beans.
This pinto bean recipe is easy to prepare and doesn't cost a fortune to make. First, start with a pound of dried beans. Next, add a flavoring. Now, you’ll have a hearty batch of tasty, steamy pinto beans.
How Are Pinto Beans Healthy?
Pinto beans are a source of fiber, iron, vitamin B, and potassium. The beans are grown and harvested like other vegetables, so they’re naturally healthy.
How To Cook Pinto Beans From Scratch
- Soak your pinto beans overnight. Put the pinto beans in a large bowl and fill it up with water until the beans are fully submerged. In the morning, drain the water and rinse the beans when you’re ready to start cooking them.
- Put the pinto beans in a large pot with your other ingredients. Bring the beans to a boil over medium-high heat for one minute.
- Lower the heat and allow the pinto beans to simmer. Keep the beans covered between two to four hours or until they are tender.
Mexican Pinto Beans
Mexican-style pinto beans add flavor and variety to your favorite south-of-the-border dishes. Add a can of diced tomatoes, ½ teaspoon chili powder, and 1 teaspoon of ground cumin along with the other ingredients.
How To Make The Best Pinto Beans
- Soak the pinto beans overnight and before you cook them, or you'll have to do a quick soak the day you want to cook them.
- Add salt to taste.
- The longer the beans cook, the better they will taste.
How To Store Leftover Pinto Beans
Put your leftover pinto beans in an airtight container and store them in a refrigerator for four days. The bean can also be stored in your freezer for three months. When you’re ready to eat them, reheat the beans on a stove or in the microwave.
How To Do A Quick Soak
If you forget to soak pinto beans, you can perform a 'quick soak' instead. Add rinsed and drained beans to a pot, cover with three inches of water and bring to a boil. Boil rapidly for 1 minute, then turn off the heat, cover, and let soak for one hour. Drain and proceed with the recipe.
Pinto Beans FAQ
Both will work just fine. One time, I cooked pinto beans for 24 hours in a slow cooker and they were extra delicious. With a slow cooker, follow the instructions but cook the pinto beans at a high temperature for 3-4 hours. When using an Instant Pot, follow the cooking instructions, but include 8-10 minutes on high pressure (or 25-30 minutes for unsoaked beans) then let the pressure release naturally.
Soaking pinto beans is a necessary part of the rehydration process. Until pinto beans are properly soaked, they cannot be consumed. Studies have found that soaking pinto beans in cold water decreases their flavonoids. To maintain their flavor and starch content, pinto beans should be soaked in warm or room temperature water. If you have a pot filler, use that as your water source for soaking pinto beans.
Before you start growing pinto beans in your backyard, there are a few necessary steps you should take. First, your soil must be prepared accordingly. Fertile soil with a pH of 7.0 is recommended. Mix compost into the soil. Pinto beans only take about 90 days to cultivate.
As a rule of thumb, anything that is high in carbs is not keto-friendly. Pinto beans are naturally high in carbohydrates, which means they’re not keto-friendly.
One tablespoon of pinto beans contains 42 calories. Meanwhile, one cup of boiled pinto beans with salt has 245 calories. Pinto beans are high in fiber which means they’re effective in helping you lose weight.
Did you make this pinto beans recipe? Please leave a star rating in the comments!Print
The Best Easy Pinto Beans
The best easy pinto beans from scratch, with stovetop, slow cooker and Instant Pot 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 1x
- Category: side dish
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: Mexican
- 1 lb dry pinto beans
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
- Small ham hock, slice of bacon, or pork bone
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (optional)
For Mexican version:
- Add 1 can diced tomatoes, ½ teaspoon chili powder, and 1 teaspoon 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 bacon/ham hock 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.
- For Instant Pot, add all ingredients to the pot of the Instant Pot. Close and lock lid and seal vent. Cook on high pressure for 25-30 minutes for unsoaked beans or 8-10 minutes for soaked beans. Let pressure release naturally before removing the lid.
- For Mexican version, add the tomatoes, chili powder and cumin along with the other ingredients.
Keywords: the best pinto beans, easy pinto beans, easy crockpot pinto beans
Do you chop up the cilantro and leave it in the beans or leave it whole and take it out when beans are ready? Is the cilantro fairly subtle? I know some people don’t like it.
You can do either! It is a little difficult to remove after cooking because the stalks aren't woody, so if big pieces bother you, I'd chop it. The flavor of cilantro is not strong in this recipe.
Thank you so much...starting them now! We are in a cook-off so I’ll let you know how we do!
Awesome, good luck! 🙂
Thanks for the great recipe. I am a native Texan living in Thailand, and Pinto beans aren't always easy to find here. I've made these before and they were delicious. I am making these again now to go with a smoked brisket. I opted for the Tex-Mex and added a liile more cumin, chili powder, and also some cayenne. Thanks again for the lovely recipe.
Hi Marshall, I'm so glad this recipe gives you a little taste of home! Thanks for leaving a review. 🙂
Janet Thomas says
My father in law made beans like this but through my many efforts this is the first version that my husband sees as “just like Dad’s!” I can’t thank you enough for bringing him closer to us! They’re staight-forward, honest and wonderful just like he was. Made my day!
What a kind compliment! I'm so glad y'all enjoyed the recipe.
First time making beans from scratch, I didnt have the pepper or cilantro, but they still tasted absolutely amazing! Thanks for all the useful tips, especially the quick soak 🙂
I have made both variations in a Ninja Foodi (pre-soaked the beans). I did double the garlic and jalapeno (and diced the jalapeno) so it has a little heat. I store it in pint jars for lunches at work. I am a little surprised by the calories per serving, I didn't think it would be that high. They are great reheated in the jar or as a topping for a baked potato! I'm planning on other variations like adding celery and carrots.
Checked the calories per serving using a recipe nutrition calculator on VeryWellfit website, your numbers were spot on. And then I found your recipe (Mexican version) on their site, impressive.
Walt Palmer says
Hi, I am always on the lookout for such a recipe, not because I need one, but to see if anyone other than me (and my late grandmother, mother, and sister ever made them this way. In our family, 'baked beans' is not the sugary, tomatoey concoction; it is well-soaked navy beans, onion, bacon or salt pork, salt and pepper, and homemade broth (usually chicken broth. All the ingredients in a bean pot and bake for a few hours, stirring occasionally and adding water as necessary until they're the way the cook wants them--I usually bake until the beans are soft to the point of being ready to break down. My mother's family--all Irish Catholic--homesteaded in the Ottawa valley in the mid 1800s due to the potato famine in Ireland. When my uncle died, my grandmother came to live with us and the farm left the family. So sad. That was in the mid-1950s and the place still had an outside hand-pump well, outhouse (two-seater :), no electricity, and no phone. I spent a lot of time there. These were the baked beans that I grew up with. No cilantro or pepper, but otherwise similar. The reason that I absolutely love this way of preparing beans is that you can taste the BEANS! They have a wonderful flavour. The most enduring recipes are the ones where the main ingredients are the stars, rather than vehicles for the flavour-'enhancers'. I so loved finding your bean recipe. I gather that (at least half) your family is of Mexican heritage? Wonderful, simple, family food!
I'm so glad you enjoy the recipe, and thanks so much for sharing your family's story and recipe! My aunt (whose recipe this is) was married to a man of Mexican heritage, and we are also Texan, so heavily influenced by Tex-Mex!
Hi! I'm soaking my beans tonight and will try the recipe tomorrow. But I have one question... do you have a preference whether cooking on the stove top or a slow cooker? Wasn't sure if either one had a more preferable flavor that you like or do they taste the same?
It really just depends on your preference! The slow cooker is lower maintenance, but the stovetop takes less time. Enjoy!
If you start them in the morning in a crock-pot on low, they will be ready for dinner.
Cooking the beans now for the first time but skipped the ham hock.
Crossing my fingers that it’ll still be tasty!
Do you leave the lid on when the beans are simmering for 2-4 hours?
Yes, leave the lid on.
Kayla Chavez says
If using bacon is it cooked or not?
Hi Kayla! I use uncooked bacon.
Hilda Ward says
I love beans and I am trying your recipe today.
I hope you enjoy it!
Michele Welch says
This is the best recipe! My husband loved them! He wants me to can a triple batch i wonder if I can, I'm soaking the beans overnight and drain with fresh water boil for 10 minutes put in jars and top with rest of the ingredients.
Thanks so much, I'm glad y'all love them! I haven't ever tried canning them, but let me know if you do! I've always been curious.
Alice B says
Love the recipe I did add some things but we love it and I'll be making it at least twice a month. Thank you 😊
Hi Alice, I'm so glad you liked them! Thanks for leaving a review!
Virginia Guerra-Flores says
This mag be a dumb question. Is the spices in the Mexican version in addition to or do they replace the other spices?
I add them in addition to the others. Not a dumb question!
I'm making this recipe right now, but due to our current coronavirus pandemic situation I made a few substitutions rather than running to the grocery store. No fresh jalapenos on hand at the moment, so I added about 1/2 tsp of jalapeno chile powder. Also no ham hock, so some bulk breakfast sausage went into the mix. It's done now, and it tastes great!
I came across your recipe when I searched the internet for some examples. What I was after were pinto beans that weren't thick or chili-like, and Kaleigh your recipe fit the bill! The texture of the beans were exactly what I was after. I'll be serving it tomorrow with some baby back ribs (Alton Brown's Who Loves Ya Baby-Back?).
That makes me so happy to hear, glad you enjoyed them!
Hi, do leave the lid on while it's boiling?
Haven’t made pintos from scratch for years. My family loved the beans so much we will be having them on a regular basis. They were delicious..
Hi Carol, I'm so glad your family enjoyed them!
Fantastic! Absolutely the best flavor and so easy to make....my favorite from now on!
We made the Mexican version of your “Best Easy Pinto Beans” last week and again this week. They are best, easy and delicious! Thanks!
Hi Cindy, I'm so glad you like them! Thanks for sharing your feedback!
lee scaroni says
This my go to recipe it simple and fast. I use the pressure cooker method. My family love this recipe thanks for sharing. I am cooking them now for dinner.
I'm so glad your family enjoys them, Lee! Thanks for leaving your feedback!
Julie A Chlarson says
I have tried many bean recipes over the years ; but I enjoy the simplicity of yours.
I am 72 years old and have been cooking since I was a young teen. First for my family; since both my parents worked.
I am oldest of 5 kids and it always required a big pot of beans.
Then I married and had two daughters. They're both in their 40's and feeding their own. I just cook for me. I put leftovers into mason jars and pop them in fridge.
Then have simple meals all week.
The art of cooking from scratch is coming back. More healthy and economical.
Thanks for your recipes.
Thanks for sharing Julie! Your comment made my day!
Shirley Robinson says
Great recipe. Thanks
Nola Tressler says
I am cooking the beans right at this moment. I have lifted the lid and sampled the broth several times. It's delicious!! I can't wait to eat it! It tastes a whole lot like the beans Mom used to make. Thanks for sharing.
Awesome! So glad you're enjoying the recipe!
Amanda Sanders says
Just like my Granny’s!
That makes me so happy!
Lawrence Brummett says
Great, easy recipe. Just as good as my granny made. She'd be proud. Thanks so much.
I love that! Thanks for providing feedback!
Does the jalapeño add a lot of heat to the flavor? Thx.
The jalapeño will not add a lot of heat since it is left whole and cooks for quite a while. It just adds a mild flavor.
Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I substituted the diced veggies with cumin and 3 crushed bay leaves and opted for the Mexican version but also added 1/3 cup of Honey Maple Syrup to them and they are amazing. I will follow your recipe the next time I make this wonderful dish. Thank you so much!
Hi Jim, I'm so glad you liked the recipe! Please consider giving it a star rating if you found it helpful. Thanks!
Do you put the jalapeño in whole.
I am making them for my Thanksgiving meal. Thanks so much for the recipe.
why do you state it could take 2-4 hours or until tender
It could vary based on the heat of your stove, how long the beans were soaked, etc. You can cook them longer without affecting the texture, but the longer you cook them the more flavor they will have. Thanks for stopping by!
Al wendland says
I made a ham and bean soup. Simmered for 4 hours added celery carrots onions garlic tomato juice and ham pieces. Turns out delicious salt and pepper to taste. And several bay leaves
Sounds great! Thanks for sharing your tips!
Dolores E Garza says
Thank you so much for sharing your bean recipe..Im cooking them right at this monent:)
Thank you for sharing such an easy and delicious recipe. I just made it and ate some without anything they were so good just like that. But I'm excited to have them to take to work for lunch all week, will save time and help me eat healthy.
I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe. I love having the leftovers too!