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)
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.
**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 25-20 minutes for unsoaked beans or 8-10 minutes for soaked beans. Let pressure release naturally before removing the lid.
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