Here’s how to make the most DELICIOUS, authentic pinto beans recipe—tender beans in a complex and flavorful broth with lots of comforting goodness. Enjoy as a soup, a side dish, or mash and turn into refried beans. Vegan and gluten-free! This recipe was first posted on September 17, 2014 and last updated on March 10, 2022}
There’s been a bean embargo of sorts put down on Armando.
Apparently his consumption has crept into unsustainable territories and a he was put on notice that his activities in the bean department were being closely monitored. He’s a man who really enjoys his beans so it’s getting a little ugly around here.
If Louisa catches him reaching for a can of black beans (breakfast is usually when he tries to slide by unnoticed) she comes out of nowhere like a ninja and says in a strikingly accurate motherly tone, “Papa…..today is NOT a bean day”.
She’s got him on a schedule.
I feel for him, because I love beans too. So for the rest of us who aren’t on watch, right now is perfect bean eating season.
This recipe is the one I make on an almost weekly basis. I got it from my friend Tomasa who I worked with during my days at Firefly in San Francisco. She would chop up a huge pile of onions, get them nice and soft then add loads of spice. They are an absolute classic.
This pinto beans recipe comes out initially very soupy and we do eat it like bean soup with a squeeze of lime and maybe some sautéed beet greens on top.
But if there are leftovers we will scoop out spoonfuls, letting the liquid drain back into the bowl and fry them with oil or bacon grease, mashing to a perfect refried consistency. Let’s take a closer look at how to make this stellar recipe.
Why You Must Try This Recipe
Packed with protein. This simple vegan recipe is a powerhouse of nutrition. Combine with sautéed dark, leafy greens for a complete (and super healthy) meal.
One pot. Multiple meals. This recipe is a soup, a side dish, or a main course all in one. The flavor gets better as it sits, so make a pot and eat it all week!
Kid friendly. Looking for a healthy side dish that your kids will actually eat? This pinto beans recipe is it! With lots of rich spices, they are packed with flavor (but don’t worry) aren’t spicy at all. They go great with enchiladas, tacos, rice, grilled fish, you name it.
The recipe makes a lot but these beans are one of those things that are better the longer they sit so making a huge batch is to your benefit. And if you’re only allowed beans every other day, then that could take a while.
- Dried pinto beans. Buy dried beans from a store that sells a lot of them (like a Latin market). Beans that have been sitting around forever may never soften or get tender. For the most incredible beans of your life look to specialty producers like Ranch Gordo.
- Avocado oil
- White onion
- Chili powder
- Ground cumin
- Ground coriander
- Dried oregano
- Bay leaves
- Kosher salt
How To Make This Pinto Beans Recipe
There’s debate whether salting the beans before they are fully cooked inhibits their softening. I believe it, so I don’t add salt until the beans are perfectly soft. It may be an old wives tale but it’s one I choose not to mess with.
This is why I use water and not chicken broth like a lot of recipes. The chicken broth has a lot of salt in it, which can interfere with the beans cooking evenly.
Rinse and soak the beans. Place beans in a colander and rinse the beans under running water. Remove any dirt or pebbles that may be hiding in the beans. Place them in a large container and cover the beans with water. Let soak overnight. You don’t have to do this, but they will cook much faster the next day if you do.
Make sofrito. Heat the oil in a large pot. Add vegetables and cook until soft, but not brown. Add spices (but not salt) and let toast in the oil.
Cook beans. Drain beans and add to the pot. Cover with about 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook pinto beans, uncovered until they are tender, about an hour (if you have pre-soaked them).
Salt and serve. After you’ve cooked the beans all the way through, add the salt. Stir well, taste and add more as needed. Serve!
This pinto beans recipe gives you the step-by-step on how to make them on the stove. If you have more or less cooking time you might want to check out this crock pot beans recipe for a slow cooker version.
I also have a bean recipe that is cooked on high pressure in the Instant Pot in my cookbook, Plant Powered Mexican, in bookstores now!
More Bean Recipes To Try!
- Chipotle Beef and Bean Enchilada Casserole
- Black Bean and Cheese Tamales
- Black Bean and Farro Cakes
- How To Doctor A Can of Beans
- Slow Cooker Borracho Beans
- Sofrito Black Beans
- Vegan Pozole with Hominy and Pinto Beans
Here’s To Perfect Beans Every Time
If you have never been able to get them just right, try this pinto beans recipe and let me know how it goes by snapping a pic and tagging me on Instagram @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno so I can see or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating) ! Also, make sure to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!
- 1 pound dried pinto beans
- 1/4 cup avocado oil, lard, or bacon grease
- 1 large white onion, diced
- 2-3 jalapeños, cored, chopped, and seeds removed if you'd like it less spicy
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- Rinse and soak beans. Rinse beans in a colander to remove and dirt, while rinsing them be sure to run your fingers through them to check for small pebbles or rocks. Transfer beans to a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak, preferably, overnight. If you are in a hurry you can rinse them and cook them as is but they will take much longer to get soft.
- Saute vegetables. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and jalapeños and cook until starting to become tender, but not brown, about 8-10 minutes. Add garlic, chile powder, cumin, coriander, and oregano. Let spices toast for a minute or two.
- Cook beans. Drain and rinse the beans then add them to the pot along with the bay leaf and 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover. Simmer the beans, stirring occasionally, until tender. This could take anywhere from 1-3 hours depending on how long you soaked the beans and how fresh they are.
- Salt and serve. Add salt and taste. If it is not salty enough for your tastes, add some more and serve.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 175Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 475mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 6gSugar: 1gProtein: 6g
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