Once you learn how to cook pinto beans from scratch, the canned kind will never taste the same. Creamy and flavorful, they’re a delicious side dish.
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What won me over? Our neighborhood bar, Kite String Cantina, started offering a weekly box of local foods. In addition to scoring fresh veggies and Chef Renee’s SUPER flavorful sauces, we started getting a bag of dried beans each week.
So over the last few months, I’ve perfected my method for how to cook pinto beans from scratch. This pinto beans recipe is amazingly simple, and it’s delicious, too. The beans are lightly spicy, aromatic, and irresistibly creamy. Try it once, and you’ll never want to eat pinto beans any other way.
How to Cook Pinto Beans
This method for how to cook pinto beans from scratch takes some time, but don’t let that scare you! The process is super simple and almost entirely hands off. Here’s how it goes:
- First, soak the beans. Place them in a large colander and sift through them to remove any stones or debris. Rinse them well and transfer them to a large bowl. Cover them with 2-3 inches of water and set them aside to soak for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
- The next day, cook the aromatics. Sauté half an onion in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat (you could also toss in a jalapeño if you like your beans spicy!). When the onion softens, stir in cumin, the soaked, drained beans, water, oregano, salt, and pepper.
- Then, simmer. The cooking time will depend on the freshness of your beans and how you like them cooked. I cook my pinto beans until they’re falling apart and the liquid around them has thickened. I start checking after an hour and again every 15 minutes after that.
- Finally, season to taste. When the beans are cooked to your liking, season them with a squeeze of lime juice, more salt and pepper, and chili powder to taste.
That’s it! Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
Pinto Beans Serving Suggestions
When you’re ready to eat, garnish the pinto beans with cilantro and red pepper flakes. Make them a meal by pairing them with cilantro lime rice, tortillas, and a vegetable side dish like these fajita veggies or sautéed greens. Top it all off with pickled onions or pico de gallo for a pop of bright flavor, or add a scoop of guacamole for richness.
This pinto beans recipe is also a fantastic side dish. Serve it as part of an at-home taco bar or with any of these Mexican-inspired recipes:
- Roasted Cauliflower Tacos
- Vegan Jackfruit Tacos
- Avocado Sweet Potato Tacos
- Homemade Taquitos
- Vegetarian Black Bean Enchiladas
- Or any of my 11 Best Vegetarian Taco Recipes!
More Favorite Bean Recipes
If you love this pinto beans recipe, try one of these delicious bean recipes next:
- How to Cook Black Beans
- Cannellini Beans and Greens
- How to Cook Dried Beans
- How to Cook Lentils
- Black Bean Soup
- Easy Vegetarian Chili
- Black Bean Burger
- Or any of these 25 Best Bean Recipes!