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Pinto Beans Recipe

Easy Pinto Beans

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 to 2 hours
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: 12 1/2 cup servings 1x


Whip up a pot of this flavorful pinto beans recipe, simmered with aromatic veggies and smoky spices. It’s perfect as a satisfying side dish or simple main dish!


  • 1 pound dry pinto beans
  • 1 white onion (or yellow onion), peeled and quartered
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or vegan butter or olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, whisked into liquid (optional; or use cornstarch) 


  1. Soak the beans overnight: Place the beans in a large container with a cover with 2 inches of room temperature water and stir in 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Cover and allow to soak at room temperature. (If you omit this step, you can still cook the beans; you may need to cook slightly longer and add a hint more salt in the final seasoning. The overall texture is better with the overnight soak, but you can omit it in a pinch.)
  2. When ready to cook, drain the beans from the soaking liquid. Place them in a pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Add the kosher salt and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Add the onion and garlic.
  3. Simmer uncovered for 1 to 2 hours until the beans are tender (taste test as you cook; the exact timing will depend on the age and brand of beans). Add a bit of water if necessary to keep the beans covered with water while cooking. Once tender, season with additional salt to taste, along with the cumin and chili powder.
  4. To thicken the liquid, remove 2 tablespoons of the liquid to a small bowl. Stir in the flour until a paste forms, then return it to the pot. Add the butter and stir until combine. Simmer 5 minutes until the liquid is thickened slightly. (You can skip this step if you’re planning to use the beans in a recipe that calls for canned pinto beans that are drained and rinsed.)
  5.  Enjoy the beans immediately. Store leftovers refrigerated in their liquid for 3 to 5 days, or frozen for up to 8 months in a sealable storage container. (For reference, 1 1/2 cups pinto beans = 15 oz can.)
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegetables
  • Diet: Vegan