How to cook flavorful healthy vegan Mexican-style Pinto Beans using dry beans! A simple easy recipe that can be made on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot. A delicious addition to your Mexican Feast, or weekly meal prep. Can be made ahead!  Allow 6 hours of soaking time. With a video!

How to cook flavorful healthy vegan Mexican Pinto Beans using dry beans! A Simple easy recipe that can be made on the stove top or in an Instant Pot. A delicious addition to your Mexican Feast, or weekly meal prep. Can be made ahead!  Allow 6 hours soaking time. 

Hi, friends. It is the first of May. Time continues on even though the world feels as if it has taken a long pause. I hope you are finding your rhythm in all of this. With Cinco De Mayo right around the corner, I’d thought I’d share a simple recipe for  Pinto Beans using dry pinto beans.

This version is vegan, yet smoky and full of flavor.  I like making a big pot of these Mexican Pinto Beans on slow lazy days, letting it simmer gently on the stove.  It’s perfect for gatherings and meal prep- serve it up during the week in burritos, tacos, and healthy bowls. The leftover pinto beans get more and more flavorful each day as the beans have a chance to soak up all the goodness.

You can also make these in an Instant Pot,be sure to see recipe notes.

 Pinto Beans Recipe | 60-sec video!

soaking pinto beans

How to make Pinto Beans

Step one: Soak the beans overnight, or for a minimum of 6 hours. Add a teaspoon of salt to the soaking water.

chopped onion and dried chillies

Step two: Once the beans have soaked, drain and saute the onion and garlic and dried guajillo chili. You can also use canned chipotle peppers here if you’d rather.

saluting onions, garlic and dried chilies

For a milder version, leave out the dried guajillo chili.

saluting the onion with the spices

Step three: Add the spices and toast for 1-2 minutes.  Add a cinnamon stick if you like.

Step four: Add the beans, bay leaves, salt and water and bring to a simmer.

Mexican pinto beans simmering pinto beans on the stove

Step Five: Simmer uncovered for 45-55 minutes.

Adobo Sauce form the canned chipotles

Step six: When the pinto beans are tender, stir in adobo sauce from the canned chipotles, which gives the beans a delicious smoky flavor.  You can also use a ham hock ( see notes) to achieve this.

The leftover peppers can be frozen in tiny zip-lock bags for another use.

How to cook flavorful healthy vegan Mexican Pinto Beans using dry beans! A Simple easy recipe that can be made on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot. A delicious addition to your Mexican Feast, or weekly meal prep. It can be made ahead!  Allow 6 hours of soaking time.  #pintobeans

As the beans sit, the liquid will thicken up and the beans will get even more flavorful.

How to cook flavorful healthy vegan Mexican Pinto Beans using dry beans! A Simple easy recipe that can be made on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot. A delicious addition to your Mexican Feast, or weekly meal prep. It can be made ahead!  Allow 6 hours of soaking time.  #pintobeans

Have a lovely weekend. Get outside, breathe, feel the sun on your skin.

xoxo

Sylvia

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How to cook flavorful healthy vegan Mexican Pinto Beans using dry beans! A Simple easy recipe that can be made on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot. A delicious addition to your Mexican Feast, or weekly meal prep. It can be made ahead!  Allow 6 hours of soaking time.  #pintobeans

Pinto Beans Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 24 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups 1x
  • Category: pinto beans
  • Method: stove top, instant pot
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

How to cook flavorful healthy vegan Mexican Pinto Beans using dry beans! A Simple easy recipe that can be made on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot. A delicious addition to your Mexican Feast, or weekly meal prep. It can be made ahead!  Allow 6 hours of soaking time.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 lb dry pinto beans (2 1/2 cups dry), soaked 6-12 hours, then drained
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ——-
  • 12 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 1 dry Mexican Guajillo Chile (optional, see notes), seeds removed, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from canned chipotles)

 


Instructions

  1. Place pinto beans in a med bowl, and cover with 2-3 inches of water.  Stir in 1 teaspoon salt and let soak overnight – or for a minimum of 8-12 hours. Drain.
  2. After soaking: In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic until tender and fragrant, 4-5 minutes. Add the dried chili, cinnamon stick and all the spices. Saute one minute to toast the spices. Add the water, tomato paste and DRAINED beans. Stir in the 1/2 salt and bring to a rapid boil.
  3. Lower heat to maintain a gentle simmer (on low or medium-low) and simmer uncovered for 45-60 minutes until beans are tender.
  4. Stir in the tablespoon of Chipotle Adobo Sauce and the vinegar.
  5. Taste, adjusting salt if needed.

Notes

Feel free to substitute 1-2 canned chipotle peppers (chopped) instead of the dried Mexican chili. Or leave out both for a milder version. Or experiment with other dried Mexican chilies taking not of heat level. One Guajillo chili makes this MEDIUM SPICY.  

Using the Adobo sauce from the Canned Chipotle Peppers really elevates and adds a lovely smokiness to the whole dish. Freeze the leftover chipotle chilies (individually) for later use!

You could also use a little smoked paprika for the smoky flavor without the spiciness.

INSTANT POT: Cook according to above, using the saute function for sauteeing. Reduce water to 3 cups. Pressure cook the soaked pinto beans on high for 15 minutes, naturally release. If you’d like to reduce liquid further, cook on saute function for a few minutes until it thickens up.

HAM HOCK: Feel free to add a smoked ham hock to the top of the simmering beans. After it’s tender, shred the meat and stir into the beans.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 129
  • Sugar: 2.5 g
  • Sodium: 461.1 mg
  • Fat: 2.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 21.6 g
  • Fiber: 6.9 g
  • Protein: 6.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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Comments

  1. Gotta start following you!

    My own brown beans are really good (I’ve had people fight over them when I also had a couple of smoked rib bones to throw in), but my beans are more Tex-Mex….: very different. I used to serve beans a lot more, but after my children were out from the home, I found that I catered more to my husband’s desire for gobs of meat.

    That has not helped me even though I typically make big salads for myself. Turns out, after a blood test, my doctor recommends a pescatarian diet, but fish is pricey…

    Soooo, based on the doctor’s recommendations to rebalance my health, beans on a very regular basis is a priority, and that is happy news indeed!

    So I’m brushing off my old favorite bean recipes and searching for more. I started with chickpeas since they are the most healing for me and found some gems there already, but I love and miss pinto beans, so I dove in deep to put a new face on my pinto bean Pinterest page, and I’m so glad I did, cuz that helped me see how lovely your recipes can be!

    Your recipe looks so good!!!!!

    Pinning! I’ll try it soon and let you know how it goes!

    In the meantime:

    HEALTH TIPS FOR THE IMMUNE COMPROMISED:

    1) Boiling away toxins: only kidney beans have toxic levels of the lectins, the chemicals that must be boiled to make them safe? For the most part, people can sluff off the toxins from everything but kidney beans? BUT…. the immune compromised already struggle with detoxing. Soooo: note to the wise: pinto beans have some levels of the toxins. My current slow cooker does bring beans up to a simmer, so I’m good with using my slow cooker to avoid the toxins, or else I’d necessarily need to do a boil soak prior to slipping unsoaked beans into a slow cooker.

    2) That brings up soaking: Lectins in all but kidney beans can also be addressed through soaking. Again, this is most important for the immune compromised (and that’s a genetic thing: one might have a healthy person to feed who will struggle if the lectins are not boiled or soaked into chemical changes): soooo: soak at least overnight and water plants with the soak water. Use fresh for cooking. Three days of soaking is even better.

    I might be a bit obsessive now, but these days, I usually soak all legimes for three days *and* make sure they are in a slow cooker that brings them up to a boil.

    The soaking totally changes the life cycle of the dried beans anyway, providing a different nourishment profile – one more conducive for starting life than for stabilizing dormancy….

    That thought really motivates me to soak beans!

    Looking forward to soaking some for this recipe very soon!!!!






    1. Thanks for sharing, and yes you are right, the lectins in beans can affect people who struggle with autoimmune disease. Besides soaking beans, cooking at high heat (like in a pressure cooker or instant pot) helps remove most of them. Let us know what you think of the recipe Rainah!

  2. Thank you for this recipe! I didn’t expect it to be as flavorful as it is. I figured I’d have to tinker with it. But no, it’s perfect as is. Yum!






  3. Hi, we only have pinto beans in cans where I live. I assume that you wouldn’t want to cook those in water, etc, for close to an hour, but could you make this recipe by toasting the spices and then adding the canned beans and cooking in a pan for a few minutes instead? Thanks!

    1. Do you mean canned Pintos? Yes, I bet that would work. Rinse and drain and maybe add some broth. This recipe makes 7 cups cooked pintos. A can has roughly 1.5 cups so you’de need 4.5 cans of beans or you could halve the recipe. Hope this helps.

    2. I can report on this! I’ve used both caned black and pinto beans. You just add a little bit of broth (not to scale) and simmer for a few minutes. They don’t come out looking as distinct and whole as in your photos—they are starchier—but super delicious. Great when you don’t have the soaking time.






  4. Made a double batch with the guajillos and the whole can of chipotle-not too piquant at all for a NM person! Excellent beans.






  5. Last year, and in the middle of a very stressful international move, my then 13-year-old daughter decided it was time to go from vegetarian to vegan. And when a 13 -year-old decides she wants to do something then what else can a single parent of two kids do but go along with it? So I started to experiment with all the different variety of beans I could find here in Germany. I was disappointed the first time I tried pinto beans and gave up on them. But recently I found your internet site and so I decided to give pinto beans one last try. And now this has become one of our favorite recipes – yes, even my daughters love it. We make a mild version without the dried chili and the adobo sauce, but this means that the cinnamon comes to the fore. And the cinnamon adds a magic touch to the recipe.

  6. Wowza, great recipe! I made cornbread with creamed corn, green chilis and some chili powder…and served the beans on top. Leftovers were better. Served the same but added kale sauteed with garlic and a pinch of chili powder…then topped with over easy eggs. Try it if you aren’t vegan…amazing combo!

  7. These are the most flavorful pinto beans I’ve ever had. I used 3 chipotle peppers from the can of adobo sauce instead of the dried peppers and would classify the spice level as mild. I think next time I’ll use 4-5! Thank you for sharing this recipe, I can’t wait to try your others.






    1. Yes, I’m sure you could but not sure of specific timing. If you try will you let me know any details that could help others make this in a slow cooker?

      1. You might want to Google “cooking beans in a slow cooker” before doing that. Some say that many beans contain a substance that is toxic if the beans are not cooked to a high enough temperature and cooking them in a slow cooker can therefore be unsafe.

  8. Hello! Do you still need to soak the beans if you are using an instant? I have cooked black beans without soaking in my instant pot and it always turns out well, but I am not familiar with pinto beans. Thank you!

    1. You can do these beans without soaking overnight. I like to do a flash soak in the IP. You sort and wash your beans throw them in the IP on high pressure for 5 min then let them do a natural vent for 15 min. Then you can open your vent and drain the water from the beans and continue with the rest of this recipe.

  9. I had all the ingredients ready for this recipe. I like to cook 2 pounds of beans at a time so I simply doubled the ingredients for the recipe, including doubling the time, which comes out perfectly. I also like to use left over over brisket fat that I store in the freezer.






  10. Ridiculously good, totally worth soaking the beans. I had a few recipe modifications, I used ground Cinnamon instead of sticks as I didn’t have them, I didn’t use coriander or chili powder or bay leaves. I bumped up the cumin and used Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce in place of the Mexican chile. Served as tacos with the Smoky Cauliflower (Chimichurri bowls) and sweet potato, vegan cilantro crema, fresh lime juice. I’m vegan, but my husband added roasted chicken to his tacos too.






  11. what a great recipe. similar to mine sept I use ancho. the others are sometimes not available but if so I use both. OH. salt in soaking water toughens skin and in Mexico de use soaking water to cook da beans in. ,,,,I also use a fork and smash some beans against side o pot it thickens da broth. ,,,,, Again a wonderful wonderful recipe. oh no ham use salt pork or uncured bacon






  12. I really loved these beans! I was skeptical because I could smell the cinnamon so strongly when they were cooking. I was afraid it would be too overpowering but it was a perfect subtle undertone. Couldn’t find dried chiles where I live so I just used a fresh jalapeño and added some chopped chipotles with the adobo sauce. I made in my Instantpot and didn’t soak the beans. Gasp! I know! 47 mins HP+NR. Downside: a lot of the beans imploded. I’ll probably not skip the soak next time. Definitely making again! Thank you!






    1. hi next time roast those fresh chilis and blend in a blender wit garlic den add to beans ta cook. and if you use a crock pot overbite on low no need to soak beans just leave out salt till they are cooked then adjust wit salt go for it mistakes are a teacher






  13. these are the best pinto beans ever, the use of spices and toasting them makes a huge difference, i did add some chopped bacon for my carnivore friends. i also love the instant pot lentils.






  14. Another winner! Made it on the stovetop and they came out perfectly! People started scooping them out with chips. Had to cut them off so there was enough for dinner! 🙂






  15. I made half the recipe in my instant pot, but kept the spices the same to give it some depth. Found that 25 minutes made the beans softer than I like, – will try 22 minutes next time. After the release, using saute button worked well to make it more “gravy-like.” I used the whole guajillo chili cut up and didn’t find it too spicy, but not crazy about the little chili pieces. Using in a taco salad tonight. I’d make this again!






  16. I thought adding salt to cooking beans makes them tough and take longer to cook. What’s the rationale for adding salt to the soaking water?

    1. Apparently it’s a myth. I talked to a bean farmer at the farmers market and he told me to salt the soaking liquid for better flavor. I’ve done comparisons. I like salting the water better, but feel free to do as you please. 🙂

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