A Can Of Beans And A Plan – Pinto Bean Dip

Beans are an underutilized staple to some degree in the U.S. compared to a lot of countries. I was surprised that beans showed up as a breakfast item in the U.K. And it is quite common in many countries for beans to be served with every meal. 

I’ll never forget serving refried beans to my sister-in-law who lives in upstate New York. She had never tasted them and asked what they were before they were refried. Being a southern California native (and living about 1 1/2 hours from the Mexican border) I was surprised she wasn’t familiar with them. Apparently back in the day when she was growing up (she’s 80 now), neither pinto or refried beans were common in her area. 

I have many recipes on the blog that feature beans in everything from appetizers to main dishes. A few: Beans & Greens, Cannellini Bean Appetizer, Balsamic Glazed Sweet Beans, Beans Tomato & Tuna Salad, Fava Beans, White Bean Soup, Chickpea Snack, and pages more recipes if you want to search around my website. They are also an economical ingredient whether purchased dried or canned. 

I like this recipe because it is so versatile. It can be used as an appetizer, as a side dish to a meal, in a burrito, and included as an ingredient in other recipes that call for pinto or refried beans.  

Got a few minutes? Let’s go for it!

Saute cut-up veggies until soft. 

Add beans.

Puree the bean mixture in a food processor or blender and you are done!

Ready for a margarita and some bean dip?

Pinto Bean Dip

Yields 1 1/2 cups

25 min

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup red onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon chili powder (add to your spice level)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano, dried
  • 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (taste preference)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/4 cup water (if needed for pureeing)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. In a large skillet heat oil on medium. Add onion and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add chili powder and cook until fragrant (approx 1 minute).
  2. Mix beans, garlic, and bell pepper into skillet with onion. Stir and cook until softened and warmed through (approx 4-5 minutes).
  3. In a food processor pulse bean mixture with vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Add water by the tablespoon (if needed) until smooth.
  4. Taste to adjust seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Store bean dip in the fridge in an airtight container.

This recipe also adapts well when using dried beans. The process is longer because the dried beans need to be soaked overnight and then cooked before adding to the main recipe. 

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